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Review: Logitech Harmony Smart Control

logitech-harmony-smart-control-1

Logitech Harmony Smart Control

Design9
Performance8.8
Features9
Ease of Use8
Value for Money8
8.6 out of 10
Summary Logitech has led the way in universal remotes for a number of years and the Harmony Smart Control is a fine addition to the range. Current Harmony owners will need to think carefully to justify the benefits of moving to a smartphone based controller over their current remote, but if you're looking for a phone or tablet based controller for your TV and AV kit, forget the rest, get this.

Logitech’s Harmony range of universal remote controls have been available for a few years, offering increasing levels of sophistication – from “basic” multi-device controllers, controllers with monochrome screens, colour screens and most recently, touch screens. But wait! You already have a bunch of touchscreen devices, don’t you, in the form of those smartphones you carry around in your pockets? So who needs a remote control when you could use your phone, or tablet?

That’s the thinking behind Logitech’s latest addition to the Harmony range. The Logitech Harmony Smart Control is designed to allow you to use your Android or iOS smartphone or tablet as a remote control for all of your AV devices – so you can throw all of those old controllers in a drawer. Simple, eh? Let’s take a look.

The workings of the Logitech Smart Control are pretty easy to understand – open up the premium packaging (at £109, this isn’t a cheap device) and you’ll find a receiver hub which accepts commands from your phone or bundled remote (if you decide you don’t want to use your phone after all, or more likely, you can’t be bothered fishing it out of your coat pocket). A mini-IR blaster (infrared transmitter) plugs into that hub and your Wi-fi-transmitted commands from your phone are transmitted to your AV devices courtesy of the blaster.

If you’ve ever tried to use an older Harmony device with a PlayStation 3, Wii or WiiU you’ll have been forced to use an additional Bluetooth transmitter to control the console – not anymore! The Logitech Harmony Smart Control can also be configured to work with the PS3 out of the box, saving you an addition £50 peripheral cost.

Before we get the Smart Control set-up, let’s take a look at the device. Logitech has traditionally done a great job with the design of their Harmony controllers, and the Smart Control is no exception. The Hub and bundled remote both look great out of the box – but the hub won’t distract your eye when tucked away in your AV cabinet.

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Terry Walsh is the founder of We Got Served. He started the community in February 2007 with a mission to help families, tech enthusiasts everywhere figure out the technology needed to run the modern home and small business. He's the author of a number of guides to Windows, Windows Server and OS X Server and runs his own successful publishing business. Born and raised in Liverpool, England, Terry has been awarded Microsoft's prestigious Most Valuable Professional Award each year since 2008 for his work on We Got Served.
  • ayzee

    Great review, great pictures thank you

  • James Cavanagh

    Does the hub support more then one blaster?

    • There are two inputs, so it may well do….

  • NormanWB

    Can it control an HTPC or WMC?

    • Harmony remotes can (from memory) so as long as you have an IR sensor on the hardware you should be fine.

    • Mike

      Yes, I am controlling XBMC (OpenElec) using the smart control. If you have an MCE IR receiver on your HTPC then you can add an MCE keyboard as a device to the harmony and control it that way. If your HTPC supports Bluetooth then you can also add a PS3 remote as a device and then configure your HTPC to be controlled by Bluetooth. Google ‘smart control bluetooth pc’, there’s lots of good info on how to do this.

  • remote_user

    IMO a pure touch interface is a huge step backward for traditional remote control tasks. A well designed remote can be used without looking at it. Touchscreen forces you to look at the remote before pressing any “buttons”.

    Logitech, you make great remotes. Give us back our tactile feedback! Maybe even a cling-on “button pad” that works on top of the touch screen?

  • DoesItWork?

    Why not use WatchOn if you have a Samsung phone?

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