Logitech have 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 have 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.