Logitech Leans on Phone Apps to Smarten Up Latest Harmony Remotes

Paul Lilly

The new Harmony remotes are compatible with more than 225,000 home entertainment devices.

Logitech today expanded its universal remote control lineup by introducing the Logitech Harmony Ultimate and Logitech Harmony Smart Control, both of which feature the peripheral maker's Harmony Hub, a puck shaped device that turns RF signals from the remote into IR and Bluetooth commands for your home theater devices. In doing so, users needn't worry about having a clear of line of site to their components and can even hide their AV gear behind cabinet doors.

The included Hub also supports Logitech's Harmony Smartphone App to turn your iPhone or Android device into a universal remote control. With it, you can control up to eight devices from anywhere in your home.

Logitech's Smartphone App is really the main selling point of the Logitech Smart Control, though for those times when your phone isn't handy or is other indisposed, it also comes with a simple remote to change channels, adjust the volume, and switch to favorite activities.

The Logitech Harmony Ultimate has a 2.4-inch touchscreen that responds to touch and swipe commands. It can control up to 15 devices, and new to this generation remote is the ability to program Philips Hue lighting systems and vibration feedback so you know your touch commands were received.

If you're new to Logitech's Harmony line, one of the neat things about these remotes is the ability to program activities so that navigating a mess a complicated gear becomes so easy even a Mac user could do it (hey-oh!). For example, hitting the "Watch Blu-ray" activity could be programmed to turn on your TV, turn on your surround sound receiver, turn on your PlayStation 3 console, and switch the input on your receiver to the PS3, in any order you dictate.

The Logitech Harmony Ultimate will be available this month for $350 MSRP and the Logitech Harmony Smart Control next month for $130.

Follow Paul on Google+ , Twitter , and Facebook

Around the web