Review: Logitech Harmony Smart Control

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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9 comments

    1. 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.

  1. 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?

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