The Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home control is a smart remote and a small hub that can control nearly everything in your home theater system, plus your Philips Hue lights, Nest and other connected home devices. Thanks to the Hub, you can use the remote or use your iPhone to control your TV in the free Harmony app.
At $350 the Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home isn’t cheap, but it can connect a large part of your home with the push of a single button, and turn your iPhone into a remote control.
All of this comes together to let me use one button to turn on the Xbox One, soundbar, Toshiba TV and set my Hue lights up for the perfect gaming combination. A similar tap of the Watch TV button turns all the above on as well as my DirecTV Genie that I watch through the Xbox One. Once you correctly set the Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home up, you can control any of these tasks from the touch screen remote or from your iPhone.
The Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home setup process is better than in earlier years. But it is still a very cumbersome process and there is an odd mix of setup in the app and on a computer with the MyHarmony app.
After spending a month using the Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home to control my house, here is how it handles, what it does great and what needs improvement.
Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home Setup
The Harmony Ultimate Home includes a remote charging base, Harmony Hub and two IR blasters that work together to control a wide range of connected devices. I was able to connect and control all but one device that I wanted to use, an EdenPURE heater that even with training would not respond to controls.
I initially ran into trouble setting up the Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home remote control system because my WiFi network used 2.4GHz and 5GHz options with the same name, but wouldn’t let the hub on 2.4GHz connect to the iPhone on 5GHz. This won’t impact everyone, but if you have trouble, you may need to change your router settings.
Once you are connected the Harmony app on iPhone or Android can search for devices on your network and then prompt you to manually add them. Adding an old HDTV with a broken remote was easy, and the same goes for newer devices like the Xbox One and PS4. The Harmony remote cannot control the PS4 because it doesn’t have an IR control, but it can get the rest of the activity ready so you just need to press the PS4 controller button to start playing.
The setup requires users turn off HDMI CEC, which lets a TV control other devices. On my TV this disables HDMI ARC, which I use to send sound to the soundbar. I turned HDMI CEC back on without any problems after the setup and everything is working fine now.
When you are almost done with the setup you need to stop on the iPhone and switch to your Mac or PC, download MyHarmony and connect the remote to install new firmware and complete the setup.
One other small issue was that the soundbar somehow set up to only allow control from the remote control. After diving into settings on the remote control I was able to tell the IR blasters to also control the soundbar. This is one example of the odd disparity between the Harmony app setup, the MyHarmony computer app and settings on the physical remote.
Users need to create most activities on the iPhone or Android app if they want to use home control devices like Nest and Hue. Making changes in the computer app does not offer all the options. I was unable to add a new Sleep activity to turn off all devices and set the Nest to a lower temperature on the computer, but it is a few simple taps away on the Harmony app.
Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home Use
Once you get past setup, the Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home system is incredible. With just a tap I can turn a basement media room into the perfect mix of lighting and have the TV, Xbox One and soundbar all set up. I keep the Harmony remote control in the basement, where it makes sense, but I can tap to start the activity from the iPhone app when I am upstairs so everything is ready when I get downstairs to play.
The app and the remote support gestures to control volume and other actions, which is handy, but I often use the physical buttons on the remote control. The Logitech Harmony remote fits perfectly in my hand with easy access to common buttons including the DVR, Xbox controls and individual device control. The battery life is good, lasting well over a week of use between charges. Drop the remote into the charging cradle to quickly charge up, and if the battery is dead you can still use your iPhone or Android to control everything.
I mostly use activities with the Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home, but I can control devices directly. This is handy for a HDTV that didn’t have a working remote control before using the Harmony options. If I repeat a task often enough I add an activity for it.
The small hub and IR blasters can control all of your devices, so there is no need to point the remote at the TV or attempt to point with the smartphone app.
Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home Review Verdict
The $350 Harmony Ultimate Home system is Logitech’s top of the line option and it is worth the price if you want to connect entertainment and home automation. Users can switch between different hubs on the same network. The remote is designed for one area, but with a second $99 hub, users could then control activities in a different area of the home using the Harmony app on a smartphone or tablet.
The Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home can control 15 entertainment devices, while a cheaper option only supports eight devices. The Harmony Ultimate Home can control an unlimited number of home automation devices.