I’ve had a Harmony 800 remote control since long before Logitech acquired them several years back. It’s a great device, thanks to its easy web-based programming, massive device library, and activity-based commands. But the interface and product design has always felt a little dated to me. Logitech hopes to change things up a bit with their latest remote, the Harmony Touch.
This new remote has a 2.4″ capacitive touchscreen interface that’s reminiscent of the one you might find on your smartphone, complete with thumb-sized icons. The cool thing is that you use simple swipe gestures to move between activity screens and to scroll through your list of channels. It will also support swipe gestures for things like fast-forward and rewind of video content.
Sure, there’s already a Logitech Harmony app and Link device for the iPhone and iPad, it’s really hard to use a remote without some physical buttons. I much prefer the design of a remote with hard buttons – especially for navigating menus and changing volume in the dark. The Harmony Touch has ample tactile inputs, including dedicated playback, volume, channel and D-pad controls among others. As with other Harmony remotes, the Harmony Touch includes a rechargeable battery and a docking station included.
All told, the Harmony Touch can control up to 15 individual devices out of a library of over 225,000. I’m not sure if it can learn from other devices, but based on past Harmony remotes, I’d guess it can. That said, it only appears to support IR devices and not RF.
The Harmony Touch will be released this month for $249(USD). That’s a bit more expensive than I was hoping – I really wanted this thing to be $149 to $199 – but it still looks like a worthwhile upgrade for old Harmony remotes. Some have but apparently some have already popped up at Best Buy, so they’re already in the supply chain. For now, keep your eye out on the Logitech Harmony website for more details, or pop by your local Best Buy to see if any are out on the shelf.