I love my ridiculous remote.


Update 12/20/2018: Logitech has disabled local APIs for their Harmony remote. I can no longer recommend this product.

In the recent past, I scoffed at expensive remotes. I remember about five years ago, scoffing at my husband when he bought at $90 smart remote during a Woot Off (to be fair, it was the ESPN branded one and was pretty awful). After that, I teased him about his Harmony 650 (which again, never really has worked correctly). But just a month ago, when Woot had the Harmony Ultimate Home on sale for $180 (!!!) and I jumped on it.

I love this stupid thing. It’s the first Harmony I’ve had that actually works correctly. Our old 650 was always out of sync it seemed. I’m using it in the nerd cave now, where it has fewer devices to control, and it’s still out of sync half the time. I’ve not had that problem with the Harmony Ultimate Home. We have had some problems with the DVR, but I’m not sure it isn’t just my husband preparing to save us from the robot apocalypse.

In addition to actually working as advertised, the Harmony Ultimate Home is an awesome fit for our home theatre system. It can control all three zones on my receiver. It can control our old Sony CD changer. It can control the Roku and the PS3. I was even able to create a specific activity for playing Rocksmith (where I need the mode to be stereo instead of surround). I can also control all of this from my phone. If I’m in the kitchen or out on the patio, I can turn on the music to the speakers in that room. Not bad when even at retail the remote is the same price as a Sonos Connect, and I can use any speakers I want with it instead of being locked into a proprietary system.

The Harmony Ultimate Home can also tie into SmartThings and Nest, making it an awesome home control. As I expand my home automation system, I’m planning on adding activities to turn off the lights when we watch a movie. Or hitting “goodnight” that will turn all our devices off, check that the doors are locked, and turn down the thermostat.

Other than the DVR issue, I’ve not had any complaints about my Harmony Ultimate Home. There are some quirky moments with it. For example, the touch screen makes it easy to accidentally trigger something. But I haven’t had any major usability issues. That being said, it’s definitely a device that may be a bit overpowered depending on your home setup. There is a step-down model that retails at $150. I’m sitting here thinking if I would spend the $350 retail price on the Harmony Ultimate, and I have to say I’m torn. Home automation stuff is expensive, so it makes sense this is too. And it does work very well. I’m just glad that I was able to get a good price on Woot. And I’m sure it’ll be up there again if you’re considering one.

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