Now for something different - remote controls. For true audiophiles, they are probably not interested in remote controls other than to control their CDP from the comfort of their favourite listening sofas. But for videophiles, a remote is almost essential.

In fact if you are into AV, you probably have at least 3 remotes as a minimum for controlling your video source, AV amp and TV/projector. Universal remotes are god-send for us to manage all our toys with just one remote control. I have 10 devices to manage - so remotes have always been one of my favourite gadgets since more than ten years ago when I bought a Marantz RC2000.

And to me, a remote must give me tactile feedback, lights up discreetly when watching my movies in the dark and easy to program. Tactile feedback is critical so that I can at least control the main functions without having to look at the remote each time. So the Philips Pronto that I had a while back just doesn't work well for me because it is touchscreen only.

Programming a remote can be as easy as entering the device code, provided it is in the universal remote's built-in database. Otherwise you need to learn the IR codes from the orginal remotes that you are replacing.

Logitech's Harmony ONE is their latest universal remote control (this is not their top model - the Harmony 1000 is but that is a touchsreen operated device). I have been using the Harmony 885 for a while now and while I am fine with it, I don't like the smallish buttons that are packed too close together. The Harmony ONE however has well spaced out buttons and also a decent small touchscreen to access special functions such as selecting activities.

This is an activity based remote i.e. it stores command macros to, say, watch a movie or listen to music. Once you let the software (which runs on an internet connected computer with access to >200,000 devices (as claimed by Logitech) online) knows what devices you have, which ones you use for a certain activity and it will program itself. So by just pressing the 'Watch Movie' icon on the touchscreen, it will switch on my projector, video source, AV amp, scaler and set them to the correct inputs. And when the movie has finished, press the 'Off' button and the remote will switch everything off. Sweet.

It is actually a joy to use and if you are looking for a new universal remote control, do check out the Harmony ONE.


maggielurva 愛美姬 said...

hi gadget guy,
i have this phobia against universal remote - just how do you remember what keys for what device?

GadgetBuzzer said...


U don't have to remember with the Logitech remotes. Select the activity and the remote will set up the rest. The source control keys (i.e. Play, Pause, Skip, etc) will be replicated on the remote while the volume buttons will control your amp. The remote will automatically switch to the correct source player/amplifier and control keys depending on whether you are watching a DVD movie, blu-ray movie or listening to music.

Anonymous said...

Where can I get this wonderful gadget? I've been reading about it but I figure I can't get it locally.

GadgetBuzzer said...

I must admit I don't know where to get this in Malaysia. I got it in HK and it is also very new here.. not the official import yet btw. Alternatively order online fo the US.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible to order from you? Maybe you have contact in HK? I don't think it is possible to order from online as they don't ship internationally. I'll pay in cash. I'm really interested in the device.

GadgetBuzzer said...

It's actually cheaper in the US from what I've seen online. Most of them do ship internationally. In HK, it's HK$2400 or USD300 but that's because it is not the official import yet. I bought the last unit from the shop. If you are really interested, I suggest waiting for the official HK model to come out in June; hopefully the pricing will be better.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the feedback.