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Harmony Touch
Score: 90%
Developer: Logitech
Device Type: Controller
Compatible With:


The Harmony Touch is the latest offering from Logitech in their line of uber-flexible universal remotes.

For those not familiar with the Harmony line, these remotes are special, primarily because of the software that backs them. The remotes themselves come in a variety of forms and styles with some even geared towards very specific setups. While that's good, if it wasn't for the software that easily allowed a user to program in not only what devices you have, but also what actions and activities you want to perform, the Harmony series would just be another universal remote.

The Harmony Touch actually breaks away from its predecessors as far as the software is concerned. In the past, a desktop application was used to setup and configure your remote controls, but for the Harmony Touch, you log into and use a web-based application.

Despite the changes in the general look of the web-app, the software still behaves the same as before. You tell the software what hardware you want to control with the Harmony Touch and you tell it what kind of activities you want to perform. This can be everything from watching TV, to playing a game console, or listening to music. The software knows about pretty much every retail device with an IR sensor and is fairly intelligent about how to use it.

One of the big positives with any Harmony remote is the fact that the remote remembers what devices are powered on and what they are set to. This means that the transitions between two activities only perform the steps that are necessary. For instance, if you are going from one game system to another, the remote knows your TV is still on and that it just needs to change inputs and power down the old system. But that's all the software, and even with the Harmony Touch, that hasn't really changed much.

As for the Harmony Touch itself, it feels like a middle ground between the Harmony One or 900 and the Harmony 1100. It retains the standard remote control shape, but it sports a larger touch screen and fewer buttons than the other similarly-shaped devices. The larger screen gives the remote the ability to show more activity or device-specific buttons much like the 1100. These can be anything from DVD controls to even game-system specific controller buttons like the Xbox's face buttons.

The Harmony Touch can also display a list of favorite channels like icons on the touch screen when you are watching TV. This is yet another feature that is taken from the 1100 that feels right on the Touch's larger screen and wouldn't fit right on the other remotes in the Harmony line.


In general, I had no problems with the signals coming from the Harmony Touch. All devices seemed to respond accordingly, so the remote's core functionality, being able to control devices, works as advertised. Then again, each of the Harmony remotes I've handled over the years has done that well. It's the details that make the Harmony Touch different from the other remotes in this line that really need to be examined.

Like the Harmony 900 and the 1100, the Touch has a built-in rechargeable battery and a cradle for it to rest in. I haven't had the pleasure of using a 900 for any length of time, but one of my remotes is an 1100 and one of the few issues I have with that device is how it sits in its cradle. The 1100 essentially rests on a stand and getting the contact points to sit right is always a pain and often takes a little wiggling of the remote in order for it to charge. The Touch's charger is more like a form-fitted cup for the base of the remote control and insures that the Touch not only slides in correctly, but makes solid contact with its charger. As for the recharge time, a night in the cradle was always more than enough time to get it back up to full life. In the morning, I typically took it out of its cradle just to make sure the remote control didn't develop any kind of battery memory. A good counterpart to the recharge time is the battery length. Granted, the battery is still new and it hasn't been put through a lot of recharges, certainly not the number that my 1100 went through, but it will hold a charge for a long time, well over a week with the remote in stand-by while not in use.

  • Intuitive Touch Screen
  • Customizable Channel Icons
  • Sleek, Streamlined Design
  • Back-lit buttons for Convenient Navigation
  • Number Pad Access on Touch Screen
  • Integrated Skype Experience with Logitech TV Cam HD
  • Rechargeable
  • Easy Online Set Up
  • Works with Virtually Any Device - Today and Tomorrow

Drawbacks & Problems::

I don't have too many issues for the Harmony Touch. The new software means you have to go through a couple of extra hoops in order to upgrade your Harmony if you happen to already have one, but other than that, the Touch is easy to set up and get going.

While the battery is nice and fresh now, I feel like there will be some point where it won't hold a charge. Looking over the remote, I can find no easy way to get to the battery and replace it if it becomes necessary. This isn't an issue yet, but how will it be in a few years and the remote is as well used as my 1100? I've already had to replace that battery once.

My only other issues with the remote are the ones I have with any of the Harmony remotes, that it doesn't work with Bluetooth driven devices, specifically the PS3 and the Wii (I guess now the Wii U). Granted, there is a separate device you can purchase to convert the IR signals coming from the remote to work with the PS3, but that's more devices and hardware on what is potentially an already overly-filled TV stand. Since it doesn't work for either of those two game systems, you still need a controller at hand in order to turn them on. An argument can be made that you will need that controller anyway if you are playing a game, but if I want to watch a Blu-ray on my PS3, then I would like to not have to use the game controller. A workaround is to buy and use the Sony PS3 remote control, but doing that means I still have an extra remote to mess with, something the Harmony is supposed to get rid of. Again, this isn't an issue with the Harmony Touch specifically, but the series of remotes as a whole. I understand that Sony likes to keep its Bluetooth signals secret and proprietary, but I feel like I am not the only person that would put down some extra money for a Harmony that I could use while watching movies on my PS3.

While the Harmony Touch isn't cheap when compared to most universal remotes, its pricetag falls in a nice spot that means you don't have to invest as much money as you would for the 1100, but you still get a lot of the benefits of the full touch-screen product. Is it worth upgrading your existing Harmony to the Touch? I don't think there is enough here to warrant a second Harmony purchase, but if you have several devices you want to control and you are in the market for a new universal controller, then you can't get much better than the Touch.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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