$95 @ Amazon
$95 @ Amazon
Will a remote like this integrate with smart things?
You need a Harmony Hub for the integration.
Yes, I have two of them and they work fine but it doesn’t have dedicated button to use for HA. I believe the Elite version does. You can essentially import Harmony Activities in ST and you can trigger lights or devices with activities. Getting my media room lights to come on ONLY when I pressed the OFF button (and not when an activity was ending) took a workaround. I don’t know whether this has been addressed in the latest software but it was a big gap in my opinion.
Make sure it comes with the hub though… if not, then it likely doesn’t integrate! The hub can be purchased separately as well.
Even purchased without a Hub, the Harmony Ultimate can still be paired to one (as long as it is the only touchscreen device used with the hub).
This one doesn’t come with the hub, but rather than spend $80 on just the hub, simply buy Harmony Smart with hub for $50 and you can have his & hers remotes.
Ah, but then the brutal fight over the touchscreen version of the remote ensues.
FWIW, I really don’t like the button layout on this remote…it puts the playback buttons (FF/RW/Play-Pause) at the very top of the remote above the screen. This position is fine on the smaller (no display) version of the Harmony remote that works w/the hub, as you can easily reach the playback buttons and the navigation buttons w/out changing how you hold the remote.
In the case of this larger remote w/screen it looks like the playback control buttons are too far away and you’d have to shift the remote back and forth in your hand or (the horror!) use two hands, one to hold the remote and the push the playback buttons. I actually just looked at remote on Amazon and the top question in the Q&A section is about this issue:
I believe you can use virtual buttons on the display to control playback (not sure) but even if you can there’s no “feel” and I don’t want to have to look at the remote to be sure I’m getting the right virtual button - I choose buttons by touch 99% of the time.
So not sure how much of an upgrade this is over the standard (non-display Harmony hub remote.
I think the (also non-display) Harmony Companion remote upgraded version does it better w/the playback buttons easily accessible below the navigation buttons.
BTW - if you are interested, Amazon also has several Elite used/used like new from $69 to $70’s.
You’re not alone (re: button layout). It seems to be designed by someone who never has to use it. Initially it drove me crazy; I was somewhat happier when I started using gestures for the two commands I use most often when watching a recording: skip back / skip forward. They’re not buttons, rather you swipe on the blank ‘touchpad’ screen that you get when you ‘swipe up’ from the bottom center. You can even program the touchpad screen to be the default screen when an activity starts, which is pretty good for eliminating the probability of accidentally hitting a soft button by randomly hitting the touchscreen by mistake.
You just swipe left or right (or tap, or up/down) with your thumb or finger, actually very easy to do without looking at the remote. BUT they even got the defaults for this wrong: by default, a left swipe is ‘Reverse’ and forward swipe is ‘Fast Forward’. They expect everyone to ‘left swipe and hold’ for the default replay action. Luckily you can customize this by touching the ‘i’ in the white circle that appears on the touchpad screen. You get access to all the other gesture customization options there as well (you might find some you like different) for things like vol. up/dn, pause, mute, etc. You can pretty much avoid using the hardbuttons altogether. And the icing on the cake (as of a recent firmware update) all those customizations don’t disappear when you re-sync the remote after making a change on the app.
After several months, in spite of the awful button layout I actually found myself using it in preference to what I previously thought was a remote with a really great layout, the Harmony 650. It might be because I got used to not having to point the thing at the screen (due to the RF / blaster combo of the newer one).
Thanks for explaining the Gesture options - that does sound like it improves the usability.
I still prefer the small non-display remote that comes w/the base version of the hub over any remote I’ve ever used…the feel in hand is perfect, it just fits, and my wife (tiny hands) is as comfortable using it as I am (a first for any remote we’ve used, including a long line of Harmony remotes). It’s light weight and responsive - just love it.
I would too but I have so many settings to tweak (I’ve got around 11 AV components programmed into it) that the companion remote is relegated to the TV in the kitchen. I ran an IR blaster thru a wall so I can use it independently in an adjacent room.
I impulsed bought this thinking it had a hub as well. I knew I didn’t need it but the price was too good to pass. Now its at Best Buy for $80. Going to go get another one! LMAO!
Still without a hub
I resisted the $95, but the $80 was too much to pass up, added a $20 memory card to hit the $99 6 months no payments or interest so I can catch up on Christmas
I bought one with hub from Costco in October. Just returned it this week because, as my husband explained to the returns cashier, “My wife is ready to take a sledgehammer to it.” The design is flat out awful. I’ve liked or loved every Harmony remote I’ve owned except for this one.
This remote is unstable just sitting there. There’s a hub so no need to point the remote while using it. So my old Harmony hub remote (the non-touchscreen version) sat on my armrest or on the coffee table between our chairs and I just punched buttons from there; it’s flat on back and utterly stable. There’s a finger-grip bump on the back of this remote that prevents it from sitting flat. It rocks side to side at the slightest touch, which means I have to stabilize it with other fingers just to hit one button or pick it up to use it (and if I have to pick it up, why bother with the hub). Plus it at least once a week it would slide off the armrest and crash to the floor when my sleeve brushed it.
My husband, who is more ham-fingered than I am, would frequently touch one of the buttons (usually Home) on his way to the playback controls and then ask me why the touchscreen looked the way it did.
We both would frequently brush the touchscreen on the way to the playback controls, which with default gesture controls will either play whatever is selected on the DVR menu or pause what’s already playing.
Playback controls at the top (trying to give a little grip for this awkward placement is the reason for the bump on the back). I have small hands and it does require me to shift my grip to use them. I have to think about what action I want to take and pick up the remote in a different grip depending on the action. The only tiny saving grace is the gesture controls Burd mentions, in my case, tap to play. Otherwise, I’m using the arrow buttons to select a show then completely changing my grip to hit play. It’s ridiculous.
Finally, and this one is on me for not researching enough before buying, I thought the touchscreen would be as programmable as my old, old Harmony touchscreen remote (probably 10 years old). That remote had such granular control, I could set up a touchscreen button to turn up/down the center speaker volume, which normally would take switching inputs and drilling down through 3 menus to get to. I really loved that remote and would still be using it if it weren’t for Alexa and SmartThings. This remote’s touchscreen is pretty limited in what it can do which ultimately makes it more of a gimmick. It has essentially the exact same functionality as the non-touchscreen remote but in much more poorly designed package.
Totally agree with your evaluation of the Ultimate touchscreen, except (and I point this out in case anyone needs similar functionality; not to defend this ergonomic train wreck) you can add as many touchscreen function buttons to each activity as you want. And they can ‘cross devices’ so you could (depending on how much patience you have) replicate your center channels volume controls, and indeed any devices controls, on the soft button screen for what ever activity you desire. This is the screen you would get when you swipe sideways on the touch screen when not in gesture mode (it cycles through the numeric keypad, favorite channel icons, activity select buttons, etc.)
I’ve added ‘Watch TV’ activity soft buttons programmed to change sound modes on the receiver, toggle dim or change the ambient light color behind the TV,etc. You can sort the buttons, edit their caption and generally go crazy to include any function of any entertainment device you want, all on the same scrollable list of buttons. And (I love this) you can set up activity soft buttons to invoke sequences of device actions; similar to the sequences you can assign to hard buttons on the non-touchscreen remote-- and since they are labeled, you (or someone else) can actually remember what you’ve programmed them to do.
The Harmony Ultimate’s designers may have a few extra freakishly long fingers on each hand, but I’ll give them credit for not shying away from adding customizing options (I spent way too much time playing with them).
Got this for $60 around thanksgiving. It is still in the box. I also have the Harmony Smart Home control with the hub but a little bit disappointed with it.
I love my smarthome with hub. The extra home buttons are attached to my lights in the living room. My ultimate arrived today, so I plan on adding it to hub with the smarthome. Intention is that I’ll use the ultimate and my wife can have the smarthome and stop messing things up by grabbing the TiVo and turning on the TV, messing with the TV volume instead of using the surround sound.