Though it’s expensive, the Logitech Harmony Elite universal remote control is a big upgrade from the last version, and great for the highly connected home.
Tom’s Guide Verdict
If you have a lot of home entertainment and Smart home gadgets that you want to control from one device, look no further than the Harmony Elite.
- Easy setup
- Intuitive interface
- Dedicated Smart home buttons
- Works with huge number of devices
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The best just keeps getting better. Although it has very little competition, the Logitech Harmony Elite remains the top remote control you can get for managing not only your entertainment system, but all of your Smart home devices, too. At 349, it’s not cheap, but you’ll never want — or need — to use another remote again. That’s why it’s our top pick on our best universal remotes page.
Logitech Harmony Elite review: Design
After keeping roughly the same shape for the past two generations of the Harmony Elite, Logitech redesigned the device. Now, the remote is much more square, and it lacks the softer edges and curved underside of the Harmony Ultimate. I prefer the shape of the older remote, as it fit more comfortably in my hand. The new Elite is also markedly heavier, at 5.85 ounces — more than an ounce heavier than the Ultimate (4.8 ounces).
The Elite remote has a few new buttons at the bottom that you can program to control connected home devices, such as Philips Hue lights and switches. Previously, you could only change these through the touch screen. It was a real treat to be able to dim the lights with just one press of a button — and to do so by feel — rather than having to navigate through touch-screen menus.
Just as integral to the entire setup is the Harmony Hub, a small, circular device that relays commands from the remote to your entertainment system. The Hub also connects to your Wi-Fi network to link to Smart home gadgets. The hub can be hidden in a cabinet, and comes with two wired IR blasters that you can position in front of your TV, stereo or other equipment.
Logitech Harmony Elite review: Setup
With each successive generation of the Harmony, Logitech has made the setup easier. While the Elite still has a micro-USB port — so that you can plug it into your computer to set it up — the entire process can now be handled via an Android or iOS app. That includes firmware updates, too.
After you download the app and create a free account, you can then create Activities, a sequence of commands that will set any number of devices to the correct settings. For example, I created an Activity called Apple TV, which, when pressed, turned on my Samsung TV, Apple TV and Panasonic stereo to the correct settings. As with the previous-generation Harmony Ultimate, you can also program activities to include Smart home devices — for example, my Apple TV activity now includes a command to dim my Philips Hue lights.
Logitech Harmony Elite review: Interface
Logitech made navigating on-screen menus much more intuitive than on its previous remote. Below the display are two touch-sensitive buttons: Activities and Devices. The former changes the screen to show the activities you have programmed, such as Watch Apple TV or Watch DishTV. If you swipe on the screen, you can see your Favorite channels.
When you select the Devices button, you’ll see a list of the devices you’ve connected to the remote — such as your TV, cable box and stereo — as well as any Smart home products. Here, you have more precise control over each product. For example, I could adjust the temperature of my Nest thermostat or change the brightness of each of my Philips Hue lights. I couldn’t change the colors of the lights from the remote, but I was able to do so easily from the iOS app.
I really liked the Activities and Devices buttons; on the Ultimate, switching between Activities and Devices wasn’t as intuitive — even after a few weeks, I still searched for the correct button if I had to change a setting.
Other than that, I really didn’t interact with the Elite’s touch screen all that much, and used the physical buttons. As I found with every other remote I’ve ever used, you should be able to change the channels and volume without having to look at the remote itself.
Logitech Harmony Elite review: Smart home integration
Logitech is getting smarter about Smart homes. While the Elite can connect to just as many Smart home devices as the Ultimate, Logitech placed several physical buttons on the remote so that it’s even easier to, say, dim the lights or even turn on the coffee maker.
At the bottom of the remote are four Smart home buttons separated by a rocker switch in the middle. The left two buttons have icons for lights, while the right two have icons for power outlets. Using the mobile app, you can configure the buttons to control any connected Smart home devices.
The Elite works with a huge number of Smart home products (follow this link for a complete list). It’s one of the best Google Home compatible devices and best Alexa compatible devices. With Alexa or Google Assistant, you can issue Harmony commands using your voice—as well as Smart home hubs (such as SmartThings and Wink), thermostats (Nest, Ecobee), and lights (Lutron and Philips Hue).
If you purchase the Harmony Home Extender (99), which has Z-Wave and ZigBee compatibility, the list of supported devices increases dramatically to include locks (Yale, Kwikset), even more lights (GE, Cree), as well as window and door sensors.
Logitech Harmony Elite review: Battery life
Depending on how much channel surfing you do, the Harmony Elite will last about two days on a charge (a battery life indicator is at the top of the screen). The remote comes with a nicely weighted cradle, which recharged the Elite fairly quickly. After about 30 minutes, it was usually charged past 50 percent. You can also replace the battery in the Elite yourself — another nice touch.
Logitech Harmony Elite review: Verdict
Logitech’s Harmony remotes are in a class by themselves. You’d be hard-pressed to find a universal remote that can do so much at this price. The 349 Logitech Harmony Elite is a further refinement of company’s previous remotes that makes every aspect of your couch surfing more enjoyable. Both the software and the hardware are greatly improved since the previous generation, making the remote easier to set up and easier to use. Those looking to control their entertainment system and connected home devices from one device should look no further than the Harmony Elite.
Logitech Harmony Elite Review
The Logitech Harmony Elite lives up to its name as a premiere Smart remote, but it comes at a high price and with a steep learning curve.
Logitech Harmony Elite
We purchased the Logitech Harmony Elite so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.
Shopping for a universal remote may not seem like the most compelling task, but the Logitech Harmony Elite is an all-in-one remote that could change your mind. Seen as Logitech’s flagship Smart remote, this high-end option can control 15 entertainment and home devices like streamers and Smart light bulbs through the remote itself or via a smartphone app or voice assistants.
We spent some time reviewing the Logitech Harmony Elite’s ability to support streaming devices, handle voice commands, and provide consistent performance.
Design: Sleek and practical
The Logitech Harmony Elite comes with quite the array of equipment. The remote itself features a 2.4-inch LCD display that’s bright, crisp, and responsive to swiping and tapping. It’s ideal for quickly accessing and launching activities and is comfortably ergonomic. Another helpful touch is the backlighting of all physical buttons, which can be helpful in low-light conditions.
When not in use, the remote is meant to sit in the provided charging cradle. This serves the dual purpose of ensuring your remote is powered up at all times and provides an orderly and attractive way to stow the device. Both the remote and cradle are made of reflective materials with a high and eye-pleasing shine factor, but they’re also easy to smudge with fingerprints.
The Harmony Hub is the other critical component in the setup. It’s a glossy squarish device that measures 4.07 x 4.91 x 1.05 inches and weighs 3.95 ounces. It’s sleek and small enough to place right near your television, which is a good spot for it if your other AV equipment is also nearby. But thanks to the hub’s use of RF signals to communicate with the remote and other devices through IR, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, it’s not critical to keep all your other devices in plain sight to use the Harmony Elite. There are two additional mini-infrared blasters for extended coverage in case of connectivity issues.
Setup Process: Straightforward and relatively quick
Setting up the Harmony Elite is not necessarily a simple 10-minute process, but the setup time will probably depend on your comfort level with Logitech products as well as the number of devices and kinds of commands you’re programming.
The basic steps of connecting the hub to your MyHarmony account aren’t involved. Charging the remote fully is the first step, which took about an hour out of the box. Once it was ready to go, we moved on to getting the Harmony Hub up and running.
There’s really no ceiling to what you can program the Harmony Elite to do (there’s no activity limit) if you’re patient enough.
We already had the Harmony App downloaded on our iPhone, so we simply plugged in the Harmony Hub and waited a bit until we saw the red light indicating that it was ready to be connected. When we spun up the app, we hoped we’d be able to quickly see and connect to the hub, but that’s not quite how things went. The app detected the hub but couldn’t connect. It just kept spinning and indicated that it was connecting, but never did. It then looped through prompts to “Connect to new hub” or “Set up new hub” and repeated the same cycle.
After restarting the hub several times, we finally saw a prompt to enter network information and move forward with setting up the remote, but this took about 30 minutes to successfully complete. We opted to copy settings from another saved Harmony remote to cut down on some of the manual input, but this also didn’t work the first time. After a second attempt, carrying over saved activities and devices worked, but testing the device functions was not entirely successful.
And this is the part of the setup process that bleeds over into getting the remote to a fully customized state, which can take a considerable amount of time. Whenever we made a change, the remote had to sync first and sometimes the changes weren’t successful, so there was a good deal of trial and error involved. But the automatic syncing was a pleasantly helpful feature that saved us one extra step.
Performance/Software: Quick and responsive
Once we cleared the initial connectivity and setup hurdles, we experienced generally fast and responsive performance from the Harmony Elite. While we occasionally noticed some slight lag, it was never a significant issue. The touchscreen was receptive to swiping and touch actions, simple to navigate, and the gesture controls were also easy to use and effective.
This extends to the mobile app’s remote features as well, which sometimes felt superfluous given the comfort and usability of the touchscreen on the remote itself. Still, it’s a nice alternative to have if the remote’s battery is too low to use, which we noticed can happen after a couple of days if you leave it out of the charging cradle.
Once we cleared the initial connectivity and setup hurdles, we experienced generally fast and responsive performance from the Harmony Elite.
We tested the Alexa functionality with a Fire TV Cube by following the manufacturer’s Harmony/Alexa integration directions, but the recommended Harmony skill didn’t work. The Harmony. Secondary Hub was much more effective and worked relatively seamlessly by allowing us to ask Alexa to make requests to our Harmony Elite. Not all commands worked and sometimes Alexa told us directly that she didn’t understand a command. Other times, however, she provided no feedback and nothing happened. We also noticed the the suggested prompts differed from the language that actually worked to successfully start an activity through Alexa.
There’s really no ceiling to what you can program the Harmony Elite to do (there’s no activity limit) if you’re patient enough and take care to first properly set up all your devices. But the road toward a fully customized remote involves some significant setup time. Over the several days we spent with this remote we did not feel we had completely set up the device to its full potential.
Price: A high-end remote that comes at a high cost
The Logitech Harmony Elite is not cheap. It retails for 350, which is significantly more than other hub-based Smart remotes from the brand. Although the Harmony Elite does feature a robust and capable touchscreen, the Harmony 950 sells for 250 and is essentially the same remote minus the Harmony Hub. If you were to purchase the Hub, the price would essentially even out since it costs 100. Those who have an extensive home entertainment and device setup would probably just find it most convenient to purchase the Harmony Elite as opposed to making two separate purchases, though if you don’t have the need for Smart-home capability you could always opt for the Harmony 950 and add a hub later.
Logitech Harmony Elite vs. SevenHugs Smart Remote
If you’re interested in a sophisticated universal remote, but you’d like less remote overall, the SevenHugs Smart Remote is a compelling alternative to the Harmony Elite. It’s much smaller at just a little over 2 ounces and 5.4 inches tall, and instead of a hub and smartphone app, the SevenHugs remote uses sensors to create what the company calls “a digital map” of the devices in a particular room. The remote intelligently picks up on what you’re pointing at and allows you to enact scenes that include multi-step commands such as dimming the lights and turning on Netflix. The manufacturer says it’s compatible with over 650,000 devices from streamers to thermostats, outlets, and lights, and there’s no limit to how many devices it can control. It does lack voice assistant support or the ability to control devices beyond a single room, however.
Curious about other options? Head to our roundup of recommended universal remotes to see what else is available.
A top-tier option for the home device gearhead.
The Logitech Harmony Elite is a high-end universal remote that’s equipped to automate your Smart home. If you’re enthusiastic about diving into the nitty gritty of programming every detail and have an extensive equipment setup that includes Smart-home devices like Smart air conditioners or Smart plugs, this may be the ideal device to add to the mix. Those looking for a slightly cheaper and less involved option might consider another Logitech remote that scales back on both.
Logitech Harmony Elite
Do you know what I find frustrating? Remote controls. They seem to multiply in my household, yet incomprehensibly the ONE remote I am looking for can never be found. Every time I buy a new device, it comes with a remote control. Then I have to learn how to use the damned thing all over again.
And don’t get me started on batteries…
Logitech Harmony Elite
After using the Logitech Harmony Elite for the last couple of months, I can happily say it has cured my frustrations with remote controls. In fact, now I quite like them (or more specifically, it). There are many, many things about the Harmony Elite that make me feel this way. Let’s dive in and take a close look at what makes this universal remote so special.
I have tried several universal remotes in the past, but they have all suffered the same fate. The problem was consistently the same – they couldn’t quite replace every function of my standard remote controls. With most universal remotes I could program them well enough that they covered the basics, but inevitably there would be something they couldn’t quite manage and I would have to dig the old remote out from the back of a drawer, dust if off and fix the problem.
Guess what would happen then? The old remote would stay out and the universal remote would be forgotten.
For a universal remote to be worthwhile, it has to be able to be set up to replace EVERY function of the original remotes, on every device. The Logitech Harmony Elite does that brilliantly. It takes some patience with setting up, and you do have to be specific when selecting your devices, but the effort is well-and-truly worthwhile. The Harmony Elite is in a league of its own when it comes to universal control.
The Key to Success
The key to this amazing ability is in the touchscreen remote and the mobile app. The touchscreen enables complete customisation to the point where you can drill down to access any controls that would normally be found on the remote. This removes the need for a thousand physical buttons to cover every possible combination of every remote control known to man, instead allowing for a small number of physical buttons. The more obscure functions are still accessible via touch screen.
The mobile app makes setting up a breeze. It takes all of the hard work out of pairing the Harmony Elite with a device. No more manual “teaching” the universal remote functions (although that can be done in the worst-case scenarios). Instead, you simply look up your device in Logitech’s extensive collection of remote control profiles and download the appropriate one. If Logitech has your device on file, they know exactly how it functions, and how it needs to be set up in order to work seamlessly with the Elite. It is brilliant, and as far as I’m concerned it is the only way to set up a universal remote.
Be warned that you do need to have specific model numbers if you want to set up your device properly. I found out the hard way that near enough is definitely not good enough when I tried to be lazy with my television. It turns out that, even within line-ups of the same brand, there are subtle differences in remote function that can cause problems. However, once I had realised and corrected my error, the television worked perfectly. The Harmony Elite may be brilliant, but it can’t overcome user incompetence!
Replacing all of my remotes is one thing, but that in its self is not a legitimate enough reason to shell out for this beauty. Activities however… that’s a game-changer.
Activities is where the Logitech Harmony Elite shines. It’s where the increasingly complicated setup of home entertainment devices gets simplified into single commands that even the most technophobic members of your household can appreciate. It also means that you can fine-tune your setup to be exactly the way you want it. Then it works that way, every time.
In my setup, even watching the television is a two remote deal. One controls the actual television, while the other controls the DVR. The Logitech Harmony Elite has combined those two controls into one simple command. All I need to do is press the Watch TV button. The Harmony Elite does the rest. It selects appropriate inputs and turns on the television and DVR. I then select channels (it automatically sends channel selection through the DVR) and control the volume with the one remote.
If I want to switch to a Blu-ray movie, I simply click the Watch Blu-ray command. Then I sit back and enjoy my newfound simple life as the Logitech Harmony Elite does all the heavy lifting. It switches off the DVR, changes input on the television, turns on the Yamaha AV receiver, selects the correct HDMI input (I can never remember which one it should be), then turns on the Blu-ray player.
When I’m finished with the Blu-ray, I can either give the command to turn everything off (a simple press of the off button), or switch back to the Watch TV activity. Again, the correct devices are selected and the unused devices powered off.
Activities can be set up to turn even the most complex of setups into a simple-to-use and reliable automated process.
Always Charged, Never Lost
Changing remote batteries is a thing of the past in my house now. The Logitech Harmony Elite remote comes with its own charging stand and built in battery. This makes absolute sense for a remote like the Harmony Elite, because it’s touch screen would otherwise chew through batteries.
The beauty of having a charging stand is that I also know exactly where to find the remote. It is always resting right where I expect it to be. The stand is small and unobtrusive, so it doesn’t stand out amongst my other home entertainment gear. The Harmony remote is never lost in my house.
Beyond the Television
The Logitech Harmony Elite becomes particularly exciting when you start to use it for functions beyond the home entertainment unit. I’m just starting to explore the Harmony Elite’s potential, but I love what I have seen so far. For example, I can control my Sonos One in the kitchen from the comfort of my couch. I have an activity set up that turns on streaming of the ABC grandstand digital channel, and another for ABC Radio Sydney. When playing Spotify through the One, the Logitech Harmony Elite displays the album cover of the song that is playing and it can be used to skip forwards, backwards, stop the music and adjust the volume.
The other big application for the Logitech Harmony Elite is in the rapidly growing field of home automation and Smart devices. The Harmony Elite (with Harmony Hub) is already capable of controlling thermostats, lighting, motorized window shades, Smart locks, Smart switches and Smart plugs. These devices are increasingly working their way into homes and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them are the norm before we know it. The ability to control them from the Harmony Remote in the living room, not to mention to integrate them into activities is a fairly exciting prospect. The introduction of the Harmony Elite into my home has already got me thinking about installing a Smart lighting system like the Philips Hue.
The Harmony Hub
The Harmony Hub is the device that enables all of the connectivity between your home entertainment and Smart home devices. It receives signals from the Harmony remote and distributes them to all of the other devices. The Harmony Hub can send a range of signals, including IR, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
With the Harmony Hub, you can close all of your devices away behind cabinet doors. This is great for those who like a neat and decluttered look, and particularly for those parents who wish to hide away bright lights and tempting buttons from tiny toddler hands. The Harmony Hub has not missed a beat since I installed it. It reliably sends signals to my devices every time I give it a command.
With Bluetooth connectivity, the Harmony Hub can also communicate with devices such as Windows-based laptops. This means that I can connect my laptop to my television and use my recently-acquired Plex Pass to stream all of my content stored on my Western Digital My Cloud Home Duo. Again, the Logitech Harmony Elite has enabled me to turn a fairly complex task into something fairly simple.
Harmony App as a Remote
Logitech’s philosophy with the Harmony Elite universal remote seems to be make it as useful as possible. Not only is the Elite able to control many devices within the home, it is able to do so in many different ways. The Harmony app allows me to communicate with the Harmony Hub from anywhere in my house (or even away from home).
The app works well. I can trigger an activity and complete standard functions like change the channel and volume. In my testing it has been smooth and effective, just like the Harmony remote. When watching television, I still find the Harmony remote to be my preferred option, as the back-lit physical buttons for standard functions is a more familiar feeling. Still, the app is handy to have. I can turn off the television from upstairs if it has been left on unattended.
Alexa, the ace up the sleeve of the Logitech Harmony Elite. While not technically necessary, the addition of Alexa compatibility to the Harmony Elite was an inspired move. To put it simply, I can control my television (and other home entertainment devices) with my voice!
I paired the Logitech Harmony Elite with the Ultimate Ears Blast – an excellent Alexa-enabled wireless speaker. The Blast is perfect for the job because of its rechargeable battery, which means that it can be moved and placed wherever is most convenient.
When I’m watching television on the lounge, I place the Blast on the coffee table. I can ask it to turn on the television (I even have a command to “Turn on the footy”, which sets the television to 9HD), to change the channel, or to raise or lower the volume. When I’m away from the television (say, in the kitchen preparing dinner), I can ask Alexa to turn up the volume or change the channel. That is incredibly handy if I’m half way through disassembling a raw chicken, for example.
Voice control may not be something I use every day (after all, that Harmony Remote is so easy to use), but it does provide another layer of usability and simplicity. It comes back to my statement above – make it as useful as possible. There are definitely times when voice control is a handy feature to have.
For those with complex home entertainment setups, or anyone entering the realm of the connected home, the Logitech Harmony Elite hard to resist.
Disclaimer – the products featured in this post were provided to Blog of Dad free of charge. All opinions expressed in this post are based on my experiences with these products.
User Manual Logitech 915-000293 Harmony Elite. Remote Control and Smart Hub
Set up hub via PC or Mac if access to mobile device is not available.
Provides power to the Harmony Hub
2 IR mini blasters
Extend IR coverage when used in combination with the Harmony Hub
Congratulations on the purchase of Harmony Elite
The Harmony Hub is the center of your Harmony system—always keep it powered on!
- The hub receives commands from the remote or mobile app. The remote itself does not send commands directly to your devices.
- The hub sends commands to your audio video and home control devices in the form of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and infrared signals (IR).
The remote can be configured to send IR signals directly to devices. By default, it will communicate to the hub using RF signals, as shown above.
Lets get started
STEP 1: Position the Harmony Hub
The Harmony Hub can be placed in any unobstructed location where IR signals can be transmitted to AV equiment or it can be placed behind closed cabinets with the IR mini blaster transmitters connected to the hub and positioned as shown above.
STEP 2: Charge your Remote
Plug in the charging station and place the remote in it. Keep the remote in the charging station until setup is complete. The charging station should be in the same room as your hub to optimize communication between the remote and the hub.
STEP 3: Install the Harmony App
- Visit the Apple App Store or Google Play and install the Harmony App.
- Launch the app, select the Set Up New Remote button, and follow setup instructions.
- Alternatively, you can set up your Elite using a PC/Mac. Visit myharmony setup website to download the Harmony desktop setup software.
Note: If you have an iPhone 4, iPad 1 or iPad 2, or an Android device that does not support Bluetooth, please visit myharmony setup website on a computer to connect the hub to your Wi-Fi network before beginning Step 3 of mobile setup.
Mobile App Setup Overview
After you download and open the Harmony Mobile app, you will be guided through the following steps:
- Connect hub to Wi-Fi. Using your mobile device’s Bluetooth, connect your hub to your wireless network.
- Create a Harmony account.
- Scan your Wi-Fi network for devices that can be controlled by Harmony (e.g. Roku, Sonos, hue, Smart TVs).
- Add home entertainment devices for additional devices not found during Wi-Fi scan (e.g. TV, cable box, AVR, game console, Blu-ray player).
- Add home control devices. Harmony supports various devices such as select lights, locks, thermostats and home control platforms. See Home Controls Explained section for further detail.
- Create Activities. You’ll be guided through creating Activities such as Watch TV, Listen to Music, and Play Xbox. See One-Touch Activities section for further details.
- Software Update: Your remote’s software may need to be updated. If necessary (you will be informed after completing mobile setup), simply keep your remote in the cradle. The amount of time remaining to complete the update will be displayed on the remote’s screen.
Home Controls Explained
Your Harmony Elite supports a variety of devices such as lights, light switches, locks, thermostats, and blinds. Harmony Elite also connects to other home control platforms to access additional devices supported by these solutions. The list of supported devices includes:
The list of Harmony-compatible devices is always growing. Visit myharmony website/ compatibility for the most up-to-date list of compatible brands, devices, and model numbers. Device compatibility is subject to change without notice.
Get creative—Make it Home!
How to use your remote
Tap to toggle between clock and battery meter. By default, the clock will be displayed. If battery drops below 20%, the battery meter will automatically be displayed.
Tap the Activities ”soft button” to access Activities Home Screen. You will see a list of all your Activities.
Tap the Devices ”soft button” to access Devices Home Screen. You will see a list of all your Home Entertainment and Home Control devices.
Harmony Elite includes special buttons that can be used to control supported Home Control devices. For example you can map a button to turn your hue lights on and off and use the /- button to adjust the bulb’s brightness.
Gestures Gesture Hints
When an Activity is running, swiping down from the top of any screen will display the gesture screen. Here, simple taps and swipes will perform functions related to the current Activity such as changing the volume, skipping forward or backward, pausing and playing, etc. Tap the ”i” in the image of the hand to see what gestures are available for each activity.
Logitech 915-000293 | File type: PDF | Filename: Logitech. Harmony Elite (Remote Control and Smart Hub). Black 915-000293.pdf | Size: 6.75 MB | Language: English, French, Spanish, German, Danish, Dutch. Holland, Finland, Italian, Norway, Swedish