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Logitech Harmony 1000 Review
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Infrared performance.
With the recent retirement of our venerable Menacing Thick Fluffy Blanket (MTFB), I grabbed the plucky new Menacing Thick Flannel Cloth (MTFC) and headed out to smother the Harmony 1000’s dual infrared emitters into oblivion. Using the “Mute” command for a Sony receiver, I proceeded to add layer after layer of cottony flannel over the front IR window in an attempt to block out the Harmony’s ability to send that command. This rather low-tech method has proven remarkably accurate compared to actual distance and angle tests.

The end result for the Harmony 1000 was a score of 5.9 – which would have been 6.0 save for an occasional non-reception. This tallies up with a “good” grade, very similar to past Harmony models, with significantly more range and off-angle performance than the majority of OEM remotes. For something of a comparison, the optional wireless extender’s four internal IR blasters managed to score a more impressive 9.0. A small amount of key lag is evident whether using the RF extender or not, although the exact amount of lag tends to vary almost randomly.

Using the wireless extender I was able to control my system reliably from throughout my house. The official range is given at 100 feet, but of course local conditions can impact this performance widely. If you have thick walls, lots of wiring, old plaster on metal lath or just a busy RF environment, reception range could suffer accordingly.

Nobody likes a tattletale.
There are only a few settings available directly on the Harmony 1000. One of them enables or disables the “Remote Assistant”, which basically gives a play-by-play on what you’ve just done. This may be informative for the first or second time an action is performed, but it comments incessantly, forcing you to confirm that you know exactly what you did and are aware that “help” means “help”. Recommended sanity saving option: disable.

Two onboard configuration items relate to the screen. The first recalibrates it should the touch portion become misaligned. The second offers customization over the LCD and button backlight timeout, which can range from 10 through 60 seconds, as well as the button and screen backlight brightness which has 8 levels ranging from “dim” to “extremely bright”. And I do mean bright: the LCD on the Harmony 1000 can be almost blindingly intense if desired. There is a power usage concern to such a gorgeously vibrant display, as the manual cautions that battery life can be significantly impacted by your LCD usage and backlight intensity. Speaking of battery life you’ll definitely want to keep the docking station close to the remote, as our testing showed that the 1250mAh battery will most likely need to be recharged every couple of days under normal usage.

Point, click, pause.
The Harmony 1000’s performance tended to be rather erratic, ranging from very quick to not so quick. As an example, switching between an activity’s Transport and Keypad screens is fast – not quite instantaneous, but good – and yet it takes around 1.5 seconds for the Other Commands or Favorite Channels sections to appear. Similarly, the entire Devices section feels lethargic, with the initial access of a device taking upwards of 5 seconds just to show the first page. The Harmony 1000 does appear to buffer processed screens for some time, as repeated access to the same device is much quicker.

Many users may not notice these delays or could think them normal for handheld remotes, but with other competing graphical touchscreens offering nearly instantaneous response times no matter what’s being displayed the Harmony 1000 has some catching up to do.

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