The second unique asset was the Harmony’s exclusively online programming, the core of this comprising a database of device codes, profiles and behaviors that would be ingeniously (and inexpensively) built up by their growing customer base.
Though the hardware was crudely manufactured, this time around consumers latched solidly onto the activity-based concept and the Harmony became a virtual overnight success, allowing Intrigue to eventually fund a complete design overhaul. The result of that overhaul was the Harmony 768 (read our review), a product that not only operated like a remote control worth a couple of hundred dollars, but finally looked and felt like one. Gone was the economy of buttons from the first model, with the still-compact 768 sprouting one of the highest “buttons per square inch” calculation we’ve seen. The 768 became yet another success, bolstering Intrigue Technologies to develop further designs such as the Harmony 659 (read our review).
Today the Logitech Harmony is one of the most publicized and recognizable universal remote control series of all time, and it enjoys a rather sizable percentage of all dollars spent on advanced remote controls. But is the Harmony’s success the result of excellent products at great prices... or is it merely the inevitable byproduct of massive marketing momentum?
Getting caught up.
It’s been some time since we last looked at a Harmony remote control here at Remote Central. In fact during our most recent review of the Harmony 659, Logitech had not yet acquired the Harmony franchise. Interestingly, Logitech still offers the Harmony 659 as a current product – which says a lot towards how good of a design it is. Since our review the company has introduced numerous new models in budget, moderate and high-end categories, but almost all of these have modified the exterior appearance, button layouts and screen types without changing the fundamental control capabilities that make a Harmony what it is – and isn’t.
All of that has finally changed with the Harmony 1000. As the large, even model number would indicate, this is a significant shift from previous designs. It represents the largest change to the Harmony’s operational concept since the 768 gave way to the jog-wheel-less 659, while at the same time the new model also harkens back to its roots. That’s because the Harmony 1000 has just 15 main function keys, close to the count on the first 745 model. Yet instead of all advanced device functions ending up on a tiny black-and-white screen navigated by a jog wheel, there’s now a big, gorgeous color LCD touchscreen to run your fingers over.
While the Harmony 1000’s price of $499 USD MSRP represents something of a bargain in the world of color touchscreen remotes (especially since it can be found online at steep discounts), it nevertheless costs twice as much as the color screened Harmony One or 880 models – which on paper offer a similar level of capabilities in more traditional hard buttoned formats. So what else does the Harmony 1000 have to offer, and is that color touchscreen really worth the costly upgrade?