Using your Android smartphone to control your home entertainment system isn't exactly a new concept, especially for Logitech, maker of one of the first Google TV set-top boxes. And today, the company -- which actually is getting out of the remote control business -- announced a pair of new devices that make even greater use of your Android smartphone.

As you'd expect, the new lineup -- comprising the Logitech Harmony Ultimate and Logitech Harmony Smart Control -- includes remote controls, but that's just half the story.

The Logitech Harmony Smart Control


Perhaps the more important of the two new sets is the Logitech Harmony Smart Control. It uses the Harmony Hub -- a little IR/RF box not unlike the old Harmony Link -- that sits atop your entertainment system, allowing for total control via Logitech products. In addition to the traditional IR/RF duties, the Smart Control ties into your home WIfi network and works in conjunction with the Harmony Android application. 

This updated Smart Control comes with a fairly basic-looking remote control (though unlike its big brother it's got physical numerical buttons, a feature we're loathe to lose), and can control up to eight devices from anywhere in your home, without your phone physically having to "see" the Smart Control. Logitech boasts compatibility with a quarter-million devices and 5,000 brands. Plus, the new Harmony Hub feature will control the new Philips Hue lights.

The Logitech Harmony Smart Control runs $129 and is available for preorder now.

The Logitech Harmony Ultimate


If you're looking for a new high-end universal remote control, the Logitech Harmony Ultimate rounds out this release. It also includes the Harmony Hub, so you you can use your phone in conjunction with it, too. The Harmony Ultimate is available for preorder for $349.

Both the Logitech Harmony Smart Control and Harmony Ultimate are expected to be available this month in the U.S., and in Europe in May.


Reader comments

Logitech's next living room move makes greater use of your Android smartphone


That's exactly what I was thinking. Do you like the Touch? I've heard mixed reviews, especially about the DVR buttons being all the way at the top. Sorry, wondering off topic...

I don't know how fast I would be to jump on this band wagon. Logitech had a similar product out before and the android software was buggy at best and then stopped working all together with the release of ice cream sandwich. So if your phone got the upgrade to ics you were s.o.l. and your remote is now a nice paper weight. Until I see some user reviews, I will be holding off.

They did eventually mark it compatible. The problem remains that it loses the connection very often.

It's actually why I stopped buying Logitech products in general, but our old remote is nearing the end of it's life. Not sure what to do.

The mid-range harmony remotes that you can get for around $60 are great. You don't need more than that unless you really need RF.

Why does the article describe Logitech a getting out of the remote control business right as they announce two new products?

Controlling your TV / entertainment center with your phone sounds like a great idea, but in reality it's kind of a pain in the butt. Having to turn on and unlock your phone every time you want to change the volume gets old really quick. Also getting a phone call causes issues like trying to turn down the volume or pause your program so that you can talk.

Plus the lack of tactile controls can make some actions like fast forwarding through a commercial or scrolling through a guide more difficult because you're watching the TV to know when to stop but then may have to look down at your phone to make sure you hit the right area.

I remember how amazing I thought it was back when the XBMC remote came out for Android. But I quickly realized that it was more efficient for me to just use my remote instead.

Who wants to use their phone for a remote? I have used many remote apps and they all stink. That's what I want is to burn up my phone battery changing channels before I even leave the house for the day. I certainly don't want more devices connected to already busy wi-fi network, especially something that is just going to use an IR blaster once it gets to the box. Just put the IR port on the remote.

Looks like an awful idea.

I wouldn't use this as my primary remote, BUT...

We have distributed audio in our home with all the wiring going to one receiver. If I could control that receiver remotely via an app, then I wouldn't need multiple remote controls and repeaters.

Alternatively, I could just purchase a networked receiver.

At $350, this is silly.
Give me the hub for $50 and we're talking.

I second that! This is unbelievably overpriced and all it does is 1/5 of what a GOOD Google TV does. This is just like there Google TV product, way overpriced. I used to be a fan of Logitech, used to.....

I have used my phone for years as a remote. AVR-Remote controls my stereo (Denon). And My Media Center (Ceton) controls TV\Music\Movies. I have a Harmony One, but use it far less as I'm too lazy to get up to go get it. It's easier to reach into my pocket and grab my S3. I'd say this product is just far too late to market.

anyone that has used a phone as a remote has quickly learned that its not as fun as it sounds, its cool for a laugh but after a while the regular remote is just a lot more functional....not having to look at the buttons is the key