We’re going to take a break from our focus on the best Christmas gifts for the kitchen to bring you some random gifts that we think pretty much anyone will love. First up, we’ve got something that is an absolutely must have for anyone with more than one entertainment device in their living/family/theater room – the Logitech Harmony 1100 Advanced Universal Remote. We’ve all experienced it: you just brought a brand new television, you hooked it up to your Playstation 3, Xbox 360, new surround sound system, and the finished result is a kick-ass entertainment system that’s controllable with a mere four (or five or six) controllers. Nothing’s worse than having to juggle different controllers for each device, explaining to your spouse which controller does what, and if you have young kids, trying to figure out where your son or daughter has hidden a specific controller. The Logitech Harmony 1100 completely eliminates all the aforementioned problems, and to be honest, I truly don’t know how I lived without it before I bought it. I can’t tell you how much time and how many headaches it’s saved me not hunting for a remote and not explaining to my wife why she can’t get the Blu-ray player to work.
What makes the Logitech Harmony 1100 so great you ask? In a nutshell, it’s the ability to create activities. Here’s how it works. Once you bring your new Harmony 1100 home, you hook it up to your computer and select the various devices you’re using. So for example, let’s say you have a telelvision, a surround sound system and an XBox 360. Once you’ve inputed the various devices you’re using, you can then create an activity that utilizes the various features. These activities could include watching television, watching a DVD, playing music, and playing a game. After specifying the devices used for the activity and the inputs and commands necessary to make each work, all steps necessary to perform each function are saved in the remote, and in the future, each activity is accessed by the single press of a button.
So let’s say you’re watching television, and you instead want to watch a movie. All you have to do is press the appropriate “Watch a DVD” button on the remote, and your DVD player powers up, your television switches to the appropriate input, your sound system switches to the appropriate setting, and the Logitech switches to your DVD player remote interface. No more having to use numerous remotes, no more manually changing inputs on anything – it all happens with a single press of a button. It works exactly the same for games: your game system powers up, the television input is automatically switched, your sound system settings are changed, and an on screen version of your game controller is displayed (of course you still need your game controller for the actual gaming).
It’s an incredibly sophisticated system in terms of how it functions, but it makes operating a host of entertainment devices so simple you won’t know how you ever lived without it. As for what devices it works with, the Logitech Harmony 1100 works with 225,000 devices from 50 brands, and supports up to 15 different remotes in its memory. In all likelihood, if you’re using devices even moderately new, you won’t have any problems finding your device. If, on the off chance your device isn’t on the list, the Harmony 1100 is capable of learning your devices commands, although my devices were all on the list, so I haven’t experienced this process firsthand.
From a design standpoint, the Logitech Harmony 1100 features a slick modern design that would be perfectly at home on an episode of the Jetsons. It features a 3.5″ full-color touch screen along with external channel, volume and directional controls separate from the screen. Using the remote, you also have the ability to customize the labels and icons displayed on the touch screen, meaning you can make the display fit your own personal preference. Also, the Logitech Harmony 1100 features an internal rechargeable battery along with charging dock, so you don’t need to worry about changing remote batteries ever again (awesome, I know).
Ultimately, with an MSRP of $399 (and a street price of less than $300), the Logitech Harmony 1100 is really a must have for anyone that uses multiple entertainment devices with different remotes. It eliminates the painful process of juggling numerous remotes, and it makes switching from one entertainment device to another virtually error-proof. For the price and the incredible amount of time it will save you on a daily basis, you really can’t beat it. To learn more about the Logitech Harmony 1100 and the full lineup of other Logitech universal remotes, you can learn more at Logitech.com or buy now from Amazon.com