Let me start by saying that I didn't really need this thing, I thought long and hard about it for weeks before deciding to buy it, you see I already have a Harmony 900 that this is (hopefully) going to replace.
I'd seen many reviews where people have said that they have not been able to get on with the Harmony Ultimate, or the Harmony Touch on which it is based. However I have a set of Philips Hue lights that the Ultimate is able to control. Also the additional functions of the Hub are of use to me, using it as an IR extender in itself without the need of the blasters is very handy to reach an IR light switch I have that is sometimes just out of reach of the remote on it's own.
On opening the box you are greeted with 3 shiny black plastic components, the remote itself, the charging stand and the hub which is very pebble like in it's appearance and sure to be a fingerprint magnet.
The remote itself is finished well and is very responsive, certainly the delays in sending commends seem a lot shorter than my 900. The screen is more responsive but still nowhere near current smartphone performance. I like the grip, the texture of the underside is really nice. The form factor together with the new charging cradle is great, I much prefer the vertical charging arrangement. It looks a lot nicer and takes up less space.
Now the not so good stuff.
The bottom 2 rows of buttons are a bit low when my hand is holding the remote naturally, I have to stretch with my right thumb to reach the colour or DVR etc. buttons, slightly uncomfortable but I may get used to it. On the other hand I don't really find that having the transport buttons above the screen is that much of a problem but it's early days I may end up hating that.
It's a bit odd that the `devices' function is not on a dedicated hard button as I've been used to for years but again a minor inconvenience.
Oh and the My Harmony site, a bit of a problem as on initial setup it was OK, a bit slow but it worked although for some reason it had problems importing a couple of my activities and I had to delete my AV Receiver and add it back in for it to work properly. This meant re-doing all the activities that contained the receiver, something I was dreading. In this aspect the new website is much better and quicker than the old software, it only took me a few clicks and about 5 minutes all told to set these activities up and update (or sync) the remote. However when I went back in to try and set up my favourites it just wouldn't log my back in properly it seems that the Silverlight plugin was hanging. I tried a couple of different browsers on 2 different machines (mac and pc) but in the end I gave up and went to bed.
The next morning the problem was still there but after re-setting Safari on the mac I managed to get it working again.
I also had a brief problem getting the remote to see the Philips hub but after a couple of tries it worked. Though I'm not convinced the functionality works properly as it seems to upset any timers you might have set with the Hue app via a smartphone, more investigation is required on my part.
I did try to use the remote without the hub making sure that first of all the remote was set to control all the devices not the hub. This didn't work, I don't really like the idea of leaving the hub on all the time but it does appear that without it the remote will not send the signals direct, it looks like it has to check for it's `buddy' even though it may not be using it directly to send the commands.
I've only had this for less than 24 hours and it's going to need some more tweaking, when I tried Watch TV this morning it got it's knickers in a twist and then when I chose `help' it just turned everything off. The 2nd time I tried it it was fine.
Oh and one slightly odd thing, make a very careful note of how the accessories in the bottom of the box are packed if you ever need to re-pack it, it's a nightmare trying to get it all to fit back in nicely.
It's nice to see that very recently Logitech have announced that they are not going to sell of the Harmony business after all. They get a lot of complaints about their support. The Harmony software would not work on a mac at all at one point. I've only needed to use it once but I have to say I was very impressed with it when I did, I got put through to a guy in Canada on a Saturday afternoon who fixed a problem with my setup remotely.
It's early days but I like the feel and the response of the remote enough to persevere. I've been a Harmony user now since the days on the 885 and the nightmare of the non-charging cradle. So I'm used to a bit of a challenge with these things and you know what I quite like that. I've never really been happy with the setup on my 900 and the improvement in response alone is enough to make me keep the new one.
**The next evening however I had the same problem regarding logging in to the My Harmony site, the following morning it was OK. It looks like Logitech have a problem with server loads once their North American customers wake up. Although now a week later I no longer have the issue.
I have also discovered that one of my devices just doesn't want to be controlled by the Ultimate but with my old 900 it works fine. It's a remote dimming lightswitch DOUBLE DIMMER MOVEMENT SENSOR REMOTE CONTROL LIGHT SWITCH NEW
. The Ultimate doesn't even like the commands if I try to teach it manually with the original remote, I'll be contacting support about this issue.**
After the usual 2 day delay support added the device in manually but it didn't work (and had some really odd options on the touch buttons like Zoom and slideslow). They have now got back to me saying that it has been escalated and the new device will be available to me in a few days. We'll see.
So it's been 2 weeks since I was told my issue would be sorted in 2-3 working days and that someone would let me know once it had been. Well they haven't and not only that there has been no response to my questions about when it's going to be sorted. Not impressed so far...Apart from this issue the remote itself is performing well and I don't have an issue with the button layout, although I think ergonomically it could be improved.
I received an email from support about 5 days after my last update telling me that I should sync my remote as my device had been added in to my profile. It worked! I know have control over my remote dimmer.