Concord Final and Sensible Hub evaluation: Logitech outdoes itself with new remotes

Harmony Ultimate and Smart Hub review: Logitech outdoes itself with new remotes

Till now, Logitech’s Concord line has been the identify in consumer programmable remotes. Now the corporate’s again with three comply with-up merchandise, they usually differ sufficient from earlier fashions to warrant an evidence. As an alternative of utilizing a programmable IR distant, the Concord Final, Concord Sensible Management and Concord Final Hub every offload the IR-emitting duties to a networked gadget, permitting smartphones and tablets to behave as remotes too. Moreover, the Hub makes use of Bluetooth to regulate your recreation console. Ranging in worth from $ninety nine to $349, the lineup covers virtually each finances, with the Hub bought as a standalone accent for smartphones and tablets. In the meantime, the Sensible Management features a easy distant, and the excessive-finish Final Hub swaps a primary distant for the Concord Contact. How precisely may these improve your house theater enjoyment? Learn on to seek out out.

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Concord Final and Sensible Hub evaluate

eighty three
Logitech

Concord Final and Sensible Hub

Execs

  • Retains bodily and smartphone remotes in sync
  • Excessive-high quality hardware, straightforward to program
  • Extra dependable macros than hand-held IR distant

Cons

  • Depends totally on IR, which is sluggish and unreliable
  • Programming choices aren’t as expansive as we might like
  • No API for third-celebration app compatibility

Abstract

The Hub is the best addition to the Concord household so far. Whereas it is nonetheless not the distant we dream of, it is simply the most effective consumer-programmable choice out there.

Hardware

Harmony Ultimate and Smart Hub review: Logitech outdoes itself with new remotes

The widespread thread tying collectively these three merchandise is the Hub. This small puck seems virtually precisely just like the Concord Hyperlink, although rather less spherical. There isn’t any devoted energy port, however it sports activities a micro-USB socket (as an alternative of mini-USB) and a button on the again for pairing or resetting the gadget. The wall-wart-fashion exterior energy provide connects by way of the identical USB port that can be utilized to program the Hub by way of your pc. There is a single LED up entrance, which we did not discover distracting whereas watching TV, and it offers helpful suggestions as to the state of the gadget, corresponding to its connectivity and present exercise.

Round again, there are solely two ports for exterior IR blasters, however they are not required as a pair of constructed-in IR emitters must be sufficient to regulate units which have a line of sight to the Hub. Inside we’ve 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth (presently solely capable of management the PS3 and Wii) and Logitech’s proprietary Unity RF for 2-method interplay with the Concord Contact and the straightforward distant bundled with the Sensible Management.

The addition of Bluetooth can be nice for these who depend on their Bluetooth-managed recreation consoles, just like the PS3, however we actually would’ve favored extra choices, together with help for RS-232 for 2-approach management or non-compulsory sensors like energy or video-out. These would increase the accuracy of macros by confirming the gear’s energy standing. Now it is true that IR continues to be the one really common residence theater management protocol, however we do not assume that is a purpose to keep away from supporting extra. Additionally, we might love to have the ability to management a TiVo or DirecTV Genie by way of IP, for instance.

Harmony Ultimate and Smart Hub review: Logitech outdoes itself with new remotes

Programming

Harmony Ultimate and Smart Hub review: Logitech outdoes itself with new remotes

The success of Logitech’s Concord remotes has all the time been as a result of a mixture of nice hardware and straightforward programming. In case you already love the cloud-based mostly programmability of MyHarmony.com, then you definitely nonetheless will. When you’re annoyed by navigating wizards to edit settings and contacting help to load in discrete HEX IR codes, then that will not change both. The cloud strategy to programming does lend itself properly to the Hub lineup, although. It allows some nice use instances, like not needing to plug the distant into your PC to make a change. Actually, aside from firmware updates and configuring WiFi on the Contact distant, included with the Final choice, you will by no means want to make use of the bundled USB cable. It additionally makes getting cellular units up and operating so simple as putting in an app and logging in together with your MyHarmony.com credentials.

Harmony Ultimate and Smart Hub review: Logitech outdoes itself with new remotes

Concord remotes was programmed by way of a PC. You’ll be able to nonetheless do this with this new lineup and certainly, some settings are solely configurable that means. However, as you may anticipate, these touchscreens may also be used for programming. In truth, preliminary setup of the Sensible Management is completed by way of the cellular app, as is initiating a sync to replace modifications to the straightforward distant with out tethering. A number of of the customizations on the cellular app, like button placement, aren’t solely completed from the app itself, however these particular modifications do not sync past that system to others. That is nice if you’d like the button format in your gadget to be totally different out of your housemate’s, for instance, however it requires some duplicate programming if you want all of them to be the identical.

Remotes

Harmony Ultimate and Smart Hub review: Logitech outdoes itself with new remotes

Every member of the trio has a number of issues in widespread: the Hub and the number of iOS / Android apps. However the primary distinction between the three merchandise is the distant. The Hub, at $ninety nine, is the selection for many who want to utterly ditch the bodily distant and use smartphone apps solely. For that worth, you get a community-hooked up IR blaster that additionally tracks states between a number of cellular units. This state info ensures that should you’re watching TV whereas utilizing your telephone because the distant after which depart the room, others can decide up their very own telephone and use it as a distant very simply.

The iOS app has a pleasant, clear look to it, and consists of gestures for a lot of key features — that may be configured to behave as you want. As well as, you’ll be able to choose your favourite channels and summon them by clicking on the community’s icon. And naturally, your conventional button controls are there for each gadget motion you may want. Buttons might be eliminated or moved round to your liking, together with mixing features from numerous units on a single display. The one actual restrict value mentioning is the lack to vary the best way the app seems to be. The colours are what they’re and there is no obvious strategy to change a few of the icons, like those used to kick off an exercise. The actual head-scratcher, although, is the shortage of pill-optimized purposes. That is particularly odd when you think about there’s one for the Concord Hyperlink, which does not work with the Hub. You’ll be able to, in fact, run the smartphone apps on tablets, however everyone knows how that goes.

Shifting on, the Concord Final is actually the $249 Concord Contact distant bundled with a Hub. We cannot give the Contact the complete assessment that it deserves right here, however we’ll say that you’re going to both love the truth that the bodily buttons are pushed apart by the touchscreen, otherwise you will not. The power to press buttons for various durations of time to set off totally different features makes up for the shortage of amount, to a sure diploma, nevertheless it does make the entire thing really feel much less intuitive. The Concord Contact will look higher in your espresso desk than the opposite choices and features a rechargeable battery, however at a premium. The opposite factor the Final brings is an additional IR blaster and the power to configure the place the IR is emitted from: from the Hub’s constructed-in emitters, the wired ones or instantly from the hand-held distant. Setting it to emit from the distant does undermine the cellular apps, nevertheless.

Harmony Ultimate and Smart Hub review: Logitech outdoes itself with new remotes

The final variation is the Concord Sensible Management, and certainly, we saved one of the best for final.

The final variation is the Concord Sensible Management, and certainly, we saved the perfect for final. The included easy distant makes us assured that solely present house owners of the Concord Contact will choose to pay $30 much less for the Hub by itself. The distant is skinny and properly-constructed, such as you’d anticipate from a Concord. It makes use of an included coin-sort battery that we’re informed we will anticipate to final a yr. There are solely three exercise buttons on the prime, however you’ll be able to kick off six features because of its potential to acknowledge each brief and lengthy presses. Like all Concord remotes, it contains a discrete off button that we nonetheless do not assume is intuitive. However it’s straightforward sufficient to get used to — although do not confuse “straightforward to study” with “straightforward to make use of.” All the primary buttons are right here, however no extras can be found to match your DVR or one other field’s particular keys (like discrete web page up and down, or reside TV). The one gripe value elevating is the mixed quick-ahead / rewind and skip ahead / again buttons. The default is to quick-ahead / rewind with a momentary press and skip ahead / again with an extended press, however that is simply swapped. Annoying and unintuitive? Sure. Unworkable? By no means.

Harmony Ultimate and Smart Hub review: Logitech outdoes itself with new remotes

Regardless of which you select, the actual great thing about the Hub is the way it retains the remotes working collectively. Need to stroll in the home and hit “watch TV” with the hand-held distant sitting on the espresso desk after which do the remaining out of your telephone? No drawback. The cellular apps launch shortly and decide up the place the bodily controls left off, and vice-versa. The best way it ought to work. The one a part of this a number of-distant bliss that could possibly be simpler is switching between Hubs and supporting multiple bodily distant. For instance, transferring between the lounge Hub and one for the bed room with the Concord app for iPhone requires 4 button presses.

Wrap-up

Harmony Ultimate and Smart Hub review: Logitech outdoes itself with new remotes

The Hub is the best addition to the Concord household thus far. It is a recreation changer for the consumer-programmable distant area, and it is what the Concord Hyperlink ought to’ve been. The worth is not loopy, however it’s not precisely an awesome worth both. So whereas we do advocate the Hub to anybody with a suitable smartphone, the answer is way from good. First off, we want it weren’t restricted to IR and Bluetooth — however we have been saying that for years. Two-means management choices would enormously improve the consumer expertise, as would a quicker and extra dependable protocol.

The opposite merchandise on the prime of our want listing is a documented community API for third events to interface with the Hub. The included apps are nice and all, however there are many different strong purposes on the market that would actually improve our residence theater expertise, in the event that they solely had some management over our front room. This may additionally make it attainable for different house automation controllers to combine with the gear. So no, this is not the house theater management answer we have been dreaming of, however on the very least, it is a huge step ahead.

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