The best concept remote control

Who needs a concept remote?

You already have a remote for your TV and your DVR, so since do we need another? If your home party complement consists of customarily dual or 3 devices, such as a TV, a DVR, and maybe a DVD or Blu-ray player, we might not wish a concept remote. But if sitting down to watch TV or a film requires shuffling between several remotes, switching inputs, and powering mixed components during a same time, a concept remote is for you.

How we picked and tested

A concept remote control has to be, well, universal. That means that a remote can control all a components an normal audio/video fan could chuck during it. A remote that can juggle 8 inclination during once will cover many systems. It should also have a well-organized symbol blueprint or on-screen arrangement that can mix mixed actions into one button. Finally, it should be easy to module and bond with your devices.

If we indicate Amazon and other online retailers for concept remotes you’ll find a lot of low-end deputy remotes—remotes whose primary purpose is to reinstate a one a dog ate and do tiny else. Competition in a modernized remote difficulty is unequivocally small. Though we did representation other products, these days, selecting a best concept remote is mostly a matter of selecting a best Logitech Harmony device. There are also several systems for regulating your smartphone as a remote, though we consider a final of unlocking a phone and opening an app for something as elementary as changing a channel manners out a app proceed for many people.

Our pick

The Harmony 650. Photo: Michael Hession

The Logitech Harmony 650 is a best concept remote for many people since it can coordinate a functions of adult to 8 components, is comparatively elementary to module with a MyHarmony software, and uses a smart, activity-based interface that simplifies control of your whole home theater. It can control customarily IR (infrared) devices—that’s many audio, video, and home museum gear—but it can’t promulgate over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, so it isn’t concordant with some new inclination such as a PlayStation 4, Sonos speakers, or Amazon Fire TV.

By far, a many useful underline of a Harmony 650 is a assistance duty accessed from a symbol above a display. If for some reason your TV didn’t spin on or a receiver didn’t switch to a scold submit after we comparison an activity, dire a Help symbol will means a Harmony 650 to immediately evacuate an infrared authority that will, ideally, redress a situation.

A bill option

The Harmony 350. Photo: Michael Hession

We consider a 650 is a good value for what it offers, generally for something you’ll use mixed times per day, each day. But if you’d cite to save some money, a Harmony 350 also controls 8 inclination and is unequivocally identical to a 650.

However, a few things keep it from being a altogether pick. The detriment of a shade means it isn’t as elementary to use. Also, a buttons aren’t backlit, that is a large understanding if you’re perplexing to use a remote in a dark. It also lacks a interactive assistance feature.

For some-more modernized home theaters

The Harmony Companion remote is smaller, sleeker, and some-more absolute than a Harmony 650, though gives adult a cheaper device’s useful arrangement and easy-to-navigate assistance functions. (The assistance underline is accessible in a Companion app.) Photo: Michael Hession

The Harmony Companion is customarily dual to 4 times some-more costly than a Harmony 650. It controls a same series of devices, can be set adult with a MyHarmony focus or a smartphone app, and has a likewise intuitive, conveniently organised symbol layout.

So what do we get for a additional money? Most notably, a Harmony Companion is a two-piece complement consisting of a handheld remote and a apart “hub” that’s placed subsequent to a AV components in your system. The remote doesn’t have a built-in IR emitter. Instead, a IR emitter, along with a Bluetooth and Wi-Fi radios, are built into a hub—that means we can bond with Sonos wireless speakers, a PlayStation 4, or any other non-IR devices. The Bluetooth and Wi-Fi radios let we control a far-reaching operation of smart-home systems and devices. The Companion also allows we to control your complement with a Harmony app and can be operated with Amazon’s Alexa voice interface.

The oppulance upgrade

The full-featured Harmony Elite. Photo: Michael Hession

If a relations palliate of programming, immeasurable control database, and intelligent activities of a Companion only isn’t adequate for you, and what we unequivocally wish is a cold tone touchscreen to let we daub your home museum into action, and you’d like to confederate even some-more of your smart-home inclination into your system, you’ll wish to examine a Harmony Elite, a top-dog remote in a Logitech lineup. It can control adult to 15 devices, and it comes with dual IR blasters we can position in front of a cupboard doors to keep your rigging out of sight.

The app option

What if we don’t wish another handheld device though a thought of concept remote control does interest to you? Of all a app-based systems we tried, we favourite a Logitech Harmony app best, that comes with any of a company’s Hub-based remotes. You can also squeeze a Harmony Home Hub as a stand-alone section (it’s accessible but a remote) and only use a app. But it now costs some-more than you’d spend for a tip pick, a Harmony 650.

This beam might have been updated by Wirecutter. To see a stream recommendation, greatfully go here.

Note from Wirecutter: When readers select to buy a exclusively selected editorial picks, we might acquire associate commissions that support a work.

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