Logitech Harmony Companion review: Enhancing the Logitech Hub with a simple, physical remote

It might be too basic.

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Logitech
At a Glance

Logitech’s Harmony Companion consists of a Harmony Hub and a relatively simple, familiar-looking remote control that communicates with it. The Hub component works exactly the same way as a standalone Hub—a central command center for all your devices via IR, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi—complete with smartphone and PC configurability. Perhaps the easiest way to think about the remote is that it simply provides access to a number of shortcuts, though you will still need your smartphone to do any heavy lifting.

The setup 

Setup is a two-step affair. First, you configure the Hub through the same procedure as outlined in that review, then you assign actions and commands you created on the Hub to the Companion remote. Three buttons at the top of the remote can be set to multi-step actions—those broad processes such as “Watch TV” or “Listen to Music” where numerous devices are controlled together. The remainder of the buttons on the remote are contextually sensitive, based on which of the three actions you used last. Play and pause work with your DVD player if you’re watching a movie, or they’ll control your CD player if you’re listening to music.

companion3 Logitech

Manually programming remote buttons can be a painstaking process.

Alas, the remote is not entirely straightforward on this front. When I assigned “Watch TV” to engage my Apple TV, none of the buttons worked with the Apple TV unit; instead they were all keyed to the television by default. Of course, you can (and will) reprogram the remote, button for button, but the process is slow and painstaking, and a small mistake could have you redoing your work. Considering that any changes you make require resyncing the Hub with your PC via a wired USB connection or via smartphone, it’s not a process to be taken lightly.

At a Glance
  • Expand the capabilities of the Harmony Hub with the simple, but easy-to-use, Companion remote.

    Pros

    • RF tech means line of sight isn’t needed
    • Extensive configurability lets you tweak to your heart’s content
    • Costly, but still a good value considering its power

    Cons

    • Those with complex home entertainment systems won’t find this remote powerful enough
    • Programming process can be convoluted and time-consuming
  
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