Logitech Harmony Hub review: The essential kit for turning your phone into a TV remote

Is the best remote control no remote at all?

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Logitech
At a Glance

The Harmony Hub is the starting point for all of Logitech’s high-end Harmony systems. In simple terms, it is a Discman-sized device that bridges your home’s Wi-Fi and your entertainment center, courtesy of a built-in IR blaster. But beyond that, it also controls other Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices. The Hub can support up to eight devices total, and chances are you won’t be able to stump it: Logitech claims compatibility with a whopping 270,000 home entertainment and smart home devices, and I couldn’t find any home entertainment devices that the Hub didn’t support. (Smart home devices are considerably more limited.) 

The key thing to understand is that the Hub does not include an actual remote control. You use your smart device (phone or tablet) or a PC to do all the work, all via the Harmony app. If the features of the Hub sound appealing but you want a physical remote, you’ll want to consider either the Harmony Companion or the Harmony Elite.

The setup

The list of features of the Hub is extensive to the point of being daunting. The Hub can control up to eight remotes, and you can set up 50 “one-touch actions” that combine commands directed at multiple devices. For example, the standard “Watch TV” can turn on the receiver, the television, and set the input to the cable box. Realistically you won’t need 50 of those; while you can geek out and get very granular (change channel to 31, press the B button on the Xbox One controller), the need for numerous, excessively detailed macros is probably rare.

At a Glance
  • For smartphone jockeys only, the Harmony Hub eliminates up to eight remotes courtesy of a smartphone app.

    Pros

    • Quite affordable considering its capabilities
    • Near-endless support for entertainment devices
    • Integrates with a solid number of smart home products

    Cons

    • Proper placement of Hub hardware can be tricky
    • Mobile app setup didn’t work; desktop app was required
    • Certain commands can be interminably buried
  
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