Logitech Harmony Link turns tablets into universal remotes for $99

logitech harmony link turns tablets into universal remotes for 99 logietch 1Logitech’s latest tidbit of technology may soon have us recycling our remote controls. In a somewhat ironic twist, the company responsible for some of the best-selling universal remote controls has created a device that lets you trash them and pick up your iPad, iPhone or Android device instead.

The notion of controlling electronics through iOS and Android devices isn’t new, but while electronics manufacturers have been struggling to code even passable smartphone apps into control their TVs, receivers and Blu-ray disc players, Logitech seems to have been quietly working away in the background designing what appears to be a system so streamlined and simple, your grandma could actually use it: the Harmony Link.

The Harmony Link itself is an unobtrusive, flying-saucer-shaped module that is designed to sit among the electronics in your entertainment system. Once plugged into the wall, it links up with your Wi-Fi network. With the Harmony Link in place, you can use your iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch or Android device to download a free app, which acts as an interface . Here’s where it gets really interesting.logitech harmony link turns tablets into universal remotes for 99 2

Rather than emulate the remote control in your system (a solution some argue is more confusing than coordinating multiple remotes) , Logitech’s app provides a comprehensive entertainment management system in an attractive and intuitive user interface. After telling the Harmony Link app who provides your TV service, it lays out all current and future programming in a tidy graphical interface. From there, watching your show is a one-touch proposition.

For example, let’s say you want to want to watch Dirty Jobs. You would simply scroll through a series of TV shows until you saw Mike Rowe’s dirty mug, then tap the image to select the show. With one click, the Harmony Link will power on your TV, tune to the appropriate channel and, if you want, power up your home theater receiver and switch to the right input. 

Since all the browsing takes place through the app, users won’t have to annoy other viewers by pulling up on-screen menus. Another bonus is that the Harmony Link can be operated by more than one device, so anyone in the house with the app installed can use it too. 

The Harmony Link isn’t just for TV, though. Logitech says it also provides one-touch solutions for watching Blu-Ray or DVD movies, listening to music or playing games. 

It sounds like a slam-dunk for Logitech, especially considering it’s low price-point of $99, but we have a couple of concerns. First, while Logitech does say apps are available for multiple devices, the Harmony Link is clearly designed around the iPad. We have to wonder how good the other apps will be. Second, Logitech doesn’t provide any insight into the setup process and, considering how difficult setting up multi-function remotes can be, we have our concerns over whether setup will be simple enough for the average Joe to figure out. If you need to call in an installer to get things working, you stand to double your investment. Of course, there’s only one way to know for sure and that is to test it out. We’ll get our hands on the Harmony Link soon and let you know how it goes.

Deals

Check out the best Green Monday deals for those last-minute gifts

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, but that doesn't mean you've missed your chance of finding a great deal. We're talking about Green Monday, of course, and it falls on December 10.
Movies & TV

Lose the torrents. Here's how to watch 'Game of Thrones' online (legally)

Game of Thrones is one of the most popular shows on TV, but unless you're a cable subscriber, finding a way to watch isn't always easy. Check out our guide on how to watch online, whether you prefer using HBO, Hulu, or Amazon.
Home Theater

Step aside set-top boxes, the best streaming sticks are tiny and just as powerful

Which streaming stick reigns supreme? We pit the Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra against the Roku Premiere, Roku Streaming Stick+, and the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K to help you decide which one will be the best fit in your living room.
Home Theater

What are HDMI ARC and eARC? Here’s how they can simplify your home theater

HDMI ARC is one of the coolest TV features at your disposal. But if you're like most folks, you have no idea how it works, if you even know what it is at all. Here's our primer on HDMI ARC, as well as the next generation technology, eARC.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Gaming

Itching to fight in an online match with friends in 'SSB Ultimate'? Here's how

You can play online against your friends in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but it isn't quite as simple as you might expect from a multiplayer game in 2018. Here's how you can do so using the Battle Arena system.
Gaming

Still trying to unlock your main in 'Super Smash Bros. Ultimate'? Try these tips

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is Nintendo’s biggest entry in the series to date with over 70 characters to unlock, but the process can feel tiresome. Here are our tips to unlock your roster as quickly as possible.
Product Review

‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ is an ode to gaming that lives up to its name

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a loving tribute to Nintendo and video game history. It’s a terrific multiplayer fighter that also has plenty for single-player fans to love this time around.
Gaming

PlayStation Classic hacked in less than a week to play games via USB drive

Hackers have already managed to crack the PlayStation Classic, with programs now available to allow users to play additional original PlayStation games on the system via a USB drive.
Gaming

‘Fortnite’ adds sword from ‘Infinity Blade,’ which disappears from App Store

Epic Games has added the Infinity Blade melee weapon to Fortnite just as it pulled all three games in the Infinity Blade trilogy from sale. The games are still available to download if you bought them.
Gaming

How you can give your PS4 a fresh start with a factory reset

Learn the many ways you can factory reset your PS4. From reverting your settings to factory to doing a full wipe and reinstalling the latest PlayStation firmware, we cover it all here, step by step.
Gaming

How to make a clan in ‘Destiny 2’ and where to go from there

Want to know how to make a clan in 'Destiny 2'? Here's everything you need to know, including how to design your clan's banner, earn extra loot, and help other players with guided games.
Mobile

Put down the controller and pick up the best phones for gaming on the go

Which phones are the best if all you want to do is play some mobile games? We've done the hard work and put together a list of the best gaming phones on Android and iOS, so you can keep playing and winning.
Gaming

Need help getting the Sleeper Simulant in 'Destiny 2'? We’ve got you covered

The Sleeper Simulant is one of the coolest new Exotic weapons you can unlock in the Warmind expansion of Destiny 2, but it's an involved process that will take awhile. Here's everything you need to know.