Viewing Review: Better than nothing - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
Better than nothing Edit
by CaptMike Combined Rating: 2.0
I needed a replacement for my dead Philips Ponto that I had for over 13 years which was the best remote I have used.

After some research I took the plunge ($275) on a new Harmony Ultimate. The...
Pros Cons
  • Activities (macros) can be programed, do not have to point at the device because of RF Hub
  • Difficult to handle and requires 2 hands for best results, LCD touch screen too sensitive, LCD screen freezes on occasion,
I needed a replacement for my dead Philips Ponto that I had for over 13 years which was the best remote I have used.

After some research I took the plunge ($275) on a new Harmony Ultimate. The first unit I received had to be returned, as it was not working correctly according to Logitech support. I currently am using my new replaced Ultimate.

The remote is easy enough to set up through There are some drawbacks that I encountered when setting up certain devices. When you set up a device on you are prompted for the manufacture name and model number for that type of device. The results are a short list of options. After you select the option and then finish that task, that device IR commands will be added to your remote. The problem on occasion is that not all of those commands work and/or are named something other than what your OEM remote control has labeled them. If you have your original remote control that's great as you can simply have the Ultimate remote learn the missing command from your OEM remote by pointing the OEM remote at the Ultimate and pressing the command you would like it to learn. If you don't have your OEM remote you are going to find yourself in a hard spot and successfully obtaining that code is not great.

One of the drawbacks of this remote is that the hard buttons cannot be programed by you to do a "Hold Action”. A hold action is where the remote continually fires the IR code as long as the button is held down. Example: Say you are watching a DVD and you want to Fast Forward (FF) it through, say about 15 seconds of play. On the OEM remote you would press and hold the FF button and at the desired spot in the movie, you then would release the FF button. On the Ultimate, if you press and hold the FF hard button, it will only advance the movie about 4 seconds and then you would have to press and hold that button again and again to get to your desired spot in the movie.

One of the other drawbacks to this remote is that the LCD screen is far too sensitive. After you have selective an Activity the LCD screen will advance to a different screen to control that device. It is very easy to accidentally hit the "HOME" icon, which gets the LCD screen back to the Activity page, and from there, if you are not very carful, you can easily touch a different activity and your components that are already on may shut off.

The LCD screen is not made of a material that resists scratches

I am not a person that likes to deal with tech support of a company that is not within the USA. Harmony is not an exception to this and sometime their support reps are hard to understand but the good thing is that it is a toll free call.

Another good thing is that this is a remote that will work to control all 15 of your devices when it works correctly and is simple for most people to operate.

The CONS outweigh the PROS


Can program Activities (Macros), which are able to turn on your devices (15 maximum) and switch them all to the proper inputs

Can work with IR or X-10 light switches and modules to control home lighting

Easy to set up and edit

No need to point the remote at the devices in order to control them


Lightweight, not very substantial

LCD screen is too sensitive to the touch

Unable to program a hard key to do a "Hold Action"

LCD screen freezes

Entire remote become unresponsive

Need to reset HUB often

Need to reset remote often

Some IR codes not in Harmony database

In conclusion, I cannot say that I can recommend this remote to a friend.
You do not have permissions to add comments.
starmartyr 02-06-2014, 06:18 PM

CaptMike, I didn't realize that, although it seems to work with the channel hard button when I programmed it for controlling my lights, but that could be a function of the long press at work and I didn't realize it. I think, like you, I would prefer continuous command ability for the hard buttons rather than the long press commands, since I rarely use the buttons that way. I usually program the same function for both long and short, otherwise if you accidentally hold a button too long or out of habit, unexpected behaviour could result. I agree that it's something they should look at changing or improving.

asere 02-06-2014, 11:20 AM

I seem to love the remote. I think the main drawback for me at least is it is hard to use it with one hand while it sits on a table. Example one hand is busy with food and you use your other hand its hard to use it because the remote rocks and is not flat.
Other than that I see no other flaw but that is just my opinion.

CaptMike 02-05-2014, 05:08 PM

Hello starmartyr

I am sorry to say that is not correct according to Harmony.

If you re-read my review, you will see that I stated:

"if you press and hold the FF hard button"

that is to mean that I have programed that button for a LONG press. Also regarding your comment of:

"otherwise why wouldn't the volume command be affected? That works as a repeated command when you hold the button down."

That statement is current of the VOLUME control button but not the others.

You can see what HarmonySylvain has to say about that here: on post # 1548. As you may be aware, Sylvain is a technical rep for Harmony.

starmartyr 02-05-2014, 03:10 PM

Granted these remotes aren't perfect - all owners surely have some quibbles about them; not least of all being ergonomics and button placement. One thing I have to take exception to in your review though, is that you definitely can program a 'hold operation' to the remote: when you are setting the buttons up, there is an option for both 'short press' and 'long press'. You can set these to two different commands, or the same command for both. Long press is when you hold the button down. This can be tricky with some things - for example the fast forward and skip buttons are not separated - but it all depends on how you set it up. It definitely can be done, otherwise why wouldn't the volume command be affected? That works as a repeated command when you hold the button down. I've successfully set up hold commands for many buttons, including using the channel up/down button for my lighting, the fast forward/rewind buttons, these all work perfectly when held. Anyway, experiment and try some different things, these remotes aren't perfect but I can understand the manufacturer's trouble with making it all things to all people, and at a reasonable price (which many argue it is not, but I digress).

Color Accuracy:
Black Levels:
Video Quality:
Ease of Setup:
The Film / Movie:
Audio Quality:
Special Features:
Ease of Use: