Logitech already makes some of the best universal remotes for controlling your home theater devices, so a deeper dive into home automation makes sense for the company. The $99.99 Logitech Harmony Home Hub comes bundled with a high-quality universal remote as part of the Harmony Ultimate Home, but you can also pick one up by itself. And with Logitech touting the Hub’s digital home device compatibility, the Harmony Hub can be seen more as a competitor to hubs from SmartThings and Wink, rather than a remote companion accessory. In that light, the Harmony Hub is better than anything else on the market at placing all of your home theater controls in one place. But it falls behind in home automation.
Design and Compatibility The Harmony Home Hub looks virtually identical to the Harmony Hub that came with last year’s . The Hub is a small black box that measures 4.9 by 4.1 by 1 inches (HWD). It uses Bluetooth, infrared (IR), and Wi-Fi to control your various devices. Logitech includes an IR blaster cable, which you can run to nearby components in order to control them even if they’re behind a cabinet.
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For home entertainment devices, the Home Hub currently works with over 270,000 compatible home entertainment devices from more than 6,000 brands, which is a staggering array of HDTVs, Blu-ray players, cable boxes, and other gadgets that most other hubs don’t really focus on. You can use Bluetooth or IR to connect with wireless game consoles like the Microsoft Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii U, and Sony PlayStation 3, which again is something you won’t find on other hubs.
Of course, the Home Hub can control its share of connected home devices as well. It has support for popular gadgets like August smart locks, Philips Hue lights, and thermostats from Honeywell and . It also plays nice with other big smart home brands like Lutron, Peq, and SmartThings (for a full list of supported devices, check out Logitech’s site). The problem is that you don’t get support for popular connection protocols Z-Wave and ZigBee out of the box. For that, you’ll need to buy an extender Logitech is planning to release in the near future, which costs a whopping $129.99. That’s more than twice what you’ll pay for the Wink Connected Home Hub, which has support for Bluetooth LE, Lutron ClearConnect, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, and ZigBee.
Although there are other pricey hubs on the market (like , for instance), the trend seems to be shifting towards affordability. The Harmony Home Hub along with the extender will set you back $230, so make sure to decide what type of device support is important to you before buying in.
SetupThe Harmony Home Hub works with most iPhone and iPad models (including the iPhone 4S or later, the third-generation iPad or later, and the fifth-generation iPod touch or later) as well as devices running Android 4.0 and up.
Setup is super simple, though there’s a bit of a learning curve as you first become acquainted with the Harmony app. After plugging in the Hub, you must download the Harmony app to your Android or iOS device. (You can also use Logitech’s Harmony Web app, but in my mind that defeats the purpose of using your phone as a remote control.) Setup takes place through the app, which guides you through the process.
(Next page: Performance and Conclusions)