Now that smart homes are beginning to become the norm and are becoming more affordable, more and more people are trying to get into the craze; either to do cool autonomous actions or just to be lazy. The heart of every smart home is (or should be) the smart hub to hold all the devices and handle the interaction between them. The Harmony Hub by Logitech is one of the more device-rich smart hubs I’ve found and is a great hub for the more easy-going smart home consumer.
The main smart hub is a small, 1-inch tall, black square that I have placed near my living room TV — that seems to be one of the best spots for this hub. On the top, you have Harmony or Logi (depending on when your Hub was manufactured) etched on the device, and on the bottom, you have rubber feet to prevent sliding. Near the front, you have a LED light to show the state of the hub, and on the back you have a couple ports/buttons: pair/reset button, microUSB DC-in port, and 2 auxiliary in ports.
The remote that comes with the Companion pack is curved with nearly 50 buttons, including: power off, directions, and smart action buttons. There are other packs, as well, such as the Harmony Pro and Elite that include the same hub but have more advanced remotes — some even with touch screens.
The software that powers the hub and is used to set up can be found on either your smartphone or your computer (any OS). The software behind the Harmony service, though, can be a little slow when adding devices or actions, but that’s probably due to syncing them over IR. The desktop experience leaves little to be desired. Besides the fact that the UI is a little outdated, the desktop app houses any settings you could want for your Hub. There are options to add devices, sort them into groups, set up actions, choose what the buttons on the remote does, and change other smaller settings for the hub.
The mobile Harmony apps does most of what the desktop experience offers. The main screen has two tabs: one for activities and the other for devices. There’s a hamburger menu that has settings to fix your activities, sync your changes, and setup other devices. You will be missing the ability to sort devices into groups, change the remote buttons, and some other small things, but the app is just as feature rich and you can definitely use it to control your Hub full time.
Setting up the hub is rather simple — either use the phone to setup the WiFi settings and start to add devices or connect the Hub to a computer and start with the app. I chose the desktop route so that I could mess with the remote and set up specific buttons to devices and activities. Once you’ve got the hub attached to wifi and added some of your home devices, you’re ready to go.
Speaking of devices, the Harmony Hub supports pretty much any smart device you can think of. Even Logitech says so:
Harmony Hub works with over 270,000 entertainment and smart home devices so you can enjoy single-touch control with your favorite brands, right out of the box. From your TV, cable and gaming console, to your AV receiver and Roku® media player—all the way to your smart lights, locks, thermostats, and even your Alexa—Harmony Hub proudly works with just about everything.
You can easily add any device that connects to WiFi just by having the Hub scan your WiFi network. For devices that aren’t smart (like my TV), you can add devices by telling Harmony the make and model. Sometimes, you may need to tell what the device type is but Harmony always knows. The only devices it hasn’t recognized so far have been my computer monitors, which I have in place of TV’s for everywhere except my living room.
I have it fully controlling my TV and it has replaced my several remotes that I had to use for the TV, the cable box, and my Xiaomi Android TV. It also controls my lights and is connected to my Smartthings Hub (a different type of smart hub).
I can press one button on the remote and it will turn on my TV, change it to HDMI, and make the remote Xiaomi compatible. Another button will turn on my TV, switch to cable, and make it remote cable-box compatible. I can turn on my upstairs light when it’s night time and I’m done in the living room, and I can set my ‘Away’ activity on my Smartthings Hub when I’m about to leave my house. I can also do all of these from my phone through the Harmony app.
For this Hub and remote system, you’d have to spend $129. But for the last remote you’ll ever need and a good intro to the world of smart home automation, I’d say that’s worth it. You can also buy a standalone hub for $99, or different remotes for various pricing. It’s a small investment for what will soon run your smart home.
Overall, this is the best hub I can think of that will introduce you to the future of making a smart home. It’s the only hub I know that comes with a remote that can completely control your TV and many other products (smart or not) all through this hub, and even connect it to more advanced hubs down the line. Grab the Harmony Hub Companion and make your home smarter today!Buy on Logitech Buy on Amazon