If you’ve ever needed a keyboard and/or mouse in your entertainment room, then you’ve just stumbled upon the single greatest accessory: the Logitech Harmony Smart Keyboard. This keyboard/trackpad combo is much more than meets the eye. The combo device is capable of extreme customization that will fit every single A/V need. In no time, you can easily set up complex macros that will turn all of your devices on and to the right input by pressing one button.
The Logitech Harmony product line has always aimed to be the one controller to rule them all. Now, with the addition of the iPhone app and receiver hub, it’s never been truer. It can control over 225,000 devices including Apple TV, XBOX, Playstation, Roku, TiVo, and more.
The Harmony Smart Keyboard is a lightweight mouse/trackpad combo that’s smaller and sleeker than your average wireless keyboard. Logitech was able to keep the device trim without making a big sacrifice on key size or usability (if anyone can do it, it’s Logitech). There’s a large touchpad on the side that even responds to multitouch gestures. Along the top of the keyboard are a bunch of media keys that can be programmed to control almost any device in the living room. Even if you don’t have a computer, the keyboard is useful on an Apple TV or PS3.
The Harmony Smart Hub is the piece that makes the magic happen. It’s the brain of the operation. The Hub receives signals from the keyboard and iPhone app and triggers IR, Bluetooth, and WiFi actions that your other devices will understand.
The Harmony app (for iOS or Android) is required to set everything up. The app can also be used instead of the Smart Keyboard to control all of your devices. You might find that your phone is now the greatest universal remotes out there! You can set up to 6 one-press activities. A one press activity might be turning on your TV, switching to the DVR input, turning the DVR on, and turning the receiver on. You can control up to 8 unique devices. There’s even support for Philips Hue lighting.
With a bit of patience the setup is not too hard. The app could be a little more intuitive, but it’s still extremely impressive. There’s a step-by-step set up where you simply type in the model numbers of all your components and Harmony figures out the rest. My regular TV remote doesn’t have a “sleep” button; instead I have to go into settings to set the sleep timer. In just a few minutes, I built a sequence with Harmony that emulates those steps. Now I have a one-press sleep timer for my TV! The Harmony app also has a sleep timer, but as of now there’s no way to add the button to the keyboard. Similarly, the Harmony app can control Philips Hue lighting, but it can’t yet be programmed onto the keyboard. Luckily, all this takes is an app update.
The physical set up of Harmony is a piece of cake. It’s best to place the Smart Hub in a central location so it can send IR signals to your other devices. This isn’t required though, Logitech includes a couple of IR blasters that you can set up near your IR devices. Smart Hub only requires USB power, so you can power it off of the nearest USB port using the included micro-USB cable. There’s a couple of USB receivers included that would get plugged into your computer, PS3, Roku, or Apple TV for mouse/keyboard support.
If you already have a keyboard in your entertainment room, or you wished you had a keyboard for a device like Apple TV, then you’ll find the Logitech Harmony Smart Keyboard is a game changer. The flexibility and programmability is truly amazing. Beautifully, it also unlocks the capability of your smart phone to control virtually every A/V device you own. The app could benefit from a more intuitive interface for customization, though it’s easy enough to get fully set up. Pricing in at $149.99, the Logitech Smart Keyboard can definitely get its money’s worth. Going from 4 remotes, one keyboard, and one mouse, to simply one device has been a liberating experience. Logitech also sells the Smart Hub separately, for smart phone use only, at $99.99.
The Good: Keyboard is lightweight and usable, Trackpad is multitouch and very responsive, Keyboard has customizable keys programmed with smartphone app, Smartphone app can be used to control entire living room, Logitech Smart Hub can control most any device, Comes with IR blasters so you can hide the Smart Hub
The Bad: No rechargeable battery on the keyboard, App needs some improvement