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Bringing harmony to your remote-control system

WHEN Logitech launched the award-winning Harmony universal remote control line a few years ago, they made the task of controlling multiple media sources in your home simple, but they didn't stop there.

The company is continuing to inflate by announcing its newest addition to the lineup, the Harmony Ultimate, their latest universal remote that comes with the addition of the Harmony Hub, an RF receiver. This new remote adds even more impressive features, including Bluetooth and the ability to add your smartphone as a remote.

Although the remote might look a little intimidating, it is simple to program.

In a nutshell, connect the remote to your computer's USB port and visit the Logitech site for programming instructions (www.logitech.com).

This allows you to customize buttons on the remote's six-centimetre colour LCD touchscreen and back-lit buttons. Just press your favorite channel and everything you need will turn on.

This remote allows up to 50 of your favorite TV channel icons to be displayed.

The Harmony universal remotes are able to work with more than 225,000 different home theatre devices, including DVD players, receivers, satellite boxes, video-game consoles and TVs. You can even adjust your lights to set the mood with a single touch.

The new Harmony Hub -- the key difference between last year's remote and the Harmony Ultimate -- is a receiver that enables you to control your devices through walls, closed entertainment cabinets or wherever they may be stored, meaning line of sight is not needed.

As long as you place the black, hockey puck-shaped hub in the vicinity of your components, it will pick up the remote's infrared and Bluetooth signals.

The new hub also lets you turn your smartphone and tablets into a universal remote control with the free Harmony app for Android and iOS.

Up to 15 devices can be controlled with the single remote, and a space-saving dock is included for recharging.

Details: $349.99, www.logitech.com

Technology in a cupholder

THE iLuv MobiCup is perfect for summer cookouts and road trips.

The cylindrical wireless Bluetooth speaker is designed to sit in the cup holder of your car -- or even a lounge chair -- to blast music or to use for hands-free phone calls.

Along with its crisp sound, it has a built-in microphone and is splash-resistant for your outdoor activities. All the buttons to control incoming calls and the volume are top-mounted for easy access.

An internal Lithium-ion rechargeable battery will go for more than eight hours before a USB charge is needed.

Details: $59.99, www.iluv.com; $24.99, www.amazon.com

Carry your laptop in comfort and style

BEFORE even unwrapping the OGIO Covert shoulder laptop bag, I had a feeling it would be satisfying.

This lightweight vertical laptop bag is 36-by-24-by-6 centimetres and has a compartment for everything you need, from your phone and stationery to your laptop and power supply. The bag, which has a water-resistant coating with durable zippers, has just the right amount of space to fit everything you need without appearing big and bulky.

You'll also have enough room to squeeze in a tablet, a few other chargers and headphones.

The bag is available in a denim-like heather gray or black. Both have a padded adjustable shoulder strap for added comfort.

Details: $69.99, http://ogio.com

greggellman@mac.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 9, 2013 ??65521

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