Final Review and comparison to Harmony Elite, Savant Remote and NEEO

Long read

 

So I've had a few days now with the NEEO remote and so far I'm liking it. I do feel it is not 100% ready to replace my daily driver which is currently a Harmony Elite. Prior to receiving the NEEO I hooked up my Savant Remote and used that for a bit just so I could get a good base on what I felt I wasn't getting with Savant and Harmony.

So to start I will say that they are all nice devices, having any of them would ideally work for what someone is trying to do if your device is in the databases they all have their strong points as well as weak points.

So starting with the Harmony Elite. It is by far the most complete package. As it should be they have been in this space pretty much unchallenged for a very long time. The issues I have always had with Harmony is it seems after time the hardware begins to fail. Ex. Randomly the remote will stop responding and I have to do a fix it. May not update, or lock up during update at like 98%. Their app is not the greatest but the web interface makes up for it.

It is by far the most customizable with set up. Being able to use my own icons, create small macros, assign buttons, and commands from multiple devices that are associated with an activity on the screen. Channel provider listings, ergonomically the button placement makes a lot of sense. Remote remembers state, and handles transitions well. Overall very solid device. That being the case doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. A lot of the smart home buttons on the remote I rarely use unless I need to turn off a light that was either turned on accidently or I forgot to turn off. The physical buttons for the r, g, b, y need to go. At times the remote feels cluttered.

 

So I went on to the Savant remote. This remote has a very premium feel to it. Nice fast touch screen, responsive, allows for profiles, just the right amount of physical keys. The only thing I would change on the layout is moving the media buttons for play, pause, etc. It basically has all the buttons the Elite has minus the r, g, b, y and smart home buttons. They have a voice command though which works amazingly.

The ability to capture scenes is cool also. Have a setting you like at the moment, just capture it and it is saved, and you can launch that same scene anytime. The app is very well laid out and super easy to use. The adding of devices and testing them I’m not a huge fan of but it gets you through it.

The only reason that this did not replace the Elite is because it doesn’t support Philips Hue and LiFX unless you upgrade to a Pro license and get a new hub. Which increases the cost quite a bit but…it unlocks a lot of stuff with it when you do that.

The biggest downside of it now is that they really don’t support it as the base, but you can upgrade it to a Pro for like 80 dollars. I don’t think the host will control Hue though unless you upgrade that as well.

The interesting thing about this one is the Host just handles the networking. No other functions, the IR codes are sent from the base, or you can use the wireless battery powered blasters. They are kind of pricey but work well. They may be needed, because of where someone may need to place the base.

It handles current device state, and transitioning better than the Elite, it’s quicker and snappier. Has a similar fix it function. Channel listings, etc.

What’s missing from the harmony is the ability to customize the screen add buttons for various items you need. It makes you go into devices to access some things. It really lays out the super bare minimum you would probably need. I would have liked to be able to add buttons, control delays etc, but doing that though would take away from the super clean look it always has. Again it gives off a very premium feel, and look. If it supported ZigBee and Z Wave devices, like Hue, and LiFX I would have just used this all the time. I honestly feel that if they marketed it better, and added support for items like that they could have been a huge force in this space for consumers in the DIY, and not full blown home automation.

Then we finally get to NEEO. Is NEEO perfect? No. I didn’t expect it to be, neither are the other 2 remotes I listed. If they were I wouldn’t have been looking at NEEO.

So with NEEO, it feels pretty premium also, but in a much different way. It almost reminds me of a smart phone, a very tall, thin smart phone but that’s what it reminds me of, or a remote that came with a high end product and it is a remote just for that product.

Super heavy sturdy base. I like that. I was expecting the brain to be the same but its super light. Between the 3 devices, it outperforms the other 2 with sending IR codes by far. I couldn’t get it to work behind a couch or anything but it worked when the other 2 bases failed on all but 1 device. It was consistent and snappy. Already a +1 for NEEO. I moved the brain to a few different locations and I hit every device. Once I placed it exactly where I wanted it, I had to use the IR extender to get one, but the others are solid without it.

The only thing I wish it had on the remote itself was physical media buttons. When I’m watching a movie in the dark I don’t want to have to look at the screen to see what I’m hitting. I knew it didn’t have them, but I didn’t realize how much I would miss them. The brain I honestly feel the HDMI port on it is a waste and a 2nd IR extender port would have been better utilized.

Now on to the set up. Initial set up was easy. Found all my devices, got them added, firmware updated, etc. I was expecting certain questions and flows, they didn’t come during set up. They came after. Which is odd to me. Then I realized it was just adding the devices and not really making a recipe. Seems like that could have been done all at once. No big deal. Just strange flow.

NEEO kind of seems to handle current state ok, if your device works with discreet commands. If not it really. Transitions in recipes do not really exist. You can add the power off command to other devices, which is what Harmony does and I assume Savant since they both do it. Harmony asks in the wizard when making the activity Savant does at some point iirc. Adding a step like that in the recipe wizard would be ideal.

It doesn’t have channel listings as of yet (not sure if something like that is coming) so adding favorites is a pain. Maybe I’m just lazy…actually I know I’m lazy lol.

Considering I think that’s pretty damn good. I know it didn’t have the media buttons going in, so my only real complaints are transitioning and channel listings. Considering the team is not Savant a huge luxury home automation company, or Logitech who makes peripherals for everything under the sun NEEO’s teams efforts are impressive.

 

Small quality of life changes would be nice. Small things though. Defaulting page, adding buttons for specific actions on one scree from any device in the recipe, maybe allowing for changing of icons and their size. More instructions and tips.

The biggest draw I see with sticking with the remote for a while is you have a team that is fully engaged and committed. Logitech has forums, which is nice, but you probably aren’t talking to and of the developers. Getting codes, and fixes when needed. Savant support is like non exist net and you can’t even get into the community forums from what I see because it’s for integrators.

I would say it’s worth a go if you are interested. Just have to go in knowing it’s a brand new product. There is going to be issues here and there. Hopefully a community of users will grow. Many on Planet NEEO are very helpful.

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  • This is a very nice written Feedback. Also you are seeing / comparing and telling what is good and what is bad.

    It is actually the first entry saying what i see in NEEO. Thanks for taking the time and type it! I also think the TEAM behing NEEO will appreciate this.

    Your mentioned things about NEEO are nearly all fixable with Software, exept the media Buttons, that is Hardware related, but i very often use the Hardkeys to be able to control my media playing. Nearly in all recipes the OK Button is mapped as a play/pause button, right and left are mapped as FFWD or REV. Maybe it is worth a try for you?

    Like 2
    • Markus Mahr Nice thanks  didn't realize that. It's not something that is very obvious off hand. That's why something like a web interface showing what teh mapping is when a recipe is created would be great. I'll test that out tonight. Which will be interesting to see how it handles menu navigation prior.

      Like 1
      • Pav
      • Pav
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Markus Mahr Can you advise me on what the steps are to set up the OK button as play/pause and the left and right for back and forwards? Do you have it set up that if you press the right button once it will forward x1, then two clicks would be x2 etc.? If so, how did you do this.

      Like
    • Pav I don't map any of the Buttons. Normally they were set by the Default recipe creation.

      Only one was set by me is my SDK Driver for the Dreambox. There i was able to map the Buttons myself. But this is a other story.

      Like
      • Pav
      • Pav
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Markus Mahr So maybe it doesn't automatically work for my Cable TV box because it is a "stupid device". How can I map the buttons myself?

      Like
    • Pav I don't think it hase soemthing to do with the Stupid Device, this is only applicable for Power and Input commends!

      In general it is currently not possible to remap the Buttons, until you write your own SDK Driver. Maybe the best way to get your Info, is by asking Andy how your device is set up, or if he can change something.

      If i'm correct, a future Update will bring up the Possibility to change the behaviour of the Buttons. But this will need some time and other features are with a higher priority than that!

      Like 1
      • Patrick@NEEO
      • Community Manager
      • Patrick
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Pav I can confirm that  Markus Mahr is absolutely right, this is not related to your device is a stupid device. And as he has written too, at the moment you can't change the assignment to the hard buttons on your NEEO individually. 

      For my set-top box, this works too, but this also works on the original remote. So that is not actually a feature from NEEO, but rather something that your original device has to have built in. Can you give it a try with your original remote?

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      • Pav
      • Pav
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Patrick It does work on the original remote (box is Cisco Isb 7150) but not on the NEEO 

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      • Patrick@NEEO
      • Community Manager
      • Patrick
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Pav That is interesting, then I will have the device driver team check.

      Is there anything special you need to do on the original remote like holding the buttons longer?

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      • Pav
      • Pav
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Patrick no, nothing special. Just press forward once and it does FF if you press twice then it does FF x 2 etc.

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      • Patrick@NEEO
      • Community Manager
      • Patrick
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Pav Thanks for the feedback. We'll let you know once we have news.

      Like
  • Thanks a lot for that well written and extensive feedback, very interesting to hear how the devices compare from somebody who actually owns all of them 👍

    I have forwarded snippets from your feedback to the correct teams, so that sure should have an influence. On many things you noted, like having a pre-populated channel list, being able to sort the pages in a recipe and other customization options, are already being worked on. 

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    • Patrick if i would have one take away for the team is what i read in between the lines; the display is to bright sometimes (if that is a correct assumption). Maybe a 'smart-dim' based on time can be added? With smart being either configurable as set times, or based on outside lux somehow?

      If the display can't be dimmed, it is maybe possible to still implement this by overlaying a black color in a certain percentage over the entire screen. This would increase battery life also probably since the LEDs doesn't have to shine this bright.

      Like
      • Patrick@NEEO
      • Community Manager
      • Patrick
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Gilles van den Hoven The display can be dimmed, and the NEEO Remote does have a sensor to measure the brightness. Therefore an automated is possible.

      Like
  • Pav 

    Do the already entered transport buttons work? You'll find them as << and >> or via shortcut screen as REVERSE and FORWARD.

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      • Pav
      • Pav
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Andy yes the transport buttons work, but they don't give the same tactile experience and are more difficult to get accurate control with which means I often end up Forwarding way too far etc. To use them means you have to hold the remote in an abnormal way, use two hands or have the remote laying down on something. All in all it's a pretty basic function that doesn't work well and means that I don't bother using the remote and have been sticking to using the regular cable box remote.

      Like
      • Andy
      • Andy
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Pav 

      Thanks for the info! We are looking into this ASAP!

      Like
      • Andy
      • Andy
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Pav 

      The Reverse and Forward buttons should be fixed! The new data appears around 7PM CET. Please update your device according to this guide. Thanks!

      Like
      • Pav
      • Pav
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Andy No luck as of yet. It did update but no change in functionality. I will try again tomorrow.

      Like
    • Pav Hey, is everything ok or are you still having problems with the Reverse and Forward buttons? Thank you for your feedback.

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      • Andy
      • Andy
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Pav

      Did you see Emily's previous post? Anyway, we're out of ideas. Hopefully you can live with it.

      Like
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