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 Post subject: Logitech Harmony 700 review.
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 10:30 pm 
Team Dino
Team Dino
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Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 6:29 am
Posts: 6125
Location: Huntsville, Alabama.
The back-story: I've had a Harmony 880 for my primary home theater system for a few years, controlling a HTPC, HDTV, audio receiver, and sometimes a cable box (TiVo or cable company provided). I've been very happy with the remote, and the time came for me to purchase a remote for my bedroom.

I currently only have a HDTV and a HTPC but will be adding a DirecTV HD DVR next month. I found the Harmony 700 on sale for a very reasonable price and decided to make the purchase.

Ergonomics: With the exception of the battery compartment the remote is relatively thin and flat. The battery compartment is rounded and comfortable. I found the overall ergonomics poor and uncomfortable to hold for long periods of time.

Buttons: Button placement is fairly comfortable and spacing is appropriate for both small and large fingers alike. Most buttons, minus activities, are back-lit and easy to see in a dark room. Activities are also available as soft buttons through the LCD. Non-standard functions are also available through the LCD with four functions per page. Page selection is made through a left and right button below the LCD. There are common activities (TV, movies, and music) and you can program additional activities to be selectable through the LCD. I have two gripes about buttons: the All Off button is tiny in size. This is slightly offset due to it being isolated. The other complaint is the pause and play buttons are attached to each other with play on top and pause below.

Programing the remote: Harmony remotes are known for the ever growing device compatibility, and while the 700 is no exception the programming is different from other Harmony remotes such as the 880. To program the remote you visit a website and either creating or logging into an account. A major complaint is the need to install a plugin for site compatibility. This differs in two ways from the 880 programming. The 880 uses a standalone application that communicates over the internet with Logitech's database of devices. Additionally the two accounts are separate. To program my 880 I use an account tied to a username/password. To program the 700 I use an account tied to an e-mail address/password. From there programming is straight forward. Enter all of your devices, select your activities, and finalize by selecting options, such as which device controls volume or changes channels.

Command responsiveness: Changing channels, raising or lowering the volume is instantaneous. Volume change is in units of two however. I am investigating this and will update this review if I find a workaround, however this should not be a deciding factor in systems such as what I am using.

Activity compatibility: While there is still large compatibility with devices there is less support for some activities, such as controlling a HTPC. For instance there are fewer extra buttons available through the LCD. This can be negated by remapping hard buttons on the remote that aren't used in the activity. Additionally this is an IR remote only. For RF support you need to step up to one of the higher end remotes. This was true of the 880 as well.

Pricing: The MSRP for the Harmony 700 is $149.99 US. Using Google Shopper you can find the remote for as low as $80. Newegg, one of my reliable and preferred e-stores, carries the remote for $119.95. I paid around the $87 mark for mine.

Batteries: Included with the 700 is two rechargeable AA batteries. To charge the 700 you connect a USB wall charger. The adapter itself includes a wall plug, but you can also use a longer 120V AC power cable with a double rounded connection (not included). You can also use standard AA batteries if your charge runs out and you need to use the remote.

Pros (Couch Potato): Access to Logitech's Harmony database of devices, rechargeable batteries included or standard batteries as an option, easy to configure activities, color LCD is easy to view, most buttons back-lit.

Cons (Carpel Tunnel): Limited number of pre-programed functions for certain devices such as HTPCs, ergonomics can be uncomfortable, different configuration utility and accounts from other Harmony remotes.

My conclusion? If you want an entry level Harmony remote and spend in the $80 range you won't be disappointed. You'll still get the great Harmony device database, but at the cost of some functionality and ergonomics.

The tough sell is that for around $100 you can get the Harmony 880 through Amazon. Although the 880 loses in the LCD and AA battery department it wins hands down in ergonomics and functionality.

My rating(s):

7 (if you pay full price)
8 (if you pay around $80)


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