Logitech Harmony 700

The Harmony 700 is a fine remote, but Logitech's older universal remotes outclass it in features and value.


7.2
CNET Rating
5.5
User Rating

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Design

We're normally a bit critical of busy remote controls, simply because extra buttons usually mean a much tougher learning curve, along with the distinct possibility that you've got a remote with buttons that you'll never conceivably use. We'll give Logitech's Harmony 700 something of a pass in this regard, simply because as a universal remote, there's a few more buttons on it that you might actually want.

The latest in Logitech's long-running Harmony remote series looks very similar to existing models. A small 1-inch LCD screen sits at the top, but unlike models such as the Harmony One, this isn't a touchscreen, it's just a display for showing two TV-centric activities at a time. Above the screen are dedicated buttons for the kinds of activities Logitech presumes most TV fanatics will want to engage in — Watching TV, Movies, Listening to Music and a button labelled "More Activities" that acts in much the same way as the "Activities" button on previous Harmony remotes have done.

Features

We've always rated Logitech's button-based Harmony remotes well at CNET. The same isn't entirely true of the company's entirely touchscreen-based models such as the Harmony 1100i, which have always hit a difficult price and usability point. Still, the engine that makes the entire Harmony range sing is still very much present in the Harmony 700, and that's the simple web-based interface for setting up the remote itself. The Harmony database claims it knows the IR codes for around 225,000 devices, and it's possible to add more if you've got the original remote for a model it doesn't know to hand.

The Harmony remote software may be the same, but it's tough to look at the Harmony 700 itself and not view it as the rather stupid cousin of existing older Harmony models. It's only capable of controlling a total of six devices, compared to 15 for older models such as the Harmony One or Harmony 785. Obviously home A/V set-ups vary and six may be more than you personally need, but it's a pretty hard limit, and we're not even sure why it's a limit in the first place.

Unlike other Harmony remotes we've looked at in the past, Logitech's opted to go for rechargeable AA batteries for the Harmony 700, rather than Lithium-ion. This has some usefulness if the batteries are flat — you can always chuck in another set — but it also means that the charging is purely from a microUSB cable rather than a handy charging dock.

Performance

Setting up the Harmony 700 was a simple enough affair, as it's identical to every other Harmony remote. Install the Harmony software onto a PC or Mac, set up a Logitech account for your remote — annoyingly you can't put multiple remotes onto one account for some reason — and tell it the details of all of your home A/V gear.

We always like to test how up-to-date the Harmony database is, and in our tests the one item it didn't find was the Toshiba 22DV615Y TV. That gave us the opportunity to test its ability to pick up new remote codes, a somewhat tedious procedure. We've had to do this in the past with previous Harmony remotes from time to time, but the Harmony 700 was particularly fussy when it came to recognising IR codes until we flipped it upside down to fully reveal its IR sensor.

The Harmony 700 only displays two activities at a time, with the option to flick to other activities from the front panel, and it took us some serious time to get used to which buttons flick between activity choices and which ones launch them. For the record, the side-mounted buttons handle activity launching, while the base ones flip between activity choices. The rubber buttons on the Harmony 700 are slightly squishy, and depending on your personal choice that can either be comforting in giving a lot of responsiveness before a button press is registered, or annoying in that you have to press a bit harder than on previous plastic-buttoned models.

We're also a little puzzled why a remote control that ships for US$150 in the States demands a AU$299 price point in Australia given the current exchange rate, but that of course could change.

There's nothing patently wrong with the Harmony 700, but we still can't score it particularly high. That's not so much down to the Harmony 700 itself, but simply because there are other models still on the market that outclass it at similar or cheaper prices. The Harmony 785, for example, is strikingly similar, except for the fact that it controls 15 devices and can be had for around AU$200 less at the time of writing. Even the technically superior Harmony One, which Logitech insists RRPs for AU$499 can quite easily be purchased online or in retail stores for around AU$250, less than the Harmony 700's AU$299 retail price point. Clearly those models may well be run out and leave you with the Harmony 700 as the only entry-level Harmony model, so if you're keen on a Harmony remote to nestle under the Christmas tree this year, we'd suggest you hurry.

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Hoffy
5
Rating
 

Hoffy posted a review   

The Good:Good support, Tilt on, rechargable.

The Bad:Setup and No backlight for 'Activities' eg. Watch TV and 'all off' button!

This is not a remote for everyone. You need to pretty savy at working with computers and working around software. Took me 7 hours of setup and fine tuning 5 components with activities and I'm pretty good with this stuff. If you can make it thru the setup and fine tuning it works well. I just don't understand why all the buttons are not illuminated - All off, Watch TV Watch Movie etc not lit!! Why Not????

 

pop posted a comment   

I have a Logitech harmony 525 and although being a bit of a computer moron I managed to set it up fairly easily. My grandkids play w11 which has to be set up sepatately but they do it with ease and when I come back to watch T.V. the help button sorts it out quickly. My wife has trouble with it only because she won't sit down and let me show her.

 

Madmacx posted a comment   

Sony is the problem fella not logitech.

gavmiester
7
Rating
 

gavmiester posted a review   

The Good:Poor mans Harmony One

The Bad:Nimrods that review as a 1

Not a bad product, but not a patch on the harmony one. Sparks comments did give me a chuckle though. Getting an "IT EXpert" whatever that is, nice broad discription, and a home theatre installer to look and they both couldnt work it out. So, what your saying is, you didnt set your computer or your home theatre up yourself, and you cant work out how to program a Harmony remote? I wonder why that would be. Gold. If you want to send me your contact details, Ill send my 7 year old out to help you.
As for this remote. Its solid, but not as robust whith its feature set as the Harmony One. Id go out and buy a One for $190 over this in a heart beat, and infact, I just bought my second One (all puns intended).

 

Non-union Mexican equivalent posted a comment   

The Good:easy to use

The Bad:missing features

You can find the 785 for around AU$100 online, more features than the 700. How stupid does Logitech think we are? 785 is sturdy as well, the kids keep dropping mine on floorboards and it's still ticking.

krust
9
Rating
 

krust posted a review   

The Good:wife loves it, does what it is meant to do

The Bad:don't pay rrp

i have just bought the 785, and it has made married live much better. wife loves the fact that 5 devices can be controlled, and it was easy enough to set up. even though it didn't know about the marantz 6004 amp i have, teaching it wasn't too much of a pain, and only took about 1hr.

oh, and i picked it up for just over $100 shipped, so shop around on the net.

 

Spark posted a comment   

davo, I am fully aware of how the program and remote is supposed to work, and to be fair it did work correctly about 10% of the time. I spend many hours "ironing out bugs" as you put it to ensure they would work correctly, and they still wouldn't. I fail to see how anyone with half a brain would put up with a product that has "limitations" as you put it, when it is clearly advertised as being superior to every other remote on the market. An absolute horrendous waste of money and time, and as I had an IT expert, AND and home theatre installer to take a look at it and both couldn't get them to work either. So evidently this isn't my issue, but Logitechs for retailing a flawed product. Considering I sold both on ebay for more than what I paid for them just goes to show the power of their marketing machine. First name bright, hmmm, might use that from now on...

 

davo posted a comment   

spark,
First name obviously not "Bright".
You program macros which requires some knowledge of the right settings for your components. Yeah, the remote does have limitations, but it doesn't take much to iron out the bugs and get you kit running how you like... Now how your wife/gf/life partner fares using the remote can be a different story...

Spark
1
Rating
 

Spark posted a review   

The Good:Nothing

The Bad:Everything else

I have had 2 Logitech Harmony remotes, both of them absolutely hopeless. If you press Watch TV, both never went to the correct input channel; infact tell it to do anything and it never went to the correct settings! The in-built learning capability is rubbish, all it does is ask "did that fix the problem" which it never does. When it is finally set up again to the right channels/inputs, the next time you use it it goes back to the wrong ones. And this was with ALL the components it had to control being being Sony! I have sold both of the remotes on ebay and gone back to using 6 seperate ones, which although a bit of an eyesore on the coffee table, are quicker and easier to use.




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User Reviews / Comments  Logitech Harmony 700

  • Hoffy

    Hoffy

    Rating5

    "This is not a remote for everyone. You need to pretty savy at working with computers and working around software. Took me 7 hours of setup and fine tuning 5 components with activities and I'm prett..."

  • pop

    pop

    "I have a Logitech harmony 525 and although being a bit of a computer moron I managed to set it up fairly easily. My grandkids play w11 which has to be set up sepatately but they do it with ease and..."

  • Madmacx

    Madmacx

    "Sony is the problem fella not logitech."

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