Logitech Harmony 700 Remote Control (Black)Manufacturer: Logitech, Inc
List Price: $149.99
Street Price: $114.10
Not content with what the HT Guys have declared the best universal remote on the market, Logitech continues to put out new Harmony Universal Remotes. Of the two most recent models on the market, the Harmony 700 and the Harmony 900, we've had a chance to look at the 700. It is the less expensive of the two, and can be found in retail stores and online for an MSRP of $150 US.
The manual tells you to reserve 45 minutes to get the remote set up. If you're a first-timer, that might be about right. You need to make sure you know the model numbers for all your home theater equipment and also set aside a few minutes to get familiar with the programming software.
For us, and likely for those who've owned a Harmony before, it's much closer to 15 than 45 minutes. As is customary, we started from scratch, but there's really no difference in how most of the Harmony remotes are programmed. There are only subtle differences on what buttons it has, how many soft buttons are available, etc. It took about 15 minutes to program 700 even when you consider the time it took to include all our customizations.
In addition to the remote, the box includes a USB cable for programming which also doubles as a recharging cord when plugged into the included wall adapter. So yes, this Harmony is also a rechargeable model, but it's slightly different. For this one Logitech chose to include 2 NiMH rechargeable AA's. We found the charging cord to be a bit short, but since you can get a week's worth of use out of one charge, there's no need to keep it constantly plugged in.
It would seem that one benefit of the AA form factor is that if the batteries die, you can simply swap them out for some standard AA batteries you have lying around until you can get a pair of new rechargeables. We didn't test this theory, though, since the manual warns of a risk of explosion should you replace the batteries with an incorrect type. Sounds like an episode of MacGyver in the making.
The 700 is a replacement for the trusty 880 many of us had grown to love. But admit it, it needed a face lift and the 700 provides just that. It will drop you to four soft buttons from eight on the 880, but it provides more hard buttons that are laid out much better and a much easier to get to. It also adds three hard buttons for the most common activities, Watch TV, Watch a Movie and Listen to Music. Of course you can always override those to do whatever you want.
The Harmony line of remotes is award winning and a lock for the Home Theater no-brainer award, in our opinion. The 700 continues in that tradition. Setup is as simple as you can get. Then you get one click to turn everything on and setup right to do whatever you want in your home theater. Every button on the remote does exactly what you'd expect it to without having to switch between devices, then one click to turn everything off.
All the buttons light up, so if you're watching in the dark, a simple shake of the remote lets you see everything perfectly.
So the 700 falls right in the middle of the Harmony lineup. Entry level is the 510 for $100 MSRP. You then step up to the 700 for rechargeable batteries, a color screen and a slightly more elegant aesthetic. From there you can move up to the Harmony One for $250. It gives you a color touch screen with more soft buttons and a charging cradle. And then up to the cream of the crop in hard button remotes, the 900 for $400. It looks just like the One, but includes built-in RF.
It's worth noting that we use Harmony remotes almost exclusively in our homes and consider the Harmony One to be the de-facto standard in how a home theater remote should be built. Harmony also offers a complete touch screen model, the ultra-sexy 1100 for $400 MSRP. But we tend to prefer hard button remotes for their ease of use and simplicity.
In our food analogy from Episode #372, the 880 came in as a nice steak dinner. Enough to get dressed up, but a great deal at the same time. You'll brag about what you got, and how little you paid for it. The 700 fits right there as well, only this time you're going out to the newest steakhouse in town.
As with any Harmony remote, the 700 is an excellent choice to control your home theater. It's new, sexy and incredibly easy to use. While overall it doesn't represent a huge departure from the 880, it does offer some nice usability upgrades. For the coolness factor, the One with its touch screen is still where it's at, but for those who want the best of both worlds, a great, easy to use remote that costs a little less, the 700 is ideal. If you haven't tried a Harmony universal remote yet, you owe it to yourself.
Posted by The HT Guys, April 12, 2010 8:17 AM
About The HT GuysThe HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.
Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.
ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.
Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.