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User reviews for the Harmony 700 from Logitech.
Average: 1.67/5.00 Median: 2.00/5.00
The Harmony 700 from Logitech is an economical version of the Harmony One. It features a color LCD screen with adjacent context-sensitive buttons, the One's unique hard button layout, plus control of up to 6 devices.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 1-3 months.
Review 3 made on Sunday November 4, 2012 at 4:05 PM.
Philips Pronto TSU2000, TSU6000, URC-A6
- Good for beginners. - Huge database of codes, IR learning really unnecessary. - Good ergonomic design.
- Does not use/cannot be programmed to use discrete Power On/Off codes. - Web-based, registered user setup- no stand alone programming. - Very small, useless LCD display.
I purchased the 700 to replace a failing Pronto TSU6000. My motivation was its good looks and the layout of the hard keys. It also seemed like a very popular model since you could buy one of these just about anywhere.
My first out-of-the-box bad experience was charging the batteries. The product has a micro-USB port for charging and programming. So I connected it to my USB charger. After charging overnight, the batteries were still dead. Turns out you need to use the USB charging brick that comes with the unit- no other USB charger will work. In fact, it won't even charge while connected to your computer during programming.
In order to program the remote, you need to sign up at Logitech's website. From there, a browser plugin is installed and then you run their fancy Java-based web pages from their site. There is no stand alone program, nor can you program any keys on the remote itself. This was pain for me running back and forth between my home theater room and my office computer. But more importantly, if Logitech decides to discontinue this product and take down the web pages, the remote could never be programmed again.
To program, you enter all the model numbers of your equipment into the web site, and then the web pages guide you through which inputs and outputs get connected (i.e., a/v receiver HDMI-2 is connected to Blue Ray Player output, etc.). That's basically all there is to it.
This ease of programming though has a big price. In my setup, it probably takes like 10 seconds to turn everything on. The problem is the way it does this. For example, to set my TV to HDMI-1, the harmony pulls up a video menu on the TV, scrolls down the list, then selects HDMI-1. Yikes! Even my factory remote has a discrete HDMI-1 key on it. Unfortunately, there no way to edit any of these macros. You're stuck with the method it chooses.
My biggest beef with the remote is that it doesn't use discrete power on/off commands. It has a "system Off" button as well as "activities" buttons like "watch TV" or "watch a DVD", but all these buttons do is just issue power toggles to all your components followed by input/output setup. When it gets out of sync (and that happens often), you have to press the help key and then the LCD display asks you which components are still on. Then you have to navigate through the component list, toggling equipment on or off.
There is very limited custom key programming. After a piece of equipment is programmed, you can only change the hard keys that are not pre-programmed. For example, if your equipment does not have a transport and doesn't use a "Play" key, then you can program that key, but only from a limited list of known codes for the equipment, or by IR learning.
Overall, this remote may be okay for the beginner with a limited list of home theater equipment. But since you're at Remote Central reading this review, I would bet this is not you.
IMHO, save your money and stay away from the Harmony product line.
The reviewer has used this remote control for 3-6 months.
Review 2 made on Monday March 12, 2012 at 9:01 PM.
Harmony 650 and 700
Logitech customer service has been top notch.
I started with a Harmony 650. It did not work properly, I got a free replacement and it did not work correctly. In both situations the IR only worked for 50% of the buttons. Then I got a 700 as a replacement, it only worked 50% of the time. The next one, only worked 75% of the time. I am on my 3rd 700 replacement. This one, the IR on all the numbers do not work. FYI, these remotes were set up properly and when they did work, about 50-75% of the time, they were awesome. IR periodically just went out on various buttons, to make for a VERY frustrating TV watching experience. We constantly had to resort to using the original remotes for TV, DVR and Bluray. So, why bother with crappy hardware like the Harmony. So, on my 5th broken Harmony remote. I am done and fed up! How I lasted this long I do not know. Logitech customer service keeps sending me free replacements, but I can do it no more. How can 5 in a row be junk??!! Is it possible? YES! Overall, I think if the remote worked 100% of the time, I think I would love it. But after this how can I say anything but these things are junk coming from Logitech. Almost everything I own is Logitech and have never had any troubles whatsoever. If you get one that works, good for you and good luck cuz the software blows chunks too.
The reviewer has used this remote control for under 1 month.
Review 1 made on Friday December 31, 2010 at 1:03 PM.
Good (enough) hardware. Huge database of emulated devices. Stylish look.
Very ill-designed software platform (including the fact it's web based). Very much less flexible in programming than usually stated. Pricey, if you consider the many software shortcomings and therefore its limited usefulness.
I was in search of a programmable universal remote, with great flexibility, and someone suggested me the Harmony series. So, with great expectations (given the good reviews and high praises I've read about) I've bought a Harmony 700.
The first impression is quite good: very sleek design, well balanced in hand. Buttons have the right feeling (likely better than the average remote controls it has to replace), the display seems a good idea (and it is, really) and the automatic lighting up when remote is picked up is a very smart touch. After some week of (light) use the battery hasn't run ot its first charge, that's good. Moreover, Harmony remote controls database is huge, so likely you'll find some ready-made emulations for your devices. Anyway, you can always change and fine tune function assignment to buttons as well as instructing Harmony to "learn" commands from the original remotes.
Unfortunately, Harmony smartness stops here or almost so.
First task I've tried to "program" was one of the simplest I can think of, for a supposed "highly programmable" remote: assign command sequences to a couple of programmable buttons, to quickly switch from TV to Satellite receiver and vice versa. In this case the remote has just to send a channel selection command to TV set (a short numeric string), to switch to Sat or the other way round, then automatically put itself in the appropriate target "state", i.e. the emulation of the original remote of the selected device. Since it's assumed that all devices are already switched on, any other command sequence is not only unnecessary but also harmful (delays, etc.) Simply, isn't it? Not at all, with Harmony remotes.
The fact is that Harmony "philosophy" is NOT based on remote's "state" (emulation of original remote for device 1, for device 2, etc., laudably manageable by software) but on "Activities", i.e. on "programmable" command sequences that LINK DEVICES used by that activity (e.g. "Watch Satellite" o "Watch TV") to some pre and post ACTIONS to perform on them. This means that if you want to switch from TV to Sat you have to define an Activity that handles both devices. Not a big trouble, isn't it? Unfortunately, things aren't so simple. And I can say that because, after some days of struggling with my 700 on that supposedly simple task, I've asked for support on Logitech Harmony forum, without receiving useful suggestions! After that, I've asked for advices on Remote Central forum and finally a smart and kind guy pointed me in the right direction.
First, if you use the usual default ("smart" ...) method to define an Activity from Harmony software interface, following its "wizard", it will demand to also manage switched on/off state of devices. Please consider that Harmony software has a feature called Smart State Technology (quite a pompous name for a remote so difficult to program to switch between emulation states ...), which simply keeps track of switched on and switched off states ... that ITSELF has managed! This means that if the devices are turned on by any other means such as a power switch, Harmony remote will go out of sync. Add the inconvenience of having a single power toggle command for a large part of existing devices (instead of separate unambiguous power-on/power-off commands) and if you (or someone in your family) will use the original remote to switch on/off, you'll find Harmony will perform an action exactly opposite to the desired one! Of course, Harmony is not to blame for that but it's important that you keep in mind that limitation. At the end, if you are SURE that anyone in your family will EVER use just Harmony remote for ALL switch on/off operations you can rely upon Smart State Technology, if not is much better you use the "Leaves unused devices on" option (and so I did). You could also deactivate switch off on device definition but this will also deactivate the dedicated "All Off" button! So much for "Smart" State Technology ...
Second, by default Harmony activity wizards ask for TV input selection method. If you use that facility the wizard will use it's predefined method to select input source and that couldn't be the best choice. In my case, predefined method badly follows the WORST (slow and kludgy) method between all ways to select input on my Loewe TV sat! So, to implement a simple and quick switch between TV and Sat I had to pretend my TV has no input by deleting all inputs in its predefined list, this avoided the (unchangeable!) predefined selection. Then I added the simple command sequences and assigned them to two of the three (yes, there are just three ...) quick access activity buttons at the top of the remote. By the way, these few and very useful buttons are the only not backlighted buttons, please don't ask me why ...
At the end, following the above smart suggestions given to me by an expert guy in Remote Central forum, I managed to instruct the remote to do the basic job I've bought for.
Please note: I'm not a newbie in computers or in programming, I've been a software developer for fifteen years (and I can say a quite good programmer, according to feedback I had in my career)! The fact is Harmony software has a very rigid philosophy and this reminds me many cases I've seen of "smart" interfaces, very useful to perform complex tasks but not so good in doing simple things. Having heard so many praises about Harmony "full programmability", I started dealing with it just like if it were REALLY highly programmable, until when I sadly realized it isn't. It's a strange prepackaged beast, with a clumsy web based interface and a set of wizards that are likely good for VERY basic operations but not good at all for any operation that stays outside their "philosophy".
Basing my judgment on several weeks of use, I'm now convinced that Harmony's software philosophy is badly flawed:
- too much rigid and "activity-centric" (activity wizards are ok but they should be a benefit not a straitjacket!) - internet connection MANDATORY for any configuration change (what if I go to my tourist home on the mountains for holidays and I have no internet connection? It also has a crazy timeout that thrust you out after some time of inactivity, without saving your modifications! Absolute madness ...) - no configuration backup (scary ...) - no configuration cloning (it would be very useful when testing new activities derived from existing ones) - no step-by-step command sequence debug facility (isn't this a "programmable" remote? so, why no "debug" mode to send commands one-by-one to devices, allowing to individually check the effect of any command?) - poor programming interface (clumsy menus, no possibility to edit already assigned commands, not even to simply change delays, etc.)
Frankly speaking, in my opinion Harmony software is a significant example of ill-conceived software.
Some guy at Logitech Harmony forum told me that I've simply bought the wrong kind of remote for my needs. Probably he's right BUT it weren't true if Harmony software would be just a little bit more flexible. I'm not saying they should fully abandon the "Activity" concept (although I'm not fond of it at all), I'm just saying they should at least add a software switch between remote emulations and allow to easily edit wizard generated sequences, so to be able to "tune" them even in things like input selections. This shouldn't be a difficult thing to implement, since it's essentially a subset of current features plus a simple status flag identifying the controlled device, so I'm quite surprised in finding that these remotes lack a similar feature.
About hardware, it's quite good but not perfect. For example, why quick activity buttons don't lighten up? I even suspect that Harmony designers think that their use is just to start "Watch TV" activity at 9 pm, after that you'll switch-off the light in the room and never touch any other quick access button before the end of the evening! Why no "free use" programmable button, F1, F2, etc? Yes, you can assign command sequences to colored buttons but often these buttons (red, green, yellow and blue) already have their specific functions on original remotes. Display is "spectacular" (especially because it's the color one) and useful but has a quite narrow angle of good viewing.
All in all, I think that these remotes are (at least my 700 but I suspect it's quite representative of the whole family) both too much complicated for inexperienced guys and too much limited by their software for in-depth remote programming. For sure, it can't be given to elderly or absolutely non-technical people. And if in your family you have such a kind of people, they likely will go on using original remotes, messing up the wonderful Harmony Smart State Technology! So, I can't think of a user category to which these remotes could fit well, maybe just the soft-core amateur which lives alone ...
Anyway, if you are thinking about buying one of these devices please consider their activity-oriented nature and the fact it means being quite rigid and limited in programming. Much more rigid than you could think when reading enthusiast reviews on the net.