Logitech's brilliant "Advanced Universal Remote Control" range makes it simple to drive even the most complicated lounge room with the press of a button.
Unfortunately Logitech has a habit of stripping out features in new models to encourage people to upgrade to more expensive models. The new Harmony 700 is a classic example of this, priced at $AU299 like the old Harmony 785 - which will be phased out.
|The Logitech Harmony 700: we like the Harmony range, though we think the older Harmony 785 model is better when it comes to features and value for money
The Harmony 700 is missing several key features compared to the Harmony 785. In a nutshell;Number of controllable devices
- The 785 can control up to 15 devices.
- The 700 can control up to 6 devices.
- The 785 features a Li-on battery and comes with a recharge cradle.
- The 700 includes a NiMh battery and doesn't come with a recharge cradle, you need to recharge it via USB.
- The 785's screen displays 6 activities at a time.
- The 700's screen displays 4 activities at a time.
(This is offset by the 700's introduction of dedicated buttons for common activities such as "Watch Live TV" and "Watch a Movie" - although these new buttons aren't backlit).
The changes to the 700 strip it down to a similar feature set as the $130 Harmony 525, although there is a new $130 Harmony 515 when has even less features than the Harmony 525.
Logitech has also removed the ability to customise multi-step macros from recent models and this may apply to the new Harmony 700. New models like the Harmony 900 (released at the same time as the 700), still let you create multi-step macros controlling multiple devices using the supplied software, but you can no longer manually edit each step.
It's interesting the note that the 700 and 900 reintroduce the four coloured buttons that were removed from the $499 Harmony ONE when Logitech abandoned the idea of separate European models. Such buttons are often important if you're using devices using such as Pay TV boxes. The Harmony ONE can only display 3 activities at a time.
As it stands, the old Harmony 785 is still by far the best Logitech remote when it comes to features and value for money. You can pick the 785 up online for less than $100, and it's worth grabbing one before they're all gone.
[Ed Note: the caption for the image with this story has been changed. The caption originally stated that the Logitech Harmony is "still by far the best universal remote brand on the market".]
Also in this series, Picking the Perfect Home Entertainment Box:
Part 10: Hulu blocks international access via Witopia
Part 9: What does Windows 7 offer in the lounge room?
Part 8: forget scratched DVDs, build a video jukebox instead
Part 7: Is Foxtel Download worth getting excited about?
Part 6: Is interference destroying your digital lounge room?
Part 5: Do you need a Freeview sticker?
Part 4: What's the best way to record your favourite shows?
Part 3: Networking your TV, PVR, console, set top box
Part 2: Creating a P2P season pass
Part 1: Internet video on the PS3
Buying a TV? Also see our series How to Pick a Great Flat Screen TV, And Not Get Sucked In By Marketing Hype