Logitech Harmony Advanced Universal Remote for Xbox 360

Yeah…we’re still not there yet. For those of you, like me, who have purchased an Xbox 360 gaming console, the Harmony Remote for the 360 might seem like remote control nirvana. Unfortunately, this 520-knock-off doesn’t hit that target.

Logitech did introduce several notable improvements in this model:

(a) The introduction of Back, Clear, and other new buttons makes this not only more suited toward Xbox and Media Center configurations, but more useful overall;

(b) the Mute and Prev buttons are now below the Volume and Channel buttons, respectively, allowing the Back and Info buttons to be close to the navigation pad—this is a much more natural configuration, keeping your thumb from having to stretch too far for these functions;

(c) the introduction of the color coded Y/X/A/B buttons not only makes it possible to access basic Xbox functions, it adds more programmable buttons that you can leverage (such as the pre-programmed Live TV button);

(d) changing the shuttle (play/pause/stop/etc.) buttons from hard plastic to rubber makes them much easier to press;

(e) the green backlight makes the small text much easier to see [the picture here does not show the actual lettering, but an artist’s rendering], and the ring of light in the navigation pad is a nice addition;

(f) overall, the contrast of the text and symbols on the remote is much easier to see in dark lighting conditions than with the 520; and

(g) this remote has a much more solid and sturdy feel to it than the 520.

That said, it still has a few problems that I just can’t get past:

(a) The ridiculous “ring-of-buttons” rears its head again, with the volume, glow, and channel buttons formed together around the navigation pad—this makes each of them hard to differentiate by just feeling around. I’d much prefer simple rockers for both volume and channel. These are the most used buttons on any remote, yet they’re among the hardest to find here.

(b) The volume, glow, channel, and navigation pad buttons all still require a hard click, which requires far more pressure than seems appropriate. Again, rubber buttons on rockers could solve this problem.

So, I’m closer to finding the perfect remote, but not quite yet. I love the Harmony concept, and I truly hope that Logitech gets it right in the near future. In the meantime, this one went back to the store.

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