Logitech Harmony 720 Advanced Universal Remote

It’s that time again…time for another Harmony remote trial. Despite its obvious absence from Logitech’s own website, a new Harmony universal remote, the 720, has made an appearance exclusively at your local Costco wholesale outlet.

This one shares the slim-line form factor of the 520 and Xbox 360 models, and it sports a smaller version of the full-color LCD screen used on the 880 and 890. While the color screen is a welcomed addition, it seems to take up an awful lot of room. In fact, this remote is a full inch longer than the Xbox 360 Harmony remote. Strike one.

Though the LCD screen and lighted bezel around the Activities button are very bright, the buttons themselves are very poorly backlit with [what I assume to be] blue LEDs. Apparently it must take a lot of juice to power this sucker, because the 720 has a rechargeable battery like the 880/890, which requires that you place the remote in a dock to recharge when you’re not using it. My annoyance that the home base for this remote would have to be somewhere near an outlet [and therefore not near the sofa] was quickly overcome by my annoyance with the dock itself. I found it far too difficult to seat the remote properly in the dock. It would slide around, lacking any sufficiently satisfactory click or physically noticeable reaction when properly positioned for charging. I should be able to feel it fall or slip into place without so much effort. Strike two.

With the 720, Logitech has warped the Harmony’s most-used buttons–the navigation pad, volume, and channel buttons–into a rectangular form. Even the navigation pad is now a rectangle, with the OK button barely perceptible in its center. I’m not sure how someone with large thumbs would even find and press the OK button. I think this is a bad design decision. The square design makes the already-difficult-to-use navigation rocker even more awkward. Making matters worse, they’ve incorporated the Mute and Previous Channel (Prev) buttons into the bezel into which the Volume and Channel buttons are also formed. I’ve ranted about this bezel design in previous reviews, but I believe that the bezel-bound buttons are Logitech’s worst design decision in their evolution of the Harmony remote line. These buttons are difficult to discern without actually looking at the remote, and they’re far too difficult to press. For whatever reason, you must push these buttons until they click, and if you exert the same amount of pressure required to push the Menu button (which is a rubber button that presses very easily) on these bezel buttons or on the navigation pad, they will not fully depress, or click. It’s just a bad, bad design, and I’m sorry to see Logitech continue it in another model. Strike three.

Three strikes, and it’s out. I’ll be returning this one, too.

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