Logitech’s New $250 Harmony Express Remote Places Alexa in Control

 Logitech simply announced a brand new remote control that shakes up what consumers have come to expect from the organization’s Harmony lineup. The $249.99 Harmony Express, which begins shipping today, has a refined little design which gets rid of the touchscreen and several programmable buttons of other Harmony remotes. Instead, Logitech is gambling everything on Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. Alexa is built right into the remote yes, there is a mic in there, along with a speaker so you may hear Alexa’s responses. In case Logitech’s other Harmony remotes are designed for the home theatre enthusiast audience, the Express is intended for casual consumers who want to walk in their living space, turn on the Television, and get to Netflix or Prime Video with voice commands.

That sounds great theoretically, but my time with the Express so far shows that Alexa might not be ready to handle all of that responsibility. Why in the world is this thing $250? Plenty of televisions and platforms such as Roku and Fire Television already support Alexa. Is Logitech’s capability to control a large number of living space devices worth such a premium on something such as the Fire TV Cube? Voice search is a wonderful bonus to get on remotes, but making voice the central user experience is taking quite a leap. For the initiation of the Harmony Express, Logitech is starting fresh.

The business made an all-new companion application that delivers an extremely simple setup procedure and interactions thereafter. For the time being, that application only works with the Express. This remote is not compatible with Logitech Harmony application, nor is its own heart cross-compatible with older remotes. It costs over Micro Universal Serial Bus, but you will rarely need to worry about the dead battery. To get started, you power all your devices on, and after that the application scans for them. It recognized my TCL Roku Television and Xbox OneI had to add my PS4 and Vizio soundbar.

Then, you drag and drop each device on its High-Definition Multimedia Interface port so the Express knows where to locate everything. It supports many popular devices such as Apple Television, Fire Television, and Roku. You may even choose which device you prefer using for each one of the popular streaming programs. After this includes the Alexa setup, where you will need to join Harmony Express on your Amazon account.