Logitech announces a new remote control that stirs what consumers expect from the company's Harmony product line. Today's Harmony Express, priced at $ 249.99, has a remodeled small design that eliminates touchscreens and eliminates many buttons that can be programmed with other Harmony remote controls. Instead, Logitech is betting everything on Amazon's Alexa assistant.
Alexa is built into the remote itself. Yes, I have a microphone with speakers to listen to Alexa's response. If other Logitech Harmony remote targets home theater enthusiasts, Express is for consumers who walk into the living room, turn on their TV and go to Netflix or Prime Video by voice command. Although theoretically good, Alexa may not have been prepared to fulfill all responsibilities in the Expression so far.
Also, why is this stuff in the world $ 250? Many TV and streaming platforms, such as Roku and Fire TV, already support Alexa. Can Logitech control as many of these premiums as there are living rooms? Voice search is a great bonus for using the remote, but switching voice to a central user experience is also a significant leap.
Logitech is launching to launch Harmony Express. The company has created a completely new companion app that provides a very simple set-up process and efficient interaction afterwards. Currently, this app only works with Express. This remote is not compatible with previous Harmony apps from Logitech and the hub is not compatible with the previous remote. Charged via micro USB, there is little need to worry about dead remote batteries.
To get started, turn on all of your devices, then the app will search for apps. TCL successfully recognized Roku TV and Xbox One. I had to manually add my PS4 and Vizio soundbar. Then drag and drop each device to the appropriate HDMI port so that Express knows where to find everything. Supports the most common devices such as Apple TV, Fire TV, and Roku. You can also choose your preferred device for each of the popular streaming apps. After this, you will need to link Harmony Express to your Amazon account when you get to the Alexa settings.
Once everything is done, you can say something like "Go to Netflix". The TV then powers up, switches to the appropriate HDMI input, and loads the app. You can open multiple streaming apps, but you can not tell Alexa to play certain programs. Therefore, there are times when you actually start to see something using a circular four-way navigation pad. Express can also adjust a specific channel (by channel number or name) through many cable boxes or antennas connected to my Roku TV in certain cases. By default, you can perform any command that the device supports. However, as with other harmonies, you should talk to the remote instead of pressing the touch screen or shortcut button.
I feel the remote itself is cool. I found that my thumb naturally lays on the OK / Voice button. It weighs almost nothing and has a soft touch finish on the back that adds grip. Alexa's voice is clearly communicated through the speakers.
And of course, you can always ask Express Alexa about things like weather or sports scores. Logitech designs, announces, and holds the Alexa integration, so the remote does not always hear "Alexa" like an echo speaker. You can adjust Alexa's reaction volume, but you can not turn off the voice completely.
Logitech includes an Infrared / Infrared Blaster in its box that connects to Logitech's server and gets all the commands for each device. When Express is turned on, the smartphone expands to echo speakers, so you can instruct the device to turn on the TV similarly. The TV or game console may already support Alexa individually. TCL TV and Xbox One do not need an IR blaster, but they have the convenience of bundling everything together.
However, there is also a chance of intersection and conflict between Alexa Skills. What happens if both TV and Harmony Express accept the "Go to Netflix" command and one actually performs the request? How does Alexa know how to use Logitech Express instead of controlling Xbox One with Microsoft technology? Logitech acknowledges that this is where consumers can get inconsistent results from time to time and that Amazon has something to solve. If you prefer to use a remote control, such as a remote control, the physical buttons on the Express control all applications or devices that are currently in use and are both backlit. You can also customize each button to briefly press and hold to perform other device commands. It is useful because there are not many of them.
I've had enough time at Harmony Express, but I have not been able to provide reviews yet, but I'm confused about who should buy this product. I got the concept and for whom? People who want a universal remote control that is not too complicated. But … $ 250? Would not home theater users prefer the customization and advanced automation features of Harmony Elite in terms of price? Alexa is not yet reliable enough for the crowd, and constantly talking to the remote is pretty annoying.
Likewise, I do not pass that much to many people who have added alexa convenience in their daily life. A hundred dollars? Of course, you can make better claims that can give you an opportunity to express. It is by far what I have requested without much trouble or hiccups. But I do not think Alexa has evolved enough to require Logitech in the living room for $ 250. Harmony Express does not replace Harmony products. The Harmony Elite remains the mainstream, and there are inexpensive options if you prefer a more conventional universal remote. However, if you want to test Logitech's latest approach, you can order Express now.