Logitech as we speak introduced the Harmony Express — a simplified distant management that shuns a touchscreen and eschews an awesome quantity of buttons and as a substitute depends on Amazon Alexa to do many of the heavy lifting.
As dwelling leisure programs have develop into extra complicated — and the arrival of good dwelling merchandise solely deepened that complexity — Logitech’s distant controls additionally grew increasingly more futuristic. All sorts of buttons that may do all types of issues. Touchscreens extra like what you’d discover on early smartphones.
And, in fact, programming for all that complexity additionally develop into a bit extra … complicated.
That’s the place the Harmony Express actually appears to alter issues. It’s received a brand-new app to set issues up. And as a substitute of devoted buttons that may launch varied actions, you will simply press a button and inform the Express what you need it to do. “Turn on the TV.” Or “Watch CNN on Apple TV.” Take your choose.
You’ll nonetheless must stroll it by means of the preliminary setup, in fact. But the brand new Harmony Express app (on Android and on iOS appears far much less daunting than its ageing counterpart, so it ought to be far much less complicated for most people. (And, no, you possibly can’t arrange your older Harmony remotes with the Express app.) You’ll hook issues as much as your Amazon Alexa account, in fact, and that is what actually will get issues going.
And if any of your units have an accompanying Alexa Skill, the mixing is that a lot deeper. That’s additionally its Achilles’ Heel, in fact. Multi-function units like this are a slave to the API. And if the API ain’t nice, the consumer expertise can endure.
In different phrases, your expertise goes to differ relying on what all you have received connected in your front room, or bed room, or wherever. (It’s completely potential to make use of a number of Harmonies Express in a house.)
The distant itself is extraordinarily fundamental, although nonetheless very properly designed. The button you press to set off Alexa additionally serves as a variety button and directional pad. Elsewhere you will discover again, dwelling, menu, play/pause and ahead/reverse, and quantity controls. And that is it. Everything else is supposed to be triggered by your voice.
The Harmony Express sports activities a chargeable battery, which you will juice up through micro-USB. (The USB-C ecosystem simply is not fairly there, they firm advised us, and so micro-USB it’s.) You ought to get a pair months of use on a single cost, and it takes lower than an hour to juice again up.
Logitech Harmony Express will retail for $249 — squarely between the likes of the Harmony Elite and Harmony Companion. (Which have lengthy been the 2 common remotes we suggest.) Harmony Express is accessible as we speak at Amazon, and at Logitech’s web site. It’ll even be offered at Best Buy.
Also nice remotes …
Logitech Harmony Companion
($104 at Amazon)
If silent buttons are extra of your factor, that is the common distant for you.
Logitech Harmony Elite
($269 at Amazon)
All the buttons you possibly can ever want, plus a touchscreen.
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