Logitech, already a major player in the universal remote control world, has unveiled its latest attempt to get you ditch your old IR buttons - the Logitech Harmony Express is on sale now and it has Alexa built right into the core.
Obviously, the main objective of the Harmony Express is to control your TV and any consoles or set top boxes you've got attached to it, but the built-in Alexa can, of course, be commanded to control your connected smart home devices, as well.
As with the Fire TV remote controls, you need to push a button to fire Alexa up and then you can ask Amazon's digital assistant anything you'd ask an Echo smart speaker. Logitech states that it works with over 250,000 devices. The upside to having to push a button to alert Alexa is you don't have to say the assistant's name.
Think: "Turn on Apple TV", "Start Netflix", "Turn the volume up," and so on.
On the TV front, the companion app will search for any IP devices and apps it can control, such as streaming boxes and sticks, cable and satellite receivers, Netflix, Amazon Prime, that sort of thing. A neat feature is you can choose the preferred options for popular streaming services; so you can choose to have your Roku box handle all Hulu commands, for example.
As with the Harmony Elite, the Express will string together the relevant actions required to fulfil your command. For example, pushing the button and saying "Turn on ESPN" could fire up the TV's power, switch to the HMDI input of your set top box and enter the correct channel number for ESPN.
Here's some bad news, though - it's expensive as heck. $250 for a non-display remote that, lets face it, is basically a jazzed-up version of the remote you get in the bottom-end $39.99 Fire TV package. And even the Roku remote has enabled Alexa now.
The hub that comes with the Harmony Express is also not the same, nor compatible, with the existing Harmony hub that's used on Logitech's existing popular Harmony remotes, such as the Elite.
So, while the design looks great and the functionality is no-doubt top-notch, $250 seems way, way too much money to get Alexa in your hands. We'll reserve full judgement until we've had a proper testing period, though, and publish our Harmony Elite review.