Logitech’s new remote ditches the touchscreen for Alexa

Logitech has a long history of serving AV nerds with its advanced line of universal remotes. In an age of eight million set-top boxes, dongles and video-on-demand services, the Harmony line has done a good job streamlining users’ needs into a single device.

As the name suggests, the Harmony Express isn’t designed for as serious a crowd as its predecessors. In fact, the new remote skips the more advanced stuff like touchscreens in order to let Alexa do the heavy lifting.

Amazon’s smart assistant can be used to perform your standard array of tasks, like turning devices on and off, launching apps and going to specific channels. You also can do all of the regular non-remote Alexa stuff, like listening to news and controlling smart home devices. There’s a built-in mic and speaker, so you can converse with the assistant.

It’s a bit of a gamble. You never really know how much you’re going to want to use your voice to control a set until you actually try it. In fact, it’s a pretty minimalist product. Aside from the large Alexa button up top, there are a total of nine buttons on the device. That’s not a lot when it comes to all of the things it’s programmed to control.

It’s also $250, which will make it an even harder sell as the company attempts to triangulate the target audience for the device.

Certainly it’s good news for Amazon, in its quest to put Alexa on everything. Here’s Alexa VP Pete Thompson: “We’re thrilled to see Logitech simplifying the home theater experience by bringing the convenience of Alexa to its Harmony Express remote. With Alexa built-in, you can easily search and navigate content, control smart devices, access thousands of skills, and more – all you need is your voice.”

The remote starts shipping today.