Harmony is easily one of the most recognizable universal remotes on the planet. Having been around for nearly two decades this remote has undergone many changes with hundreds of models over the years. The latest, Harmony Express, adds Alexa integration for a universal voice remote experience.
With digital assistants offering more and more control over our smart home devices, many platforms including AppleTV, Chromecast and FireTV have included the ability to command your device rather than type out search terms or manually navigate to an app. With Harmony Express, Logitech's big push is to allow you to control your entire entertainment experience with one remote and to augment that with voice control and the power of Alexa.
With Harmony Express, Logitech can now offer tons of voice commands that allow you to turn or off devices, switch apps or even change channels by number or name. In addition, you can control your entire smart home if its setup with Alexa. MSRP of the Logitech Harmony Express comes in at $249.99 with a one-year warranty.
Product packaging keeps the colorway and overall design we have seen from past products. On the front, we have an image of the remote and hub along with the Alexa logo to the right.
On the backside, we have more details on use of the remote with a focus on voice control.
Included in the box we have the remote and hub at the top, power cord for the hub to the left and IR extension to the right. The package also includes a USB cable to recharge the Harmony Express remote.
The remote offers a small form factor design with controls for volume up and down with mute in between. Play, pause and forward/reverse sit in the middle and up top a back-button home and option button. The large pad at the top is your Alexa command button with outer ring for navigation in menus.
Flipping the remote we have the speaker towards the bottom.
The bottom edge offers the micro USB charge port.
The included hub is the IR sender for the Harmony Express system and works similar to harmony hub although a bit smaller.
On the bottom, we have power and IR input for the hub along with a setup button.
Software starts out with an entirely new app, Harmony Express. We are using iOS for setup and control.
The Harmony Express app includes a guide or wizard to push you through setup. They use a three-step system that includes making an account, setting up devices and voice setup.
After creating or signing into your harmony account, you will start device setup by turning on everything you want to control. This will allow the Harmony Express to search for nearby devices on the network and nearby.
We then move into choosing a room the hub is in and answering a few questions from setup.
The next step is to move through Alexa Voice setup by saying a few commands to the remote letting it learn your voice.
After setup is complete, the app will be how you modify settings and devices along with your help if you need to know what commands can be used with Alexa voice.
After using the Harmony Express for the last three weeks, I can say that while not perfect 100% of the time I am quite amazed at how well the remote works in voice control. In three test scenarios, I'm able to get ample control out of Xbox One, a Denon AVR and Samsung TV while more complicated macros don't always work correctly such as changing streaming apps on Xbox One, they may take more setup or learning the correct Alexa commands.
Build quality is quite good for both the remote and hub. The hub does have a bit of a glossy finish which I tend to steer away from, and the LED on the front can be a bit bright at night. As for the remote, the Alexa rings is a vibrant teal color while the entire remote has a soft touch feel to it.
In the last few years I've relied heavily on harmony hub and elite remote and as I have dialed my setup quite well to this point, it can still be a cumbersome system that has me going between menus to get everything turned on and setup. Moving over to Harmony Express has simplified this so much with Alexa Voice control, you can simply tell the remote what you want, and within seconds it is done. That said, this remote doesn't come cheap, its MSRP sits at $249.99 as of this writing, but if you are in the market for any Harmony remote, this is the one you want.
Tyler's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Prime Z370 (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: Intel Core i3 8350K (buy from Amazon)
- RAM: Corsair Vengeance 32GB 4x8GB DDR4 3200 (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: Corsair Hydro H115i (buy from Amazon)
- Case: Corsair Air 540 (buy from Amazon)
- OS Storage: Samsung 960 EVO 250GB (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: Corsair RM850x (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 (buy from Amazon)
- Wi-Fi NIC: ASUS PCE-AC88 (buy from Amazon)
- 10Gbe NIC: ASUS XG-C100C (buy from Amazon)
- Thunderbolt 3: ASUS Thunderbolt EX3 (buy from Amazon)
The Bottom Line
Moving forward, the Harmony Express is the king of universal remotes and really the only unit you should have on your short list.