Logitech Concord Specific evaluation: Why, Alexa, why?

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Logitech is the king of the common distant management expertise. However enhancing the setup expertise would not get rid of the constraints of voice instructions.

There are three distinct elements that make up the full expertise of a distant management.

First, there’s the matter of setup — getting the distant to correctly discuss to your TV and no matter is linked to it. Then there’s the matter of the way it works as soon as that half is dealt with. The third half is the distant management itself.

If any a type of elements ought to come up brief, all the expertise just about falls flat.

The brand new Harmony Express (which retails for $249 at Amazon however nearly actually shall be on sale sooner or later) is Logitech’s newest try and navigate that minefield. And guiding the best way is — you guessed it — Amazon Alexa. The Specific itself is a cleverly easy distant, particularly while you have a look at it alongside Logitech’s different choices.

They are not a foul pair, Alexa and Logitech, and one I’ve anticipated for fairly a while. For as a lot as I’ve beneficial the likes of the Logitech Harmony Companion distant for years now (an eternity within the tech world), the corporate has — till now — missed out on the voice assistant bandwagon. It is tied in fairly properly to Alexa and Google Assistant on the server facet of issues, however neither was really inbuilt to any of Logitech’s remotes.

Spend even just some minutes with the Concord Specific, and it is fairly straightforward to get the lay of the land.

Communicate to me

Logitech Concord Specific

$249 at Amazon

Alexa makes it simpler. Generally.

The Concord Specific is a simple-looking distant that trades myriad buttons for a easy structure — and has Amazon Alexa inbuilt.

The Good

  • It is Logitech’s first actual distant with voice management
  • Small dimension, with a easy design
  • Setup course of is improved over older remotes

The Unhealthy

  • Nonetheless requires nerding out over your
  • Not all gadgets and providers have deep Alexa integration
  • Price shall be prohibitive till it goes on sale

It is sophisticated …

Logitech Concord Specific The Setup

Logitech has a number of expertise with the common distant expertise. Nonetheless, there’s actually solely a lot it may possibly do with the primary and second hurdles in our scheme. Discovering and manipulating the myriad gadgets linked to your TV will all the time be a ache level, wanting some miraculous common answer.

Varied strategies of auto-discovery (CEC, a deep library of merchandise, and prayer, largely) go a great distance towards making the method as straightforward as attainable. And Concord Specific has a brand new, devoted app to information you thru that course of, obtainable for Android and iOS. The gist is just about the identical because it was beforehand. Train it what you will have attached, and what you have to watch and listen to what you wish to watch and listen to.

This new iteration makes an attempt to automate creating what we might beforehand name an “exercise.” We’ll use my bed room as the instance right here. I’ve a Vizio TV and sound bar (each a couple of years outdated now), and an Apple TV 4K. As soon as these three gadgets have been added (solely the Apple TV was found robotically, however including the Vizio equipment was solely as troublesome as wanting up the mannequin numbers), I did not need to do anything. Certain, I needed to inform the Specific app which TV enter to make use of, and that I make the most of the sound bar for audio. However I did not need to manually arrange any actions past that — nor did I’ve so as to add them to any buttons on the distant.

You may additionally need to log in to the Logitech app itself (you need to use Google or Amazon or your individual login), and you will even have to put in the Concord Ability for Amazon Alexa, so the whole lot will place good with one another.

That is nonetheless a complete lot of steps, and it should be daunting for lots of parents. That is not a knock on what Logitech has achieved, although. It is made the perfect of what is nonetheless a reasonably sophisticated process, and the brand new app deserves credit score for that. It is less complicated and extra visually compelling than its predecessor, and let’s hope there’s some kind of merging of the 2 sooner or later.

Alexa is nice — till it is not

Logitech Concord Specific In Use

Humorous factor about Logitech’s remotes — I exploit, possibly, a half-dozen buttons on the Concord Companion or the Concord Elite. I haven’t got cable or satellite tv for pc, due to this fact I do not want numbers. And whereas the Concord Specific appears fairly spare — as a result of it most positively is — it additionally has all of the buttons I want.

However that is the annoying half the place the same old caveat will apply: Your expertise will differ a very good bit relying in your setup.

I haven’t got cable or satellite tv for pc TV. Your TV could also be newer or older than mine. You may use completely different streaming video apps.

The easy reality is that any common distant management of this kind can — and can — be bottlenecked by the APIs of no matter it’s you’ve got linked to it. Truly, much more so as a result of the Concord Specific depends on Amazon Alexa to take action a lot heavy lifting.

A fast and simple instance: I can press the voice button and say “Open YouTube” and Alexa is aware of to open up YouTube. But when I say “Open YouTube TV,” Alexa has no concept what to do. (It would not actually matter if that is Alexa’s fault, or Logitech’s fault, or Apple TV or Roku’s fault. The actual fact is it would not at the moment work.)

So your expertise very a lot will differ primarily based in your preferences. When it really works? It is not dangerous in any respect. When it would not work, properly, it would not work. And Alexa will let you know that it would not work.

All in all, it is not a foul voice expertise. However … it is also nonetheless a voice expertise. And due to the simplicity of the distant itself (extra on that in a second), it depends closely on that voice expertise for issues like altering inputs, and turning on the TV within the first place. (Good luck with that if you happen to often battle insomnia with a partner sleeping subsequent to you.)

The easy reality is that voice management could be a nice choice. However it shouldn’t ever be the only option for controlling things.

Tiny distant is tiny

Logitech Concord Specific The

A number of extra issues on the itself.

You may discover a couple issues within the field. There’s the distant management, which very a lot appears and appears like a small, plastic distant management. I’ve lengthy sung the praises of the Concord Companion and its curvy design — and I nonetheless say it is one of many best-designed gadgets in my residence. The Concord Specific, alternatively, is fairly run of the mill. It appears and feels fairly cheap — OK, I will even say low-cost — and would not actually stand out from what we have seen from different remotes, just like the Amazon Hearth TV, and even the outdated Nexus Participant. (The latter is what I am most reminded of.)

Additionally within the field is a puck-shaped “blaster” that does a lot of the heavy lifting. It is what connects to the web and fires off infrared indicators to your whole gadgets. (The distant connects to it through Bluetooth LE.) It is also fairly shiny and attracts mud as if it by no means was examined exterior of a clear room.

And that is that. The distant solely has 9 buttons (OK, 10 if you happen to rely the Alexa/OK button), and that is really type of a pleasant factor in 2019, and long-presses will add to the variety of actions they will carry out. (Professional tip: Maintain down the mute button to show your whole gadgets off.)

I would not precisely say the distant management itself is all that inspiring, however there are some good little particulars. Just like the backlit keys, and the flexibility to make use of the Concord Specific app to assist discover your distant when it falls between the sofa cushions. (Why cannot I simply use one other Alexa system to set off that, although?) And since Alexa is inbuilt, you need to use the distant to do anything Alexa can do. You may simply need to press the button first, after all.

From left, the Logitech Concord Companion, Concord Specific and Concord Elite.

The underside line

Logitech Concord Specific Ought to You Purchase It?

The Concord Specific finds itself in a precarious place, and largely not of its personal fault.

First, take into account the worth. It retails at $249, which places it between the $349 Concord Elite, and the $159 Concord Companion. However the factor is that neither the Elite nor the Companion really prices that a lot. On the time of this writing, the Elite goes for $269 on Amazon, and the Companion a mere $104. You may pair the latter with a full Amazon Echo Plus and get just about the identical performance — plus an honest audio speaker — for almost the identical $249. Or get your self a Concord Companion and an Echo Dot for about $145 out the door, and deal with your self to an honest meal.

For a common distant with voice management, Concord Specific is the clear alternative.

And therein lies the issue with all this voice-command expertise — whether or not it is Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant or Apple’s Siri. If it is already baked into the whole lot, there’s not all that a lot incentive to pay additional to have it constructed right into a sure one thing — on this case a distant management. And that is a disgrace, as a result of Logitech’s execution actually is not responsible right here. It is a fairly good distant, performed about in addition to you possibly can hope.

However when you’ve got a newish setup — Roku, Apple TV, Android TV or Amazon Hearth TV — you nearly actually have already got remotes with voice management that additionally work throughout the limits of their respective ecosystems. So why improve?

When you’re in search of a common distant that may management all of the issues — and accomplish that by voice — Concord Specific is the clear alternative. It controls all of your TV stuff. Having Alexa inbuilt means it may possibly do all of the issues Alexa can do, and management all of the issues Alexa can management.

However so, too, can so many different issues that you could be already personal — or that do not price $249 to duplicate performance.

Common Distant

$249 at Amazon

Alexa makes it simpler.

The Concord Specific is a simple-looking distant that trades myriad buttons for a easy structure — and has Amazon Alexa inbuilt.

Additionally nice remotes …

A finest purchase

Logitech Concord Companion

$104 at Amazon

If silent buttons are extra of your factor, that is the common distant for you.

The improve

Logitech Concord Elite

$269 at Amazon

All of the buttons you possibly can ever want, plus a touchscreen.

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