Logitech on Tuesday introduced the Concord Categorical, a brand new common distant that options the Alexa voice assistant.

Amazon’s more and more ubiquitous helper comes constructed into the system and is accessible through a big round button on the prime of the distant. The concept with the Concord Categorical is to make use of Alexa to manage the assorted gadgets in your house theater. Previous Logitech Concord remotes have been usable with an related Alexa ability for these with separate Echo gadgets, however right here the voice controls are baked in.

The Concord Categorical prices $250 and is on the market beginning Tuesday.

All about Alexa

The distant itself is small, gentle, and minimalist from a design perspective, emphasizing the newfound deal with voice instructions. There’s no built-in show and solely a handful of bodily buttons: simply fundamental playback, quantity, and navigation controls. There’s a microphone and speaker constructed into the system, naturally, and the Alexa button glows its acquainted shade of blue when activated. The few bodily buttons are all backlit.

In some methods, the usage of voice controls with the Concord Categorical is much like what Amazon has finished with its Hearth TV Dice streaming field. As with that system, you should use Alexa on the Concord Categorical to tune to particular channels on a cable field; saying “go to ESPN,” as an example, will instruct the cable field to enter the channel numbers related to that channel by itself. You don’t need to say “Alexa” to activate the assistant, however the Concord Categorical solely understands a restricted set of phrases—saying “change to ESPN,” to proceed the instance above, gained’t do something. The assistant can flip a TV or streaming system on or off by voice instructions, in addition to entry a cable field’s DVR recordings. Logitech says you should use comparable instructions to tune to particular channels by an antenna as properly.

This being a common distant, you can too use Alexa to manage varied different residence theater gadgets. At launch, Logitech says the Concord Categorical will have the ability to instantly launch Netflix and “comparable apps”—together with Amazon Prime, Hulu, and HBO Now—on an Apple TV (4th gen or later), Roku, Hearth TV, Sony Android TVs, and a choose variety of Samsung and LG TVs. It gained’t have the ability to do that on sport consoles just like the PlayStation four or Xbox One, although you’ll be able to nonetheless use voice instructions to change to HDMI inputs related to these gadgets after the right setup.

For the reason that Concord Categorical is an Alexa system, it additionally works considerably like a conveyable Amazon Echo. You may use the Concord Categorical to reply basic data questions, element the climate, see what’s arising in your calendar, or different typical Alexa duties. It may management varied good residence gadgets, too. The principle exclusion, in accordance with Logitech, is that it doesn’t help music and audiobook instructions, because it’d be a drain on battery and the built-in speaker isn’t designed for music.

Concerning battery life, the corporate says the Concord Categorical ought to final at the least a month per cost. (You cost it through a micro-USB port, and we’re a little bit disenchanted it lacks USB-C.)

Logitech says it plans so as to add extra voice management capabilities post-launch. Throughout a demo in New York Metropolis earlier this month, the corporate talked about it’s trying so as to add the power to launch particular exhibits or tune to particular sporting occasions by title, amongst different issues.

Nonetheless a Concord

Having the built-in voice performance is the large purpose you’d purchase the Concord Categorical over certainly one of Logitech’s extra commonplace common remotes, however the firm says the system works with all the identical gadgets as previous Concord remotes, sans voice instructions. That features a ton of TVs, A/V receivers, Blu-ray gamers, audio system, sport consoles, and the like, although it’s value looking the corporate’s compatibility checklist if you happen to’re uncertain in case your gear would work.

The distant comes with a puck-shaped blaster that makes use of infrared, Bluetooth, and WiFi to manage all these gadgets, in addition to a mini-blaster for extending IR vary if wanted. Having Bluetooth and WiFi permits the Concord Categorical to manage gadgets just like the PlayStation four that aren’t controllable by older Concord remotes that rely solely on infrared. While you’re paired with a appropriate system, the Concord Categorical’ on-device controls will routinely map to the system at the moment in use. The distant doesn’t want line-of-sight to manage these gadgets, both.

All of that is set by a brand new Concord Categorical app made particularly for the brand new distant. This implies the brand new distant will not be appropriate with Logitech’s current Concord app or the hubs which can be designed for older Concord gadgets. However it does make the setup course of a bit extra easy: the app will scan for the gadgets in your house—although you will have so as to add one or two manually—then have you ever drag and drop little icons for every discovered system onto the corresponding HDMI ports in your TV. It then has you affiliate streaming apps with sure gadgets, in order that if you inform the distant to “go to Netflix,” it is aware of which system to gentle up. Sadly, you’ll be able to’t use the app to really management your property theater; it’s primarily there for setup and the nifty potential to set off an alarm on the distant if it ever goes lacking. Once more, Logitech actually needs you to make use of your voice right here.

For what it’s value, Logitech says it isn’t taking any knowledge for promoting functions itself and that the Concord Categorical doesn’t document something when the Alexa button will not be being held down. However you’ll be able to anticipate Amazon to do the identical knowledge assortment it usually does with Alexa gadgets right here.

When you have little interest in being part of that, or in utilizing voice controls before everything, it’ll most likely be protected to miss the Concord Categorical in favor for the cheaper Concord Companion. For those who choose having a touchscreen, the higher-end Concord Elite is a greater match. Personally, on condition that Alexa is already baked into so many good residence gadgets today, my first impression is that the Concord Categorical market could possibly be a distinct segment one. It’s not arduous to think about the voice instructions right here getting blended up with different Alexa-enabled gadgets in a house theater. At $250, the distant definitely doesn’t come low cost, both. However when you’ve got a sophisticated residence theater and good residence setup and would favor to make use of your voice greater than bodily buttons, right here you go.

Itemizing picture by Jeff Dunn


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