Back in the days when home automation was expensive, the lucky few users who could afford it would control their homes via large, tablet-size remotes and wall-mounted control panels (think Crestron). Though smartphone and tablet apps have made these appendages largely redundant, Bose wants to bring some pre-iPad nostalgia back to audio with the SoundTouch Controller, a hardware remote for the company's networked line of audio products.
The Bose SoundTouch Controller is a puck-shaped device with a centralized, multiline display OLED screen. (Looking at it, one immediately thinks of an audio version of thethermostat.) It's designed to control all of Bose's SoundTouch components, such as the , and it's included with the SoundTouch Stereo JC system and SA-4 amplifier.
Here's the kicker though: the Controller operates via Bluetooth with a system component located within up to 70 feet, and this means the remote can control only one system at a time. No multiroom control here -- for that, you will need to use the app.
The Controller comes with wall-mount bracket. It's also portable if you wanted to take it with you, but you would then have to re-pair it with another system, again using the app.
The only reasons to buy this for your Soundtouch 20 would be that it has hardware buttons -- unlike the existing iOS and Android smartphone app -- and it saves a little bit of time unlocking your phone and launching the software.
At $99, though, it's pricey for what it does, especially given that the SoundTouch app is free -- and the lack of multiroom control is extremely limiting.