Broadlink Orvibo Harmony  – Smart Remotes

Broadlink Orvibo Harmony – Smart Remotes

The universal remote, a genius invention but not a new one, used to unify control over multiple devices in your home under one remote, preventing unnecessary / ugly clatter of several remotes on your coffee table or the constant search for the particular remote to switch on or off your TV / receiver / DVD / Set top box / cable / PlayStation / Apple TV / fan / heater etc.

A typical universal remote can “record” activation codes from any other remote and by that allow flexible programming of a versatile composition of remotes at your home. The undisputed leader in this category in the past few years – Logitech offers numerous models of such remotes under the brand name Harmony, has also developed a comprehensive cloud library of pre-programmed remotes with hundreds of thousands of models which you can download directly to your remote for a considerably quicker setup process.

The new generation of universal smart remotes comes with internet connection option, which means you have the ability to control your devices from anywhere in the world. The remote comes in the shape of small device (we’ll call it a “universal hub”),  which you need to place strategically so that it’s within range of the appliances it needs to control than connect it to a power source and to your local network.  This universal hub should than be accessible via a smart phone app which allows you to program in the various remotes and later activate them from anywhere in the globe.

 

In the coming days I’ll post a more detailed review on some of the smart remote solutions I had the opportunity to check in the past few months, but for now here is a quick review of a few notable players:

Update: for the detailed review regarding Orvibo & BroadLink check out the next post “Home automation on a budget – BroadLink vs. Orvibo“.

Logitech’s Harmony HUB

Logitech Harmony smart control hub view
Logitech Harmony smart control hub

The queen of universal remotes in the past few years, is Logitech offering the Harmony Hub as an independent unit or as bundled with a hand held standard smart remote (if you don’t settle for controlling devices using your smart phone, that would be much more convenient but also cost considerably more!)

 

As a long-time-user of Harmony remotes in the past few years, I approach their products with mixed feelings, on one hand the remotes are quite easy to setup & operate (although the windows management app seems to be stuck for about 10 years with the same mediocre look and interface), on the other hand – I’ve come to expect a maximum of about 4 years usage of their remotes, before they slowly start to degrade in functionality, buttons responsiveness goes does until ultimately you are forced to replace with a new remote.

The Harmony Hub has the benefit of the companies vast cloud library of known remotes for quick setup and it’s also compatible with a wide range of smart home related brand as well as IFTTT so I guess this would be the most advanced as well as most expensive option (so far I haven’t had the opportunity to examine this particular product first hand so I can’t provide much more input at this point unfortunately).

Several offers are available for this product line, the main bundles to consider are Basic / Advanced remotes with a variable number of devices the hub can control:

Broadlink RM-Pro

Broadlink RM2 Pro side view
Broadlink RM2 Pro

The smart control hub by Broadlink is available for purchase on a number of Asian and other e-commerce sites for around 37$ and it supports remotes with Infra-red (38K frequency), radio waves (433 & 315 MzH) and it connects to a WiFi 2.4GHz (802.11 b/g/n).

 

Orvibo AllOne

Orvibo Allone side view
Orvibo AllOne

Very similar to the previous product, the Orvibo smart control hub aka AllOne can be found on various e-commerce sites for 33-38$ and it also supports remotes with Infra-red (38K frequency), radio waves (433 MzH only) and connects to a WiFi 2.4GHz (802.11 b/g/n).

 

You’ll find more on the last two options I mentioned on more detailed reviews (very soon) but if you need the bottom line, I think the Broadlink RM Pro is slightly better than to Orvibo Allone (in terms of user friendly interface, setup simplicity and overall functionality).

Update: for the detailed review regarding Orvibo & BroadLink check out the next post “Home automation on a budget – BroadLink vs. Orvibo“.

 

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