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Tired of a cluttered coffee table filled with remotes for the TV, soundbar, stream box, etc? A universal remote might just be the answer.
The top universal remote controls can assist in clearing the mess off your coffee table. A universal remote can enable you to operate everything from a single device rather than requiring you to use one remote to turn on your TV, another to turn on your speaker, and yet another to turn on your streaming stick.
Even better, the best universal remote controls enable you to automate a variety of actions, such as turning on all the components and adjusting the appropriate settings with the push of a single button. You may search for shows, movies, and other content on various streaming services using voice search and smart home controls on some universal remotes.
If you’re looking to replace all of your remotes with a universal one for easier access to your TV and soundbar, you’ve come to the right place. We rounded up some of the best universal remotes you can find in the market today. Read on to find out which fits your needs best.
Right off the bat, the SofaBaton X1 will impress you with its exterior and interior packaging. In the box, you’ll find a neatly packaged remote, the hub, a few IR blasters, two USB cables (one for charging the hub and the other for charging the remote), a power brick, and instructions. The instructions are the weakest component here, though. Unfortunately, the instructions are unclear on how to connect and position IR blasters or where to locate the hub for proper operation.
Without going into too much detail, you are on your own if you require assistance with anything other than programming the hub. Non-technical persons who are unfamiliar with hub-based remotes will find it difficult. If you fall into that category, get ready to conduct numerous Internet searches for walkthroughs and guidelines. In terms of its build, the Sofabaton X1 and hub are superbly constructed. The fit and finish are excellent, and the remote seems well-made. The remote was covered in a black matte coating by Sofabaton that was stain- and fingerprint-resistant.
The hub feels sturdy, and it is built well. On the front, it contains a little indication LED. Power/IR blaster inputs and a push button to start pairing the remote are located on the back. The center of the Sofabaton X1 is the hub. All IR, WiFi, and Bluetooth commands for the complete system are handled by the hub. Yes, you heard me correctly. The remote is nothing more than a wireless link to your hub that provides tactile buttons for critical features and enables you to map commonly used commands to a particular key.
Additionally, you can train the system to recognize commands for devices not yet listed in the database at the hub. For instance, the Sofabaton will instruct you to press the button for 3-5 seconds while pointing the IR sensor of your device’s remote towards the circular icon on the top of the hub when you need to “learn” a command.
Those who have multi-device entertainment centers will need to look to alternatives like the SofaBaton U1 since Logitech is discontinuing its universal remotes. While costing less than half as much as Logitech’s Harmony remotes, this inexpensive choice offers comparable capabilities. The SofaBaton U1 looks almost identical to the Logitech Harmony universal remote, so if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Logitech must be truly blushing.
A small screen is located at the top, followed by a diamond-shaped directional pad, volume and channel controls, play/pause and other media controls, and finally, a number pad. The U1 even has a shape that is comparable. Because the Logitech Harmony universal remote and the SofaBaton U1 are nearly identical at first glance, if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Logitech must be truly blushing. Even the U1 has a shape that is comparable.
Although it wasn’t very difficult, setting up the SofaBaton to recognize my other remote controls took some time. You can either use the remote to point at the SofaBaton and have it learn stuff on its own, or you may search by name. You can change the button assignments for each activity when it learns your remote controls. The SofaBaton U1 is a functional universal remote control that costs around $50. It can be programmed to operate a sizable number of devices, just like Logitech’s remote controls, and it’s also fairly comfortable to use. The setup procedure is, however, a lot more difficult.
The array of far more cheap Fire TV streaming devices has always included the Amazon Fire TV Cube (2022), which has always stood out. The Fire TV Cube has become more intelligent as cable has lessened its relevance since it was first advertised as “the Fire TV that can control your cable box.” Additionally, Amazon’s streaming box is now $10 more expensive at $139 and comes with a significant new upscaling capability to help justify the price increase.
This new Fire TV Cube has been improved overall by Amazon. It is not only among the greatest streaming devices but also among the fastest, thanks to a new processor. Hard-wired Ethernet connections no longer require an adaptor dongle, and connecting to media drives and webcams is now simpler than before. It also features an HDMI-IN port, which means those of us who have many HDMI devices have one fewer cord to manage.
A blue light bar and four Alexa buttons on the upper side of the Fire TV Cube demonstrate that this Fire TV device is a full-fledged Alexa speaker, which is the main selling point for some users (trigger, mute, volume up, and volume down). The remote that comes with Amazon’s new Fire TV Cube is aptly named “Oops! All Buttons” because it has a multitasking button that displays recent apps and a system settings button.
With both a directional pad and all the regular buttons to allow you to play, pause, fast forward, rewind, go home, and go back by one screen, the Fire TV Cube 2022 remote gets menu and content navigation right. The Live TV menu button is also present, along with volume and channel controls. Even though cord-cutters might not understand those channel knobs, connected cable boxes can use them.
The functionality of the Function101 Apple TV remote is secondary to how well it fits in your hand. Its top edge, though by no means “sharp,” could be a touch duller, and that is the only quibble I have with it. It needs 2 AAA batteries, which are not included in the packing, unlike the Apple TV remote. Towards the bottom of the remote are Play/Pause, Stop, Skip Forward and Skip Back, Fast Forward, and Fast Rewind buttons.
The top of the remote has a menu button and a directional pad. The Apple TV is greatly helped by the fast-forward and rewind buttons because the Siri remote requires you to use its delicate touchpad to move ahead and backward. Additionally, the Function101 Apple TV remote’s buttons all feel fantastic and respond quickly, in addition to having navigational buttons. Even while you can’t scroll down a page of icons as quickly as you can with the Siri remote, you can still precisely land on the icon you’re looking for.
The TV button, which is fantastic for moving between apps, and the Siri button, which I mostly use for entering long and complex passwords (which doesn’t happen very often), are both absent from the Siri remote. The former represents a bigger loss. The Siri remote is not lighted, and neither is the Function101 remote.
Since the Harmony Home Hub was introduced in 2014, the Harmony Hub has mostly remained constant. It is a glossy black puck that is roughly the size of a Roku Premiere+ and measures 1 x 4.9 x 4.2 inches (HWD). You may put this wide-angle IR transmitter right in front of your TV or within your media center. The remote is the main attraction. The upper half of the 7.4-inch, slim black wand has a 2.5-inch touch screen.
By default, the vibrant, colorful screen separates Devices and Activities into two lists, allowing you to drill down into various sets of settings depending on the currently active device or active activity. Although the majority of alterations must be made through the Harmony app, the screen also gives access to a Settings menu. The majority of the system’s settings and operations are accessible via the touch screen, but the remote still retains a few useful physical buttons for routine tasks. Playback controls are located directly above the large direction pad, which is surrounded on the left and right by volume and channel rockers.
Below the pad are a set of four home automation buttons, a dimmer rocker, and four color buttons in addition to a menu button. Although the setup is very simple, getting all of your gadgets and activities to behave exactly how you want them to can be time-consuming. Install the Harmony app on your smartphone and plug in the Harmony Hub to get started. The app will lead you through setting up a free Harmony account to control your settings and connecting the Hub to your Wi-Fi network. The app will then assist you in connecting the remote and ensuring that it is compatible with the Hub.
If you don’t see an app that should be here, let us know what it is