Sofabaton X1 Universal Remote and Smart IR Hub Review

Sofabaton X1 Universal Remote and Smart IR Hub Review

Buy it at Amazon: Sofabaton X1 Universal Remote and Smart IR Hub [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Simple setup for many devices, programmable and customizable, can combine multiple remotes and use voice commands.

You’ll receive the X1 remote, central hub, two 4 ft USB-A to USB-C cables: one for charging the remote and one for the hub’s power, single and double 6ft infrared transmitters, a wall adapter and a quick start menu and instruction guide. The remote control measures 7.5” long, 1.75” wide and 0.5” thick. At the top is a 1.5” x 2.5” OLED screen with 3” diagonal. This remote does not use disposable batteries and instead charges an internal battery via the USB-C on the bottom.

The functions on the remote are: “off”, a back button and up/down scroll wheel (for the remote’s menus), and the rest of the controls are for your controlled devices: a 4-direction navigation click wheel with center OK button, back, home, and menu, plus and minus, mute, and up down keys, rewind, play/pause, and fast forward, as well as four colored miscellaneous keys. If you’ve used Android streaming devices before then the bottom half of the remote probably looks pretty familiar (like the FireTV 4K remote).

To wake up the menu on the X1 remote, click or move the scroll wheel. The screen will display the remote’s remaining battery life the sofabaton logo, and has three main functions: activities, devices, and set. Activities are like routines so the remote can trigger a series of commands to one or more devices. Press the back button to go back to the previous menu. Devices will have a list of the device the remote can control, and Set changes the settings like syncing to a new hub, setting the LCD sleep timer, restarting the remote, and fix allows you to define the current power state of your devices and selected inputs.

The X1 hub is required for operation is this is the part of the system that sends out the IR signals via its 360 degree blaster. It has a glossy black finish and measures 3-7/8” square by ¾” thick. At the back you have the Bluetooth button, USB-C power input, and 1 and 2 IR blaster extension outputs. On the bottom are four rubber feet to keep it from sliding or you can mount it on screws using the two key hole slots. At the front, the LED will flash blue when Bluetooth pairing is activated, as that’s how it communicates with the remote. On top, there is a dot where you point your original remotes if you need to manually program their signals to it. This hub will requires constant power via the included USB-C cable and wall adapter. The IR extenders are optional and help the hub communicate with devices that it doesn't have a line-of sight to, like devices on shelves and behind cabinet doors. The emitters are pre-fitted with double-sided stickers so you can mount them in place.

To set up the remote, you’ll need to download and install the Sofabaton smart remote app and also login to or register an account. Then press the button on the back of the hub for three seconds until the LED at the front starts blinking to add it to the app and connect it to your WiFi network. After setup, you can start adding the remotes and command lists for your devices. There are a handful of quick add options like FireTV, DirectTV, etc. but you can also search Sofabaton's extension code library for the exact model of your device and download a pre-registered set of commands that will work with your device. If for any reason, the commands are not pre-assigned to the keys of the X1, you can manually assign the or even change the default assignments. Setting up my FireTV's remote took only a few minutes and the X1 works perfectly with my streaming stick.

I tried adding my projector to the X1, but it wasn’t in the code library and none of the code bases worked for it, so I had to manually program this remote in. You have to program each key on the remote one at a time. It's a bit time consuming, to name the keys, record their signals, and then assign them to button on the X1, but with a bit of effort, I was able to get the X1 to successfully control the projector. However, I did find it a bit strange that when naming the keys I couldn’t use special characters like plus or minus, underscore, or backslash, despite these characters appearing in some of the existing code libraries.

When adding my soundbar's remote, Polk’s MagniFi Mini AX, the exact model wasn’t in the code library, but I was able to get it added through the code base by verifying the functions through the testing menu. Again, this only took a few minutes to complete. After you have multiple remotes added to the X1, you can combine functions across them using the activities feature. For example, I created an activity called 'Theater' that allows the X1 to control my sound bar's volume, navigation of the FireTV Stick, and power on and off those and my projector all from a single profile, assigning these functions to different buttons on the remote. For activities, you can even define two commands per button on the X1 for both short and long presses, and that gives you the flexibility to use the same button for different devices within the same activity.

When testing the keys, I found that sometimes I had to trigger a command several times for it to work, and you can set this up to happen automatically in the repair keys section, under command repeats, and set it to trigger up to 3 additional times. If turning on/off your device requires multiple steps, like pressing the power button twice to confirm, you can set this up in the Macro settings for turn on/off menu as well. Note though, that the off button in the top left corner of the X1 can’t be used to turn off individual devices, as it only works for Activities. You’ll also notice that the remote keys don’t include dedicated on/off buttons, although they appear in the sofabaton app. If you want to use the X1 for turning on and off individual devices you can program those commands to specific buttons (like the miscellaneous colored buttons), trigger the soft keys in the app, create an activity just for that remote, or go into the command list for that device and trigger it from there. All the commands for a device, will show up in a list on the X1's OLED screen if you click on it from teh Device's list, so you can access all the commands in teh code base, even if you haven’t assigned them on to keys on the X1.

What’s cool about the X1 hub is that it also integrates with Amazon’s smart AI assistant Alexa, so you can use voice commands to trigger your activities as scenes, so for example, I created an activity for my projector, sound bar, and FireTV Stick called Theater and then added a routine to turn trigger the Theater scene as well as dim the lights in the room with a simple phrase. The last feature that I really liked is if you ever lose or can’t find the X1 remote, you can just head on into the app and tap 'look for the X1 remote.' A built-in speaker on the remote will start beeping loudly for 30 seconds to help you locate it!

Overall, the X1 Universal remote was easy to setup, has a pretty broad existing library command codes for a lot of different devices, and even if you can’t find your specific device, it’s simple enough to have it learn your remote, one key at a time. There are no batteries to change and the range of the central IR blaster is very good, but can be extended , if needed. My favorite feature is the ability to mix and match multiple remotes in custom activities that allow you to chain multiple commands together, so you can have a one-touch operation to turn on and off all your devices and a single remote to control them all. Then add to that voice commands with Alexa routines and you can access all your IR controlled devices (plus IoT devices) via your AI assistant without even picking up the remote.

Buy it at Amazon: Sofabaton X1 Universal Remote and Smart IR Hub [Affiliate Link]


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