SOFABATON X1 - Universal Remote with Wifi / BT / IR control and a Local API

We still have a few years. I'm going to wait and see what the future of the harmony will look like. Maybe somebody will find a way to keep it working or they will give us the database. Who knows.

All of these remotes these days are coming with too few buttons. I may be one of the few that utilize the buttons like guide, record, previous etc.

Then their is the integration and hub which to me is very important.

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It does seem they are going for the Harmonyish vibe.... I may wait a version or two two see how things go with their company and design. My only problem with my Harmony Elite is that it won't talk IP properly to my Hitachi Roku Tv (Rebranded TCL Roku TV). Works fine with IR though so not a huge deal, just a minor annoyance). No need to replace it right now.

I totally agree. I know this is a bit of heresy, but Control4 hard button remotes work well. The hassle of using a dealer/paid programmer isn't that much of a big deal as most of the programming is one time and remote programmers are not that expensive. There's a great deal on a system on eBay right now for US$250.

Wow...it is indeed a beast, but I do like the buttons!

What would really be interesting would be an open source hardware design that could be fabricated by different vendors but would need to be approved by some sort of comity with open source firmware/software, this would allow for longevity of the product, timely updates and have what the people really want. Could even have optional stuff like local API that could be installed or not depending on your needs.

FWIW: I have experience with many different Harmony remotes and also several Premium URC Remotes with RF-IR Hubs.

So after roughly a week of use, I think Im ready to provide a fair assessment:

The Good:

  • Quality feel and Solid construction
  • Very nice clear OLED screen
  • Good feel to the scroll / click wheel
  • Quite responsive and no noticeable lag
  • External IR ports work well with generic IR Blaster's using 3.5mm mono plugs.
  • Setup of Devices, On screen options, buttons and Activities is quite painless and intuitive
  • Doesn't lose Device or Activity states when tweaking settings and resending while using you are using your equipment (This is a right PITA on most Harmony and URC remotes)
  • Firmware for the App, Hub and Remote is being actively developed and updated
  • Massive supported device database - even if your specific model isn't supported, the generic code options for that OEM will almost certainly work.
  • The IR blasters in the hub are very effective, most folk won’t need the extra blasters
  • The buttons have a nice firm click with great tactile feel, but not excessively noisy either.

The Meh:

  • iOS app is a little buggy sometimes - I frequently need to kill it to reconnect to the Hub when updating my config.
  • After changing to a different activity it doesn't automatically change to your configured display options for that activity.
  • The button layout could be better - IMO the RR/PlayPause/FF buttons should be above the Volume / Channel buttons as they are currently too close to the bottom of the remote.
  • The included IR Blasters are not the "stick over IR port" style - they are meant as general "IR blasters" and this is not clear in the manual.
  • You can’t set global “power on / off” delays - instead you need to add a delay (eg 7 seconds) to every activity. This is a minor nuisance when your system is already on and you are changing activities.

The Bad:

  • You can't re-order your on-screen options after adding them - you need to delete items and re-add in the desired order.
  • if you have a smart mesh wifi system with a single SSID for 2.4/5Ghz frequencies, you need to disable your 5ghz radios to update the Firmware for the Hub and Remote.
  • the remote screen/ buttons lighting only turns on when you press a button or move the scroll wheel. This is kinda a PITA at night when watching a movie in total darkness.
  • The 4 colour buttons are not backlit

The Ugly:

  • if you have a smart mesh wifi system with a single SSID for 2.4/5Ghz frequencies, you need to disable your 5ghz radios just to get your remote working in the first place.

In Summary:
I really like this remote - however until Sofabaton knock off a few more rough edges I won't be replacing my URC MX-880 + MRF-300 in the lounge room. My wife would be very confused and unimpressed if I made her switch at this early stage. I'll happily keep running it in my games room tho.

Latest review Update: 3rd of May 22

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Excellent review, very thorough.

How are the remote buttons? Mushy soft, clicky hard, noisy at all?

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They have a nice firm click with great tactile feel, but not excessively noisy either. Much better than the mushy feel of most harmony remotes.

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Just added a couple of updates to my review.

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Folks, there was a suggestion that a phone USB-C dock might be ideal for the X1 SofaBaton remote. So I bought this one:

Sinjimoru Phone Dock with USB C
https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07GQV2NXN?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share

Edit: US link: https://amzn.to/3vNfugS

And it works great:

Very cool. I think this is the same one for US folks

https://amzn.to/3vNfugS

Yep, it’s the exact same one, my link is just to the Australian site, but it comes from Amazon U.S.

Just lost the touch screen on my elite... Dropping back to my Roku tv remote for now...

That sucks! I have too much complexity to fall back on my LG magic remote, despite it being a sweet piece of gear and my OLED TV being able to mostly control my Xbox and amp.

I have a Hitachi Roku TV (Pretty much a rebranded tlc 70" Roku TV) We don't do any automation with the remotes but with the roku plug in for HE it's not hard to do anyway.... I think at this point at least for me, touch screen complexity is cool and all, but will probably hold off for a while...

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I have a clever HDMI device that tricks my TV into outputting all the HD audio codecs to my AVR as if it supported eARC (which it doesn’t). So I need to turn things on in a specific order with specific delays and then switch from ARC to “eARC” mode.

Took me ages to get it right. :nerd_face:

Plus I have a bunch of mini consoles on a HDMI switch and a PVR and several 90’s consoles that go via an analogue to digital converter.

And that’s just my games room. :rofl:

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That was another thing I was getting tired of dealing with, was massive amounts of audio equipment. Wanted to minimize things so got a good quality soundbar system. I'm actually much happier with it. (Also supports ARC)... I've found with my old age minimalism is my preference...

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I built my games room audio setup out of second hand equipment I bought via Gumtree. I was able to score (over about 9 months) about $4k worth of Krix speakers for only about $800 total.

The only thing I bought new was a cheap Yamaha AVR. And it sounds amazing - I’ve got about $15k of audio gear in the lounge room which the wife hogs and I hardly ever use. Kinda a waste really.

That said, I do occasionally use it when she’s out to listen to SACD’s and chill when the kids are in bed.

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I have sort of lost interest without an API to play with, and I don't think I'll put mine into service at home.

PM me if you want to take mine off my hands for what I paid in the Kickstarter (100USD). I only used it for basic testing and still have all of the original packaging.

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Im hoping they'll iterate quickly based on feedback - if not I'll offload mine for the Yio Two.

Im still pretty luke warm on the X1 atm, there's no way I could put one in the lounge room atm.

Download the Hubitat app