The world has been waiting for a true universal remote. Many have tried, most have failed. Some remotes use codes that fail to recognize or work with at least one product in your home entertainment set up. Other systems use dongles to replicate the IR beams, and they can be hit or miss too.
Blumoo claims to succeed where others have failed, or at least mildly annoyed technology users and home entertainment fans. A successful crowdfunded effort, it is now generally available.
It uses your smartphone as the control for any of 225,000 devices and also acts as a music streamer and TV guide to add some much needed utility.
And, for better or worse, it can work across the whole family’s devices, so anyone can be in charge, and there’s no more hunting for remotes or looking for a new set of batteries. In the following Blumoo review, I’ll break down the key features and pros and cons.
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Key Features of the Blumoo Smart Remote
The (For the latest prices check here) Blumoo smart remote features a Bluetooth receiver and an IR transmitter in one squat box. This sits among your home entertainment devices and a free app that works on iOS and Android devices (no Windows Phone).
It comes with a phono lead to connect to your music system for audio streaming, and takes a minute to install.
Compatibility: Setup via the app on your smartphone is also theoretically easy. You’ll need an iOS device supporting Bluetooth 4.0 or an Android device running Android 4.0 or higher. Enter your zip code to get your local TV providers and then enter your make and model of TV, you can add other devices later on.
Then you’re up and running, with an app that you customize to all your home entertainment devices, to help find your favorite shows and to enjoy your music, or put up with whatever the family wants to play.
Pros of the Blumoo
Blumoo smart remote If don’t want yet another small box perched on your stereo shelf or entertainment center, then you can get an IR extender to tuck the main unit out of the way, which is a positive, but it would be helpful if it was part of the package.
Customization: Perhaps the best feature of the app is the way you can customize remote pages. The TV guide can set reminders, and remote layouts can be tuned to get rid of all the buttons you never use.
You can also custom build buttons to instantly set the right channel and device to watch a show, which is a small piece of genius.
Compatible Devices: For smart home owners, there are plenty of devices supported including Insteon controllers, home IR lighting systems, Wirepath Surveillance products and much more. That list really is huge, and is available on their website, so you can check out your gear before you buy.
Cons of the Blumoo
Some Devices Are Not Supported: Some devices simply aren’t supported, I couldn’t find anything to help my generic three-port TOSLINK switcher change the audio that it sends to my 5.1 speaker setup, while, PlayStation consoles require a third party USB adapter.
Perhaps this can done via Custom settings, or their supposedly kick ass customer support team can help.
Can be Tedious to Scroll/Search: Another issue lies with the complexity of TV and other gadget product guides. That’s not Blumoo’s fault, but the limited screen space on the phone app means finding the right device from a long list can be tricky.
Again, you can check in with their customer support for advice, but more information about heavily similar or broad product families would have helped.
Still Not Perfect: With what seems like a small company behind it, new app updates and features are being rolled out, but perhaps not as quickly as some would like, and the database definitely needs some work.
The app also needs some work to make it more customer friendly, but hopefully those changes are in the pipeline.
Final Recommendation – Worth the Price Now?
The Blumoo smart remote makes it easier to do what can be a bit of a nightmare with one of the traditional universal remotes. Who wants to keep entering huge numbers of key codes?
The good news is that it is comparably priced to those devices, so this isn’t using its smart badge to ramp up the price. Be sure to check out this listing for the latest pricing discounts.
It can easily replace most of your main remotes, and a host of lesser-known devices and brands, but of course, there will come a time when you can’t find your phone or tablet and have to dig around in the drawer of dead remotes, batteries and old Nokia phones to find the originals.
If you want a better universal remote, give the Blumoo a go and you can soon have your home lighting, entertainment settings and other gear all running from the palm of your hand without that hellish basket of remotes.