If you have never heard of the tech company Sevenhugs, it might be because their product line isn’t very extensive—it consists of two remote controls and only two remote controls. However, in just over two years since they first launched their original Sevenhugs Smart Remote X on Kickstarter, the company has become a major player in the home entertainment world. Tech experts love them and so do consumers. In fact, when it was first launched, Digital Trends dubbed it “a magic wand for your smart home”
First, what is the difference between a smart remote and a universal remote?
Universal remote controls have been around for quite some time. They control everything in your home entertainment system, from your DVD player and TV to speakers and DVR. What’s great about universal remotes is that they usually work with any and every brand and model, eliminating the need for a drawer full of remotes.
A smart remote is next-level technology, and the Sevenhugs Smart Remote X is the first of its kind. Not only does it control your home entertainment system, but can also be programmed to work with other smart home devices, such as smart plugs or lights. It will probably work with most of these 18 things you need to have a smart home. It also features some pretty incredible technology unavailable in any other remotes.
Sevenhugs Smart Remote X vs Sevenhugs Smart Remote U
Sevenhugs offers two models, the Sevenhugs Smart Remote X and the Sevenhugs Smart Remote U. The X runs about $100 more than the U. The only difference between the two models is that the X features Point Mode technology (more on that below) and comes with three indoor positioning sensors to enable this feature.
What is so “magical” about the Sevenhugs Smart Remote X?
According to Burton Kelso, a tech expert, the Sevenhugs Smart Remote X is great because of its ability to work with thousands of other smart home devices. “It means that you can purchase the smart home products that you want and have a remote that will work with all of them,” he explains. Usually, with smart home devices, you have to stick with a particular brand to ensure that all of your devices will work together, for example, if you have an Amazon hub, you have to purchase devices that work with Amazon. Same thing with Google, if you have Google as your hub then you have to purchase smart home devices that work only with Google. But not with the Sevenhugs.
The other thing he likes is that with this universal control, you don’t have to worry about Amazon or Google tracking what things that you do in your smart home—and these 14 creepy things Google knows about you are just the tip of the iceberg.
Another plus: Because universal remotes control everything, they can be super complicated to set up and even more challenging to figure out. But according to experts and many reviewers, the Sevenhugs Smart Remote is incredibly user-friendly, even for those who aren’t exactly tech-savvy. “Sevenhugs’ goal is to simplify the modern home and make the technology that surrounds us more accessible and enjoyable by all,” John Michael Hauer, head of marketing at Sevenhugs explains to Reader’s Digest. “The remote is designed so that anybody can pick it up and intuitively know how to control various devices. We’re able to provide this experience through a variety of features.”
Sevenhugs uses their flagship technology, Point Mode, available on Smart Remote X, something Kelso is a huge fan of. In a nutshell, he explains “the display on the remote will match up to whatever you point the remote at.”
“Point Mode uses contextual awareness to know exactly what the remote is pointing at, then automatically displays the right controls—point at your lights and the light controls display, point at the TV and the TV controls display, and so forth,” Hauer says of the unique technology. It essentially takes the searching and guesswork out of figuring out how to control what you’re trying to control, which is what so many people struggle with while using other remote controls. “Point Mode allows anybody to pick up the remote and immediately know how to use it. All they have to do is point,” he says.
Also, both models are able to control multiple devices together by creating “groupings” (like multiple speakers, smart plug and lights) or “scenes” (custom automation that controls different types of devices and services simultaneously.) For example, if you click a “scene” you created for Netflix, in one click you can turn the TV on, dim the lights, and have all the right inputs turn on for your cable box/streaming device and speakers for the perfect movie night.
And, the remote is easier to set up than you would expect, thanks to the Smart Remote App, device scanning and Infrared (or IR)) learning, basically allowing you to quickly locate all the devices connected to your network and then choose how you want them to work together. Plus, with IR devices you can quickly find what model IR device you have by sending out just a couple signals via Smart Remote, avoiding any complex programming or product codes you might need when using other products on the market.
Another cool feature is that the remote is entirely touchscreen, allowing the user to customize all control screens to their preference.
Last but not least, the remote is a design piece, in and of itself—even the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) store thinks so. It is the only remote control currently featured on their retail site.
Are you ready to trade in your old remote for a new one? Here is where to recycle it.
What other devices is it compatible with?
Okay, brace yourself: The Sevenhugs Smart Remote is compatible with 650,000 devices. These include pretty much every television and Blu-ray/DVD player imaginable to Philips Hue light bulbs, Sonos speakers, and Sony Playstations.
What are other less expensive options?
If you aren’t ready to invest in a Sevenhugs Smart Remote X, the next-best option is the Sevenhugs Smart Remote U, which generally retails for around $200.
While there are other universal remotes, like the Logitech Harmony Series, offering some similar functions, Kelso maintains that none of them are as “robust” as the Sevenhugs Smart Remote. Basically, like these 15 other smart home devices, the Sevenhugs Remotes are worth every penny.
Logitech Harmony Elite Remote Control
Before the Sevenhugs Smart Remote came along, this high-end Logitech remote was basically the Rolls Royce of universal remotes. Priced similarly to the X, it features an easy-to-use touchscreen and is the brand’s most powerful and intuitive remote. It works with Alexa for voice control and will connect with up to 15 home entertainment and connected home devices.
Logitech Harmony Companion
If you aren’t super techy and are looking for a no-fuss, simpler universal remote, this Logitech might be your best bet. Costing a little over $100, it can control your TV and speakers as well as set-top boxes like Apple TV or Roku or Android TV. You can also connect it to your smartphone for one-touch control of your entertainment system and home automation devices such as Philips Hue lights or Nest Learning Thermostat.
Logitech Harmony Express Universal Voice Remote with Amazon Alexa
You may be surprised to find very few buttons on this tiny, Alexa-powered remote. All you have to do is just press, then ask for Alexa, and you will get an immediate response. If you have a bunch of Alexa-powered devices in your home, this remote will fit right in.
Logitech Harmony Smart Control with Smartphone App and Simple All In One Remote
If you are on a tight budget, consider this incredibly reasonably priced universal remote hub. For a little over $50, you get a pretty straightforward looking remote and a hub, that basically turns your smartphone or tablet into a one-touch universal remote. The Harmony Hub combined with a powerful app give you personalized control of up to eight devices—even through closed cabinets and walls. The Harmony remote can be used when your smartphone isn’t handy.