SwitchBot’s cheap universal remote can control your smart home, too

SwitchBot’s cheap universal remote can control your smart home, too

SwitchBot’s new screen-equipped universal remote can take control of more than just your home entertainment center. With support for Bluetooth and Matter, the remote should also operate smart home devices without users having to reach for their smartphones.

For those who struggle to keep tabs on the myriad remotes now included with everything from ceiling fans to light bulbs, the SwitchBot Universal Remote currently supports “up to 83,934 remote control models” over infrared, with a code library that gets updated every six months.

The remote is also compatible with SwitchBot’s other smart home devices, including its robovacs and curtain controllers and Bluetooth-controlled devices, which is what many standalone smart light bulbs opt for. The Apple TV and Fire TV will be supported at launch, although Roku and Android TV users will have to wait for a future update to make the remote compatible with their hardware.

SwitchBot’s latest accessory isn’t the only universal remote to boast compatibility with smart home devices. The $258 Haptique RS90, being brought to consumers through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, promises similar functionality. But SwitchBot’s offering is more appealing, with a much cheaper $59.99 price tag and support for Matter.

The ability to control Matter-compatible equipment from other smart home brands does require the universal remote to work in tandem with the company’s SwitchBot Hub 2 or Hub Mini, which will add to the price of the remote for those not already running one of the hubs in their home.

You can’t operate the SwitchBot Universal Remote through its screen, but it does have an iPod-like scroll wheel for navigating menus.
Image: SwitchBot

A 2.4-inch LCD screen on the SwitchBot Universal Remote should make navigating a long list of controllable devices more user-friendly, but you can’t touch it. All the controls are handled through physical buttons and a touch-sensitive scroll wheel reminiscent of early iPod models. If you lose it, you won’t have to hunt through all the couch cushions in your home. The SwitchBot app has a “Find My Remote” feature that will make the universal remote emit a sound so it can be located with less hassle.

A 2,000mAh battery promises up to 150 days of battery life, but that’s based on an “average screen use of 10 minutes per day,” which doesn’t seem like a lot. Users may find themselves charging the SwitchBot Universal Remote more frequently, but that’s still more convenient than scrambling to find a fresh pair of AAA batteries when it dies.


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