My initial impressions and experiences with the Sofabaton U1 Universal Remote.
The battery door is kind of strange. Do you just get your fingernails under those slots on each side and bull the thing off? Apparently so. Does seem to latch back on fairly securely, though. (I've seen worse, such as some of the Fire TV remotes, where getting the battery door off was a real challenge.)
The buttons are mostly pleasingly clicky, but I don't know what they were thinking of with that tiny little numeric keypad, with those tiny little keys, that are placed way too close together for anybody with hands larger than those of a small child.
It does sit pleasingly in the hand. It's smaller than many universal remotes, so it should suit even smaller hands.
There's a lot of shiny black plastic. I hate shiny black plastic. Over time it inevitably ends-up with millions of tiny scratches and ends up looking terrible. We shall see. (Or maybe not. See below.)
Setup and Programming
Pretty straight-forward. Really one of the better aspects of this remote. There are some things that aren't immediately clear, such as how to program punch-through buttons ("punch-through" is how you allow, for example, your receiver or TV volume and mute to be controlled while your streaming device is selected), but, once you figure that out, it works well.
Major documentation fail: When I put in our TV, a recent-model LG, it went through a "push the button and tell me if it works" method for determining which of LG's myriad of codesets worked. What they didn't say was to start with the device powered off. Thus: Yes, the first button worked. But now the TV, which had been on, was turned off, so none of the others did. I started over with the TV off and successfully added it.
In my limited experience, with just one device, it does not work well. The procedure is straightforward, but, when I'd press a button on the "training" (source) IR remote it would announce it failed to learn it. Then, on the second try, without exception, it would claim success. The results were a disappointment. Operation was erratic and some buttons worked not at all. This happened with two different training remotes.
(I expect this will be a fail, in our case, due to the IR emitter issue I note later on.)
It had everything in its library except our X-10 Powerhouse IR controller. We use X-10 home automation throughout the house, and extensively in the family/media room, for light control. It doesn't know that controller and learning from another IR remote was a complete fail. (Discussed above.) I haven't tried adding our archaic Denon CD player, yet.
Lest you think that X-10 controller an off-the-beaten-path device: My newer Home Theater Master MX-500, GE/Jasco, and All-In-One universal remotes all had it in their libraries. (My older MX-500 did not. I successfully trained that one from the All-In-One remote.)
There's the small numeric buttons, for starters. That part of the keypad is terrible for my large hands. (I wear an XL glove.)
There's nothing, anywhere, to tell you what button controls what. Luckily, most of my educated guesses proved right.
Our Yamaha receiver has multiple inputs (naturally), multiple effects modes (rock concert, orchestra hall, 70mm adventure film, etc.), as well as stereo, Dolby Pro Logic, Dolby Digital and THX. That looks like it's all going to have to be configured one-by-one, with a lot of guessing and experimentation.
As an X-10 Powerhouse IR controller remote, it was a complete fail.
I tested it fairly thoroughly with the Apple TV (Bluetooth) and the LG TV. The basic power, volume up/down, and mute buttons work for the Yamaha receiver. Everything works as it should with the ATV (incl. the home key--which is fully functional).
The Channel Master DVR+ was a fail. It mostly worked, but, when selecting a folder of recorded content it would skip right past the pop-up sub-menu and right into the folder contents list.
I haven't tested it with the Sony BD player beyond navigating around the menus and turning it on/off.
The IR emitter is a lightweight. Perhaps I'm spoiled by our old MX-500 remotes. All you have to do is aim them in the general direction of the wall where the HT equipment resides and they work. The Sofabaton you have to aim pretty much directly at the device you wish to control, or no go. (I suspect this is going to become a show-stopper for macro programming if I do get around to playing with it.)
There's no back-lighting on the buttons. In a dark room it would be a challenge. (Particularly that numeric keypad.)
They've got a nice idea. If your needs are simple--streaming device, TV, maybe volume/mute on a receiver or a sound bar, ok. But for power-users like us I think it needs a lot more development. With its usability problems and device incompatibilities, I'm leaning toward sending it back to Amazon.