BroadLink RM4 pro review: Make your home smarter for under $50

Broadlink RM4 Pro with different remote controls

Broadlink RM4 pro allows you to combine your remote controlled devices into one

Photo: Maria Diaz/ZDNet

smart homes in; This is undeniable. But making a home smart isn’t cheap or an overnight process. Fortunately, there are a few products that will help you work with what you already have. One of them, the Broadlink RM4 pro, is a simple way to add some smarts to your home for less than $50.

This Broadlink device is a universal remote control that works as an infrared (IR) and radio frequency (RF) amplifier; It’s basically a hub that connects to your Wi-Fi and then you can set up your RC devices around the house, and add them to an app on your phone. So, your old RC ceiling fan can now be controlled through your phone or even with your voice through Amazon Alexa or Google Home, rather than just a remote control.

Likes

  • Low cost automation option
  • Old appliances or devices can be automated
  • Voice control devices through a home assistant

You do not like

  • Take some time to set up
  • Not easily compatible with Apple HomeKit
  • It must be in line of sight for the devices to function

Determine

Max IR range 26 feet / 8 meters
max range RF 164 F / 50 meters
network connection 802.11b/g/n>2.4GHz
RF support 315MHz and 433MHz
Voice control compatibility Google Home, Amazon Alexa
power source DC 5V 1A (Micro USB)

We recently purchased the 1999 mount top that we were trying to bring into the 21st century. This house was more of a financial hole than we expected, so we made several repairs and evict the squirrel eats a lot of our budget. While we’ve already replaced and added many more features to our home, changes like swapping out all of our ceiling fans with smarter fans are still pretty low on our priority list. This is where the Broadlink Universal Remote Control comes in.

The most attractive feature of BroadLink RM4 pro is the variety of devices it supports. Almost anything can be added with a remote control to the app and controlled from your phone or voice assistant. This means it can control televisions, fans, motorized blinds or blinds, humidifiers, cameras, light switches, garage doors, heaters, speakers, and more.

The device itself is a simple and lightweight black hub, weighing just 5.6 ounces. It features an LED status light, which is useful for setup. It can be placed anywhere within sight of other devices you want to control, as long as the RM 4 pro can be plugged into the wall.

Why get an IR/RF blaster?

Like all devices, the Broadlink RM4 pro comes with its own pros and cons, but if you’re in the know as to why you need this universal remote, consider what it might bring into your home:

  • Set up old remote-controlled appliances in your home to be controlled using an app on your smartphone
  • Create automatic processes and different scenes so that your appliances in the home are automatically turned on or off
  • Combine different remote-controlled items such as air conditioners, heaters, blinds, motorized blinds, shutters, fans, projectors and much more, all in one app on your smartphone
Close-up of the RM4 pro camera with LED lighting

Photo: Maria Diaz/ZDNet

Like many devices on the market, the Broadlink RM4 pro only connects to the 2.4GHz network, which usually isn’t a big deal, just something to consider when choosing an amplifier like this and during setup. Your phone will also need to be connected to the same network when set up, but you can use the app from a different network or from outside your home afterwards.

As the Apple HomeKit family, we have a file HomePod mini Run the show as a home assistant. The Broadlink RM4 pro is not directly compatible with HomeKit, however, unless you use something like Hoobs or Homebridge, it can still be a useful addition to your home. This Broadlink universal remote brings all the devices we want to use in its app, so we don’t mind too much that it’s not easily HomeKit compatible – yet. In the future, I’m sure we’ll either end up using Homebridge to integrate it or jump into a different voice assistant to give our girl Siri a run for her money.

Other voice assistants that are compatible with the Broadlink RM4 pro are Amazon Alexa and Google Home, and it can also be integrated into IFTTT.

Broadlink RM4 pro . has been installed

Broadlink RM4 pro . has been installed

Photo: Maria Diaz/ZDNet

Broadlink RM4 pro supports temperature and humidity sensor, which is included with the USB cable which you have the option to purchase separately or with the device. This sensor allows different automations to be created depending on what it detects. You can add, for example, automation where the ceiling fan turns on if the temperature in the room reaches 75 degrees.

The advantage of automation is not necessarily limited to the owners of the temperature and humidity sensor. The shortcuts, routines and scenes are actually very straightforward setup on the Broadlink app. Adding your location when setting up will allow the app to show current weather conditions around you, so you can also set up automation to turn on the space heater if the temperature drops below a certain limit. Or you can set up other triggers, such as turning on a specific device at a specific time of the day, when another device is turned on, or every specific amount of minutes.

Although RM4 pro is not directly compatible with HomeKit, you can add the devices on the app to Siri as a shortcut on your iPhone.

Broadlink RM4 pro . Setup

Broadlink App Overview

Photo: Maria Diaz/ZDNet

The setup can be one of the few downsides to this device. I found mixed reviews from users. Setup is either a breeze or a horrible experience. For me, setup was too time consuming, and it wouldn’t lie. I’ve seen a few setup videos before most people seem to mention that patience is key in setting up this device, well, patience is not one of my virtues.

My partner had the exact opposite experience; The process of adding the hardware and programming buttons was painless for him, although he admits it’s hard to set up.

A big part of why setup is a little tricky is that the device needs to be in line of sight with the device at all times. This also means that to control different speakers in different rooms, for example, you will need a Broadlink RM4 pro in each room where each one can stay in line of sight with the device it controls.

The plus is that you’re programming every button or function simultaneously, which is partly why patience is important, but it does provide the ability to tweak, rename and customize what each button will do from your phone.

Once you set up your devices, you can use your phone wherever you are and control your devices, which we were able to do without problems.

minimum

This universal remote control has been useful for controlling our ceiling fans, lights and TV from a distance. It worked flawlessly after setting it up, and it’s very nice to be able to turn off the downstairs fan from the upstairs bed, for example. I look forward to adding our fireplace and Christmas lights in the fall and seeing how that happens. We enjoyed the fact that it was a low cost option that added a lot of benefits to our daily lives, so it is definitely worth every penny.

Alternatives to consider