Broadlink and Sonoff products are quite popular in the home automation category. They will allow you to control various things in your home remotely, including your smart TV, lamps, and IoT devices. Below, we will discuss how Broadlink vs Sonoff work and their features to find out which one that is the best home automation solution.
The following discussion will tell you about:
– How Broadlink operates
– The required devices to use Sonoff
– Which platform that is generally easier to set-up
– The features and capabilities of Broadlink and Sonoff
– The performance of Broadlink vs Sonoff
– Which home automation platform that is generally better
What Is Broadlink?
If you are tired with keeping track of all your remotes, Broadlink is the right solution for you. This platform is designed to replace all remotes for TVs, DVD players, speakers, and various home appliances with a single centralized universal system that can be accessed quickly through a smartphone or tablet. It is quite affordable, too. See also: Chromecast vs Miracast.
Having separate remotes for every single thing in your home can be a real pain. Besides the difficulties in keeping track of their locations and remembering which remote is which, some remotes can be expensive to replace if lost.
So, replacing them with a universal system totally makes sense. With Broadlink, you won’t need to fumble with different remotes. Just open the mobile app, and you will get instant access to every device that you have.
There are several different devices offered by Broadlink. To get you started, Broadlink RM Pro is a decent choice. It is an IR/RF blaster with a fairly compact size. It links to your mobile device via Wi-Fi, and it supports both IR and RF for sending commands to your home devices. It also has additional smart features, such as customizable scenes and automatic triggers. This way, it can turn most devices into smart units, even those that weren’t meant to be smart in the first place.
Setup Of Broadlink
When choosing between Broadlink vs Sonoff, ease of set-up can be a deciding factor. Between the two, Broadlink is generally easier to set-up. You won’t need additional devices and tools to start using it.
Although it is a Chinese product, Broadlink RM Pro has been designed with the English audience in mind. Its menu system supports both Chinese and English. The provided instructions are also clear and easy to follow.
After you take the unit out of the box, you just need to place it on a place with a direct line of sight to the devices that you want to control. The direct line of sight is actually only needed for IR-based devices, and not for RF-based devices. Then, plug the USB power cable and download the mobile app. Next, just follow the steps on the mobile app and enter your home’s Wi-Fi details. You can finish the process within a few minutes.
Broadlink RM Pro can detect devices that are in close proximity right away. You can add more devices later by calibrating their remotes on the unit. It works with most IR and RF remotes, so compatibility won’t be an issue.
Broadlink In Use
When tested, both Broadlink vs Sonoff work well. They both are able to centralize the controls for your home’s devices and appliances and provide easy, seamless access. Still, the features and capabilities differ.
The mobile app is available for Android and iOS. While the user interface is quite basic, the functions have covered all the essential tasks. You can back-up your configurations so that you can restore them later. Unfortunately, Broadlink RM Pro won’t work with other universal remote apps, so you can only use the standard mobile app to interact with the unit.
Although the mobile app is quite basic, it is able to hold up against many of the more expensive alternatives. The connection between the mobile device and the Broadlink RM Pro unit is stable. The unit is also able to communicate with the controlled devices reliably and consistently. Every command that is given through the mobile app is always carried out properly.
The ability to set scenes can be very useful for certain activities. Within a scene, you can configure multiple devices to turn on or off simultaneously. For example, if you have a home theater system, you can create a scene to turn on the projector, Blu-ray player, and speakers with a single click.
Meanwhile, setting a smart trigger will allow a device to turn on or off automatically when a specific condition happens. For example you can make the air conditioner turn on if the room temperature is high.
Now, let’s take a look at Sonoff. Even though it is also meant for home automation, the way it works is quite different. To begin with, you will need a few different devices to set up the system. But, before you fret, you should know that Sonoff offers a unique benefit, which is the vast programmability. So, it may be an attractive option for people who like to tinker with their devices.
In our test, we use three Sonoff devices. They are Sonoff Dual, Sonoff POW, and Sonoff TH16. With these units, we can create a sophisticated control system for various electronics, with rules that are based on useful metrics such as power consumption, temperature, and humidity.
Sonoff Dual is a switch with two mechanical relays. It can be connected to physical actuators, such as lamps and power outlet switches.
Sonoff POW only has one relay, but it has the ability to measure power consumption. You can use this on devices whose power consumption levels need to be monitored, such as the TV and air conditioner.
Sonoff TH16 has one relay and a connection port for a DHT-based temperature-humidity system. In addition to the ability to serve as a regular relay, it can also report the measured data to the mobile app.
To be honest, between Broadlink vs Sonoff, the installation process of Sonoff is quite more difficult and time-consuming. You won’t need to modify your existing devices; you can just use external power outlets with physical switches to control them. But you still need to spend a lot of effort to set up them all.
Once the devices that you want to control are connected to the Sonoff relays, you can download the EWeLink mobile app, which is available for Android and iOS. Then, you need to configure the Wi-Fi network. All Sonoff devices are regular Wi-Fi clients which support WPA2, so they should be able to connect to most home networks. The built-in wizard will guide you from step to step until its completion.
Finally, you can start controlling your devices through your mobile device. In addition to the standard on and off commands, you can also set a “scene” to apply multiple states with a single click. You can also set “smart scenes” which are automatic on/off triggers based on specific conditions.
Additional Features of Sonoff
Feature-wise, Sonoff is quite more advanced. On the mobile app, you can see the status of every device. You won’t need to jump into the devices’ details, as there is a toggle in the overview screen to show their status information.
Nevertheless, you can open a more detailed view on each device to see additional information, such as the power consumption. The mobile app can provide a visual graph for showing the power consumption, so you can see the changes from time to time and evaluate them more easily.
The ability to set a rule based on a device’s power consumption is very useful if you want to save some energy and reduce your electricity bill. You can also set a device to work on a schedule. For example, you can make the air conditioner turn on from 10AM to 4PM, and turn off for the rest of the day.
You can also access the connected devices through the cloud. So, when you are traveling, you can check whether there is any electronic device that you forget to turn off, and you can shut them down remotely. This is also useful if you have a plant inside your home that requires a specific temperature range to survive.
You can also share devices with other family members. In the mobile app, each person has their own devices, and they can select specific devices to be shared. Shared devices can be controlled by other family members.
Finally, Sonoff allows you to install external firmwares on the devices. You can find custom firmwares for Sonoff on GitHub, or create your own. Casual users probably won’t use this feature, but people with technical know-hows or some programming skills may benefit from it. Then again, no official API is currently available, so figuring things out to create a custom firmware by yourself can be quite challenging and time-consuming.
Broadlink vs Sonoff
For the general audience, Broadlink is more recommended because it is easier and simpler to use. You can set it up within minutes, and it already has some useful automation features. However, if you want the utmost control and customizability, Sonoff can be your choice.