Erica asked me to review the Zmart Remote Pro from ViaTECH. I love technology and am slowly building a decent home theatre. I’ve used many different universal remotes so that I don’t have a pile of remotes to control each and every device I would use to watch a movie, play a game, or just watch TV. The Zmart Remote interested me as it seemed like a logical choice as my current universal remote can’t be updated anymore so it doesn’t work exactly as it used to now that I’ve added new components. The Zmart Remote is small, and simply plugs into the headphone jack on my iPhone.
There is a free App for iOS and Android to run this little remote, but in order to actually run it, you need to enter an activation code that comes with the device on a small little piece of cardboard. Make sure this doesn’t fall out and get lost as mine almost did! You can use this activation code on up to 4 different devices. One thing I haven’t tested is if you can also transfer the setup devices to any new phones you setup as this would save some time.
They claim that the setup is quick and easy. Just add a room, add a device, test and go. I didn’t find it to be quite that easy. My cable box did not work at all with the built in codes (I didn’t have time to manually setup the whole remote for it which is possible), and quite a few of the devices I added didn’t have all the buttons activated so I still had to teach them (some as simple as the power on button for my AV Receiver).
Here are a few screenshots from the setup process for adding my receiver remote and images of how the remote looks on my phone.
The images of the remotes are very generic and there is no way to add the specific device you are using as I am used to with other systems, only the device type (TV, Receiver etc) and the Brand. Also, you need to go back out of each remote to choose the remote for another device, or swipe from side to side to work it. It feels just like I’m holding all the remotes again, only inside my iPhone. It’s nice they don’t take up much space, but it takes up just as much time as before.
I’m disappointing that there aren’t any macros or activity based options for this as I would think this would be something that would be quite easy to do. I love to hit “Watch Movie” on my current remote and it automatically turns on my TV (to the proper input), my Receiver (to the proper input) and my Bluray player. No switching back and forth, fumbling with multiple remotes etc.
This remote also would be good if I was the only one using a system, but since I have kids, I’m not going to be just giving them my phone as I need it for work, and I can’t leave it for a babysitter either.
Would I recommend the Zmart Remote? The answer is “It depends”. If you don’t already have a universal remote, but do have a smartphone, then it would be an improvement on what you have. The cost is good (from what I’ve seen online) compared to other universal remotes, and once you have it setup, it’s fairly easy to use. If you are a power user and have a lot of systems and want to keep it simple for everyone else in your family etc, then I would suggest looking at a higher priced remote with more features.