Polycab is best known for its industrial-grade electrical cables and wires, but the company has also recently expanded into the field of home appliances such as fans, lighting, and switches. The company's latest foray is into smart home and home automation solutions, with its Hohm range of IoT products. The product I'm reviewing today is the Polycab Hohm Mirai Smart Infrared Blaster, a small device which allows you to control traditional IR-based appliances with a smartphone app or voice commands.
Priced at around Rs. 1,200 in India, the Polycab Hohm Mirai Smart IR Blaster is a compact, uncomplicated device that can be used to add smart controls to not-so-smart IR-based appliances such as air conditioners, televisions and set-top boxes, fans, and audio equipment, among others. How does this device work, and is it effective at making your home appliances smart? Find out in this review.
The Polycab Hohm Mirai Smart IR Blaster is a rather simple, unassuming device to look at. It's a small black box with the ‘Hohm' logo on the top, an indicator light at the front above the IR emitter, and two Micro-USB ports — one at the back and one at the bottom — either of which can be used to power the device. There is also a hook on the underside to wall-mount the device, if needed.
Included in the sales package of the Polycab Hohm Mirai is a USB Type-A to micro-USB cable, and a power adapter to connect to a wall socket. Once powered up, the device will need to be positioned such that the IR emitter points at the receiver of the appliances that need to be controlled. There is no power switch, but there is a pinhole for the hard-reset button, and a 3.5mm socket at the back. The latter can presumably be used with a compatible IR emitter accessory to extend the range and angle of the IR beam, but the accessory for this isn't included in the box.
The Hohm app (available on iOS and Android) is used to set up and control the Polycab Hohm Mirai Smart IR Blaster. The process to install the Mirai Smart IR Blaster was fairly simple, and I was able to connect it to my Wi-Fi router quickly and without any trouble by simply following the steps on the screen. The device is only compatible with 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, and it maintained a stable connection with the router during my review.
Once setup was completed, the app showed ‘Smart IR' as a device in the app; if you have any other Hohm-compatible devices, they'll appear here as well. The Mirai Smart IR Blaster itself can control multiple IR devices, which can be set up within its device listing. The list of supported devices includes televisions, set-top boxes, air conditioners, fans, lights, projectors, audio and DVD players, heaters, and purifiers across a huge list of global brands.
In the rare scenario where your IR device isn't on the list, there is also a process to ‘teach' the Polycab Hohm Mirai Smart IR Blaster the specific IR signal for your devices, using the DIY or ‘Learn Match' methods in the app. I tested the Hohm Mirai Smart IR Blaster with an Atomberg remote-controlled ceiling fan and Carrier air conditioner in my home, both of which were part of the list of supported devices and could be set up easily using preloaded profiles.
For the Atomberg fan, I had to manually set up additional buttons on the remote by ‘training' the Polycab Hohm Mirai Smart IR Blaster; this involved pointing the Atomberg fan's remote at the Hohm device and pressing the buttons to give it instructions on how to interact with the ceiling fan.
Once done, the button interface in the app for the Atomberg fan was a bit messy and had a bunch of unnecessary buttons, but I was able to control all the desired functions as needed. The air conditioner's button interface was a lot cleaner, and had all key functions available without any further intervention on my part. Usefully, the Hohm Mirai IR Blaster was able to control both devices from a single convenient angle in between the two appliances, so its infrared range is quite wide and the beam is suitably powerful.
You can also link the Polycab Hohm Mirai Smart IR Blaster to Alexa or Google Assistant, and operate the device and any configured appliances with voice commands either through your smartphone or smart speakers. This worked reasonably well on both voice assistants to turn on or off the devices, but more complicated functions such as adjusting the fan speed were not supported through voice commands, and could only be controlled using the app.
It's also possible to create automation routines through the Hohm app, based on factors such as weather conditions, your location (such as when you leave your home), and timed schedules, among other things. It took a bit of effort to create certain routines, but once done this feature worked as expected, and some of these routines were even supported by Alexa and Google Assistant for voice controls.
The Polycab Hohm Mirai Smart IR Blaster is the perfect answer for anyone who has had to deal with the frustration of getting up and finding the remote for a device or appliance in their home. It's easy to set up, supports a wide variety of IR-controlled devices, can be controlled via popular virtual assistants, and works reliably. Although the app interface isn't perfect, there's always a way around, which is easy enough to find. The Hohm Mirai successfully does exactly what it's designed for — make non-smart appliances smart.
At Rs. 1,200 or so, it's inexpensive, and very flexible since it can control multiple devices in the same room and enables voice controls or automation routines too. However, the most important point here is its reliability, and the Polycab Hohm Mirai Smart IR Blaster checks this box to earn my recommendation.