“The neatest thermostat round is now even smarter.”
Easy set up
Glorious efficiency and have set
Simple to configure and function day-to-day
Quite a few voice management and communication options
design stays just a little drab
No onscreen integration for Alexa
For greater than a decade, Ecobee has slugged it out with Nest within the battle for good thermostat supremacy. Nest’s design and easy ring management has achieved near-iconic standing, however we’d argue that Ecobee is the extra progressive of the 2.
4 generations of units have added considerate and useful dwelling management options. Ecobee was the primary to introduce distant sensors, with presence detection permitting the thermostat to focus on temperatures based on precise room utilization. Built-in voice management (by way of Amazon Alexa) boosted utility, whereas assist for a swathe of third-party platforms, together with Apple HomeKit/Siri, IFTTT, SmartThings and Google Assistant, opened a world of good integration.
The merely named Ecobee SmartThermostat ($249) is the Canadian firm’s newest mannequin. It arrives two years after the Ecobee4 and, notably, virtually 4 years after Nest’s third-generation thermostat (2017’s Nest E is extra of a finances variant, than a brand new era) so we’re desperate to see what’s new on the planet of good temperature management.
At first look, the reply seems to be little or no. The fantastically designed, premium packaging holds a tool that could possibly be simply mistaken for the Ecobee4. It boasts an analogous compact, squircular design. Bundled good sensor? Test. Built-in Amazon Alexa speaker? Current. Easy app, faucet, and voice management? Sure. And there’s nonetheless no battery back-up.
Rather a lot has modified beneath the hood, nonetheless. The SmartThermostat packs a brand new, glass-fronted coloration LCD display (320 x 480 decision), with improved touchscreen sensitivity. It’s powered by a quad-core processor, and has dual-band Wi-Fi delivering sooner, extra secure connectivity. This new engine unlocks enhanced options. Assist for Spotify and Bluetooth 5.zero permits you to push music to an exterior speaker by way of Alexa. You’ll additionally discover the thermostat’s built-in good speaker improved, delivering wealthy sound and wider vary.
Whereas, at its core, the Ecobee SmartThermostat stays true to its identify — it’s most undoubtedly a wise thermostat — this new mannequin is positioned to play a broader, extra substantial function in your good dwelling.
Easy, step-by-step set up steering
Upgrading a wired thermostat could seem a frightening job, however so long as your system is appropriate with Ecobee, you’ll discover it a simple activity. A easy, step-by-step booklet is included to stroll you thru the job.
Take away your current thermostat’s faceplate and disconnect the wiring. In-box, you’ll discover stickers to label every wire as you go. Swap within the Ecobee backplate after which reconnect the wires – a generously-sized cowl plate is included ought to that you must conceal broken or undecorated partitions. The Ecobee faceplate clips neatly into place. Change your HVAC energy again on, and also you’re carried out.
You’ll be able to’t deny the Ecobee delivers extra options and higher worth.
In case your system lacks a C-wire connection, an influence extender is included, which makes for a extra difficult course of. If that each one sounds an excessive amount of, a community of professional installers is accessible to do the job in your behalf.
As with earlier fashions, the Ecobee SmartThermostat is bundled with a further, battery-powered room sensor which remotely experiences temperatures within the room it’s put in. It’s redesigned to be smaller and cuter than Nest’s room sensors and could be wall mounted or positioned on an accompanying stand. The sensor is battery powered and will last as long as 5 years.
Preliminary setup is a fast activity. A number of faucets on the thermostat’s responsive touchscreen will choose your HVAC kind and arrange Wi-Fi earlier than wrapping up your set up by connecting the system to the Ecobee smartphone app. You may as well monitor and management the thermostat utilizing an internet app in your browser (whereas profiting from extra complete reporting), however most will discover the app a handy possibility.
Terry Walsh/Digital Traits
The SmartThermostat boasts a brand new touchscreen show that’s clear and fairly vivid. Regardless of the advance, we nonetheless choose Nest’s brighter, extra colourful show with bigger characters for viewing temperatures at a distance. Relying on the place Ecobee is put in, the brand new glass-fronted display could be too reflective and obscure the show.
Controlling the Ecobee thermostat is simple, irrespective of which management you select. A sliding scale permits simple temperature choice, whereas a one-tap function makes switching between warmth, cool, or auto settings a cinch.
Configuring your own home’s heating and cooling schedule can be a breeze. The thermostat ships with a preconfigured schedule masking in a single day and daytime temperatures which ought to go well with most properties. Tweaking consolation settings for temperature vary, fan management and timings could be accomplished in just some faucets.
Improved audio and an enhanced Alexa expertise, however there’s room for refinement
Ecobee launched an built-in Alexa speaker with its final mannequin, and we’re happy to see the function carried ahead and enhanced within the SmartThermostat. Whereas it might appear that each good dwelling machine is packing an Alexa good speaker these days, this thermostat is an unobtrusive dwelling for Amazon’s assistant. We discovered Ecobee’s built-in microphone carried out properly, significantly when the room was quiet. You’ll need to shout a bit when streaming music.
Ecobee has crammed a strong speaker into the SmartThermostat.
Streaming music on a thermostat? Certainly. Regardless of the compact dimensions of the machine, Ecobee has managed to cram a a lot better speaker into the SmartThermostat than within the Ecobee4, or the competitors. Relying in your alternative of music, it may be coarse on the high-end, however there’s loads of quantity, surprisingly chunky bass, and cheap separation.
Additionally new is assist for Alexa Calling, Alexa Messaging, and Drop-In, which give a variety of choices for speaking with household and associates each inside and outdoors the house. We discovered all three labored properly, with the brand new built-in speaker and microphone offering clear audio at each ends. We have been, nonetheless, just a little upset to see the Ecobee show wasn’t used for messaging or name standing throughout our conversations. When you obtain an audio sign of incoming calls/messages and the top-mounted Alexa indicator flashes, from there you’re left to determine who’s calling, or be instantly related to a disembodied voice. The brand new communication options are a step ahead, however there’s room for refinement.
Most of all, we’d prefer to see Alexa make the most of Ecobee’s built-in display for higher messaging. At that time the SmartThermostat would principally be a wall-mounted Echo, and with rumors circulating that Ecobee is planning a transfer into good dwelling safety, a thermostat with a display could possibly be an amazing safety command heart. It’s the proper dwelling for a doorbell cam show, for certain.
As with Ecobee4, controlling the SmartThermostat with Alexa could possibly be b etter. Altering temperatures or switching modes labored, however the built-in assistant complained after we tried to change the HVAC off. Paradoxically, we have been capable of full that step with the Google Assistant (on a Lenovo Sensible Show), which works properly with the SmartThermostat. Apple HomeKit and IFTTT assist ensures there’s loads of enhanced integration choices out there.
The Ecobee SmartThermostat is supported by a three-year guarantee for self-installed units, rising to 5 years do you have to go for knowledgeable set up. The accompanying room sensor additionally has a 3 yr guarantee.
The Ecobee SmartThermostat provides worthwhile enhancements over its predecessor, and a extra refined expertise, with out charging a premium. It stays a high choose for any house owner contemplating a wise thermostat. The brand new options and enhanced fireplace energy under-the-hood incrementally extends Ecobee’s differentiation from the Nest Studying Thermostat. Whereas we choose some parts of the Nest expertise, you may’t deny that Ecobee delivers extra options and higher worth. Google, it’s time to reply.
Take note, nonetheless, that there’s extra to come back from Ecobee within the subsequent twelve months and this machine could be the computer virus on the coronary heart of an enhanced good dwelling ecosystem. As soon as that image turns into clear, you may time your funding accordingly.
Is there a greater various?
You may choose the look of the $249 Nest Studying Thermostat, nevertheless it’s now slightly outdated. Ecobee4 has advanced thermostats into extra subtle good dwelling hubs, and this new mannequin continues that, delivering extra options, higher high quality, and higher worth than its friends.
How lengthy will it final?
With greater than a decade of operations beneath its belt, a beneficiant guarantee, and continued updates, we now have no issues that the Ecobee SmartThermostat will stand the check of time.
Do you have to purchase it?
Completely. Ecobee4 homeowners don’t have to rush to improve, however if you happen to’re upgrading an older good dwelling thermostat or in search of your first, that is the one to purchase.