Ecobee may not be as much of a household name as some other companies in the home automation industry, but its smart thermostats have garnered a solid reputation for their looks, functionality and ease of use. The company just released an upgraded model of one of our favorite voice-controlled smart thermostats, 2017’s Ecobee4. Here’s a breakdown of what’s new in this year’s edition.
The New Ecobee SmartThermostat With Voice Control
The newly released SmartThermostat retains most of the features of the Ecobee4. (Note that the newest product hasn’t been given a number like the previous generations. It’s just called the SmartThermostat.) These carryover features include a built-in Amazon Echo speaker for controlling the thermostat via Alexa, a remote temperature sensor for detecting hot and cold spots and adjusting the temperature based on occupancy and a mobile app that includes a HomeIQ feature that tracks energy conservation.
What does the SmartThermostat have that previous models did not? Its finish is glass, not plastic, for a classier touch. It also has improved speaker quality. The new model also works on 2.4GHz or 5GHz Wi-Fi bands, which should help free up bandwidth competition in busy smart home environments with 5G networks. There are also new built-in digital microphones (previously analog) that can better support multiple Echo devices. These are designed so that when you speak, only the closest Echo responds.
Should You Upgrade Your Smart Thermostat?
As you can see, the latest SmartThermostat does have a few nice perks over last year’s Ecobee4. Nevertheless, if you already have an Ecobee4 and you’re happy with it, we probably wouldn’t recommend replacing it based on the new features alone. On the other hand, if you’re shopping around for an Alexa-controlled smart thermostat, either Ecobee option is worth considering. The new SmartThermostat retails for $249 and the Ecobee4 is currently available for the recently discounted price of $185.15.
For more options, check out Safety.com’s Best Smart Thermostats product comparison guide.