Ecobee just launched the SmartThermostat with voice control, a new and comprehensively updated model from one of the category leaders. We reviewed the new Ecobee SmartThermostat and were impressed with the evolved smart device’s ease of installation, configuration, and operation. Our reviewer also praised the SmartThermostat’s excellent feature set and performance plus its voice and communications features, including the music sound quality from the thermostat’s speaker.
Music from a thermostat? Yes. Previous Ecobee smart thermostats were Amazon Alexa-compatible with voice command capability, but among the SmartThermostat’s powerful improvements over earlier Ecobee models, it can also play podcasts, playlists, and news via Alexa, and stream music from subscriber’s Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Pandora, TuneIn, and (newly added) Spotify. Additional Alexa enhancements in Ecobee’s new model include support for Alexa Calling, Messaging, and Drop-In. The SmartThermostat uses digital microphones, upgraded from the analog mics in earlier models, with improvements in wake word detection and echo cancellation.
The latest Ecobee thermostat resembles the company’s earlier models, with what it calls a “squircle shape.” The SmartThermostat has a new color 320 x 380 resolution LCD glass-front touchscreen display that maintains brand recognition.
The updates inside the SmartThermostat power its most significant improvements. The SmartThermostat has a new quad-core processor with the ability to run advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning for improved natural language speed detection. With added dual-band 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi, SmartThermostat gains both speed and operating range with remote sensors. According to Ecobee, the SmartThermostat can operate up to three times faster than previous models.
Ecobee’s SmartSensors are critical to the SmartThermostat’s temperature management. The new sensors have an updated design, and their enhanced wide-angle detection senses both motion and temperature with Bluetooth pairing up to 60 feet.
You can control the SmartThermostat with the Ecobee mobile app with Android and iOS mobile devices, including Apple Watch. In addition to Amazon Alexa, the SmartThermostat is also compatible with Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, Samsung SmartThings, and IFTTT.
Ecobee’s vision for the SmartThermostat sounds like the description of an emerging smart home hub.
“We see the smart home emerging as an oasis where great technology can fade into the background and free you from the chaos of everyday life,” Stuart Lombard, Ecobee President and CEO, said in a release for the SmartThermostat launch. “We’ve designed the new Ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control to be the foundation of that vision. It’s packed with more power than ever before to deliver a best-in-class user experience and effortlessly connect you to the solutions and services you love, but also work quietly in the background so you can focus on the things – and people – that matter most.“
Available today on Ecobee’s site and major retailers, the SmartThermostat lists for $249 including one also-new SmartSensor remote motion and temperature-sensing satellite device. Additional SmartSensor remotes cost $79 for two.