Honeywell Lyric T5 review

Honeywell's Lyric T5 is an incremental upgrade to the classic digital thermostat

The Lyric T5 won't win any beauty contests, but is an affordable smart home upgrade.
The Lyric T5 won't win any beauty contests, but is an affordable smart home upgrade.
The Lyric T5 won't win any beauty contests, but is an affordable smart home upgrade.

Highs

  • Good value
  • Simple, app-based controls
  • Apple HomeKit & Alexa support
  • Geo-fencing capability

Lows

  • Limited features
  • Poor display and cluttered user interface
  • Cheap plastics

DT Editors' Rating

With millions of devices installed around the world over the last century, Honeywell has had a major influence in driving development of in-home technology.

So it’s somewhat surprising that the brand — from a mindshare perspective, at least — lacks the kudos granted to newer entrants like Nest and Ecobee. From an app perspective, the Honeywell brand might be considered more of a dusty, old appliance than a funky new “application.”

The $150 Lyric T5 Wi-Fi Thermostat is one of a range of Honeywell smart home devices fighting that perception. Controllable via touchscreen and a mobile app, with support for both Apple HomeKit and Amazon Alexa, Honeywell has certainly packed significant connectivity and a swathe of features into a svelte, budget-friendly, four-inch square form factor.

However, it faces tough competition from modern smart home specialists who have a wealth of insight and feature refinements packed into third- or fourth-generation thermostats. Let’s open the box and see how the Lyric T5 stacks up.

Honeywell: Grandma’s favorite smart home brand, right?

With an install base of tens of millions of devices over the century, Honeywell may not be the coolest kid on the block, but they’re still OG smart home innovators. To be fair, their ubiquitous beige, wall-mounted slabs of plastic aren’t exactly sexy and have been in the crosshairs of cooler brands like Nest and Ecobee for some time.

Honeywell Lyric T5 review
Terry Walsh/Digital Trends
Terry Walsh/Digital Trends

On the plus side, the Lyric T5 is not beige. But out of the box, you can immediately see its roots evolve from those traditional wall mounted controllers. Honeywell’s designers have made some effort to boost the T5’s aesthetics though, with a metallic gray, beveled surround.

But make no mistake, it still looks and feels like a budget smart home device. Home interior aficionados will take a pass, we’re sure. The four inch square monochrome touchscreen looks ready for a game of Pong and doesn’t do the device many favors. Stacked up against the iconic shape of the Nest Learning Thermostat, the Lyric T5 looks quite basic.

Internal wiring and pricked fingers

Like any smart home thermostat, you’ll need to allow yourself some time to install the Lyric T5, but we found fitting the hardware to be mostly painless — apart from continually pricking our fingers and thumbs on the T5’s sharper-than-strictly-required connector pins, that is.  Honeywell packages the thermostat with a universal mounting system that connects to your home wiring, plus wall screws and anchors.

Honeywell has packed connectivity and a swathe of features into a svelte, budget-friendly, four-inch square form factor.

There’s even a little sheet of stickers to label each wire during changeover, but you don’t get the mini screwdriver, rear-mounting cover plate and integrated spirit-level found on Nest. So be prepared to touch up your wall decoration when you remove your old device. On the plus side, Honeywell adds an excellent installation manual that includes fully-illustrated steps.

Our main frustration during setup was with the Lyric app, which was dogged with issues connecting the thermostat to our Wi-Fi network, then registering the device on Honeywell’s servers. Each time there was an issue, we had to repeat the whole setup procedure. Forget pricked fingers – the repetition was really painful.

Give yourself an hour to swap out the thermostat hardware and install and configure Honeywell’s controller app, but expect a few bumps along the way.

How’s life with the Lyric T5?

As long as you remember that this is an entry level Wi-Fi Thermostat – one that’s not as smart as leading competitors – you’ll be fine. The T5 offers convenient temperature control from your smartphone, but there’s no fancy learning capabilities or automated schedule adjustments. Just like an old-school thermostat, you create a schedule and adjust the temperature, either with the Lyric app or directly on the device, and the thermostat delivers.

Honeywell’s designers have made some effort to boost aesthetics, with a metallic gray, beveled surround.

The T5’s touchscreen display is a slight step up from a traditional digital display but still lacks the simplicity and clarity of competitors. Controls, buttons, and readings fight for attention and clutter the screen. The dull, monotone text is difficult to see from more than a few feet away, and a highly reflective display surface does a better job as a mirror than a screen. After a few minutes, the touchscreen becomes a mess of smeared fingerprints, which further obscures the display. Keep a microfiber cloth handy.

Thankfully, the Lyric mobile app is neatly designed – simpler, clearer and responsive. Change the temperature on your phone and the thermostat responds in a second or two. It’ll quickly become your favored option.

Honeywell has a couple of bonus features that add a splash of modernity. The Lyric app supports a geo-fencing feature that switches the thermostat to an Away mode when you leave the house and, as you’d expect, you can control home temperatures remotely from your phone. Apple HomeKit and Amazon Echo fans can also manage and monitor the thermostat using voice commands via Siri or Alexa which, given the Lyric T5’s budget positioning, gives the device a boost.

Warranty information

Purchase the Honeywell Lyric T5 in a retail store and you’ll receive a 2-year limited warranty. Devices purchased through and installed by professional contractors are supported by a 5-year limited warranty.

Our Take

The Honeywell Lyric T5 boasts easy to use, app-based temperature controls but not the looks or the smarts of trendier devices from Nest or Ecobee. At $150, it’s a solid option for homeowners on a budget or a basic smart home upgrade for a parent or grandparent.

Is there a better alternative?

Yes – if you’re at all interested in aesthetics, you’ll prefer the graceful simplicity of the $249 Nest Learning Thermostat, which also supports a strong assortment of smart home integrations and automated schedule management. Alternatively, the $169 ecobee3 lite and $249 ecobee4 support sensors around the home and an advanced suite of smart features that make them a stronger choice than the T5.

How long will it last?

Honeywell has been around for more than a century and isn’t going to disappear overnight. With a huge network of contractors installing and servicing their products, you can expect support for the Lyric T5 to be available for a long time to come.

Should you buy it?

If you really need a basic “smart” thermostat and you’re seeking to absolutely minimize the spend, buy the T5. Otherwise, spend a little extra on a better-looking device with a broader suite of features.

Product Review

Simple and small, the Google Home Hub is your low-key smart screen

What’s small, simple, cute, and lacks a camera? The Google Home Hub is the latest smart display to hit the market. Powered by Google Assistant, there’s a lot to like about this device.
Smart Home

Add some nature to your tech with Mui, a wood panel that’s also a smart display

Are you so immersed in technology that you long for a touch of nature in your home? You could get some potted plants -- or you could invest in Mui, a wood panel that is also an internet-connected smart display.
Deals

Save energy and money with a $45 discount on the Nest smart thermostat

If you were looking for a smart thermostat, Amazon is offering up to $45 in savings on the popular Nest Learning Thermostat. Use stainless steel thermostat to the keep your home warm and cozy this fall and save energy by scheduling the…
Smart Home

Keep an eye on your kingdom with the best home security cameras

When it comes to the best home security cameras, the choice often comes down to the one that simply knows how to stay out of your way. Here are some of our favorites, both indoor and outdoor.
Emerging Tech

This 3D-printed house made of earth and rice husks costs less than an iPhone

Italian 3D-printing company WASP has just demonstrated the 3D printing of a hut structure using a combination of 3D-printed concrete and a mud-based material. All for around $1,000.
Deals

Protect yourself from germs with a discounted GermGuardian air purifier

Cold and flu season has arrived, and with it, all those nasty germs. If you're looking to protect yourself from airborne illnesses, this deeply discounted air purifier can help reduce germs, mold spores, and viruses lurking in the air.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I.-powered cat toys, wallets, food containers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Smart Home

Put away that sponge and let us help you pick the best dishwasher for your buck

Tired of doing dishes by hand? Take a look at our picks of the four best dishwashers currently available and let a machine do the dirty work for you. They’ll do a much better job, anyway.
Smart Home

The best treadmills of 2018

The exercise of running can burn up to 900 calories per hour, melting away fat and strengthening your muscles at the same time.  Compared to running outdoors, you're safer staying indoors on a cushioned track.
Smart Home

If you're not sipping beer while a robot mows your lawn, you're doing it wrong

Imagine watching your lawn being mowed by a robot while you sit on the porch drinking a beer. That’s life with Husqvarna’s line of electric Automowers, which takes the gas and the manpower out of one dreaded aspect of yard work.
Smart Home

The best washing machines make laundry day a little less of a chore

It takes a special kind of person to love doing laundry, but the right machine can help make this chore a little easier. Check out our picks for the best washing machines on the market right now.
Product Review

We never wanted a smart doorbell, until we met Nest Hello

You can answer your door while sitting on the couch with the Nest Hello smart doorbell, which brings vision, intelligence and convenience to your doorstep.
Emerging Tech

Flying food: Uber has set a target date to use drones for meal delivery

Uber is better known for transporting people around town, but it also has a growing meal-delivery business called UberEats. It currently uses drivers and cyclists to deliver the food, but also has plans to use drones.
Smart Home

Reduce your risk of fire by cleaning your dryer vent. Here's how

Failure to clean the dryer vent is the leading cause of dryer fires. Using an inexpensive duct cleaning brush, you can clean your own dryer vent without hiring a professional. Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to clean a dryer vent.