Ecobee4 review

A smart thermostat with Alexa built in

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Nest may be the big name in smart thermostats, but Canadian smart home company Ecobee isn't far behind. It's been making thermostats for years, but the Ecobee4 is its most fully-featured option yet.

Ecobee's latest thermostat offers some of the best features of those that came before it, while supporting the major platforms: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings. However, as far as these integrations go, Alexa is the only one actually baked in.

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That's because the Ecobee4 doubles as an Echo speaker. That iconic bluish-green hue up at the top will light up when you say the magic wake word, giving you an Alexa speaker in your hallway or wherever else you decide to place your thermostat. In general, the Ecobee4 looks good, even if we wish the display was a bit better.

As an Alexa speaker, it's pretty good too. It doesn't have the sound quality that an Echo Dot does, but you'll be able to perform all the usual Alexa tasks here. Need to get your Flash Briefing, ask about the weather, or turn off your lights? Done.

Ecobee4 Review

Ecobee4: Smart features

As a thermostat, most of the features you're looking for are accounted for and work pretty well. Strip away Alexa and the rest, and you've got all the central tenets of a good smart thermostat. You can naturally create schedules and enable home and away mode, so that the Ecobee4 can optimize the temperature based on your location. You can also control your thermostat via your phone on the go, and with Alexa, Google Assistant and HomeKit.

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There's even a vacation mode that'll conserve energy while you're away and alert you if anything goes wrong. One thing it can't do is "learn" like Nest's thermostats do, so it's not going to start to do things automatically - you'll need to set up those schedules yourself.

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One of the best things about the Ecobee4 is the packaged-in room sensor. Like the Ecobee4 itself, these track occupancy and temperature. So your system will know if someone is in a room, and if no one is there it won't bother heating or cooling that room to save energy. Even neater, the heating or cooling will follow you around the home if you have enough of the sensors scattered around the house.

On top of all these features, the Ecobee4 is extremely easy to set up. It only took about 30 minutes, and working through the software and setting up Alexa took another 10 or so. The companion app is also well designed, and there's even a feature where you can donate your thermostat data anonymously to Ecobee so that energy scientists can research ways to improve home and community building. If that doesn't make you feel better about saving energy, I don't know what will.

The Ecobee4 is the best smart thermostat out there right now. While it doesn't have a battery backup and it doesn't learn your behavior, there are some tremendous built-in features. The Room Sensor and Alexa are the big ones, but the fact it's compatible with the Big Three smart assistants is also a plus.
  • Room Sensor
  • Alexa built in
  • Compatible with everything
  • Doesn't learn behavior
  • Design display could be better
  • No battery backup

TAGGED    thermostats

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