Amazon Smart Thermostat Review
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Amazon Smart Thermostat
$79.99 at Amazon
$49.49 at Amazon
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|Pros||App-guided installation, easy scheduling, event settings||Large screen, easy to read, straightforward programming||Inexpensive, includes a C-wire adapter, great remote access features||Simple design, great customer service||Simple design, easy to operate|
|Cons||Difficult visibility in bright light||Poor customer support, nightlight button not illuminated||Not our favorite technical support, could be more accurate||No backlight, no scheduling, small display screen||No smart feature, poor visibility in the dark|
|Bottom Line||A decent quality, cost-effective, smart thermostat that is easy to operate and integrates with Alexa-connected smart devices||A low-cost, high-performance digital thermostat that is accurate, easy to set up, and program but lacks WiFi and a remote access app||If you are searching for a top-tier smart thermostat on a budget, then we think this is a wise choice||This simplistic model lacks higher-order programming and remote access, but it's accurate and economic||This analog thermostat offers users very little besides a minimalistic dial interface design|
|Rating Categories||Amazon Smart Thermo...||Orbit Clear Comfort||Wyze Thermostat||Emerson NP110||Honeywell Home CT87...|
|Ease of Use (40%)|
|Install & Support (30%)|
|Remote Access (20%)|
|Specs||Amazon Smart Thermo...||Orbit Clear Comfort||Wyze Thermostat||Emerson NP110||Honeywell Home CT87...|
|Learning/ Adaptive Controls||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Dimensions||Length: 3.5 in
Width: 3.5 in
Depth: .84 in
|Length: 5.3 in
Width: 3.25 in
Depth: 1.3 in
|Length: 4.7 in
Width: 2.6 in
Depth: 1.3 in
|Length: 6 in
Width: 4 in
Depth: 1.5 in
|Length: 3 in
Width: 1.5 in
Depth: 3 in
|Works Directly with Alexa/Amazon Echo||Yes||No||Yes||No||No|
|Works with Apple HomeKit||No||No||No||No||No|
Our Analysis and Test Results
If you are in the market for an affordable, programmable, digital thermostat that uses an app to operate the device, then the Amazon Smart Thermostat is the first place you should look. This unit has many of the features touted on more expensive devices. It is a breeze to set up, and the help feature will have you quickly clearing any roadblock in the process. All told, this is one slick device.
Ease of Use
When it comes to buying a household appliance, perhaps the most important aspect of the new device is its ease of use. Electronics like thermostats are supposed to make our lives easier after all. As such, we do extensive testing on these products to provide you with the best information on how you will interact with the device. While the Amazon Smart Thermostat has plenty of good qualities, it struggled in key portions of our ease of use evaluation. Largely this is due to the thermostat's reliance on its app to perform the higher programming functions.
When you first turn on the device and begin the setup process, don't be surprised that nothing happens — you have to download the app first to do the setup. After the thermostat is connected to the HVAC system and turned on, all higher-level programming is performed on the app. Once the app is downloaded, you can begin the programming process. One issue we noticed right away is that you can't set the thermostat to its own time and date because the app uses your phone's time and date. This isn't a huge deal unless you are going to use this device in a distant time zone. But, it is a little annoying.
To adjust the temperature, there are +/- characters on the touch display. They are a bit sensitive, so it's good that the device has an accidental-touch-protection feature that must be unlocked to make changes.
While we're on the subject of the screen, we found it quite easy to read from across the room and at night. However, the white letters on a white background make it hard to read in bright light. Also, the Amazon Smart Thermostat dims when it's idle, making that much harder to see in the light. On the upside, the device does have a vacation mode which allows you to preprogram settings that deviate from your normal scheduling when you are away.
Install & Support
The install and support assessment follows the ease of use metric in terms of importance to the user's experience. In the metric, we look at the difficulty of installing the device, instructions and documentation, customer support, ability to connect to WiFi, and the app download process. We are happy to report that the Amazon Smart Thermostat performed at the top of the class in this evaluation.
Let's get the bad news out of the way first because there isn't much of it. Our assessment includes sending an email to the manufacturer with a picture of the wires that need to be connected to the thermostat and asking them for guidance. We rate the manufacturer's customer service by how long it took them to respond and the helpfulness of their response. The Amazon Smart Thermostat did abysmally in this portion of the evaluation because Amazon does not have a customer service email. However, they do have a great self-support option on their website. We were surprised and pleased with the usefulness of the help provided. For example, the webpage lays out several different examples of problems and provides solutions to them in both video and text guides.
As for the physical documentation provided with the thermostat, there is very little. The document just tells you to download the app. However, downloading the app is easy, and, once downloaded, the app provides easy-to-understand installation instructions, including videos and animations throughout the process. The installation is quite easy — simply depress a small button for each wire, slide in the wire, and then let go of the button. Finally, connecting the device to the WiFi is very easy as well because it is a required step in the setup process.
As the name implies, the remote access metric looks at the ability of the user to access and make changes to the thermostat's setting via the app. While the Amazon Smart Thermostat relies almost entirely on the app to set up and operate, it wasn't as easy as we would have expected, given the devices' dependence on the app for access. That said, it wasn't that the access was terrible; it just wasn't super smooth, mostly because of the home screen layout and the way the features are layered.
To be clear, we are being a little nit-picky here. However, an example of the poor layout of the Amazon Smart Thermostat's app is the settings gear-icon tab in the top right corner of the home screen. This inconspicuous little icon is where all the settings for scheduling, Alexa, energy usage, and all other features are located. In our opinion, this critical tab should be large and centrally located. That said, the main screen of the app does have simple controls for quick temperature adjustments that allow you to drag the heating and cooling temps to your desired value.
As far as scheduling on the app goes, you have to go into settings. Once in the settings screen, you can make adjustments to set the HVAC schedules and parameters. For example, you can select individual days and set up as many as four events such as home, away, sleep and the times you want these events to occur.
The accuracy metric measures just one aspect of the device — temperature accuracy. To accomplish this, we use a laboratory-grade thermometer as our control and test the thermostat's thermometer across a range of temperature values. We are happy to report that the Amazon Smart Thermostat was within a degree of the laboratory thermometer at every temperature we tested.
We like to think of value as a ratio between performance and cost as compared to other models in the product's class. From this perspective, the Amazon Smart Thermostat is a great value. This device offers the performance and many of the features of much higher-priced models at a fraction of the cost.
This review of the Amazon Smart Thermostat delves deeply into the weeds of thermostat performance. We conducted in-depth analyses of the device's ease of use, installation and customer service, remote (app) access, and temperature accuracy. All told, this thermostat offers consumers a whole lot for the price. Our criticisms of the device are minimal on the whole — we recommend this product to the general user but especially to those using Alexa in their home.
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