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Hands-on Gear Review
Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Review
Price: $230 List | $179.00 at Amazon
Pros: Easy to use, good remote access
Cons: Expensive, inaccurate, voice control through the app is silly
Bottom line: The largest screen, and the easiest to use by far
Honeywell has been making thermostats for a long time, and it appears that the Honeywell Smart is their response to the newly emerged Internet of Things and new companies diving into the thermostat market. These new products are loaded with features and compatibility with other smart devices. Honeywell's experience with thermostats show, and this product scored third highest in our test, but it was a little more difficult to install and was glaringly inaccurate when it came to being a thermostat. This model is one to consider if you appreciate having the largest screen and appreciate it being exceptionally easy to use.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
This thermostat might not be as flashy or appealing as some of its competitors, but it had the top score when it came to ease of use and tied for the top on remote access. The installation was a little less user friendly than some of the other products, but not unmanageable. The major weakness that we found with this product was its accuracy, discussed more below.
Ease of Use
This product exceeded expectations, and was the top scorer when it came to ease of use, earning an 8 out of 10. This model prompted you with a series of quick and easy questions to answer upon turning it on for the first time.
After completing the first set of questions, it then prompts you to connect the thermostat to a network. The scheduling was fantastic, even having a built in tutorial labeled "Guide me through scheduling," and was an extremely intuitive process. The time and date can be changed when not connected to a network, or will automatically update as soon as the device is connected.
Modifying the current temperature was easy, done by using the up or down arrows, and changing the mode from heating to cooling, or vice-versa if necessary. The new temperature can be held indefinitely, or until a specified time, set in 15 minute increments, after which it will return to the schedule. The display clearly shows all the information, and the brightness of the screen can be adjusted to suit your preferences.
In addition, there were a few other features that we felt made this product easier to use. One of these was the addition of a lock on the screen — requiring a passcode to make any changes — to keep any meddlesome kids from accidentally (or maliciously) adjusting the temperature and schedule. You can also deactivate the screen for 30 seconds to clean it without accidentally changing any settings, as well as adjust notification preferences. You can also set maintenance reminders for your system, informing you when you need to change the air filter or humidifier pad.
Install & Support
This product was much more average when it came to installation and support, meriting a score of 5 out of 10. We had a little difficulty locating the correct instruction video. The supplied written instructions were acceptable, but the listed steps did not match up perfectly with the steps in the video. We weren't a huge fan of the fact that the Honeywell Smart did not notify you if the connected wires were a valid configuration, and it was exceptionally difficult to remove wires from the base plate, actually causing one of us to cut their hand open in the process.
This product did not have a built-in level on the base plate, however we did find their customer support to be very competent. We called in with questions about how to add an external 24VAC transformer to power it, something you might do if you are lacking a common wire, and the representative was very helpful and able to answer our questions, with the added bonus of a short wait time on the phone. It did take a little longer when it came to an email question, requiring us to send a follow-up email a week later before we got a response.
The app for this product is identical for that of our Best Buy award winner, the Honeywell 7-Day Programmable with WiFi, and thus earns the same score of 7 out of 10. The app does give you access to voice commands, but they are extremely specific and we found that they were not really worth the trouble to make them work.
As mentioned in the other Honeywell review, there isn't much to change in the app besides the schedule and the temperature. The heat, cool and auto mode selection is on a separate screen than the main home screen, but still easy enough to access.
This category was where we found this product fell significantly short in our testing process. Throughout testing, we had always noticed that this model seemed a little off of the others and our control thermometer, prompting us to switch to using a much more accurate, lab-grade thermometer and re-doing all of our tests.
As we were still measuring a difference of close to 2 degrees, we contacted customer support and they informed us that it was normal for this product to be off between 2 and 4 degrees. We felt this was somewhat unacceptable, and scored this product a 2 out of 10 when it came to accuracy.
This product scored the third highest on our rating metrics, but has an MSRP that is just below ($19) the list price of our Editors' Choice award winner. We would recommend considering that model instead, or looking at our Best Buy award winner for the best value.
While this model was one of the easiest to use, it is hard to recommend this with such an abysmal performance in our accuracy testing, and with a price point that is so similar to our top product.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer
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