Hands-on: Ecobee unveils Smart Thermostat lineup with air quality monitoring, premium design, more

Hands-on: Ecobee unveils Smart Thermostat lineup with air quality monitoring, premium design, more

Popular smart home accessory maker Ecobee has officially taken the wraps off of two new smart thermostats joining its lineup today. The new Smart Thermostat Premium and Smart Thermostat Enhanced offer larger 4-inch displays, a completely redesigned interface, HomeKit integration, and more.

Head below for the full details on Ecobee’s new smart thermostat lineup, with some hands-on experience and notes as well..

Smart Thermostat Premium

First off, the Smart Thermostat Premium is Ecobee’s new high-end smart thermostat option. The Smart Thermostat Premium features an all-new design with a 4-inch display and a design that’s made out more premium materials. The 4-inch display features a resolution of 540 x 540, and one of the biggest changes is that the new design helps the display blend in bezels so there is less of a gap between the display and the edges of the thermostat.

Whereas previous-generation Ecobee thermostats have featured a predominantly plastic design, the new Smart Thermostat Premium uses a body made from Zinc, giving it a much more premium looking design – particularly from the side. There’s also what Ecobee describes as a “glass face and smooth waterfall edges that create a timeless look and feel.”

In terms of functionality, the new Smart Thermostat Premium sets itself apart with the integration of a built-in air quality monitor for the first time. This air quality monitor displays information about your indoor air quality, including relative humidity, estimated volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and estimated carbon dioxide (CO2) levels. The air quality information can be viewed right from the Smart Thermostat Premium’s display and via the Ecobee application for iOS.

The interface of the Smart Thermostat Premium has also been redesigned to better take advantage of the larger display and to incorporate the new data from the air quality monitor.

A more responsive display is 50% larger than previous models and boasts more colorful and vibrant resolution, while the refreshed user interface embraces ecobee’s signature squircle shape and improves ease of navigation. Larger temperature sliders make changing the temperature a breeze, and an easy-to-find menu helps users discover and engage with new features.  

Finally, the Smart Thermostat Premium is fully integrated with the Apple ecosystem. This includes HomeKit support, “Hey Siri” support (so long as you have a HomePod or HomePod mini on the same network), and AirPlay support. There’s also built-in Bluetooth connectivity, Alexa support, and smoke alarm monitoring as well.

Smart Thermostat Enhanced

A more affordable alternative to the Smart Thermostat Premium is Ecobee’s new Smart Thermostat Enhanced (Enhanced is < Premium, apparently).The Smart Thermostat Enhanced packs many of the same upgrades as the Smart Thermostat Premium, including the larger 4-inch display, redesigned interface, but lacks the air quality monitor.

One difference with the Smart Thermostat Enhanced is that the body of the thermostat is made from the classic white plastic design of previous Ecobee models. This means you miss out on the sleek new zinc finish offered by the Smart Thermostat Premium.

The Smart Thermostat Enhanced features HomeKit integration, but it does not have a built-in speaker or microphone for Siri, AirPlay, Spotify, or Bluetooth support. This also means you miss out on smoke alarm detection features as well. These integrations are exclusive to the Smart Thermostat Premium, which features the necessary hardware to power them.

Other than those limitations, the only other difference between Ecobee’s two new thermostats is that the Smart Thermostat Premium includes a standalone Ecobee Smart Sensor in the box, while you’ll have to buy one separately to pair with the Smart Thermostat Premium.

9to5Mac’s Take

I’ve been testing the new Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium for the past several weeks, and it’s a really, really nice upgrade compared to the Smart Thermostat with Voice Control that I reviewed back in 2019. The real standout change in my opinion is the more premium design and larger display. The difference in design is immediately noticeable as soon as you take the Smart Thermostat Premium out of the box.

If you read my review of the Smart Thermostat with Voice Control from 2019, one of my biggest (and one of my only) complaints was the plastic, white design. The new zinc design of the Smart Thermostat Premium and the larger display addresses these concerns with quite a bit of success.

The built-in air quality monitor is a very handy addition as well. While other companies offer standalone smart air quality monitoring solutions, it’s nice having the functionality built directly into your thermostat. I do wish that the air quality data was accessible via HomeKit, but for now it looks like the only ways to view the information are in the Ecobee app and on the thermostat itself.

As far as installation goes, Ecobee’s guided process is as good as it’s ever been. I had no issues swapping out my Smart Thermostat with Voice Control and replacing it with the new Smart Thermostat Premium, although you do have to make sure to use the updated mounting bracket included with new model.

As always, the true power of smart thermostats such as these from Ecobee is scheduling and automation, along with features like occupancy detection. With cross platform support for HomeKit, Alexa, the Ecobee app, and Google Assistant, Ecobee’s smart thermostats give you a number of different options in this area.

I’ll have more details in a full review soon, but the new Smart Thermostat Premium is a continuation of Ecobee’s excellent HomeKit-compatible smart thermostat lineup. With wide support for HomeKit, AirPlay, and more, both the Smart Thermostat Premium and Smart Thermostat Enhanced are perfect additions to the Apple ecosystem.

The Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium is available to purchase starting today for $249.99, while the Smart Thermostat Enhanced is available for $189.99.

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