- Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 10.2 x 2.5 cm ; 454 g
- 2 Lithium Metal batteries required. (included)
- Item model number: EB-STATE4-01
- ASIN: B06W2LQY6L
- Date first available at Amazon.in: 20 August 2017
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #80,387 in Home Improvement (See Top 100 in Home Improvement)
ecobee4 Alexa-Enabled Thermostat with Sensor, Compatible with Alexa
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- Comes with built-in Alexa Voice Service, so you can ask your ecobee to set a timer, read you the news, adjust the temperature, and more. With Far-field voice technology your ecobee4 can hear you from across the room.
- Room sensors help manage hot and cold spots in your home, delivering comfort to the rooms that matter most.
- Easily adjust temperature and comfort settings from anywhere using your Android and iOS devices. Also works with Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings, IFTTT and more
- Save an average 23% on heating and cooling costs each year. Learn more at ecobee.com/savings.
- Fast, easy installation you can do yourself. Use our handy step-by-step guide right on your phone.
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Comes with built-in Alexa Voice Service, so you can ask your to set a timer, read you the, adjust the temperature, and more. With Far-field voice technology your can hear you from across the room.
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The remote sensors were a major tipping point in my decision, however, you have to know what you are getting into. The sensors are useful, true, but take some getting used to figuring out how they work and effect the function of the thermostat. Your thermostat will treat the average of all active sensors as the overall temperature that it will react to. You can set whether each sensor participates in a particular 'comfort setting' / schedule and will be included in the average. Of course the sensors only contribute to the average when they have recently detected motion, or when none of them show 'occupied'.
This sounds good, but in effect it means number of sensors and their placement become very important. The fewer sensors, the more a single sensor can swing the 'average'. I quickly found I needed more sensors to have any sort of balance and effective heating / cooling in the house. So, if comparing the price of this thermostat with others, keep in mind you will probably end up buying more sensors, which are frankly, overpriced. Only available in 2 packs, that average $60 or more, when the sensors should really be $20 each at most. And regardless of seasonal promotions that regularly offer the thermostats on sale, I've yet to see extra sensors offered on sale.
I expected the thermostat to be smarter, really. Once sensors were set up, smart home / away, geofencing, etc etc. I thought it would be set it and forget it. But ended up spending the first few months bumping temperature settings up or down, adjusting schedules, tweaking settings. So right away was wondering if I should have gotten the Nest instead, since it's whole thing is that it gets trained by those changes, and figures out your comfort settings for you. Instead, we were constantly making those tweaks and corrections, and the thermostat was learning nothing.
I was excited about the usage reports, the data and feedback on our usage and savings. So, after installing the thermostat on June 2, 2017. I was thoroughly disappointed to find that after 30 days, I had no data. Then to realize it required a complete 'Calendar' month of usage to get any data. So all my June usage was tossed, I had to wait through July, and then another week or two into August before any reports showed up. After all that wait, I found the reports were basically useless fluff that just stated our usage vs. if we had the thermostat set at a different temperature. Yes, we saved energy vs if we'd had the AC cranked up all the time. Okay thanks.
The data was also skewed, as within the first month or so of ownership I realized that the outside temperature reading on the thermostat (taken from internet weather reporting) was wayyyyy off. Tracking it for a bit, I realized that it was lagging about 3 hours behind. So of course any 'learning' the thermostat was doing about inside temp and heat pump usage vs the outside temp was all wrong. Contacting support, they just suggested I change weather stations, even though the entire list of 10 local stations they sent me showed temperatures that were 3 hours off. Had this problem come and go for some months, pretty sure I ended up on a weather station that's about 15 miles away, not optimal, but apparently more stable than the closer ones. I haven't noticed problems in a while, though I stopped paying much attention to the data reports after realizing their relative uselessness. So maybe their weather service got their act together, maybe not.
But, the biggest problem came at 11 months in, when I walked by my thermostat one evening and noticed the 'Setup' screen was showing. After 11 months of tweaking settings and schedules, figuring out heat pump compressor / emergency heat limits and thresholds over the winter when it kept swinging between really cold house and overly using the expensive resistant heating element... all of my settings were gone. Are gone I should say.
After weeks and weeks of long silences from support, tickets being closed and re-opened, 'our team is looking into it', etc. Not surprisingly the final answer was 'there's nothing in our logs to indicate what happened'. No answer, no reassurance that this sort of thing might not just happen again at any time. No backups of settings, etc.
So, 12 months later I'm back to square one. No sensors, no custom settings, no heat pump thresholds tweaked to perfection, nothing. Just an expensive thermostat that's not very smart, and a handful of overpriced sensors that don't want to re-associate it with it. Awesome.
Not having used the Nest, I can't say for sure that it's better, I can only say the Ecobee has been less that awesome. When I get it all set back up I will definitely be writing down all the settings as I go, now that I know they can be lost completely at any time. Despite having an online account and the company surely collecting data from all our thermostats all the time for their own use, none of that data is really of any use to the customer when we need it.
Also, I didn't buy the Ecobee for Alexa. We used it some initially, found it more amusing than useful, but in the end Google Home won our hearts and we've since filled our house with that particular assistant. So another knock against the Ecobee4 is that if you decide to disable Alexa from listening to you all the time, your thermostat then has a permanent red glowing bar across the top of it. Supposedly a better solution is being worked on, but has never materialized.
I'm still hoping that the Ecobee will eventually redeem itself when I get further into my smart home / home automation adventure. I haven't checked recently, but at the time of purchase, the Ecobee had a much more robust API open to users, allowing the more robust smart home hub / controllers like openHab to get data from the sensors and thermostat, and possibly trigger various actions on the thermostat. If this ends up working as I hope, it may all be worth it. Of course, if I just end up using it as a networked thermostat that's controlled by a smart controller based on various other (lower priced) sensors throughout the house, well, there's probably cheaper thermostats that allow that sort of external triggering. But hey, they probably don't look as nice!
When ecobee came along I was an early user of their solution including zone sensors, which seemed to be a good idea for my multi-level open-architecture home. But again, in real life there were instances of the more sophisticated system introducing new problems that never existed before. It took me weeks to get things to settle down and even to this day the simple act of operating my HVAC system is less automated than it was with a simple programmable thermostat
But with the smart features there were things I learned to like, and high on that list was the ability to control my HVAC system from my phone, whether at home or not. In some ways that capability started becoming the number one reason for owning an smart thermostat. But there was definite room for improvement and among them was a tighter integration with Alexa/Echo to allow for more automation and easier control, especially by voice.
I have had Echo sensors at the two places at home (now 3) where I spend the most time and they are “connected” to my ecobee but this newest , latest version takes that another big step forward and actually builds an Echo right in the thermostat hardware. One advantage is obvious; generally our thermostats are not located anywhere near where it would be logical to have an Echo plugged in. In my case the thermostat is on a wall between the bedrooms on a staircase landing … the last place I would ever have an Echo. By having the voice control of Alexa in that location I can simple speak to my thermostat as I walk by. The included remote sensor of my thermostat is located in an open section between my kitchen, dining area and living area, also a location I am very unlikely to plug in an Echo, so it would have been nice if the remote sensors acted as mini-Echo’s with microphones in each. They don’t, so let’s list that as suggested improvement #1.
If nothing else, getting this unit gave me most of the functions of having another Echo, which can be a big cost savings over buying more Echo units (I already had two Dots).
KEY FEATURES OF ECOBEE
Before going into features (and differences), if you are new to the whole concept of smart thermostats, here is a run-down of what this is all about:
- The ecobee not only turns your A/C on when it’s hot and your heat on when it’s cold but it actually works (via internet) with your local weather service in real-time so it knows what’s going on outside your home as well as inside
- Its key difference is that you can place sensor is different zones of your house which not only helps balance out the efficient use of heating and cooling but can sense which room you are in and control your preferences for that room, not the entire house. It even knows when you go to work, or to bed or on vacation
- The newest feature, Alexa control, let’s you use the thermostat as a timer, to check the news, turn lights on and off, play music and something like 10,000 other “skills”. Of course you will need various other accessories to make some of that happen.
- You can check and change the temperature of your HVAC using a smartphone from anywhere in the world. To me this is the number one reason I like this system
- The software builds usage reports over time which can be helpful in managing your energy usage for maximum economy
THE GOOD AND THE BAD
Let’s start off with what was probably the biggest complaint about earlier versions … they didn’t work well with heat pumps. That’s probably because heat pumps aren’t very common where the company is based. When I first got mine I was on the phone for hours with the tech people (I have to give them credit, their tech support was great). They really couldn’t solve it over the phone so they send a professional tech out to complete the installation for me. Compared to installing an old style mechanical thermostat by connecting two wires and turning it on that would have been a major strike against smart thermostats but I was forgiving because we were dealing with some very cutting-edge technology. The good news is that my installation of the new model was butter-smooth, it seemed to know exactly what HVAC gear I have and fine-tune itself accordingly.
WHAT IS CHANGED FROM THE ECOBEE 3 TO THE ECOBEE 4?
- The new model much larger in every dimension
- The new model is “rounder” – the old design was essentially square with rounded corners, the new model is somewhere in-between a square and a circle
- The new model is substantially thicker, it sticks out from the wall almost twice as far
- The new model has a completely flat face, whereas the older design’s face was slightly convex like the face of a clock. The advantages of a flat face are less glare on the screen and it is easier to touch-activate the icons without accidentally brushing against the wrong one
- The pseudo button has been redesigned. The so-called button is actually a sensor but on the older design it looks like a push button. The manufacturer doesn’t mention it anywhere in their documentation and I understand it was a common complaint from users who tried poking it and nothing happened.
- One additional faceplate icon added (for the Alexa/Echo controls)
- Different mounting plate – the mounting plate is what screws to the wall and the wires from you HVAC attach to it, then the thermostat faceplate simply snaps on to it. The older design had a two-piece mounting plate that was a bit cumbersome. The newly designed plate is much smaller and one piece instead of two. IMPORTANT: the location of the wiring terminals has been switched up for no apparent reason. If you are replacing a previous model with the new design read each terminal label carefully, they are not where they used to be. The mounting plate still has a tiny built-in bubble level which is incredibly useful in mounting the thermostat so it doesn’t lean to one side or the other on your wall.
- Different remote room sensor is pictured on the retail box than what's inside – this one is something I’m working on getting an answer for, the packaging shows a newly redesigned room sensor that looks more attractive and eliminates the pseudo button mentioned above, but what is actually in the box is the old sensor. This could just be because I was testing an early unit. By the way, the remote sensor can either be mounted to your wall or placed on a desk/tabletop using a little acrylic stand.
- There is now a blue LED light bar on top of the thermostat but when the unit is mounted at the usual height most people won’t be able to see the light itself, only the glow from it on their wall. So my second suggestion is maybe that light should have been on the bottom of the thermostat and serve double-duty as a path light when the motion sensor senses someone walking by (this is a feature I love on my nest smoke detector … I have it mounted at the top of my stairway and whenever someone walks under it at night a soft nightlight comes on to illuminate the first couple of stairs).
- Staying on the topic of that blue light, one thing I find very distracting is if you prefer to turn the auto-voice-recognition microphone off on the thermostat’s main unit for any reason, that light turns bright red whenever the microphone is turned off. That looks like it is warning me of a danger situation (turning the microphone off is not a danger situation to me). Suggestion three, please change that setting to be able to turn the LED light off!
- And, Amazon Alexa built in, of course (a few words on that later in this review)
- The Power Extender Kit (PEK) has been completely restyled with bigger terminals, larger buttons to clamp the wires and a handy magnet on back so it can stick to the inside of your HVAC main unit. Thoughtful.
- Back trim panel has been redesigned – the use of this trim plate is optional to cover screw holes or unpainted walls behind your old thermostat. The new design is rounder which some people may prefer but the larger advantage is that the hole in the back for the wires to pass through is much smaller, which means less air from inside your wall can rush through and affect the accuracy of the thermostat
- There is no way to save your settings when you upgrade from a previous model – this of course only affect users who are upgrading from the previous model but is a missed opportunity for the manufacturer. You should be able to save all of your settings to your online account so when you install the newer model it automatically recalls them. Instead, they do something unexpected … when you uninstall the old thermostat your account is automatically deleted and you no longer exist to them. You have to start from scratch to set up a whole new account. By the way I’m not talking about 2-3 personal preference settings, there must be at least 50 settings buried deep in the setup menus!
- New model is not listed yet at registration page – this is not an issue or a problem, remember I looked at an advance unit several weeks before it was announced to the public. So when I had to set up a new account the latest model was not listed as one of my options. Hint: I said that I have an ecobee 3 and it accepted that.
Okay, let’s talk about the most exciting new feature … it has a built-in Amazon Alexa Voice Service. In theory that means if you don’t own an Echo, you do now, and if you already own one or more Echo’s it adds another one (which is essentially similar to the Echo Dot). It has built in far-field voice recognition microphones and (like other Echo devices) theoretically only the closest Echo will respond to your voice. I say in theory because the Alexa portion of the thermostat is very slow to wake up. It turns out my thermostat is located almost exactly midway between my upstairs Dot and my downstairs Dot and even if I am standing with my face a foot away from the thermostat it takes so long to realize I’m talking to it that either the upstairs Dot or the downstairs Dot respond first. Sometimes BOTH respond so I have Alexa jabbering at me from all over the house. Then when it finally wakes up and goes “huh?” (it doesn’t really do that) now I have THREE Alexa voices talking to me. What's really weird is that while my two Alexas are saying one thing, the one inside my thermostat is saying something totally different. Obviously this isn’t ideal and I’ll report back once the manufacturer gets a chance to work on this for their final version.
One more thing about Alexa/Echo integration … so far it hasn’t been working out so well and apparently that’s not new (there are way too many unhappy users commenting about controlling the previous models with Alexa). Not to be one-sided but it works 100% of the time for me with Siri, but most of the time Alexa won’t/can’t acknowledge that I even have an ecobee device connected let alone control it.
If you don’t yet have a smart thermostat this new model is the one to get for dozens of good reasons (besides being Alexa/Echo enabled). It smarter and does almost everything I could ever want a thermostat to do. My only downside with smart thermostats is related to my particular climate which is not like most places that have winter settings and summer setting where you can let the thermostat run on a schedule most of the time. Where I live there are two transitional seasons in which we open the windows and doors part of the day and then turn on the heat or A/C the rest of the day. I would love a simple system on/off button on the main unit and on the app that lets me do that and I would really like a system that has window/door sensors that automatically turn the HVAC off whenever a window or door is opened for ventilation.
If you do already have a previous model should you replace it with the newest model? Well, personally I think the improvements are all positive and if I didn’t already own an Alexa Echo Dot I would definitely do it. Otherwise, the improvements aren’t a quantum leap in features or technology so I would say it is a personal decision if you want to be at the cutting edge with your home gadgets.
Overall I have a high opinion of the newly improved model and none of the quibbles I mentioned should count against that until the final production models hit the mainstream and any bugs are worked out. So for now my score is high based on my own personal user satisfaction.