Emerson Announces HomeKit-Compatible Sensi Thermostat With Touchscreen

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, May 22, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    Home thermostat maker Emerson today announced two new smart thermostats, one of which includes a color touchscreen display. The Sensi Touch Wi-Fi Thermostat -- along with an updated version of Sensi's existing Wi-Fi Thermostat -- is now compatible with Apple's smart home management platform HomeKit, for controlling the device using the Apple Home app on iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch, or voice using Siri.

    Apart from showing current system temperature and swipe-to-set features, the touchscreen display on the Sensi Touch Wi-Fi changes color to indicate whether the system is heating or cooling, while live humidity tracking keeps users informed about their home's atmosphere. Meanwhile, smart alerts serve to notify homeowners of extreme temperature changes when detected.

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    Additional menu options enable users to customize the information on the home screen display and to choose a continuous back glow for soft lighting in dark hallways or rooms. In addition to the touchscreen controls, the thermostat also has illuminated terminals for increased visibility while wiring and easy-click terminals that eliminate the need for a screwdriver.
    The thermostat display functions are mirrored in the accompanying Sensi app, which includes instructional steps for easy do-it-yourself installation, no experience required. Elsewhere, the system supports flexible scheduling for each day of the week, while a geofencing feature allows users to change temperature settings when they leave and before they return to their home.

    In addition to the Apple HomeKit integration, the Sensi thermostats are compatible with smart home platforms Amazon Alexa and Wink. The Sensi Wi-Fi Thermostat costs $129.99, while the Sensi Touch Wi-Fi Thermostat costs $199.99 and will be available in the U.S. starting June.

    Article Link: Emerson Announces HomeKit-Compatible Sensi Thermostat With Touchscreen
     
  2. zorinlynx macrumors 603

    zorinlynx

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    #2
    Does this thermostat depend on servers on the Internet? I have yet to find any smart thermostat that can be controlled directly over the local network. They all want to talk to the company's servers.

    I wish all IoT devices were like the Philips Hue system. Everything is controlled locally; no need for servers out on the internet that you don't control.
     
  3. TurboPGT! Suspended

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    Why would this product need to be connected to the internet?
     
  4. konqerror macrumors 6502

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    #4
    It is difficult to accept incoming connections on a home network, you would have to set up port forwarding/UPNP which is not always reliable. How would your phone know your home's IP, especially if it were to change while you were gone? Also push notifications cannot operate without the company's servers which are registered with Apple.
     
  5. TurboPGT! Suspended

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    #5
    There is another class of Notifications entirely, Local Notifications that an App can generate and show to the user, that do not use the Push Notification system or servers at all. If the app is receiving data from a device on the local wifi network (like the thermostat) there is no reason it can't utilize local notifications.

    Of course, they would not work outside of the home network.

    But what else besides Push? I don't want any important functionality of the thermostat itself to depend on internet connectivity.
     
  6. zorinlynx macrumors 603

    zorinlynx

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    This is fine; I don't mind if the thermostat can use the company's servers to provide additional features like controlling the unit when you're away from home and sending push notifications.

    My problem is that with all these smart thermostats so far, without their servers it basically becomes a dumb thermostat. You can't control it over the network, even locally. They are completely dependent on the company's servers for all network connectivity even if you are standing in the same room as the thermostat and on the same Wifi network.
     
  7. konqerror macrumors 6502

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    #7
    I said: out of home access.

    Won't work. The app can't stay connected to the thermostat in the background due to Apple's battery limits. Push notifications allow the app to wake up and reconnect. Common issue in chat/VoIP apps. All of the enterprise ones (that work after 10 minutes) require connection via APNs via the software company's server.
     
  8. jacjustjac macrumors regular

    jacjustjac

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    #8
    I know the Nest draws power from the trickle current in the electric lines, so it doesn't need batteries, but can the same current power this massive touchscreen?
     
  9. OldSchoolMacGuy Suspended

    OldSchoolMacGuy

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    #9
    Illuminated terminals? Seems a bit silly. It may help with the initial connection if your thermostat is in a dark area but after you connect it they're never used again. Add to the cost for a feature you'll use for a couple seconds.
     
  10. JRobinsonJr macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Excellent point. With the exception of an occasional glance (checking the current temp) when I don't have my phone handy, I *never* use the thermostat directly. I've even considered switching to an Ecobee and putting it in a closet so I don't have to put it in my hallway. Only the remote sensors would be visible. Might not work b/c the unit still acts as the primary thermostat rather than a remote controller though.
     
  11. biggest father1 macrumors member

    biggest father1

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    #12
    I just want a HomeKit thermostat that doesn't require a common wire to give it power! Is that too much to ask? Actually, I don't know, so it might be if HomeKit requires additional power to thermostats to make the feature work.
     
  12. DrumApple macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    I have the current Sensei in my house and it works like a charm! Parents have the Honeywell (more expensive) and I have to say the Emerson is better - quicker to respond and nicer app.
     
  13. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #14
    Nice price for a touchscreen HomeKit enabled thermostat, but why so large? The footprint is nearly 6 inches wide, dominated by that huge and seemingly unnecessary bezel.
     
  14. liberte1776 macrumors regular

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    #15
    Better late than never... I first had Nest, two versions, now Ecobee 3 -- I am very happy w/it, just wish its remote sensors also read humidity! Heard good things about Keen smart vents, which also Ecobee integrate...
     
  15. FelixDerKater macrumors 68030

    FelixDerKater

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    #16
    They need to go with the $129 price for the touchscreen model to dislodge the big players.
     
  16. mrcobra92 macrumors 6502

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    #17
    Most touchscreen and smart thermostats require a special wire for this exact reason .
     
  17. kdarling macrumors P6

    kdarling

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    #18
    I set up the Sensi non-touch version with an Amazon Echo, for my wife when she came home bedridden from the hospital. I named the thermostat as "house temperature". She loves it:

    "Alexa, increase the house temperature by two degrees" .... (response: "Okay, house temperature set to 72 degrees")

    or

    "Alexa, set house temperature to 70". etc.

    I haven't run a furnace power wire yet for its WiFi, so I've been using rechargeable AAs instead in its internal backup slots, and swapping them out about once a month when the WiFi dies.
     
  18. DakotaGuy macrumors 68040

    DakotaGuy

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    #19
    I just installed a new Emerson Sensi Touch thermostat in my house today and I'm very impressed with the actual thermostat and the app which is excellent on iOS and Android. If you just want a simple Wi-Fi stat that's easy to program on your phone and offers a few other perks like geofencing this one is excellent. Build quality is nice, install is easy. Capacitive touchscreen and even has a cool nightlight ring around the back base you can turn on.
     
  19. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #20
    Thanks for the review. If you have any other impressions as you live with it please share. I am still trying to figure out if this thermostat is compatible with our furnace and AC.
     
  20. DakotaGuy, Jul 21, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2017

    DakotaGuy macrumors 68040

    DakotaGuy

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    #21
    The one thing you will need for sure is to make sure you have a 24 VAC common wire. It's usually blue. The standard Sensi can run without it as long as you have a conventional furnace/AC set-up, but the touch model needs continuous power. I'm using it with a high efficiency 95% Amana Natural Gas furnace and a standard Amana single stage AC unit. My furnace is a two stage, but it's second stage is controlled by the furnace not the stat. With that said Sensi will control a true two stage furnace or AC unit. My friend has a heat pump-electric furnace set up and he uses a standard Sensi stat.

    Here is some info from Emerson that might help you...

    https://sensicomfort.com/compatibility/wire-picker

    I'll report back once I use it for awhile. I will add that this is just an upgrade from the standard white Sensi with physical buttons that I had on my wall for about 2 1/2 years. I just wanted the nicer look and touchscreen and gave my old one to a friend. During the time I've used it I have found Emerson's servers to be up very close to 100% of the time and the thermostat never let me down. They are a company that serves a lot of commercial applications as well so I figure that helps with reliability both with the stat and the network. App appears to have been developed in house by real software people and they claim to actually manufacture the product in their factories. Last, if the network or whatever goes down the thermostats will still run on their programmed schedule and you can still adjust them on the wall.

    Here are a few real pictures of it. First is the always on display. It shows the room temp and either a gray background for idle or off, red for heat or blue for AC. The number switches back and forth from white to black every so often. My guess it does that to prevent screen burn in.

    Second picture is when you touch it and it wakes up. Gray if off, blue for cooling,red for heating.

    Last is the nightlight that you can turn on or off.


    20170721_090022_resized.jpg 20170721_090054_resized.jpg 20170721_085954_resized.jpg
     
  21. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #22
    The attraction for me would be HomeKit compatibility. The standard version does not have that, correct?

    I looked at the diagram supplied by Emerson. I have to pull our current thermostat (a Totaline) off the wall and check the wiring to find out if it will work. Our furnace is less than 15 years old, so I am hopeful.
     
  22. DakotaGuy macrumors 68040

    DakotaGuy

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    #23
    Both the touch and the updated standard button version will both support HomeKit. The biggest visual difference between the new and old standard one is they replaced the Emerson logo with a Sensi logo on the stat. They have a different model number as well. To be honest the touch version is really just about the style of the thermostat and the touchscreen. Both use the exact same app. I believe the only other advantage of the touchscreen is that you can actually set-up the schedule on the stat itself if you turn off the Wi-Fi. Why a person would want to do that I haven't a clue because it's much easier on the app, but maybe someone just wants a cool looking thermostat that is used like a dumb one.
     
  23. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #24
    And the standard has a much smaller, greyscale screen. It can be confusing because Emerson doesn't make the information easy to find, but you are certainly right, the standard model is HomeKit compatible too. The two compatible products are:
    • Sensi Touch Wi-Fi Thermostat
    • Sensi Wi-Fi Thermostat
    They also sell the "Sensi Wi-Fi Programmable Thermostat" (or used to), which is not.
     
  24. DakotaGuy macrumors 68040

    DakotaGuy

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    #25
    The light is actually used again since it's the same light they use for the "nightlight" once you install the thermostat. The only additional cost would be the little switch on the backplate. I'm guessing the battery built into the backplate that runs the led light is also the same one used for memory back-up once installed. I'd actually say it's pretty good engineering to come up with ideas to make dual use of things.
     

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24 May 22, 2017