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Smart Home: Can this Nest competitor up the smart thermostat ante?

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Smart Home: Can this Nest competitor up the smart thermostat ante?

2:29 /

A few kinks keep Honeywell's $279 Lyric thermostat from stealing the show.

[MUSIC] Hi, I'm Megan Woolerton for CNet. And I'm here with the $279 Honeywell Lyric thermostat. So, the most noticeable thing about this, is it's rounded shape. It's very similar to the Nest learning thermostat that's $250. And it's pretty clear that Honeywell got its inspiration for this smart thermostat from the Nest. So first off, I really like the design. I like the rounded shape. I like that it has this dial that you can turn to set the temperature. It's a really sleek looking thermostat. It's definitely an improvement on design from the Honeywell Wi-Fi smart thermostat. And the Honeywell Wi-Fi smart thermostat with voice control that I reviewed last year. It'll definitely be more of a statement for your wall than those traditional, sort of square, utilitarian thermostats that we've seen lately. I also really like the design of the app. I think it's very intuitive, very well laid out, and very easy to use. While Honeywell definitely drew some design inspiration from the Nest, it definitely has some features that set it apart. Rather than a learning algorithm that sort of adapts to your usage over time, this one has geofencing. That basically means that you can set it to 500 feet or 7 miles, and once your smartphone gets within that radius it will shut off to away mode. And when you're on your way back home it'll do the same thing. It'll switch back to home mode. I do think this is a really smart solution for people with really hectic schedules, something that might be hard for an algorithmic-based thermostat to keep up with. I really like how hands-off that is. And I like that you can set it to 500 feet or seven miles. That makes it really simple for both urban and more suburban lifestyles. But I did experience some weird glitches with the geofencing, in particular. I set the app to send me notifications when the geofencing crossed the 500 foot threshold, both going away and back home. And I continually got error messages, and it never once worked correctly. And, it did set itself to away mode, and back to home mode successfully, most of the time. The problem I had though, is that both the thermostat and the app, didn't say away mode, or home mode. So, you couldn't always be sure that it had worked the right way. Especially because the notifications weren't working. A handful of times, I also ran into a problem where I would set the geofencing to 500 feet, leave home, come back, and that would work perfectly. But then once I got home it would revert back to away mode, which is obviously not ideal. So while it's a little bit glitchy right now, I think with some firmware updates it could be an excellent Nest competitor. Thanks for watching. I'm Megan Woolerton for CNet. [MUSIC]

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