The $250 Smart Thermostat Premium is Ecobee's new high-end thermostat, replacing the SmartThermostat with Voice Control. The Premium borrowed a lot of the best features from the last iteration, but also introduced a redesigned display, a zinc body, a radar sensor and an air quality sensor. A temperature-and-occupancy-sensing SmartSensor is also included with your purchase.
The display is larger than the SmartThermostat with Voice Control. I didn't have the older model on hand for a direct side-by-side comparison, but I could easily read the screen across the room (about 15 feet). It also changed the layout of the menu and added some on-screen animations that improved overall usability. The built-in Alexa speaker, for example, used to show up as a light bar at the top of the last-gen model. In the Premium thermostat, Alexa is fully integrated into the display, appearing as an animation when you say "Alexa."
The zinc body adds weight to the Premium thermostat and introduces a more luxury look with silver accents compared to the white plastic body of Ecobee's past models and the current entry-level Ecobee3 Lite ($150).
Along with the design updates, Ecobee also swapped in a radar sensor to detect motion and occupancy rather than the passive infrared sensor used in the older model. Ecobee claims the radar sensor can better detect motion at a distance and even around corners. Again, I didn't have the SmartThermostat with Voice Control with me to compare the responses directly, but I found that the Premium model reliably switched between Home and Away mode.
The most interesting addition here was an air quality sensor, designed to detect volatile organic compounds and carbon dioxide. I didn't test the accuracy of the air quality sensor, but a note on the home screen read "Clean." If you click on it, the thermostat goes to another screen with more information detailing where your score sits on the range of poor to clean.
Overall this thermostat has a ton of features and it worked well during testing. I do wish Ecobee had introduced it at a lower price given the industry shift toward more affordable models. That makes this solid thermostat more difficult to recommend, even though it has a lot going for it. If you have the budget for this model and want all the special features, it could be worth it. Other folks might want to consider the Ecobee Smart Thermostat Enhanced or one of our favorite affordable thermostats.