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Smart Home

Use Siri to control Emerson's latest Wi-Fi thermostat

Emerson's next-gen smart thermostat gains a touchscreen -- and an Apple MFi chip.

This is Emerson's Sensi Touch Wi-Fi Thermostat, scheduled to reach stores in June.


Thermostat ($70 at Amazon) maker Emerson today announced the $200 Sensi Touch. Available starting in June, the Sensi Touch Wi-Fi thermostat shares a lot of similarities with the $130 Sensi that I reviewed in 2016. But not everything.

Note: The Sensi Touch will only be available in the US at launch. Pricing converts to roughly £150 and AU$265 at the current exchange rate.

As its name suggests, the Sensi Touch ditches the bland, plasticky hardware for a more modern touchscreen look. It's a significant improvement at a glance, but the Sensi Touch is still lagging behind design-forward models like the Nest Learning Thermostat. The Sensi Touch actually reminds me of Honeywell's Wi-Fi Smart thermostat somewhat, which I reviewed back in 2013. While that model is still sold today, Honeywell has since introduced the Lyric and the Lyric T5 -- both of which are more attractive than the original Wi-Fi Smart (and the Sensi Touch).

In addition to the touchscreen upgrade, this model is also equipped with an Apple MFi chip. The MFi chip is a required hardware component if you want your product to work with Apple's HomeKit smart home platform.

And on a related topic, Emerson is replacing the original $130 Sensi with Sensi 2.0. The second-gen Sensi will still cost $130, and it will still have the same utilitarian design --- the only change is the addition of an MFi chip. Like the new Sensi Touch, Sensi 2.0 is also slated to hit stores in June.

HomeKit compatibility gives iPhone users access to their Sensi Touch (and other HomeKit products) in the iOS 10 Home app. It also means Siri can control the thermostat. Emerson has a related Amazon Alexa skill as well, so folks with an Echo, Echo Dot or Tap can adjust their thermostat via voice commands.

Look for our full review of Emerson's new Sensi Touch Wi-Fi thermostat sometime in June.

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