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Honeywell Lyric Thermostat (Second Generation) review: Honeywell's next-gen Lyric thermostat sings the same old tune

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I reviewed Honeywell's original Lyric thermostat in July 2014. A direct response to startup Nest's (now Google's/Alphabet's Nest) round Learning thermostat (now in its third iteration), the Lyric boasted a familiar, Nest-esque hardware design, as well as Wi-Fi connectivity and a related Android and iOS app for on-the-go access.

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6.3

Honeywell Lyric Thermostat (Second Generation)

The Good

Honeywell's $250 second-gen Lyric thermostat works with Apple's HomeKit platform, so you can tell Siri to adjust the temperature for you -- along with other related commands. You can also control the Lyric 2.0 via the SmartThings and Lutron apps.

The Bad

Sure, Apple fans can set up Siri voice control with this thermostat, but HomeKit isn't all that easy to configure and even then, it isn't particularly reliable. And you can forget about geofencing; Honeywell's location-based Home/Away feature didn't work reliably during testing.

The Bottom Line

It may be version 2.0, but Honeywell still has a lot of kinks to work out with this temperamental HomeKit-compatible thermostat.

Honeywell's version didn't work all that well. Rather than relying on an algorithm to adjust the heat and A/C like the Nest, the Lyric used geofencing tied to the location of your phone. (You set a radius and when your phone leaves that area, your thermostat should automatically switch to Away mode and back to Home mode when you return -- this only works if you create related rules in the Shortcuts section of the app). This was glitchy at best.

Unfortunately, the same is true of the brand's second-generation $250 Lyric thermostat.

Honeywell's next-gen Lyric thermostat is kind of one-note (pictures)

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Unlike the original Lyric, which only let you set either a quarter-mile or a 7-mile radius, the Lyric 2.0 lets you customize the range. So, I set the smallest possible range, roughly a quarter of a mile and drove well beyond the threshold several different times with two Lyric-connected phones in tow.

Sometimes, nothing happened. Other times, one of the two phones sent a push alert. Occasionally, both worked as expected, but not often enough to have confidence in its overall performance. (Note: After additional long-term testing, the geofencing functionality did improve somewhat, but still wasn't reliable enough to warrant an overall change to the Lyric's performance score.)

Honeywell's latest Lyric also adds Apple's HomeKit platform into the mix, so you can use Siri to control your thermostat both on your local Wi-Fi network and remotely (if you have a third-generation Apple TV or newer).

This is a neat feature in theory because it allows for voice control access straight from your phone, but HomeKit is finicky both to configure and to use. Honeywell incorporates the HomeKit pairing process into the initial setup -- and that's fairly straightforward, but the Apple side of things -- confirming iCloud account information, ensuring that you've enabled all of the correct settings and getting remote access to work through the Apple TV proved challenging.

That isn't unique to Honeywell, but it still doesn't bode well for users. And, the feature won't be useful to folks with Android devices at all.

And while Honeywell did make some in-app design updates, everything else still functions pretty much the same. You can still set rules, or "Shortcuts" in the app that adjust the heat, A/C and other functions on a schedule, but there's nothing revolutionary here that really changes the overall usability for the better.

Given the underwhelming performance -- and the potential for serious usability headaches with geofencing and HomeKit, I'd look to the Nest, the Ecobee3 (for a fellow HomeKit-compatible model) -- or even Honeywell's Wi-Fi Smart thermostats before considering Honeywell's Lyric 2.0.

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6.3

Honeywell Lyric Thermostat (Second Generation)

Score Breakdown

Features 7Usability 5Design 8Performance 5