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Lux Geo thermostat review: Not as smart as you'll want it to be

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Lux's $149 Geo thermostat, available in the US only, has a flexible design you can mount either horizontally or vertically. You also have the choice of a white or a black finish and the related app makes it easy to set a heating and cooling schedule, as well as a geofencing radius for automatic home and away mode adjustments.

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6.7

Lux Geo thermostat

The Good

Set a geofencing radius and/or a recurring heating and cooling schedule with ease using the $149 Lux Geo thermostat's related app; you can mount the thermostat either horizontally or vertically.

The Bad

The Lux Geo doesn't have any smart home partners, so don't expect it to work with Samsung SmartThings, Wink, IFTTT, Google Home, Apple HomeKit or Amazon Alexa.

The Bottom Line

Lux's Geo is a fine thermostat, but competing models from Honeywell, Ecobee and Emerson offer more features for roughly the same price.

It performs well, and its unique convertible design gives it extra points, but the Geo's price doesn't quite match up with what it offers customers. In particular, Lux's smart thermostat has zero smart-home integrations, where competing models from Honeywell, Ecobee and Emerson all at least work with Amazon's voice assistant, Alexa. The Lux Geo is a decent choice, but not if you're in search of the best value.

Lux's Geo thermostat doesn't shine bright

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Giving the Geo a go

Not only is the Lux Geo's horizontal/vertical mount appealing from a practical standpoint -- you may not have to drill new holes in your wall or cover previously hidden patches of last generation's paint color if you have two mounting options.

It also looks neat. No, it isn't exactly the modern touchscreen aesthetic we've seen lately from Honeywell, Nest and Ecobee, but its minimal digital display and dial controller keep things simple.

Curious about the Geo's specs and features? Take a peek at this comparison chart:

Comparing smart thermostats

Lux GeoHoneywell Lyric T5Ecobee3 LiteEmerson Sensi
Price MSRP: $149 Walmart: $115.85MSRP: $150 Amazon: $123.47MSRP: $169 Stores: $169MSRP: $160 Home Depot: $129
Color finish Black, whiteBlackBlackWhite
Batteries 2 AA lithium batteries (included)NoNo2 AA batteries (included)
C-wire required NoYesYesNo
Geofencing YesYesNoNo
Smart home partners NoAmazon Alexa, Apple HomeKitAmazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, SmartThings, Wink, IFTTTAmazon Alexa

Drag your finger to adjust your schedule.

The Lux Geo falls in line with the Honeywell Lyric T5, the Ecobee3 Lite and the Emerson Sensi as a new, lower priced thermostat that's still high-end and mostly smart. No, you won't find any algorithmic learning or any smart-home integrations here (not yet, at least -- Lux says it has an Alexa skill coming "around March 1"), but the Geo does come with a related Android or iPhone app and geofencing for a degree of home/away mode automation.

And, like the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Emerson Sensi, the Geo doesn't require a C-wire to operate. Not sure what that means? Check out this post for more details.

Installation took less than 10 minutes in my case, mainly because I didn't have to drill any new holes. When in doubt, contact a professional to help with this step. Configuring the thermostat was also straightforward -- download the app, create an account, verify your email address, and follow the steps to connect your Geo to your Wi-Fi network.

Once it's online, the app will prompt you to name your thermostat and set a seven-day schedule by dragging the times to match up with your routine. After setting a schedule, the app will give you the option of creating a geofencing radius. This feature sets a distance threshold.

When your phone crosses it, your thermostat knows you're either home or away and will adjust the settings accordingly. Geofencing also overrides your fixed seven-day schedule in the event that you drop by your house when your schedule thinks you should be at work or vice versa.

The Lux Geo performed consistently well during testing. It stuck to the schedule I created unless the geofencing feature noticed an inconsistency. Then, it would make the needed adjustments and send me an alert -- "Radius ended Away/Home mode." You can also make any manual adjustments to the temperature or other setting using the app or the dial on the thermostat itself.

Still, I want Lux to update its app design to something a little more current, and I really wish it worked with at least one smart-home platform. The Honeywell Lyric T5 costs $150, offers scheduling and geofencing, and works with Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit. The two potentially important caveats are that Honeywell's Lyric T5 requires a C-wire, and it doesn't offer multiple mounting options.

The $169 Ecobee3 Lite has even more smart-home partners than the Lyric T5, but it doesn't support geofencing and you still need a C-wire to install it. Emerson's $160 Sensi works with Amazon Alexa and it doesn't require a C-wire, but it doesn't have a geofencing feature, either. You'll definitely need to think about the exact features you want from a smart thermostat before you buy, but most of the Geo's competitors are significantly smarter.

To buy, or not to buy

The $149 Lux Geo's geofencing feature and C-wire-optional installation give it definite appeal, but it's the flexible horizontal/vertical layout that truly differentiates it from other smart thermostats. The lack of smart-home partners is disappointing, particularly compared to the $169 Ecobee3 Lite's multitude of integrations, but that won't be a deal-breaker for everyone, especially since the Geo is available for 20 bucks less.

Even so, the Geo doesn't offer as many features as its competitors, and why should you pay roughly the same amount for a connected thermostat that does less? Short answer: you shouldn't -- unless you want the install versatility only the Geo can offer.

luxgeothermostat-2.jpg
6.7

Lux Geo thermostat

Score Breakdown

Features 6Usability 7Design 7Performance 7