I have been a long time user of the ecobee3 and have always been very happy with it. Shortly after getting the ecobee3 setup and running in my house I started adding Room Sensors and quickly had a connected thermostat that could use temperature readings from every room in my house to properly and accurately set the household temperature. See in my opinion the Room Sensors are what sets ecobee apart from the other connected thermostats on the market, not only can they be used to detect temperature variations but also to detect presence and prioritize those temperature readings above unoccupied ones. On top of this ecobee integrated great with Wink which I was using at the time to run my smart home then with SmartThings (although I had to use a more advance Device Handler and SmartApp to get the level of integration I wanted but more on that in a future post). In addition to the integration with my smart home platform ecobee also had great Alexa integration giving me voice control from everywhere.
I was very happy with my ecobee3 Thermostat but was also very excited when I heard about the ecobee4 which had Alexa built in, I mean I was already fully invested in the Alexa ecosystem so why wouldn’t I want a thermostat with Alexa built right in? Well since the ecobee4 did not offer me any additional features other than having Alexa built right in I was able to fight the urge for some time but I was soon swayed to upgrade by a promotion by my local utility company that got me a new ecobee4 for a fraction of the price and I knew I could easily sell my ecobee3 and actually end up making some money by upgrading.
As soon as the new ecobee4 showed up I quickly got it installed and paired all of my Room Sensors, I was up and running in under 30 minutes; I could not be more excited. That is until I started interacting with Alexa devices nearby. See all Alexa devices made by Amazon have intelligence and hardware inside to help them determine which one you are speaking too and answer you on the correct one, well the ecobee4 had no such feature and I found it answering me either in place of the Alexa device that I wanted to answer me or even answering me in addition to another Alexa device. This quickly got annoying. Now I will say that this problem has become less annoying with subsequent firmware updates to the ecobee4 it is still not perfect and I honestly have a hard time accepting this. It is not ecobee that a blame however it is Amazon, I think Amazon needs to get rid of this line that separates there own Alexa devices from third-party Alexa devices (but again that is a topic for another blog post.
Don’t get me wrong I still love my ecobee4 but honestly I could have stayed with the ecobee3 and never skipped a beat. In my opinion the ecobee4 is a great option for a house that is not already saturated with Alexa, it can be a great way to get started but for someone like me who has Alexa everywhere already the ecobee4 has created more frustration than it may have been worth.If you are like me and your house is saturated with Alexa save yourself some money and get an ecobee3 lite which will seamlessly integrate with your existing Alexa devices.
I am passionate about the IoT and connected devices. Using connectivity to automate our lives will empower civilization to achieve greatness.