Published on August 28th, 2017 | by Greg0
Emerson Sensi Touch: A Smart Thermostat With Style
There are so many products in our lives that don’t always work nicely together. After all, interoperable standards only exist when companies can agree, and create a format or protocol or specification that defines HDMI or MP3 or USB or even ensure that a nine-volt battery will always fit. And while you might think that electronics are cutting edge which can make it tough to implement, the truth is that it can go either way. There are plenty of custom dongles- Apple’s magnetic power cables won’t work with your PC for instance- but most vendors want their standards to become common, meaning there are incentives to ‘play nice’.
It’s probably not a surprise that an air conditioning and heating thermostat would work with most any existing system you might have- you’ll just need to make sure you have a C or common wire to power the thermostat itself. More interesting is the fact that the Emerson Sensi Touch Thermostat can utilize and integrate with several third-party systems, like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s HomeKit but also the Wink home automation hub. And, of course, you’ll be able to use your smartphone and download an app (iOS or Android) to control and monitor your air conditioner even far from home. If that’s all it could do, it would still be pretty nifty- but Emerson has built in quite a bit more. And while you might not recognize the company, they’ve actually been in the business for over 125 years.
We’ve seen units built for use with in-window A/C units, but this one is designed to replace your conventional thermostat. There are certainly competitors out there, but the Touch stands out thanks to it’s humidity sensor, geofencing capabilities, quick installation and setup, as well as some simple scheduling which allows you to save energy and keep your environment the way you like. If you leave, the system can tell, and adjust accordingly- and you can receive alerts and notifications if anything goes awry. Unusually, the company promises that you can expect accuracy within one degree, and we found it to be pretty accurate for the area around the unit- a much smaller amount of variance than we’ve seen from others on the market. If you have multiple users, geofencing might be less interesting, but the voice controls worked well in our tests.
The Sensi Touch has a bright and sizable, easy-to-read screen with onboard controls that looks sleek in dark black (contrasted to their original model in white). And no matter whether you have a “gas, oil, geothermal, heat pump and radiant heat system” with “up to 4 stages of heating and 2 stages of cooling”, you should enjoy a far better experience with your heating and cooling than with an awkward traditional model. Of course, while the Sensi Touch is pretty flexible, you will still have to use Emerson’s apps and cloud services- like all others we’ve seen, the hardware and software are inseparable. Expect to spend around $160 online and in stores for the Sensi Touch, among the more sophisticated smart thermostats.