After nearly two uncontested years at the top, Nest finally has a smart thermostat challenger. The Honeywell Lyric, available in August for $279, will let you adjust the temperature in your home using a smartphone app, or on the device itself. However, where the Nest uses a motion detector to sense when you're home and away, the Lyric uses geofencing to determine when you're coming back to the nest.
Not surprisingly, the circular Lyric looks much like the $249 Nest, which itself owes its shape to old-school Honeywell thermostats from the 1950s. The 3-inch glass face of the Lyric has a center touchscreen in the middle that displays the current temperature. A smaller semicircular display at the top shows the desired temperature and if the system is in heating or cooling mode.
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Honeywell claims that by using geofencing, there's no "learning" period, as there is with Nest's thermostat. You can set the Lyric's geofencing to 500 feet or 7 miles; the former is best if you walk to work, and the latter is better if you're driving home. While you're away, the Lyric will enter energy-saving mode. The Lyric can be paired with multiple smartphones (Android and iOS), and consumers can install up to ten Lyric thermostats in a single location.
In addition to setting the temperature based on user input, the Lyric will also be able to fine-tune itself by looking up local conditions such as temperature, humidity and weather conditions. According to Honeywell, the Lyric could save the average consumer in New York City $11 per month.
Currently, consumers can purchase the Lyric through Honeywell-certified contractors, and its will be available at Lowe's in August.