The Bosch Connected Control Wi-Fi Thermostat (BCC100) puts the familiar and trusted Bosch name into the residential market with a basic but capable $170 Wi-Fi thermostat. With a lower price than many of its competitors and relatively simple installation and setup, you can enter this realm of smart home technology with little fuss.
Bosch claims the BCC100 gives you "maximum comfort with minimum effort." And, for the most part, it's right on. I used the BCC100 in my Michigan home for a couple of weeks. Here's what I've learned.
HVAC compatibility. Residential HVAC systems range from simple to complex. Thankfully, the BCC100 works with virtually all of them, from up to 4-heat and 2-cool systems and most 24VAC HVAC equipment. It also plays well with most home humidifier and dehumidifier systems.
Simple installation. Even if you're not sure what type of system you have, just following the BCC100's simple setup instructions (including multiple color-coded wiring charts for most HVAC systems) will help ensure everything functions properly. That's for the equipment side. The user interface for the onboard software isn't as clear. But don't worry — Bosch provides plenty of supplemental videos to help you set it all up.
Design. The physical BCC100 unit is simple, attractive and unobtrusive. A single touch on its 5-inch screen will wake it up, instantly showing you the current temperature at its location. Simple white text and green, Chiclet-style controls stand out against a medium blue background. It's a good-looking user interface.
Alexa capability. When I fired up the BCC100 for the first time, the system prompted me to link up to our Wi-Fi and install a few updates, including one to make it Alexa-capable. This wasn't as important to me as other features, but it's nice to have. However, the Ecobee3 Lite, our top pick among midrange smart thermostats, works with Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings, Logitech, Wink and IFTTT.
Extreme-temperature alerts. TheBCC100 will alert me if the temperature in the house drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit or climbs above 90 degrees— my preferred temperatures — although the BCC100 allows for a low of 45 and a high of 99. And, if I check the "Auto-on" box, it will automatically power on the system to apply a fix. It also keeps a log of every change or input so I know if some clever child of mine tried to make our house feel more like a sauna.
Complex interface.Although the BCC100's interface looks inviting, the process of actually creating a heating-and-cooling schedule and making temporary changes to the temperature was a bit clunky, requiring more touches or clicks than other interfaces I've seen. You can create and set multiple schedules with multiple scheduled temperature changes in a given block of time, but I find this to be overkill. The device (but not the app) also offers local weather information, but so far, I haven't used this feature.
Other interface nitpicks: The drop-down menu of features appears in the upper-left corner of the thermostat screen. On the app, the menu appears in the upper-right corner.
Missing features. For many, the lack of geofencing and remote sensors, such as those found on the Ecobee3 Lite, is a downside of the BCC100. Geofencing helps save energy, as the thermostat will automatically switch from Home to Away mode when you leave your house, and vice versa. We like Ecobee's remote sensors because they help to ensure that all rooms of your house reach your desired temperature. But even though the lack of this feature could be a potential negative, adding it would take away from the simplicity.
I've had the BCC100 running our home's HVAC system for a couple of weeks now. For the most part, it faithfully regulated the temperature and responded to my infrequent temperature adjustments.
A few times during some crazy Michigan weather/temperature swings, I used the app to control the temperature settings remotely — usually from a second-floor bedroom because I didn't feel like getting out of bed and going downstairs to make the adjustment. That convenience, along with the extreme-temperature alerts and responses, makes the BCC100 a worthy device in our home.
At this price, however, we prefer the Ecobee3 Lite because it works with more smart-home systems, and you can also use it with a remote sensor to fine-tune your home's temperature.