There are now a number of smart air conditioners on the market, but what if you already have a window, wall or portable AC unit? The Sensibo Sky ($119) is an inexpensive and effective way to add some smarts to your window air conditioner.
Not only does this little device let you control your A/C remotely using your smartphone, but it also integrates well with Alexa and Google Assistant. Plus, Sensibo's app is pretty robust on its own, which is why it's one of the best smart thermostats for those with window units.
How it works
The Sensibo device is a small piece of rounded black plastic that measures 3.2 x 2.2 x 0.8 inches; the upper third has a glossy finish and the Sensibo logo, while the lower two-thirds is matte. Inside this unobtrusive box is an infrared transmitter and a thermometer.
The Sensibo connects to your home Wi-Fi network so that by using the Sensibo app on your smartphone, you can send commands to turn your air conditioner on and off, set schedules and more, from wherever you happen to be.
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Sensibo is similar in many ways to the equally inexpensive Cielo Breez (opens in new tab); however, that device is larger, at 5.3 x 2.8 x 0.9 inches, and has a screen on the front, so you can view the room temperature and humidity; two buttons below let you adjust the thermostat without having to pull out your phone. Sensibo's device has no physical controls, so you have to use its app in order to see and change the temperature.
The Sensibo should work with most major air-conditioner brands, including LG, Carrier, Frigidaire, Samsung and more. It will also work with window, in-wall, split and portable units. However, it will work only with those units that can be controlled using a remote.
Setting up the Sensibo was a fairly painless affair. After plugging in the unit (you can purchase a battery pack separately), I then launched the Sensibo app on my smartphone, and went through the process of pairing the device with my home Wi-Fi network (it connects to only the 2.4GHz band).
After that, the app instructed me to point my air-conditioner's remote at the Sensibo, and press the power button on the remote. The Sensibo recognized the remote — for a Frigidaire air conditioner — immediately.
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The same cannot be said for the Cielo. Its setup process requires you to know the model number of the remote you're using, and select it from a drop-down menu. Moreover, the menu listed only three different remotes from Frigidaire. Since the model number of my remote is not actually on the remote itself, I had to try all three options — none of which worked.
After I set up the Sensibo, I went through its app to schedule the air conditioner to turn on and off when I wanted, and was pleased with all the options that Sensibo offers.
For starters, the home screen of the app lets you manually turn the unit on and off — it worked instantaneously — adjust the high and low temperatures and switch the air- conditioner's modes.
Climate React Mode is an automated feature that triggers the air conditioner if the Sensibo detects certain environmental criteria. What’s nice is that this can be either temperature, humidity or "Feels Like" — a combination of the two. So, for example, if the temperature hits 80 degrees, you can have the Sensibo turn on your air conditioner to 72 degrees, with the fan on medium. Then, when the room reaches a certain temperature, the Sensibo can once again change the air-conditioner's setting.
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There are a few other neat features in Sensibo's app. You can set multiple schedules for the the air conditioner go on, even setting specific temperatures for each schedule. Also, it has geofencing, which will turn the unit on automatically when you (well, your phone) arrives home, and turn it off when you leave.
You can set things up using either the mobile app or through Sensibo's web portal.
Smart Home Compatibility
Sensibo works with Alexa, Google Assistant/Home and IFTTT, the latter of which can be used to connect it to other smart-home systems, such as SmartThings.
After enabling the Sensibo skill and letting Alexa discover the Sensibo among its smart-home devices, you can add the Sensibo to Alexa Routines to have it turn on and off at set times, or by speaking a command. However, you can adjust the temperature only by voice, and only when the air conditioner is running. Setting this all up took about a minute, and the air conditioner responded almost instantly when I told Alexa to turn it on.
While I wish there were a way on the device itself to see and control the temperature, the Sensibo Sky is an easy way to incorporate an otherwise dumb air conditioner into your smart home. I like that Sensibo's app offers several methods of control, and that it works with Alexa, Google and IFTTT. Provided you have a compatible air conditioner, the Sensibo adds a lot of functionality for not that much money.
Credit: Tom's Guide