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Honeywell Lyric review: This smart thermostat needs to wise up

John Brandon | Dec. 5, 2014
Oh, the irony. Honeywell introduced a round thermostat way back in 1953, but abandoned the shape in favor of rectangles in 1960. Thermostat manufacturers relied on that basic industrial design for the next 40 years, until the geniuses at Nest resurrected the round--and disrupted the industry--in 2011. Now Honeywell has an all-new round thermostat of its own. The Lyric doesn't sing, and it won't learn your daily routine like the Nest will, but it's not entirely dumb.

Cut power to your furnace (and air conditioner, if you have one) before you disconnect your old HVAC system, label the bare wires, and then thread them through the hole in the center of the Lyric. Push the wires into the appropriate sockets on the thermostat. The Lyric supports a variety of HVAC configurations, including dual-stage heating/cooling systems and heat pumps.

Once the wires and an AAA battery are in place, snap the component with the display into the plate that's mounted to the wall (the absence of a satisfying click left me wondering if I'd established a secure connection). If the thermostat fires up, instructing you to install Honeywell's app on your smartphone, your installation was a success. For me, the entire process took no more than 20 minutes to complete.

Hot, warm, or cold?

The Nest looks and feels like a premium product on your wall. The abundance of plastic in Honeywell's Lyric makes it feel cheap — even though it's anything but. And where the Nest lets you bypass its much-hyped learning feature to program it manually, Honeywell is so proud of its geo-fencing feature that it provides little in the way of options. If you discover geo-fencing doesn't work for your household, too bad.

I was also surprised — and disappointed — to discover that there's no provision for adjusting the thermostat via the cloud. Web portals that let you adjust or program your thermostat are common with even the least-expensive programmable thermostats. Honeywell's Lyric didn't leave me cold, but I can't recommend it in its current state.


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