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Netatmo Smart Thermostat review: Not just a pretty face

Computer Shopper
1 Dec 2020
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
120
inc VAT

A gorgeous-looking thermostat that can be expanded with radiator valves, but the scheduling is fiddly to configure

Pros 
Looks great
Easy to set up
Options for expansion
Cons 
Scheduling is a bit complex
Alexa support needs work
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A lot of smart thermostats can look a little ugly, much like their regular counterparts. Netatmo’s Smart Thermostat is different: it was designed with no lack of elegance by the renowned French firm Starck. The neat battery-powered thermostat looks great, and it’s the kind of device that you can display with some pride in your living room.

Netatmo Smart Thermostat: Installation

As well as looking neat, you have two options for installing the thermostat. First, you can wire the bundled receiver directly to your boiler using the provided adaptor cables. Alternatively, if you already have a wired thermostat, you can remove that from the wall and connect the thermostat unit directly to the existing cables. You still need the receiver for smart home control, as this connects to your network via Wi-Fi, but this can plug into a standard plug socket using the bundled adaptor.

The second method is easy for a DIY enthusiast and needs no new wiring. If you have to go for the first option, you’re probably best getting a professional to install your unit, as it involves using 230V mains power.

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Netatmo Smart Thermostat: Controls

The smart thermostat uses an E-Ink display, much like that in the Amazon Kindle. It displays the current temperature and the target. Tapping the top or bottom of the unit adjusts the temperature until the next scheduled change. This kind of basic control is handy, as it can be a quick way to boost internal temperatures without having to reach for your smartphone.

In its default mode, the Netatmo Smart Thermostat controls your entire home, but the recently launched Smart Radiator Valve (£70) gives you room-by-room control.

Netatmo ships each valve with plenty of adaptors, so you should just be able to screw the smart valve on to your existing TRV, and you’re good to go.

Radiator valves added into the system need to be added to a room. They can coexist with other valves for rooms with multiple radiator valves, or with the thermostat if you’d rather use the main unit for temperature monitoring.

As with the thermostat, the Smart Radiator Valves have E-Ink screens that show the current temperature. You can override this by twisting the dial to the right or left, to increase or decrease temperatures for three hours. It’s neat being able to do this, as you can quickly dial up one room’s temperature without having to heat the entire house.

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Netatmo Smart Thermostat: Features

From the Netatmo App, you get full control over the schedule you want in the house. It takes a little while to understand how scheduling works, as you don’t set temperatures; rather, you set the times you want specific profiles to apply.

By default, there are three profiles: Comfort is set to 19°C, Night is set to 17°C and Eco to 16°C. Once you’ve set when each profile should appear, the neat thing is that if you adjust a profile, the temperature change is shown immediately in all schedules that use it.

However, complexity creeps in when you have Smart Radiator Valves, as you have to set the temperature for each device in each profile. Then, the schedule you set is applied to every device at once. That makes the system a little less flexible than others, as you are unable to set independent schedules for each room.

From the app, you can override any set temperature for the period that you define. And there are two special modes that set a constant temperature until they’re turned off, or the timer you set runs out.

The first mode, Away, is set to 12°C and is used when you go out. It’s a shame that geofencing isn’t built in to do this automatically, although you can create a similar feature using the excellent IFTTT channel. The second mode, Frost-guard, sets the temperature to 7°C and is there for when you leave your home but don’t want the pipes to freeze while you’re away.

Netatmo uses algorithms to track how your house warms up. Using this information, it can make sure that your boiler turns off early enough so that hot radiators don’t push the temperature past the set point.

Netatmo was the first thermostat to support Apple HomeKit for Siri, and since then the system has been upgraded to support Amazon Echo and Google Home. Annoyingly, however, Alexa can’t see or talk to Smart Radiator Valves, and can only communicate with the main thermostat. Google Home and Siri can see the individual radiator valves to give you room-by-room voice control. Control works well for supported devices across all three products, however.

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Netatmo Smart Thermostat review: Verdict

Netatmo’s Smart Thermostat is simple to set up and looks great. The ability to expand using Smart Radiator Valves is neat, too, although Netatmo’s valves are quite expensive and Alexa support isn’t there yet. The Honeywell Evohome provides a more powerful multiroom system, while the more expensive Tado is easier to configure and has powerful geolocation built in.

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