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The Most Practical Gadget at CES Was GE’s Cync Smart Thermostat

The Takeaway: GE’s Cync Smart Thermostat is one of the unsung heroes of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. This Wi-Fi-operated thermostat adds remote temperature control, advanced scheduling, and energy monitoring to your home in a sleek black body with an always-on backlit LCD touchscreen. Most importantly, the Cync doesn’t rely on a common wire for power, which a majority of other smart thermostats need. Houses with older three-wire heating and cooling systems can now easily add smart environment control. While CES is notorious for showcasing vaporware concepts that rarely hit the market or are way too expensive, GE’s $120 smart thermostat looks to be immediately useful and innovatively designed to bring smart control accessible to more people for less.

  • Large LCD touchscreen for local operation
  • Alexa and Google Voice Control without a separate hub
  • Wi-Fi for control while away from home
  • Easy DIY installation
  • Set schedules for temperatures at certain time of day

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    If your current thermostat’s wiring lacks a fourth C-wire (often colored blue) for the continuous 24-VAC power flow needed to run a smart thermostat, you’ve likely been missing out on the convenience that a smart thermostat can bring to your everyday life. While you can tackle the project of running low-voltage C-wire yourself for most systems, this added work tends to be a headache and is nearly impossible in rental situations. The Cync Smart Thermostat’s included power extension kit makes it compatible with most central residential heating and cooling systems using just three wires. Best of all, the only tool you need to install this gadget is a single drill with a quarter-inch bit, which is a big time saver thanks to the minimal prep and clean up.

    You can control and automate household temperatures from anywhere with an internet connection over the Cync app. Not only is this great for ensuring pipes don’t freeze while you’re hours away on vacation, but also cooling down your house while you go to work and heating it up before your return while in eco-mode. The Cync app monitors your energy usage and helps you switch between your HVAC settings with a tap for optimizing both power efficiency and savings. Plus you can create schedules to set temperatures according to your routines as not to unnecessarily run up your HVAC system throughout the day.

    Granted, the Cync Thermostat doesn’t reinvent the wheel of smart home tech. There’s a humidity sensor, but a lack of motion sensors means it can’t learn or detect occupancy in a space like models nearly double the price. What it does offer is advanced functionality and control to more places for less.

    The Cync app interface is incredibly easy to use thanks to a clean layout and responds to commands in seconds, even when you’re using a data connection like 4G LTE from your smartphone. I can speak to the snappiness of the Cync app as I use it in my own smart home setup with the outdoor plug for controlling holiday inflatables and viewing an indoor security camera. All of your devices are accessible from a single point for easy control and organized by the rooms they’re in. Like other products in the Cync lineup, the Smart Thermostat’s capabilities further expand through add-on components.

    You can add the Cync Room Temperature Sensor to track the conditions of other rooms in the house like a bedroom or office to tailor your environment specifically to those areas. This sensor can take things a step further by talking to Cync light bulbs in a bedroom for an automated bedtime scene that lowers temperature and lighting automatically on a schedule or when given the command. Beyond the app, you can use Alexa and Google Home for advanced automations and voice control without the need for a separate hub. And while we’re on the topic of control, GE will be adding a lock screen feature later this year that prevents guests from fiddling with your settings. If you’re looking for a quick smart home upgrade, the Cync Smart Thermostat can be a boon for its ability to save time, money, and stress.

    Cync Smart Thermostat

    • Large touchscreen display
    • No C-wire needed for power

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