In short: an unexpected surprise. Last year Tado made a splash in the growing Internet of Things market with its first smart thermostat. We were big fans and customer response was strong so now Tado is back with a second-generation device. So will it convert skeptics or persuade existing users to upgrade?
Perhaps the biggest change in the 2015 Tado is the shift in design. It still retains the same minimalist white aesthetic that we liked about the original, but it's now just two components instead of three: a thermostat and a bridge.
Out has gone the dedicated solar-powered temperature sensor, with the brains now all contained in the main thermostat and the bridge wirelessly communicating with the thermostat and wired into the back of your router.
The result is a much neater package and a button on the thermostat brings up an attractive white LED display which can display the ambient temperature and connection status with short or long presses of the button respectively. The bridge itself is largely unchanged with simple ‘link’, ‘router’ and ‘Internet’ status lights.
Ultimately it's a good-looking package, though its ongoing need for a dedicated bridge is a shame. Most rivals do the same, but big fish Nest has built a dedicated controller which communicates with both its thermostat and the router wirelessly and makes for an even easier setup. Perhaps this will come with Tado’s third generation.
While Nest and Tado’s approach may differ when it comes to hardware, the two have a very similar approach to temperature control. In contrast to rivals Hive (remote temperature control) and the Honeywell Evohome (room-by-room remote control) both Nest and Tado operate using motion sensors.
With this method they detect owner presence within the home and adjust the temperature according to your specified levels, eg 20 degrees when home in the day, 18 degrees at night and off when out the house. Furthermore Tado uses its connection to the Internet to monitor the weather forecast so it knows not to start excessively heating at the beginning of what will be a hot day or to give it extra oomph to counter a cold one.
Tado also has another trick up its sleeve: it uses your phone’s WiFi to detect when you are coming home so it can have the heating switched on and the home back to your desired temperature as you open the door. If unwanted, this can be disabled in settings.
Tado has been expanding its offering as well. A new, optional ‘Connector Kit’ which allows for smart control of your hot water - something rivals like Hive and Honeywell are also offering. Unfortunately this wasn’t something we could try as our test home has a combi (combination) boiler that heats hot water on demand.
Meanwhile control is now by web browser, smartphone app or the thermostat's swanky new LED display and Tado has expanded app support here to add Windows Phone (8.1 and above) to staples Android (2.3.3 and above) and iOS (7.0 and above). Get everything working and Tado claims up to 31% can be cut from the average heating bill.
Tado will allow users to perform a self installation if they are proficient, but it strongly recommends a professional fitter given the importance of working home heating. We opted for the professional fitter to see how smoothly this process works (Tado reports it is by far the most popular option) and it proved to be a doddle.
In signing up for the service the company asks questions about your existing equipment and both live online chat and a manned support desk are on hand to help with this. Tado will then arrange a convenient fitting date with one of its approved installers (all independent contractors).
Fitting for us happened within one week (Tado says it can nearly always fit within two weeks) and the installation process took an hour. Of this only about 30 minutes of the installation was the hardware with a slight delay in registering the installation with our Tado account online.
One quirk we did find is the Tado bridge doesn’t have the greatest range and given it is wired into the back of your router it means the location of your router cannot be too far away from your thermostat. This is again why we favour the Nest system as the wireless controller can be further away from the router which in turn allows the thermostat to be much further away from the router.