Summary

Our Score

8/10

Pros

  • Seamless automated operation
  • Stylishly designed app & browser UI
  • Will save you money

Cons

  • Self install only for accomplished DIYers
  • No physical way to control temperature
  • No Windows Phone support

Review Price £249.00

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Key Features: Remote thermostatic control; User location based temperature control; Purchase or rental options; Optional self installation

Manufacturer: Tado

What is Tado?

This is the debut product from the German company of the same name. It aims to save you money on your heating bill by replacing your existing thermostat with an Internet connected alternative. This enables you to remotely monitor and adjust your heating while the tado can automatically adjust it based on time of day, weather and even if anyone is currently in the house.

It enters what will soon be a very competitive market with current leader Nest about to follow up its Nest Protect smart smoke alarm with a UK launch for its acclaimed US smart thermostat and rivals such as Insteon, Heatmeiser, Hive (from British Gas) and Owl all launching in volume in 2014.


Tado – Design

The tado system comes in three parts: the replacement thermostat known as the 'tado box', the 'tado gateway' (a small box that connects to your router), and the 'tado temperature sensor' (a portable temperature gauge).

In truth, there isn’t much to look at here. Tado has wisely opted for a minimalist, matt white finish to all three with the tado box simply a wireless receiver with a backplate and plain cover. The gateway is little larger than an elongated matchbox with LED status lights for the Link, Router and Internet connections and wireless for talking to the box.

The temperature sensor is roughly the size of a credit card reader, also communicates wirelessly and has a large solar panel that tado claims will power it indefinitely (three hours light is apparently enough for one year of charge). Build quality is functional rather than luxurious with all three using plastic, but they feel robust and are clearly designed not to draw attention.

The most obvious quirk is, unlike Nest’s fancy LED thermostat, the tado box completely does away with any physical control or temperature display. This can be quite unnerving at first, but the concept is to leave it alone and make any adjustments via your web browser, smartphone or tablet and no display or dial means you have no other choice.

Tado 3

Tado – Features

The key selling point of tado is that it adapts to you to the extent that you should be able to forget about controlling your heating completely. How it does this is with four key sensors: temperature detection, location detection, and time and weather monitoring.

The first is straightforward, the tado temperature sensor picks up the temperature wherever it is situated and wirelessly conveys it to the tado box. Location works using the tado gateway, which receives the location of any devices where you have installed the tado app and when all have left the house it turns down the temperature. When devices get closer to home tado can be set to either a) heat up the house in advance or b) start the heating as you walk in the door.
Tado 2
For time and weather monitoring the tado gateway uses its internet connection to regularly check both.

The former means it can set awake and sleeping hours for weekdays and weekends (which are manually adjustable) so it turns the heating down at night and up in the morning.

The latter checks the forecast daily, so the system knows on good days to let the sun warm your home rather than waste energy doing it.

Adjustment of all settings – including manual temperature control – can be done via Android, iOS and web browser apps, all of which are elegantly and intuitively designed.

The flaw is the lack of BlackBerry 10 and Windows Phone apps because, while tado can still be controlled via a mobile browser, the app is required to detect a user’s location and automatically adjust the temperature.

We’re told a Windows Phone app is in the works.

For a family with compliant devices, however, tado makes some big claims. It says the system can cut heating costs by 31 per cent for two working people living in a 750 sq ft flat, 26 per cent for two working people with a young child in a 1180sq ft flat and 22 per cent for a family with three children and a dog living in a 1500sq ft house. But does it deliver?

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