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Johnson Controls GLAS smart thermostat review: Hey Cortana, I’m cold!

The GLAS sensible thermostat is probably the most gorgeous sensible thermostat to hit the marketplace since Nest shook the trade out of its complacency again in 2011. And similar to Nest sooner than it, GLAS producer Johnson Controls has taken an manner no different thermostat maker has thus far: It has embraced Microsoft’s Cortana virtual assistant.

Few would argue that the GLAS isn’t gorgeous. The instrument is ruled by means of a Five-inch translucent OLED touchscreen that’s fixed to a small base housing the brains of the unit and its connections for your HVAC machine. In contrast to maximum different thermostats, that have their wiring connections on a backplate that the show part attaches to, the GLAS’s wiring is accessed from the entrance, hidden by means of a detachable panel. The futuristic design appears to be like as even though can have been utilized in a science-fiction film.

In construction the GLAS, Johnson Controls embraced now not simply Cortana but in addition Microsoft’s Home windows 10 IoT running machine. The acronym stands, after all, for the Web of Issues, and this is without doubt one of the first shopper programs we’ve noticed for the OS. As such, it’s a gutsy transfer on Johnson Controls’ phase. But when that accounts for the GLAS’s $319 price ticket, it’s additionally a doubtful one.

The use of Cortana for indoor local weather keep watch over

glas app Jason D’Aprile

The power of the GLAS sensible thermostat to watch your own home’s air high quality and enlist your HVAC machine to support this is a welcome innovation.

I’ll quilt this primary, as it’s probably the most greatest components that set GLAS except the contest. Of all of the virtual assistants making inroads to the sensible house, Cortana is lately the least not unusual. Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Siri are way more extensively embraced than Microsoft’s generation. In all probability that’s as it’s the one person who doesn’t have a smartphone to move with it. Regardless of the case, the usage of Cortana to keep watch over my HVAC machine was once a decidedly atypical revel in. Right here’s only one instance:

On an afternoon that I sought after my HVAC machine to run simply its fan to flow into the air in the home with out conditioning it, I used to be ready to make use of a voice command to show off my air conditioner. But if I requested Cortana to have the GLAS run simply the fan, Cortana answered with an in-depth rationalization of the way and why she may turn on my PC’s cooling lovers. And regardless of how I phrased my request, I may now not persuade Cortana to go back the machine to its lively cooling function.

Johnson Controls was once smart to make the GLAS appropriate with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant in addition to Cortana, so that you in the long run don’t want to fear if Cortana is as much as par. And albeit, voice keep watch over is desk stakes for sensible thermostats as of late. The GLAS does a couple of issues that its competition don’t, however the taste by which it does is it’s the place this product shines.

Highest-in-class consumer interface

The GLAS has the most efficient contact interface of any thermostat I’ve encountered, together with our present best select, the Ecobee4. The present temperature and the objective temperatures for heating and cooling are displayed at the major display screen. You swipe left to view the air-quality observe, and swipe proper to look the standing of your HVAC machine (on, off, warmth, cool, auto, and so forth). Faucet the tab on the best of the display screen and the choices menu seems. The place maximum sensible thermostats are best to keep watch over by way of their cellular app, you by no means in reality want to use anything else rather then the GLAS’s personal show; actually, I discovered the instrument more uncomplicated to make use of that manner.

It’s value noting that the GLAS’s movement sensor calls for you to be very shut (principally proper in entrance of the thermostat) sooner than it is going to turn on its show. The Nest, when compared, lighting fixtures up in case you come inside round 8 or so toes of it. All of the thermostat’s settings also are to be had by way of the app, after all, for individuals who desire to make use of a cellular instrument (and for while you want to keep watch over the thermostat from afar). I encountered a couple of cases the place the app merely wouldn’t hook up with the thermostat and I needed to reset the GLAS to mend the issue. That are meant to be a very easy sufficient malicious program for Johnson Controls to squash.

glas smart thermostat installed Johnson Controls

The GLAS smart thermostat only looks as though it might snag your shirtsleeve as you walk by—there’s actually only about an inch of space between the display and the wall.

Powerful features

For temperature control, the GLAS blends the AI-powered guesstimation techniques of the Nest Learning Thermostat with the hand programming of a more traditional smart thermostat. You can use the touchscreen to establish your preferred temperature ranges for the times you expect to be awake and asleep. You can also create special “away” schedules. Apart from that, it’s a hands-free device.

The GLAS is also outfitted with a motion sensor that can help the thermostat determine when the home is occupied and when it’s empty. Like the Nest, the GLAS logs this activity and looks for patterns. It can also take into account how long it takes your system heat or cool to reach your temperature targets, so that your home will be comfortable when you wake up or arrive home.

In a departure from most other thermostats, the GLAS can also evaluate the quality of the air in your home. Onboard sensors monitor relative humidity, total Volatile Organic Compounds (tVOCs), and equivalent CO2 (eCO2) levels. And by reaching out to the internet, this thermostat also displays outdoor air quality and pollen counts, which is exceedingly helpful for folks with allergy or other respiratory issues.

If the GLAS grades air quality as Fair or lower, it will warn you and, if your system supports it, turn on its fan to circulate the air. If your system supports it, it will also pull in air from outside to freshen it. This is a terrific feature with the potential to improve the quality of your home’s air.

An easy install

The GLAS comes with very good documentation and an in-app walkthrough. As I’ve already mentioned, wire connections are made on the front of the thermostat. You push the wires through a hole near the bottom and mount the thermostat to the wall. As with most smart thermostats, you’ll need a C (common) wire for power, but Johnson provides a converter if that wire isn’t present in your installation.

Once it’s on the wall, that big bright touchscreen makes the rest of the setup a smooth process. As usual, you’ll need to create an account with the manufacturer, via the app or a web browser, connect the GLAS to your Wi-Fi network, pair it with the app, and answer a few questions about your HVAC system and temperature preferences. That’s pretty much it.

glas smart thermostat connections Jason D’Aprile

Wiring the thermostat from the front is easier than the more typical two-piece designs we’ve reviewed.

GLAS is a contender

The GLAS’s OLED touchscreen, its fabulous user interface, and its air-quality monitoring feature is fantastic. The benefit of embedding a Cortana smart speaker in this smart thermostat isn’t as clear, but Johnson Controls covered its bases by supporting Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, too. So the question is: Does all of that justify the GLAS’s $319 price tag?

Our current favorite smart thermostat, the Ecobee4, is street-priced at $230 and includes a remote sensor. Our runner-up pick, the Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd generation is street-priced at $212 and supports $40 add-on remote sensors. Johnson Controls intends to add sensor support in 2019, but that feature is not there today.

Cortana could become a major force in the smart home down the road; it would be foolish to count Microsoft out this early in the game. As for the GLAS itself, it’s powerful enough to remain in contention for our top recommendation in this category. But it’s not there today.

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