Honeywell created the round thermostat way back in 1945. And while they missed out on pioneering the new wave of smart thermostats, their newly-announced Lyric definitely makes an effort to innovate.
Rather than mimic Nest's use of motion tracking to figure out when the home is unoccupied, the Honeywell Lyric uses variable-range geofencing, tracking your phone's location to determine whether to set the thermostat high or low. This removes the learning curve and more rigid scheduling that comes with a solution like Nest. Goes without saying, however, this requires keeping the phone with you the whole time, although that's how most of us go through life these days anyway, so it's not exactly a particularly difficult requirement.
You can, of course, use Lyric to set heating schedules like conventional thermostats both right on the device and from the accompanying app, apart from being able to monitor and take input from multiple smartphones. Honeywell also claims better HVAC control, with the system accounting for internal and external temperatures, humidity levels, and weather conditions. It takes on the classic round thermostat shape with a streamlined 3-inch diameter faceplate that features a pair of capacitive buttons, a temperature adjustment ring along the outer edge, and an LED readout. Other features include a built-in motion sensor (the unit will light up immediately when approached), shortcuts (lets you make custom settings for recurring events), and automatic alerts any time it detects irregularities in your heating and cooling system.
The Honeywell Lyric will be available in August, priced at $279.