Ecobee is expanding its lineup of smart home accessories with the introduction of a new SmartCamera with voice control, new SmartSensors for doors and windows, and a new Haven home security platform to monitor it all. I’ve spent the past two weeks testing Ecobee’s latest announcements, including details on HomeKit support, future updates, and much more.
Update January 12, 2021: Ecobee has announced a $50 price cut for the SmartCamera with voice control, bringing it down to $129.99. Even withits new $129 price tag, the Smart Camera is still on thepremium sideof the market, but much more reasonably so.
Furthermore, since this review was published, Ecobee rolled out HomeKit Secure Video support, making it a much more tempting option for HomeKit users.
Read our original review below.
Ecobee SmartCamera with voice control
Leading today’s announcements from Ecobee is the SmartCamera with voice control, which has previously been rumored but is now official. Ecobee’s new HomeKit-enabled SmartCamera packs 1080p video with a 180-degree field of view, as well as support for panning, tilting, and zooming automatically or via the Ecobee app.
The SmartCamera is designed for indoor use, but if you want to use it to monitor the outside, you can do so by placing it a window and enabling what Ecobee calls “Window Mode.” When you enable this, the camera can see clearly through glass at night by disabling its infrared lights to remove glare.
Ecobee offers a robust set of controls for the SmartCamera in its app, including event recording for motion and person detection, adjustable motion sensitivity, an adjustable activity zone, and the ability to easily turn it on or off. When motion is detected, the SmartCamera automatically pans and zooms to capture the movement.
Ecobee is also underscoring its focus on privacy with on-device processing and mandatory two-factor authentication:
Unlike other smart cameras that constantly send video to the cloud for processing, the ecobee SmartCamera with voice control is equipped with an 8-core processor and packed with enough processing power to eliminate cloud-based analysis, instead employing on-device analysis — video clips are only shared to the cloud when the camera is armed and motion is detected. ecobee has also introduced mandatory two-factor authentication to guard SmartCamera users from unwanted third-party access.
The SmartCamera with voice control is available for $129 on Ecobee’s website. There are various bundling options available, and we’ve got more on that below.
Ecobee SmartSensors for doors + windows
Alongside the SmartThermostat with voice control last year, Ecobee also debuted a new version of the SmartSensor for motion and temperature. In addition to those SmartSensors, Ecobee has also now announced new SmartSensors for doors and windows.
The new SmartSensors are used for monitoring the status of doors and windows. They work much like other door and window sensors; you align the base sensor with its corresponding magnet, and you can monitor when a door or window is open or closed, as well as when motion is detected.
Just like the rest of Ecobee’s lineup, the SmartSensors for doors and windows offer HomeKit functionality. What this means is that you can use the Ecobee app or the Home app to monitor the status of doors and windows. And when your Ecobee system is in an armed state, you’ll receive a push notification if a door or window is open:
The new ecobee SmartSensor for doors and windows extends ecobee Haven throughout your home. If a door or window opens and your home is in an armed state, you’ll receive a notification to keep you in control from anywhere. You can pair ecobee SmartSensors with SmartCamera or with an existing ecobee smart thermostat.
The SmartSensors for doors and windows are available in a two-pack for $79. You can also bundle them with a two-pack of SmartSensors for $99.
All of this comes together to power what Ecobee is calling Haven, a “truly intelligent home monitoring platform that eliminates the need for keypads, programming and single-use devices.” Haven essentially ties together all of your Ecobee hardware in the Ecobee app on iPhone and iPad.
The key feature of Haven is called Autopilot, which intelligently learns when you leave home and arrive home based on your usage patterns, geolocation, and WiFi connectivity. Ecobee’s pitch is that home security systems generally rely on you to manually arm and disarm when you leave or arrive, but Haven handles all of that automatically.
The company explains:
ecobee’s new Autopilot feature is at the heart of Haven. Autopilot leverages the intelligence of all ecobee devices in the home to better understand user patterns and automatically adjust to fit their needs. Whether it’s the camera automatically powering down via Autopilot when you arrive home, arming or disarming the alarm system or changing the temperature, Haven connects the dots to bring harmony back to the home.
The Haven platform ties into Ecobee’s widely popular thermostat lineup as well, including the SmartThermostat with voice control, ecobee3, ecobee3 lite, and ecobee4. The thermostats can detect sudden temperature fluctuations and monitor for occupancy, and send you an alert or recommendation if it detects something out of the ordinary.
Ecobee’s Haven offers a 30-day free trial, and after that you have two pricing tiers from which to choose:
- Essential: Home monitoring + Autopilot and Video Storage for up to one device ($5/month USD, $7/month CAD)
- Extended: Home monitoring + Autopilot and Video Storage for unlimited devices ($10/month USD, $14/month CAD)
Here’s how pricing breaks down across the board for Ecobee’s new home security lineup with various different packaging and bundle options. You can find all of the details on Ecobee’s website.
- Comfort & Security Bundle: $620 (17% savings)
- 1x SmartThermostat with voice control, 1x SmartCamera with voice control, 1x SmartSensor 2-pack, 2x SmartSensors for Doors & Windows 2-pack
- Comfort & Savings Bundle: $350 (15% savings)
- 1x SmartThermostat with voice control, 1x SmartSensor 2-pack, 1x SmartSensors for Doors & Windows 2-pack
- Home Security Bundle: $250 (32% savings)
- 1x SmartCamera with voice control, 1x SmartSensor 2-pack, 2x SmartSensors for Doors & Windows 2-pack
- Sensor Extender Bundle: $100 (37% savings)
- 1x SmartSensor 2-pack, 1x SmartSensors for Doors & Windows 2-pack
- Deluxe Sensor Extender Bundle: $160 (50% savings)
- 1x SmartSensor 2-pack, 3x SmartSensors for Doors & Windows 2-pack
- ecobee SmartSensor for doors and windows 2-pack: $79 USD, $99 CAD
Ecobee’s announcement today is rather wide-reaching, packing the SmartCamera, the SmartSensors for doors and windows, and the overarching Haven platform behind it all. I’ve been using the SmartCamera for the last two weeks, alongside two SmartSensors for doors and windows, and my existing SmartSensor and SmartThermostat setup, which I reviewed last summer.
The SmartCamera is arguably the most important announcement from Ecobee today, and it lives up to expectations. The integration with the Ecobee app is robust, and support for motion and person detection has been incredibly reliable in my testing.
The Ecobee SmartCamera does not support HomeKit Secure Video at launch, but the company tells me it’s something they’re actively working on with hopes to make the functionality available soon. HomeKit Secure Video would bring the SmartCamera’s HomeKit integration to the next level, rivaling other options from companies like Logitech.
But the Home app, even with HomeKit Secure Video capable cameras, does not support some of the key features of the Ecobee SmartCamera. Most notably, this includes pan, zoom, and tilt capabilities, which means you’ll have to jump into the Ecobee app to use any of this functionality. Of course, this is a problem Apple needs to fix, not Ecobee.
In the Ecobee app, it’s easy to see a live feed from the SmartCamera, as well as a log of all activity detected by the camera. Under the “History” tab in the app, you can view a feed of recordings from when the SmartCamera has detected motion or a person.
As for the SmartSensors for doors and windows, they won’t win any design awards, but they get the job done. I already had contact sensors on all of the windows in my house, installed by the original builder to comply with HOA guidelines. These are much smaller and less noticeable than the Ecobee SmartSensors for doors and windows, but then again, there’s a lot more functionality packed in the Ecobee ones.
I installed the SmartSensors for doors and windows on my front door and backyard door, and they’ve been perfect in terms of reliability. The Ecobee app quickly updates and sends me an alert when a door is opened unexpectedly.
Perhaps what remains most impressive for Ecobee is its continued support for multiple different ecosystems. It has always been a loyal supporter of HomeKit, and that continue with the new SmartSensors and SmartCamera. There’s also Amazon Alexa support, with SmartThings and Google Assistant coming “soon.” The Ecobee SmartCamera can also serve as an Alexa speaker.
That being said, I’ve also found Ecobee’s app to be reliable and useful for monitoring everything on an as-needed basis. It’s easy to set up different home monitoring configurations, including “Arm Away,” “Arm Stay,” and “Disarm.” Again, much of this is made possible by the Haven platform and the Autopilot feature we described earlier.
The home screen in the Ecobee app also serves as a useful place to quickly view the status of your Ecobee accessories at a glance. If you’re already an Ecobee thermostat user, you’ll be familiar with many of the controls that can now also apply to the SmartCamera and SmartSensors for doors and windows.
In February, we also reviewed the Abode Iota alarm system, which includes HomeKit support. Abode and Ecobee are taking two very different approaches to the smart home security, and you can read our full review of the Abode system here for more details.
We’ll have more coverage of Ecobee’s newest announcements in the future, particularly as the SmartCamera adds HomeKit Secure Video support. What do you think of Ecobee’s new home security announcements? Let us know down in the comments!
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