Tado adds physical controls to its second-gen smart thermostat

Smart thermostat maker Tado landed itself a new retail partner in the UK a little over a month ago, but with so much competition in the market, you need to keep on kicking if you want to stay above water. In an effort to do just that, Tado's ready to show off its second-generation connected thermostat, which adds physical controls to the main unit. Previously, the company's hardware has simply been about connecting heating and hot water systems to the internet, thus allowing users to issue commands from web-based and mobile apps. With this next iteration, however, the box that replaces your existing thermostat is no longer just a conduit. The addition of physical controls means you can now check the temperature, adjust it, and cycle through various operational modes on the unit itself -- making it more like, you know, an actual thermostat. You can control hot water from the new thermostat, too, should you have a compatible boiler setup.

You need to see what settings you're changing directly on the thermostat, of course, which is why this new model has also been outfitted with a simple, LED-matrix display. Tado wanted to keep its second-gen hardware as inconspicuous as its first, however, so you won't be aware the thing even has a screen unless you're fiddling with its controls. The only other time it'll be active is when you're tinkering inside one of the apps, at which point it'll flash a quick status update should you change the temperature or mode. Another benefit of Tado's newest model is increased compatibility, as it now works with "nearly all" heating setups. And if you don't have an external thermostat already (i.e. you control everything on the boiler itself), Tado's existing extension kit (sold separately) plugs straight into the boiler to open that communication channel up.

In terms of its feature set, the new thermostat is no different from its predecessor, and Tado admits there's little incentive for existing customers to upgrade unless they're desperate for the physical interface. Anything that gets added on the software side will roll out to everyone, regardless of which iteration of the thermostat they've bought. Tado's platform is hardly lacking in features at this point, though. While the new physical controls are a bonus, you still access deeper functions from within the web, Android and iOS apps (a Windows Phone app is due any day now, too). In addition to adjusting temperature manually (and remotely), the apps let you set up heating schedules and manage the geolocation feature, which automatically adjusts temperature based on your proximity from home. They also serve up usage reports and predict the cost of your heating bill. Tado's software incorporates weather forecasts and information it's gathered about how quickly (or slowly) your house heats up, too, so it reaches the desired temperature at the right time without wasting energy.

Tado's second-generation smart thermostat is due to launch imminently, and you'll be able to pick one up for £199, or rent a unit for £5 per month. Tado also intends to add zoning capabilities in the next few weeks, too, meaning you can purchase multiple thermostats to control different areas of your home if you have the right heating system. Despite it being newer hardware, it works out cheaper than the first model, which retails for £249 currently. Also, if you happen to be renting a first-gen unit for £7 per month right now, then don't worry, Tado's told us pricing will be adjusted accordingly just as soon as the new version is up for sale.