December 27, 2017
One of PC Magazine’s Editors, John R. Delaney, recently reviewed the Lux KONO WiFi Thermostat, giving it a rating of 4 out of 5. Here’s why he rated it “EXCELLENT”:
When we reviewed the Lux Geo smart thermostat last year, we gave it high marks for style, ease of installation, and intelligent scheduling features, but wished it worked with other smart home devices. The Kono ($149.99) represents the company’s next generation of smart thermostats, and like its predecessor it’s stylish, easy to install, and offers the same handy scheduling options. It also offers support for Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri voice commands, and uses geofencing to adjust your home’s temperature based on your location. That said, it doesn’t work with other smart home devices and doesn’t offer remote room sensing like our Editors’ Choice for smart thermostats, the pricier Ecobee4.
Design and Features
The Kono thermostat works with most conventional two-stage heat/one-stage cooling systems, as well as most heat pump systems with two-stage heat/one-stage cooling and auxiliary heat. It supports gas and oil furnaces as well as electric furnaces.
At 4.5 by 4.5 by 1.0 inches (HWD), the Kono is roughly the same size and shape as the Ecobee4. It uses a removable faceplate and can be ordered in one of five shades including Midnight Black, Deep Blue, Hibiscus Red, Sea Green, and True White, or you can order a paint-it-yourself faceplate. If you decide to repaint the room, don’t worry: You can order additional faceplates for $10 each (the paintable faceplates go for $15).
The front of the thermostat contains a brushed aluminum knob for raising and lowering the temperature, navigating menus, and selecting settings, and a 1.7-by-1.7-inch white backlit LED that shows the current temperature, the set temperature, the heating/cooling mode, and the fan mode. Press the knob to activate the menu system with buttons for System mode (turn the system on and off and set it to Heat, Cool, or Auto) and Fan mode (On, Off, Auto, IAQ). IAQ mode allows the fan to periodically run to circulate fresh air even if the system is not operating in heating or cooling mode. The Calendar button lets you adhere to a heating/cooling schedule (created in the app) or hold at a constant temperature for a set period of time. The Gear button opens the installation screen, and the Wi-Fi button lets you configure network settings.
The Kono uses the same Android and iOS mobile app as the Lux Geo and can also be controlled via a web console. The main screen displays the name of your home and all installed thermostats. It also has a Set Away button that puts the thermostat into Away mode to help conserve energy, and a Radius button that lets you configure a geofence perimeter that will automatically put the Kono in Away mode when you leave and Home mode when you return. Tapping the thermostat name takes you to the main screen, which displays the current room temperature and the target temperature. It also displays the outdoor temperature, but lacks the detailed extended weather forecast you get with the Ecobee 4 and Honeywell Lyric thermostats.
Near the bottom of the screen are buttons for Mode, Fan, and Hold (which bypasses the schedule to maintain your current temperature). Below those are four more buttons. Schedule allows you to set up a heating and cooling schedule based on your typical weekly activities. For example, you can create a fixed schedule for all days of the week, or create one with different temperatures and times for each day or just the weekends. The app offers a handy heating preference efficiency guide that shows you how much more it will cost you percentage-wise if you set your temperature to, say, 74 degrees versus 68 degrees. Once you choose a preference, you can use the sliders to set times for the heat to come on and go off depending on who will be home.
The Offers button lets you know of any rebate programs in your area and helps you enroll. The Runtime button opens a screen that displays a chart with heating and cooling temperatures by the hour, but it doesn’t provide the granularity that you get with the Ecobee 4, which shows you the outside temperature and the average humidity during heating/cooling periods. The Settings button lets you set an Away mode temperature, recreate a schedule, and rename the thermostat.
The Kono supports Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri voice commands, but actions are limited to raising and lowering the set temperature. You can’t turn the thermostat on and off or ask it for the current room temperature. Missing is support for IFTTT applets that let you configure mini programs to have the thermostat react to other IFTTT-enabled devices such as fans, lights, smart switches, and motion sensors. However, you can use Apple’s HomeKit platform to change temperature settings using Scenes to raise or lower the temperature and change the system mode.
Installation and Performance
The Kono is relatively easy to install, but if you’re not familiar or comfortable with low-voltage electrical wiring, you may want to have it done professionally. It uses a C (common) wire, but as with the Ecobee 4, it comes with an adapter for systems that do not have a C wire.
Before installing the Kono, I downloaded the mobile app and took a picture of my existing wiring prior to removing my old thermostat. Since I have a basic two-zone heating system, I connected my wires to the Common, W1, and R terminals on the mounting plate and snapped the thermostat into place. It immediately powered up and prompted me to select my system type (F for furnace or boiler, HP for Heat Pump) and fan type (gas, electric, boiler). Next, the screen prompted me to select an OS (Android or iOS) and open the mobile app to search for the device. My Kono was discovered immediately and required a few seconds to be added to my Wi-Fi network. I removed the cover and scanned the HomeKit code when prompted, and waited another couple of seconds for the thermostat to come online. I gave it a name and setup was complete.
The Kono performed wonderfully in my tests. It reacted quickly to temperature changes made using the app, the web console, and the manual dial, and it followed my schedule to a tee. It also followed my Alexa voice commands to raise and lower the set temperature, and always switched to Away and Home modes whenever I left my set perimeter and returned home.
PROS: Stylish, customizable design. Easy to install. Supports multiple voice platforms. Works with Apple HomeKit. Usage reporting. Geofencing.
CONS: Does not integrate with other smart home devices. Lacks IFTTT support. No external room sensors.
BOTTOM LINE: The Lux Kono Smart is a sharp-looking, HomeKit-enabled thermostat that you can control with a number of voice assistants or with a thoughtfully designed mobile app.
The Lux Kono is a reasonably priced smart thermostat you can customize to fit your home decor. It’s relatively easy to install and offers lots of smart features including Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siti voice control, geofencing, and smart scheduling based on your family’s lifestyle. But although it provides runtime usage reports, they lack certain details that can affect your heating and cooling behavior such as outdoor weather conditions and humidity levels. And while you can control the Kono using HomeKit scenes, you can’t trigger it with other smart devices using IFTTT applets. That said, the Kono performed flawlessly in our tests, and the mobile app and web console make it easy to create schedules, set up geofencing perimeters, and manually adjust the target temperature.
If you have an extra $100 to spend, our Editor’s Choice, the Ecobee 4, is one of the most feature-rich smart thermostats around; it has Alexa voice technology built in and can do everything that an Amazon Echo can, uses remote sensors to maintain a steady temperature throughout your house, and works with plenty of third-party devices via IFTTT. If that’s out of your price range, the Nest Thermostat E is another solid option with extensive third-party support.
For more information or to purchase the Lux KONO, call your Jackson Systems representative at 888-652-9663 or visit us at https://jacksonsystems.com/products/lux-kono-smart-wifi-thermostat.html