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Review: Schneider Electric brings its Wiser Air smart thermostat app to Windows 10

How well does the Wiser Air thermostat work with Windows 10? I put it through its paces in my review.

The world is quickly moving beyond smartphones as the only 'always connected' device in our lives, and smart thermostats are riding that wave too. Schneider-Electric has been around for ages (technically founded in 1836) and is one of the biggest names around when it comes to energy management and distribution. The company has a new smart thermostat on the market called Wiser Air and with it a solid app for Windows 10 and Mobile.

I've been using Wiser Air for the last few weeks and here are my thoughts on both the thermostat and apps for Windows 10.

Wiser Air – The Hardware

The Schneider Electric Wiser Air Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat with Comfort Boost retails between $200-215 USD bringing it just under Google-owned Nest, which is in the $230 range. Regarding design, it comes in two colors – black or white – and it uses the standard thermostat connectors (five wire) found in most modern homes and apartments. It does not require any batteries and draws power from the connected system using the common blue wire.

Wiser Air smart thermostat

The thermostat is glossy with a touch-enabled color LCD with decent viewing angles. The back of the unit has a LED ("Halo") that glows blue or green depending on its function and yes, you can disable that feature altogether by controlling the brightness from 0-100% with a slider). Leaving the LED on, however, gives the thermostat a unique and pleasant glow that goes well with a Philips Hues setup. When active the LED "breathes" by slowing dimming and going brighter. It's an excellent visual indicator and frankly, looks great.

See Wiser Air on Amazon (opens in new tab)

Since the Wiser Air is Wi-Fi enabled it can pull down weather and even update itself via the internet whenever it needs. Out of the box, my Wiser Air did need a software update, which took around 15 minutes.

Wiser Air smart thermostat

The Wise Air LED 'halo' gives it a very unique and modern look

Installation and setup were a breeze. The Wiser Air comes with a fitted and optional back plate in case you need to cover your previous thermostat's holes. Including the rather lengthy system update, the whole process maybe took 20 minutes and was comparable to the ease of installing Nest (which I also own).

The "OS" is unique. It presents a lot of information that is laid out nicely, including:

  • Current room temperature
  • Humidity level
  • Outside temperature, conditions (icon), and weather alerts
  • Up/down controls for thermostat
  • Time
  • Wi-Fi status
  • Thermostat status

There is a traditional "hamburger" style menu to bring up additional features like Settings and a full forecast. The unit also has a presence sensor, which helps it know if there is someone home.

Overall, I give the design and UI high marks. It not only looks great but the included touch display is rather easy and intuitive to use. I should also mention the screen turns off automatically but turns on as you approach. I find it more sensitive (in a good way) compared to Nest as the latter I sometimes have to wave my hand for it to enable.

My one issue so far is Schneider Electric's weather service, which they boast as being highly accurate. In a photo below you can see how my outside temperature is reading 84F on the Wiser Air, but my MSN Weather report shows 93F with a Feels Like temperature closer to 103F. That is very far off from 84F, and I noticed this quite consistently that temperatures were always a bit off despite Wiser Air knowing my exact location. For today, for example, it is 87 degrees outside, but Wiser Air reports today's forecast as a high of 82F.

Wiser Air smart thermostat

Wiser Air weather forecast is not quite that accurate

Finally, the time to change the thermostat setpoint to the time it kicks my AC on is longer than Nest, which is practically instant. Sometimes you could be waiting upwards of a minute for the setting to enable although this seems to have improved recently. I wonder if that is because it is syncing to the web first. Most of this falls under fine tuning, and I have seen Schneider Electric continuously improve the system over the last few weeks.

Eco IQ

Schneider Electric touts their Eco IQ for Wiser Air as the "smart" part of the thermostat. In short, it learns from your behavior e.g. changing the temperature at a particular time each day, auto-adjusting based on time of day or night, etc. The company describes Eco IQ as:

Eco IQ is a learning algorithm that searches for the perfect balance between keeping you comfortable and saving you energy…With Eco IQ turned on, all you need to do is give feedback when you're uncomfortable. Simply press the up or down arrow whenever you'd like it to be warmer or cooler. Eco IQ never stops learning and adapts to your life and changing schedule – whatever that might look like.

One feature I like about Eco IQ is you set "Limits" i.e. high and low-temperature ranges and "Lifestyle" which balances how aggressive the system should be at keeping you comfortable versus how much money you want to save. If you want to save money you can move the slider to the right and the system will not turn on as frequently.

I think one way Eco IQ works is when you set to penny-pinch mode it comes on less, but for longer times versus more frequent cycling when being comfortable is more important. It does behave differently than Nest, however, and it is hard to gauge which feels better. I think Schneider Electric's model though is more intriguing as it is not just about temperature but takes into account energy costs too.

Still Growing

I should point out that Wiser Air is still relatively new, and the company has placeholders on their website for new features coming. Some are real interesting like linking Wiser Air to your utility account for the better management of costs versus expenditure values. There are also smart schedules that are in preview now, and more improvements are coming.

I wouldn't quite say Wiser Air is on the same level as Nest, but you can see they are rapidly approaching that benchmark.

App for Windows 10 and Mobile

The apps for Wiser Air for PC and Mobile are based on the Universal Windows Platform, but they can run on Windows 8.1 as well. As of this writing, the app is rated 4.8 (out of 5) with many pleased customers.

For Windows 10 Mobile the app works quite well with a pinnable Tile for your thermostat of choice (the system supports multiple thermostats). From a feature standpoint, you can manipulate the following through the app:

  • Connect to your thermostat – Fan (Auto, On, Off), Eco IQ (On, Off); System (Auto, Off, On)
  • Basic account settings
  • Change thermostat setpoint
  • Current weather and forecast for the area
  • View Reports (Inside vs. Outside; Recent Activity)

The Store lists "Comfort Boost" as being available for the app, but for some reason, it is only for the PC version and not Mobile. I like Comfort Boost as it lets you cool or heat your place for 15 minutes and you can add or subtract by 5-minute intervals. It's an excellent idea when you want to cool or heat quickly the area but not modify the system setpoint. The PC version also has a few extra features like more advanced account settings.

Wiser Air is also available on iOS and Android, and here I am happy to report that those apps are the same feature wise as the Windows 10 versions. The one difference I have found beside a few UI tweaks is some animation when the thermostat is enabled, which is completely useless technically (the Windows 10 version simply states the status).

As far as a Live Tile goes you can see Schneider Electric is toying with it as the pinned thermostat does show some information, but right now it looks more like a placeholder. I hope the company adds some useful information like current temperature and system status to leverage the glance-and-go features of Windows 10 and Mobile.

Conclusion

Overall, the Schneider Electric app for Wiser Air is pretty solid. At the very least, it has feature and performance parity with iOS and Android. However, there is clearly more potential for Schneider Electric with Windows 10 as they can utilize system notifications, Live Tiles, and the PC for greater control.

Wiser Air

Considering the dearth of official smart thermostat apps for Windows 10 and Mobile users (or even those on 8.1), it's great to see Schneider Electric bring Wiser Air to the platform. Schneider Electric have partnered with Microsoft to use their Azure platform to power Wiser Air and their services, and I would not be surprised if this were not a tit-for-tat deal with the Windows apps.

Either way, I'm glad it's here. Not only is Wiser Air a decent app, but the thermostat is one of the better "smart" ones I have tried and rivals Nest.

Download Wiser Air from the Windows Store (opens in new tab)

QR: wiser air

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

43 Comments
  • I purchased an ecobee3 over the July 4th weekend.  It's bloody spectacular.  W/ its remote sensors, ease of setup, plethora of features and the great "ecobee remote" app for Win10 Mobile; it's leaps and bounds above any smart thermostat on the market.  https://www.ecobee.com/
  • Yeah, tempted to get an Ecobee as I have heard nothing but good things. We don't have an official app but the unofficial one is very well received.
  • I agree. I was a bit bummed out at first without an official app but the Ecobee Remote app is excellent and not expensive. It even has some features the official doesn't. All it really lacks is setup. The remote sensors make it really stand out. I have mine integrated with Smartthings to change the temperature based on phone presence instead of just motion in one room.
  • Am I reading it right? If you have a single zone, you can place remote tstats in other rooms so it will turn on the HVAC to make those rooms more comfortable?
  • You are reading that right!
  • Might have to sell my nest and get this.
  • It does but keep in mind that unless you have smart vents it will is essentially averaging the occupied rooms. Either that or all if you choose. One thing I discovered. Ecobee says the sensors don't mesh so if you have a long house you are out of luck. Well I have a long house and since putting sensor in the middle all sensors work. Only thing is the middle one's battery dies quicker. Overall very happy. Good customer support too
  • Honestly I didn't know smart vents were a thing. I'm way behind on home automation stuff
  • https://keenhome.io/
  • I just watched a few of the installation videos on the Ecobee3.  Looks really nice and quite Star Trek-ish. Did you need to use the extender when you did the install?
  • As long as it supports UWP I'll consider it.
  • Will be mine.
  • This app does not appear to be an UWP app yet.
  • UWP is hard to define. Technically speaking, any app on the Windows Store is considered UWP. I get what you mean, as it's not a pure Windows 10 (and only 10) app, but it shares code between the apps, etc.
  • The reason I am keen on UWP is that the .Net Native Toolset makes the app launch much faster compared to non-UWP ones. I hope they are working on UWP version as well. Not really needed very soon but that should be their long term goal.
  • But it works on desktop and Mobile so still a plus.
  • This is great! When I need to upgrade my thermostat I will keep this one in mind since they have a W10 app. Thanks for the review, Daniel. I'm hoping we see more apps like this. I'd especially like to see the MyQ app for Chamberlain and Liftmaster garage door openers as well as the Netgear Arlo security camera app.
  • Try Home Remote to do that. You have to design the interface but it launches fast and has a module for MyQ
  • I'll check it out. Thank you.
  • Heads up. The designer part has to be done on a PC. Pretty nice because I combined my garage, smarthings, and denon into one clean interface the way I wanted.
  • I need to replace a thermostat that I discovered recently was listed as a potential fire hazard. It supporting Windows 10 mobile made it an easy choice for me. Ordered one using the ref code.
  • How do you know the MSN temp was correct and the Schneider one incorrect? Ideally, you could have an outdoor thermometer talk to this system for best possible accuracy, especially in areas with microclimates where travelling 5 miles could see a temperature change of 10 degrees.
  • I assure you, besides MSN I used a few other weather sources. The Wiser Air is always off by quite a few degrees. I really have no idea why it varies so much. The conditions are right and the alerts are accurate, but the temps are just...off.
  • I would be more inclined to follow your opinion here. If you really want to know which is right, you need a third device (an outdoor thermometer) to confirm.
  • When the real feel is 103F and it says 84F that is not a "margin of error" kind of thing. The area where I live does not have drastically different weather patterns, mountains, or large bodies of water that would cause such a difference. Either way, the feature is kind of useless/not reliable for me whatever the explanation may be and that is the important point here.
  • Well, MSN weather reports a different value for me in SoCal that say Accuweather or Weatherbug. And each is supposed to be pulling data from the same weather stations around me. One problem is likely which station they are getting the source from. There are 4 major weather sites near me. Each are spread across no less than 15 miles from each other.
  • I got a nice window thermometer from Rural King for $10.  Mounts with suction cups.  Even has a nice picture of a 10 point buck on it.  Maybe get one of those, lol.  I know MA is fairly flat compared to PA, but hilltop vs. valley, near water vs.far from water, and city vs. rural area, has a big difference on what you actually have vs. what different weather stations see.  You're close to Boston, so if one or the other is pulling from there, I can see there being a big difference.  Large cities tend to be slightly warmer, from what I've seen.  Pittsburgh is always a few degrees warmer than where I am in the sticks.   Do they have an option for a remote thermometer to improve response of the system?
  • The reviews are really good for this app/system. I will definitely look into this one!!
  • I will be wanting to install something when I finally move, hoping I have a good selection available in the UK, this sure looks good !!
  • Nice.
  • If anything is going to force me to move away from Windows mobile to Android it is going to be the lack of apps for the "connected" home. It is great they support W8/10 but since it only support their thermostat it is limited too.,
  • That's like saying "id move away from Chevrolet to Ford, but Ford doesn't have the Corvette." I cant follow your logic there.
  • I have this and it's really nice. Well made. I would say on par with Nest which I owned before. I cant however get the app to work on Windows mobile or desktop. Works great on my wife's iPhone.
  • What doesn't work exactly? I have used it on Win10 GA, Fast Ring, PC and Mobile, including Windows Phone 8.1. The app works extremely well after it was fist released. I had initial problems with turning the unit on or of, and even disabling EcoIQ. The app has been updated a number of times, which has fixed those issues.
  • Will this work with smartthings? I really want to replacing light timers with Hue lights and switches
  • No, this is not a home automation device. Insteon or some other platform like that would be what you are looking for.
  • Ok, I have been waiting for anyone to create a windows 10 app, seeing this info I will be buying two asap! I love windows 10 with all my cameras, etc... Security cameras on live tile are the best. Question, does this work for two thermostats, I missed that if it was mentioned.
  • What brand of camera's
  • I use the ip centcom app with trendnet 3mp and 4mp cameras...just awesome. You can use any onvif ip based cameras with that app. Great developer, always responds to questions right away.
  • Nope. Although, I really wanted too. Just because it's so damn cool!
  • I can say that it takes a bit of getting used to. While I like the product,I was hard to discover certain things. For instance, in the PC app there is a dedicated 15min cold or warm blast button. In the mobile app and even the unit itself, you press and hold the Warm or Cold button for the same thing. Also, EcoIQ isn't so smart in the beginning. It takes a week or more to get dialed into what your preference is based on the outside temp. Im very pleased overall and love them for supporting our favorite platform, Windows.
  • "***-for-tat deal"
    Hey Daniel most of the companies use Microsoft's Azure platform but still most of the apps aren't there.
    Example- here in India Airtel, a telecommunication service company uses Azure platform but still there are no apps for W10M. Why don't Microsoft make a deal about that?
  • I received my Wiser Air device 9/13/2016. Installation and finalized setup took ~30 minutes. I'm using W10M/PC apps. Schneider Electric needs to fix there weather service. I live in Baltimore, MD and the outside temperature is off by ~-1 to -5F; hopefully this will improve over time. Overall, I'm happy with the purchase and recommend it. Got mine from Amazon for $170. Now the price has gone up $25+ since my order.