Honeywell unveils Lyric smart thermometer

US giant takes on start up rival Nest with smartphone controlled device

Following a patent battle in 2012, US giant Honeywell is taking the fight back to Nest with a new smart thermostat.

Honeywell has long been top of the game for smart thermostats. But US upstart Nest has taken some of the shine off of Honeywell's armour.

The Lyric is Honeywell's latest smart connected thermostat that takes more than a few design cues from its Google-owned rival.

Its simple round body, minimal buttons and clear display is a departure from the company's utilitarian wireless controllers.

Perhaps one of the neatest new features is the device's proximity sensor. The display automatically turns on when it detects someone nearby. Otherwise, it remains off – saving the battery and your room from being swathed in light at night.

While the temperature can be updated physically by twisting the device, the real selling point is the Lyric's ability to connect to your smartphone or tablet.

The accompanying Lyric app allows you to adjust the temperature of your home on the go. That means on this cold winter nights, you can turn the heating on before you leave work so that it'll be nice and warm when you get home, without running up a huge bill.

It can even be set to turn on based on your smartphone's GPS location. The app can even let you know when the boiler or central heating system needs servicing.

Its unclear when it'll be arriving in the UK, but it can be picked up in the US for $279 (£166) right now.

Ben Furfie is a former freelance writer for who produced daily news stories for the site on tech and gadgets. He also live-managed the T3 Award websites during the 2013 and 2014 T3 Awards. Ben later moved into web development and is now a Technical Development Manager leading a team of developers.