Turn older heaters or AC units into a smart home product with Sensibo Sky

The trend toward smart home products is a welcome one in my book. Here at AndroidGuys, we’ve reviewed a ton of products that make things a little easier, like Hunter fans, Deebot robot vacuums, and Nest x Yale smart locks. These products are all designed to be smart right out of the box.

But, if you’re not in the market for something new and just want to make your legacy products smart, there aren’t a ton of options. I had been on the lookout for a new AC system for my ductless master bedroom but man, those prices are staggering.

Then, I came across Sensibo Sky. After a quick chat with Sensibo’s team, I was able to secure a review unit to test out and I’ve been pleasantly surprised ever since.

First off, let’s talk a little bit more about Sensibo Sky actually is and what it’s supposed to do.

The Sky is a little box that picks up on infrared signals. This allows it to simulate those signals and control your AC or heating unit. We have a window AC unit in our bedroom that I tested it on and if you’d like to find out if your system works, you can check out the supported devices list here.

Sensibo also has a first-class app to make your life even easier. It comes in Android, iOS and web flavors and works cross-platform. It makes setting up your Sensibo Sky incredibly easy– I was up and going in less than five minutes.

The app allows you to control your heat or AC system right from your phone. You can set up geofencing areas so your unit kicks on as soon as you enter the area, schedules, and temperature alerts so if the temp drops or rises above a certain limit, it knows to kick on. All in all, the app is fantastic and one of the best parts of this experience.

But, just because there’s an app doesn’t mean you can’t keep using your remote if you’d like. We continued to use the remote at night so we didn’t have to stare at a bright phone screen or talk to Google Assistant at three in the morning when we wanted the air to kick back on.

Google Assistant, Alexa and IFTTT are all supported out of the box. I am in the habit of talking to Assistant to adjust our Nest thermostat anyway so this was pretty easy for me to pick up. If you’re new to this or have something else, Sensibo has you covered. The open API the company uses allows integration for other platforms like SmartThings. This allows users a ton of flexibility, no matter what platform they’re currently tied to.

Going back to the Sky itself, I am impressed by the device. It doesn’t have the most amazing build quality in the world, but it doesn’t need it. This is a set it and forget it device. The hard plastic is more than enough to get the job done. If you’re moving, take care of the Sky, but in everyday use, it’s completely fine. Although, I do wish I had the white version since all of my walls are white.

And why does that matter? Because you can mount the Sensibo Sky just about anywhere. On the back of the unit you’ll find some adhesive tape you can strip away to mount on the wall. There’s also a hook mount that allows it to set on a hook or nail coming out of your wall.

It receives power through the micro USB port at the bottom of the device. Normally I’d give a company crap for not using USB type C this long after its introduction, but it’s really not needed here. We all have micro USB cables laying around and Sensibo even includes on in the box. And, I really love that it takes cables like this instead of tying up a wall outlet with a big brick. I have a USB power strip next to my bed and can easily just plug right into that. It’s super convenient.

If there’s a negative here, it might be its price. The unit retails for $149 which isn’t a king’s ransom, but I feel is a little high. If you’re able to get it closer to that $100 mark, I feel it’s an instant buy. Luckily for you, Sensibo is running a Black Friday deal where you can pick it up for just $89. You can grab it from Sensibo’s website or Amazon.