by Rick Broida March 31, 2017 6:06 AM PDT @cheapskateblog
CNET's Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page. And find more great buys on the CNET Deals page.
There are many good reasons to invest in a smart thermostat. My personal favorite? You touch down at the airport after a long trip, fire up the thermostat app, and get the furnace running so the house is nice and toasty by the time you walk in the door.
Or, the flipside: You leave for a long trip and realize you forgot to lower the temperature. Instead of heating an empty house, you use the app to change the setting. Easy-peasy.
Of course, modern smart thermostats can do a lot of this stuff automatically by detecting whether you're home or not. I just like having remote control.
All that brings us to this: For a limited time, you can get the Ecobee3 smart thermostat for $199 shipped. It's normally $249. But, wait, there's more: Depending on where you live, you might be able to get a rebate from your gas or power company.
True story: I live in the Detroit area. I bought an Ecobee3 a couple months ago (for a higher price, dangit) and qualified for two rebates. Both were processed very quickly, and in the end I received $125 back. Your mileage may vary, of course, but my fellow metro-Detroiters could end up with a final price of just $74 for this thing. Woot!
Thanks to some fairly straightforward instructions (including videos), I had an easy time installing the Ecobee3. There was one major annoyance post-installation, which you can chalk up to a bit of stupidity on my part, but ultimately it was easy to correct.
The Ecobee3 offers one significant advantage over its chief competitor, the Nest: It comes with a wireless room sensor. What's the big deal about that? A thermostat adjusts the temperature based on where it's located. The sensor lets you set the temperature based on where you're located, like, say, the bedroom or a family room. You get one in the package, but you can add more.
CNET's review will tell you everything else you need to know. The one real complaint was with potential installation issues, so be sure to read about that and check your HVAC before pulling the trigger. Likewise, check the Amazon user reviews, which average out to 4.4 stars from over 3,400 (!) buyers.
The Ecobee3 rarely goes on sale, so the $199 price tag is compelling. But if you can score some rebates on top of that? This might be the ideal time to finally give your home a brain, temperature-wise.
Bonus deal: Does anyone still use portable hard drives? (I don't, but I also don't travel a lot.) Here's a pretty sweet deal on one: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Amazon has the Toshiba Canvio Premium 2TB portable hard drive for $71.99 shipped.
The drive is notable not just for offering a crazy amount of space for cheap, but also for including a USB Type-C adapter. (Out of the box it supports USB 3.0 and 2.0.) That's a nice bit of future-proofing.
And like most portable drives, it's powered by USB, so you don't need an AC adapter. It also includes a password-lock feature and three-year warranty.