PROS / This thermostat has one of the most navigable user interfaces in our review.
CONS / It does not have light- or motion-sensing capabilities to detect when you enter a room.
VERDICT / Venstar ColorTouch is missing some smart features, but it is an affordable option with some great energy-saving capabilities, and it takes thermostat design to a new level.
The Venstar ColorTouch T7850 has color and flair while still offering some very practical and intelligent features that can save energy and money. The programmable thermostat’s combination of form and function makes sense. However, even with its strengths, Venstar has limited customer support.
Venstar's ColorTouch smart thermostat works with four-stage heating and two-stage cooling systems. The keypad lock ensures you are in control of who adjusts the temperature. Like the best programmable thermostats, the Venstar ColorTouch has an auto-changeover feature that seamlessly switches between heating and cooling.
This unit has very specific scheduling settings; you can set up to four distinct time periods for each day of the week. You can also simply set your ideal temperatures for sleeping and daylight hours. An away mode ensures you don’t heat or cool your house when no one is home. There are no light or motion sensors, so Venstar ColorTouch does not know when you come into a room, nor does it learn your schedule and program itself like some of its competitors. To add humidity control to your system, you can upgrade to the ColorTouch T7900.
Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity and a mobile app make it possible to control this smart thermostat from anywhere. You can also use the app to receive alerts, view energy usage information and send text messages to the wireless thermostat's screen for your family to see. The touchscreen display has crisp graphics, and its interface is the easiest to navigate of the products in our thermostat review; its full-color display is also one of the most attractive. The phone app corresponds nicely with the look and feel of the interface, making it intuitive to use.
The unit is multipurpose, doubling as a clock, themed background or digital photo frame you can use to show a slideshow of your favorite photos. It has an SD card slot for the photos you want to display in the slide show when it’s on idle. It is also one of the more affordable programmable thermostats in our lineup. You can choose a custom faceplate – black, white, silver or wood grain.
This thermostat does require a small flathead screwdriver for installation, since the wires are secured with screws. It also requires a C wire, which adds a little time to the installation process. Still, during our testing, we installed it quickly with relatively little hassle.
While you can get reports about energy use, the thermostat doesn’t give you immediate information about how much energy or money you might be saving. Venstar's customer support is rather limited. The company only offers a one-year warranty on the ColorTouch, and email is the only way to contact Venstar customer support directly.
Venstar ColorTouch is a good option if you are ready to upgrade your thermostat, especially if it is located in a very visible place. This is an attractive, easy-to-navigate thermostat; however, it doesn’t have as many features as the best thermostats. It is missing smart tools like light and motion sensors that detect when you enter and leave a room. It also doesn’t learn your schedule and program itself. While these omissions limit its energy-saving potential, it makes up for it somewhat by sending alerts, providing energy usage information and letting you send text messages to its screen. The combination of energy-saving features, affordability and design flair makes the ColorTouch a valid option.