Review: Vine Smart WiFi thermostat (TJ-610)

Review: Vine Smart WiFi thermostat (TJ-610)

Our Vine Smart WiFi thermostat rating:
(3.5/5)

Vine at a Glance

vine_smart_wifi_thermostat_manufacturer_photo

Vine is a new player in the smart thermostat space with a growing startup behind it.

A new challenger approaches! Vine Smart WiFi Thermostat from Xing Connected Corporation launched just a few months ago (summer 2016) at a reasonable price point with a robust feature set.

Their motto: “Smart, yet simple”

The affordable alternatives to the most expensive smart thermostats are getting better all the time. Vine is yet another entry in the “around $100 or so” smart thermostat bracket, and unlike its direct competition, it has a full color screen and a twist dial. It’s more like a smartphone embedded in the front of the thermostat. The knob on the right is a twist dial, so you don’t have to worry too much about your accuracy on a touch screen for simple things like raising and lowering the temperature.

Vine is new on the market, but I had an opportunity this month to email with its team about Vine’s features and share the details here.

PROS

  • Budget-friendly price check current Vine price on Amazon.com
  • Usage reports recently added
  • Modern physical design with both a color touch screen and a twist-dial
  • Easy to program from unit itself, the mobile app, or the web interface
  • Compatible with most 24 volt (low voltage) HVAC systems
  • Physical twist-dial on thermostat itself makes it easy to adjust the temp
  • 7-day programming
  • Modern design in the on-unit touch screen menus
  • 8 adjustment periods per day 
  • Nightlight along the bottom!
  • Weather forecast on the unit itself

It’s worth pointing out that most of these “pros” are present on competitor thermostats as well.

CONS

  • You’re gonna need a C-wire (a con if you don’t have one)
  • Resistive touch screen – this means you have to press it a bit
  • No home automation integration (no Alexa, HomeKit, etc.)

If you’re looking at the Vine thermostat on Amazon, you’ll notice that many of its reviews state that they were given the opportunity to purchase the Vine thermostat at a discount “in exchange for an unbiased review”. This is common for a new product – Vine is reaching out to reviewers (this site included) to drum up interest in their product.

Vine Smart WiFi Thermostat Review

Vine’s got the basics covered, with more getting added regularly (usage reports and geofencing are recent additions).

You can schedule up to 8 periods a day – many thermostats just offer 4 (that’s 8 separate times at which your programmed schedule can raise/lower the temp as you like). The touch screen gives you control over the unit from the device itself, and the physical dial appeals to users who want a simple “twist to adjust” experience. A mobile app is available for both iOS and Android, and a web portal. The nightlight along the unit’s bottom edge is a unique feature among smart thermostats, and you can even schedule it.

In this price range, the Vine’s primary competitors are the Emerson Sensi and the Lux Geo. Vine’s advantage here vs. these other two thermostats is its fully-featured color touch screen. However, Vine does not offer a solution to 2016’s most vexing smart thermostat problem: what to do for systems lacking a C-wire.

You’ll need a C-wire (or you can re-purpose your fan’s wire)

Alas, the Vine smart thermostat more or less requires a C-wire.

We point this out because the vast majority of of Smart Thermostat Guide’s traffic arrives via search queries for help with a missing C-wire and info about thermostats that don’t require a C-wire. 

It’s a little confusing to know if you actually need a C-wire or not to use a Vine looking at their site, when the FAQ tells you that you do:

vine-c-wire-needed

… but the compatibility chart has a workaround where you re-purpose the fan wire (if you have one) to act as a C-wire would. Doing this means you lose independent control over the fan – instead, the fan just runs whenever your AC or heat does. (If you never run your fan independently, maybe you won’t miss this functionality, but I’d hate to give up a feature of my HVAC system just because a particular thermostat made me do it.)

To check your wiring against Vine’s requirements, the Vine website has an easy-to-use wiring compatibility tool.

vine-compatibility-check-tool

Vine TJ-610’s Best Features

Control your heating/cooling from anywhere via an app

Like all “smart thermostats”, Vine offers an iOS version and Android version of its app for controlling the thermostat from anywhere in the world. You can also set up schedules, override the current schedule, and do general maintenance tasks on your thermostat (like setting up service reminders).

We love seeing a regularly updated app, and both the iOS and Android versions have a recent update at the time of this writing (September 30, 2016).

vine-app-android

Up-to-date weather report on-unit

You can also view hourly or 5-day forecasts, and there’s a humidity report included.

Easy scheduling with up to 8 adjustment periods

Most thermostats (programmable and smart) limit you to just 4 adjustment periods per day. Presumably, 4 periods per day is intended for a family or person who wakes in the morning, goes off to work/school, and returns in the evening: raise the heat in the early morning, turn it off in the late morning, raise the heat again in the early evening, lower the heat in the late evening.

With 8 adjustment periods per day, the Vine thermostat is better equipped for a “non traditional” schedule. If you regularly come home for lunch, for instance, you might like being able to program an increase in temperature for your mid-day return.

Programmable nightlight

Vine is the only smart thermostat on the market with a built-in nightlight in the bottom of the unit. You can schedule it and it has 4 levels of brightness. Depending on where your thermostat is located in your home (and how often you walk by it in the middle of the night) the nightlight could be a useful way to add illumination to a hallway or area that is otherwise dark at night.

Service reminders

Vine can be programmed to remind you when to change filters and when to service your furnace and/or air conditioning unit.

GPS (geofencing)

Vine can track your location and kick off a scheduled behavior as you approach or leave your home.

Vine HVAC Compatibility

Vine is compatible with traditional 24 V furnace systems in the US and single-stage heating/cooling systems. Don’t use it with line voltage systems (thick red/white wires) and don’t use it with multiple-stage heating/cooling.

hvac_compatibility

…But I AM on your website! (And I cannot find this mythical chart)

Vine works with

  • 1-Heat and 1-Cool
  • Heat Pump A/C with emergency heating

Vine doesn’t work with

  • Multi-stage cooling and heating systems

Vine tech specs

Dimensions

  • 5.0″ wide x 3.5″ tall x 1.0″ thick

Power options

  • 24VAC (C-wire required)

Vine Unboxing

  • Vine thermostat
  • Mounting screws
  • User guide
  • Installation manual
  • Wire label stickers

vine_unboxing2

More Vine resources

Installation video gives you an idea of what the touch screen looks like and some help with getting it on your WiFi network:

Wait, what’s this other Vine thermostat? 

The TJ-919 is an upcoming Vine product. It’s on their website, but it’s not actually for sale yet.

vine_paperweight_2

The bottom line

An earlier version of this Vine thermostat review contained more questions than answers. The company reached out to me and set the record straight on a number of features and compatibility questions I wasn’t able to find answers to on my own. It’s great that the company is trying to get the Vine into consumers’ and bloggers’ hands, because the major tech sites haven’t picked it up yet and it’s just getting started collecting reviews on Amazon. You can learn more about the Vine at the company’s FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

The market is getting saturated at all price points from under-$100 to upwards of $250.

Vine’s catching up with recently added usage reports and geofencing, and the touch screen is a nice extra not normally found at this price point. Unlike some WiFi thermostats in its price range, Vine requires a C-wire, so keep your wiring in mind when choosing a thermostat.

(If you’re on a budget, don’t have a C-wire, and don’t care about having a touch screen check out the Emerson Sensi and the Lux Geo instead – both are great WiFi-enabled smart thermostats priced similarly, if not lower, with their own sets of appealing features.)

Overall, Vine is a solid entry into the “budget smart thermostat” category.

See Amazon’s current price and stock for the Vine

VINE WiFi Smart Thermostat

Note to readers: Some links on SmartThermostatGuide.com are affiliate links. Read our full disclosure policy here.

If you have a Vine and you love it, please let us know in the comments!

Vine WiFi Smart Thermostat

Vine WiFi Smart Thermostat
8.2

Ease of use

10.0/10

Feature set vs. price

8.0/10

Scheduling options

10.0/10

Customer support

7.0/10

HVAC compatibility

6.0/10

Pros

  • Color touch screen + twist dial
  • Nightlight on bottom edge
  • 8 adjustment periods per day
  • Schedule through app or website

Cons

  • Needs a C-wire, while many competitors don't
  • Manufacturer website buggy, hard to navigate
  • Pricier than other

 

13 Responses

  1. Ease of use

    10.00

    Feature set vs. price

    10.00

    Scheduling options

    10.00

    Customer support

    10.00

    HVAC compatibility

    8.00

    Hi all, I currently work for Vine and would love to share some internal insight as to why we recommend and believe in our product. First off, I’d like to thank the reviewer for taking the time to analyze our brand and give us some publicity! I’d also like to mention that I installed the Vine 610-B Smart Thermostat in my home about two months ago, so I’m quite familiar with the user experience one can expect.

    At an MSRP of $129 with all standard smart features, I believe our product has a competitive price advantage compared to our competitors. Our thermostat (model 610-B) has a resistive touch screen that’s very responsive along with a traditional control dial for easy accessibility to all potential users. Setting up a programmed schedule is easy with up to 8 periods per day. No other thermostat at this time that we know of has a nightlight feature with scheduling options, just in case you need to get out of bed in the middle of the night. Other features includes a programmable fan, weather forecasts, system lock/unlock, system limits and alerts, and App/Web Portal accessibility.

    If I may say so myself, I believe our App has one of of the best APIs in the smart thermostat industry and is both fun and intuitive in its functionality; I love being able to control the thermostat remotely from the App.

    As we don’t have a built in battery, a C wire is necessary to power the Vine thermostat, but this is a common occurrence with many Honeywell Smart thermostats currently on the market as well. I’d like to mention that my home here in the Bay Area has a traditional furnace heating/cooling system and came with a C wire preinstalled, so the setup process for me was very simple. However, I understand there’s various HVAC systems nationwide and some users won’t be as fortunate to have a C or spare wire for the C terminal. There’s many ways around this and if you’re still having trouble after reading the extensive installation manual included with the product, full support is always available at http://www.vinesmarthome.com

  2. Sagar says:

    Ease of use

    7.50

    Feature set vs. price

    9.60

    Scheduling options

    9.40

    Customer support

    5.30

    HVAC compatibility

    6.30

    The reviewer mentioned vine thermostat has a geofencing (gps) feature. I have been unable to find this feature. Please help me find it (or correct your review). Thanks!

    • Craig says:

      Ease of use

      10.00

      Feature set vs. price

      10.00

      Scheduling options

      10.00

      Customer support

      8.30

      HVAC compatibility

      8.30

      If you go to the application, before you click on your device, thermostat, click on the person top left corner. You will see an option for “location,” click on that and it will locate you. It took a few tries to get it to go through for me. It seems the application may time out nanoseconds before the location completes. This is an issue I forgot to put in my review. Now, how to actually use that location in programming, iam not sure. I’ll have to play around with it and see. Perhaps it goes off the Comfort zone setting (the heart icon) and when you approach home, it activates. I would contact customer support. As it is, I will probably never use it, as the programming is sufficient for me.

    • Ease of use

      10.00

      Feature set vs. price

      10.00

      Scheduling options

      10.00

      Customer support

      10.00

      HVAC compatibility

      8.00

      We’re currently working on implementing the Geofencing feature with programming capability; it should be available within a couple months via an automatic remote update will administer.

      For the thermostat to remember your location, simply add it to the Vine Smart Control App while it’s connected to Wi-Fi. You can view the location linked to your thermostat by selecting Date & Time from the System Menu or by selecting Location from the User Profile Menu.

      Make to sure allow the App to use your location when opening the App for the first time or turn on location access for the App under Settings on your mobile device.

      Contact info@vineconnected.com or (800)264-3457 Ext. 3 if you need further assistance.

  3. Craig says:

    Ease of use

    10.00

    Feature set vs. price

    10.00

    Scheduling options

    10.00

    Customer support

    8.30

    HVAC compatibility

    8.30

    12/19/16
    Installed this yesterday in about 15 minutes. The day before I ran an extra wire for the C connect (basically a 24 volt line). That took a bit over an hour, well because let’s face it, you never know know what’s in those walls that can hinder you. I ran this wire to keep my fan option open, although I think in the past 2 years I’ve used it once. So really this isn’t as big a deal to most I believe.

    I purchased mine from Amazon after careful review of others, Honeywell, emerson and others. This one had the most features. It also is a new player, I like that because the company has, as it should, a hunger to satisfy being so young.

    I have only one qualm about my experience with setup: the requirement to register before using WiFi or the application. When I tried to register in chrome on my LG G5, I received server errors, the same with Windows 10, and the same with the Droid app. However, seconds after I sent an email explaining my experience, I tried it once more and it went through. Call it a fluke or server maintenance what have you, for an hour it didn’t work and then it did. (Yes, my wifi was working and verified as such) So I really can not blame them, as I have had issues regarding server providers and the uptime they claim and the uptime you actually get. Perhaps they should get a different server provider if this becomes problematic. It has not, however, been that yet.

    I like the app and options. I would like to see: ability to program winter/summer without actually having that program activated in the application (droid).
    Easy setting to change the temperature variation. When the thermostat kicks on, under 3 degrees on, over 2 off etc.

    I purchased this thermostat on my own accord and did NOT receive any rebate or discount for reviewing this item. But iam still just as happy with this unit and wish I had received a discount! Even though it was reasonably priced.

    I would recommend this thermostat to anyone looking for a smart one.

    I will post updates if and when my experience changes.

    Iam hitting customer support only because I have not heard back from the email I sent about 16 hours ago on Sunday.

    Craig

  4. CarlosF says:

    Ease of use

    7.00

    Feature set vs. price

    9.50

    Scheduling options

    10.00

    Customer support

    5.00

    HVAC compatibility

    6.90

    Hi, just installed my 2 new devices. Couple issues with the “Weather Forecast”, does not work despite set up the location several times.
    Please, Anybody can help me how to set up the Temp range when the system must turn on and off to keep the desire temp.
    Thank you

    • Jacob says:

      I have the same issue, the temperature fluctuation is too great. From cold to way too warm. I’ll do a temperature study and report on the fluctuation soon since I just installed it, but its too great and would like to change it. Also is there a calibration function? I have a calibrated thermocouple and would like to set this according. Thanks.

  5. bill says:

    Where is the integration with Alexa, Google Home or any of the Smart Home Hubs?

  6. Carmel says:

    Installed the stat. But I’m only getting heat. It’s 110 in Phoenix right now. How do I make the cool air come on????? Help. Melting here in Phoenix

  7. joe says:

    Hi, I too have a 610B-W and it produces heat instead of cooling. How do I correct this?

  8. Rudy Rodriguez says:

    Ease of use

    10.00

    Feature set vs. price

    10.00

    Scheduling options

    10.00

    Customer support

    10.00

    HVAC compatibility

    10.00

    I just installed this, this weekend and so far I like it. I had an extra wire that was not being used for my “c” wire. This made for an easy install. I have the 610 model which was an inch smaller then my previous one, so I had to grab some touch up paint (It would have been great to have a back plate for such installs.)
    From other reviews that I have seen and my personal experience ,it does take a few tries to connect to your Wi-Fi, the server, and register your unit. After all was setup, I had no major issues.
    My wife mentioned to me that she felt the temp. reading was off so I pulled out my temperature readers and placed them around the room. With any house and room the temperature will be different at different locations. But I did notice that the temp was off by about 1-2 degrees, thank goodness for the calibrator. I made the adjustment and now I get an accurate reading.
    I have read that others have been able to connect to Alexa, but I have not seen the official app on Alexa and those that I have seen have bad reviews. I will wait until they advertise it on the website.
    In addition they say it can act as a hub for IOT, I wish they would elaborate a bit more on this as others may not know what that means or may be confused about it, including myself. I am familiar with Wink, Zigbee, and Samsung …so will this work with them?
    I bought this through Newegg and I do not regret it. For the price it does exactly what I want at a fraction of the cost as the big names.

  9. Brian says:

    Ease of use

    7.50

    Feature set vs. price

    9.40

    Scheduling options

    9.80

    Customer support

    0.00

    HVAC compatibility

    7.20

    Installed the thermostat. It worked great for about a week or two, then the app lost the device ID. Signed into the website, same thing. My app says there is an update going from version 1.1.4 to 1.1.2. Don’t we version things in ascending order? I am working remote right now and the entire reason I bought it is so I could check the status of the house when I was away. Can’t reconnect the device without being there to get a confirmation code off of the device. Overall happy, but flossing connection and memory of all necessary data to reconnect remotely is not desirable. Also, suspicious of update notification wanting to go from 1.1.4 to 1.1.2.

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