Tado is an internet-connected thermostat that promises to save you, on average, 26% on your heating costs. It does this by automatically adjusting your heating according to whether you're at home or away, taking into account the weather forecast and how long your home typically takes to heat up.
There are three parts to the system, all very simple and elegantly designed: there's a little white box that talks to your boiler, a small solar-powered temperature sensor which you can wall-mount or simply leave on a shelf, and a gateway that you plug into your router. The gateway needs power so you'll either need to plug it into a power socket or the USB socket of your router, if your router has one.
Then there's an app that each member of your household downloads to their iPhone or Android phone. (There's no Windows Phone app yet.) The app enables you to adjust your heating settings, see what temperature your house is and view some basic stats. It also sends your location to the Tado box via the gateway so the system knows whether you're at home or not.
Once set up, Tado automatically turns your heating down when the last person has left your house and turns it back on when the first person comes home. For the latter, you can move a slider in the app between 'Comfort' and 'Savings'. Comfort starts heating your home before you arrive and Savings waits until you're home.
You can purchase the Tado hardware for a one-off cost or rent it for £6.99 (8.25 euros) a month. If you later decide you want to buy instead of rent, the company will credit up to six months of previously paid rental fees towards the purchase price.
Tado doesn't have the market to itself. It's up against systems which include the Google-owned Nest, Hive from British Gas, Honeywell's multi-zone Evohome system, and UK startup Heat Genius.
To set the system up, you need to connect the Tado box to your boiler or put it in place of a wall-mounted thermostat. Tado says that the box can be self-installed in less than half an hour and that 97% percent of their customers do so, although that figure drops to 70% in the UK where heating systems vary enormously. Given that I'm in the UK, and I'd be dealing with a) electricity and b) my heating system, I opted instead for the installation service, which is currently priced at £50.
When the Tado connector kit arrived, the cheery yellow 'Beta' sticker on the box made me wonder whether winter was the best time to test this out, but I needn't have worried.
A couple of days later, the engineer came out to fit the box and get me set up. Fitting the box took around 15 minutes and once everything had synced I logged into the web-based interface to get set up. This involved entering my postcode, when I get up and go to bed each day of the week and the temperature I wanted it to be when I was at home. I then download the app onto my phone and, happy that everything was working correctly, the engineer left. The whole process took about half an hour.