I selected two devices to explore. One was the Nest thermostat, which generated considerable buzz in the market when it came out a few years ago. The other was a more recent introduction: the Honeywell smart WiFi thermostat. Both are available at various chain home improvement stores. [Editor's note; Richard is located in the USA; local availability may differ.]
One of the first things I noticed when working with the devices was a significant difference in packaging. The Nest is packaged in a fitted box, with all the component pieces (including installation tools) layered inside. The effect is elegant, like a jewel on display. The Honeywell device is in a cardboard box with a flap opening to a window showing the device. But when opened, there is disappointment. Plastic spacers hold the device displayed in the window, and most of the rest of the box is filled with air. The effect is that of a cheap toy in a showy container.
To see how the two compare when digging further inside, I began at the outer layer.