I thought the setup and configuration was not too difficult. It is important that you use the Navilink Wi-Fi remote control system User Manual, and follow the directions exactly for the type of unit you have. If you plan to use wireless and not hardwired, have your SSID and wireless network encryption password handy. Don't forget to add the Navilink's MAC Address to your wireless router's client access control menu if you have that enabled on your wireless router.
Advantages: Its real handy to be able to keep an eye on your energy and water usage whenever you want, as well as checking the status of the unit itself.
The device is pretty easy to install, even though the instructions aren't very clear. You have to use their app to control it. The iOS app as of 4/21/2019 is pretty terrible. Just barely functional. I wanted to be able to program the timing for the circulator pump on my water heater and it is okay, but the usability of the app is bad. It seems like it was written by a student with no background in user-centered design. If you need to either program your water heater or to turn it on and off remotely, then this is probably a good idea. But don't expect to get lots of useful information from the reports or anything like that.
Device works as describe however, the smartphone app could use some work especially in the scheduling of the recirculating pump. It's a bit in the 20th century compared to the actual control unit that it interfaces with. Installation of the unit was easy but, the manual was not the same as what I found on the GadgetsGo manual download link. It appears a complete page was missing from the manual in the box.
Advantages: Unit is easy to install
Disadvantages: Software is behind the times and could use some updating.
I installed the NavLink myself without any trouble although it is easy to skip an important step in the instructions. Read them carefully.
The iOS app is woefully primitive and downright ugly. It took some help from Navien Technical Support to find current water output flow rate, current incoming water temperature, and percentage of water heating capacity utilization. The secret is to scroll up the "STATUS" pane to see these values. This is a very poor user interface.
There also appears to be an error is how DHW Usage Time is displayed on the app's EMS page. The usage time is not show for every day and, when it is displayed, it maxes out at exactly one hour.
Advantages: Remote control and monitoring
Disadvantages: Primitive iOS app. Poor user interface. Navien should be ashamed.
I use an NCB-240E Combi-unit. It provides domestic hot water (DHW) as well as hydronic hot water for our in-floor radiant heating system. How well the application works is largely dependent on the type of Navien product that you are using. For the NCB-240E the functionality of the application is very good. You can turn the unit on/off very easily, control both the DHW and hydronic boiler water temperatures effortlessly. The app also provide really useful data such as DHW flow rate temperatures for both types of hot water, gas usage, current BTUs and much more. Because of the app, one can easily see if their boiler is modulating or running flat out. Its all there in the app. We frequently travel for business and it is great to see remotely, how your house is heating in the dead of winter when you are absent.
Because of this, I have concluded that NaviLink is an excellent pairing with the NCB series combi units. I give it 5 stars.
That said, there are some improvements that really need to be made. Here is a list:
1.) When you exit the app on an Android smartphone, instead of asking "Press < again to exit the application" it says, alarmingly "Press < again to shut down the system". This sounds like you will turn off your boiler instead of merely exiting the app. This language needs to be changed and reeks of an amateur programmer writing code.
2.) Apparently nobody can write simple step-by-step instructions anymore. The assumption is you will magically just figure it out or consult forums or that it is obvious (which it isn't). This ruins goodwill, wastes installers time or your time, frustrates everyone and results in poor reviews and bad stuff all around so my advice is this: WRITE A DECENT MANUAL AND TEST IT BY HAVING A TOTAL NOVICE USE ONLY THE MANUAL TO SET THE THING UP. If they can't do it, keep rewriting the manual until they can.
3.) Integrate the NaviLink system into other Home Automation systems like Apple Home Kit, Samsung Smart Things, Honeywell Total Connect, Chamberlain MyQ etc. This would help it be part of a complete home automation solution rather than being the odd man out, standalone system.
Overall, I am very pleased with the systems made by Navien, They are generally high end, first rate systems of top quality. With the NCB series, I also love the NaviLink system, but users of other Navien products made not have such a feature rich experience. With a few small improvements, the NaviLink system could be world class.
Advantages: +Feature Rich for NCB Series combi units.
+Intuitive Users Interface.
+Once setup is very reliable, requiring little upkeep.
+Allows control of a variety of settings for NCB.
+Provides tons of useful data.
Disadvantages: -Poor documentation and manuals. Easy setup for network tech savvy, but not regular people.
-TERRIBLE exit prompt that tells you that you are shutting down your boiler instead of just exiting the app.
-Not integrated into Apple Home Kit, Samsung Smart Things, Honeywell Total Connect, Chamberlain MyQ etc.
The instructions say to connect to the communications port but don’t tell you which of the many plugs on the boards are the right one. The image used is not specific. There are at least two places where the connector could be plugged in. I spent about an hour trying to find a documentation that identified the “communications port” but found nothing. I finally went ahead and picked what I thought was the most likely connector and hoped that I didn’t wreck my new heater.
The app hardly does anything and is not easy to use. It is not intuitive at all. It does control powering the unit on and off and provides some control of the recirculating pump but that part of the app is really awkward. It doesn’t provide any control of the other settings. This would have been a great use of the app as configuring the unit using the front control panel is VERY awkward. In then end it does what I bought it for which was to be able to remotely turn it off when I’m not at the house but for the what it does, the price is really high. This has about the same capability as a smart light or fan controller and those are $30-40. At $190 this is WAY overpriced
Advantages: Allows remote control of power and scheduling recirculating
Disadvantages: Documentation is not very good.
App hardly does anything
Overpriced for the functionality