You don't need the free Hydrawise software to operate the Hunter Hydrawise HC-600i sprinkler controller -- plenty of options are available from the unit's built-in touch screen -- but it helps you get the most out of your system. You can use it to schedule waterings as often as you like and to allow your sprinklers to make their own decisions about how much water is needed based on weather forecasts, relying not just on rainfall but temperature and humidity, which determine how quickly your ground will dry out in the absence of watering. (Hunter calls this "predictive watering.") You can view your water usage statistics as well as checking out your system for broken pipes and faulty wiring in the sensors. (To find faulty valves, you'll need their 12-zone package.)
All of which makes it pretty easy to take care of the often daunting task of making sure your lawn and gardens get the water they need to thrive in even the most arid environments. The predictive watering alone should take care of both overwatering and underwatering, though that depends on how accurate the weather forecasts are. (You can only use data from a single local weather station.) For more precise rainfall measurements you can add a rain sensor, but that's an extra-cost option. The software even has a contractor mode, so that the company that charged you an arm and a leg to put in your system can make remote tweaks while barely moving either, from the Contractor Dashboard, without the cost of an expensive home visit. (It's doubtful that they can repair a broken pipe via the app, but tech gets more amazing every day.)
As comparable sprinkler controllers go, the Hydrawise HC 600i is in the mid-to-upper range of prices. Amazon reviews give it a solid four-out-of-five stars, with some calling it outstanding, though one user complains that it won't work with a master valve. To look at other systems in a similar price range, check out the Rachio Smart Sprinkler 1st Generation, the Orbit B-hyve 6-Station and the Rainmachine Touch HD-16, if you need to control a larger number of zones.
Still a good product and the app works great... I also use the flow sensor and the graphs to looks at water usage from time to time. Overall a good product.
Great product! Now I can monitor my sprinkler system from across the country.
Very easy to set up. Worked on first try. Price is right.
Received product in record time. No damages, packaged nice and secure, even with going cross boarder. Installed in 15 minutes, downloaded the app, made adjustments...