Nest gets credit for building up the connected home market while so many others have failed. And the Google-owned company did it with a Learning Thermostat that costs three times as much as comparable digital home climate control devices.
Imagine what Nest could do with a cheaper thermostat like the new, $169 Thermostat E.
Unveiled Thursday and on pre-order Friday, Thermostat E is $85 cheaper than the third generation of the Nest Learning Thermostat, without skimping too much on design or functionality. In fact, Nest executives claim you can save just as much energy with the Thermostat E as you can with their more expensive device.
Thermostat E, however, is a stark design departure from the original Nest Learning Thermostat. Instead of a metal ring, you have white, polycarbonate. Gone is the high-resolution screen, replaced with a lower-resolution one behind a polarized display that lets the display shine through, but blocks light from coming into the thermostat.
Nest execs explained that Thermostat E is designed for consumers less concerned with curating their home experience and design. They want to make their home climate comfortable when they’re there and save energy when they’re away. Not surprisingly, the “E” stands for, according to Nest, “Everyone” and “Earth.”
The Thermostat E is also a little less flexible than its metallic counterpart. Under the hood are only six connectors, as opposed to 10. Nest claims that the 10-connector Learning Thermostat covers 95 percent of most U.S. households, while the Thermostat E will be compatible with 85%.
In addition, Thermostat E focuses less on learning and more on install and forget it. It doesn’t ask you about learning your habits and, instead, defaults to “Basic Schedule,” which is an average usage schedule based on the data from millions of existing Nest Learning Thermostat owners. You can still, through the settings, switch to Auto Schedule if you want Thermostat E to learn. Like the Learning Thermostat, the lower-priced device can keep tabs of your habits to learn your schedule through your activities, whether you’re home, and if you adjust the temperature manually. The more expensive Learning Thermostat also adds the ability to display the time and local weather.
Beyond these differences, though, Thermostat E is just as smart and powerful as the $249 model. It has all the same sensors: humidity, occupancy, and temperature. There’s Eco Mode for energy savings and a bubble level under the hood for self-installation.
The new thermostat also appears to work the same way as the Learning Thermostat. You choose actions by turning the outer ring and accept or activate by pressing the screen. Thermostat E will also work with the existing Nest App, as well as Amazon Echo and Google Home.
In person, the two thermostats, which are virtually the same size, look quite different. There’s the sleek, futuristic look of the Learning Thermostat and the pale, white Thermostat E, which almost fades into the background.
The screens are a study in contrasts. The Learning Thermostat’s glass-covered display features bright, saturated colors against a reflective black background. On the Thermostat E, the display is all subtle hues and, when in sleep mode, it’s essentially white. Nest explained that the Thermostat E display was inspired by a watercolor painting. The screen turns virtually all white so it can blend more easily into its surroundings.
It’ll certainly look at home on a white wall.
Nest Thermostat E starts shipping next week.