Nest's first smart thermostat, unveiled back in 2011, was the clear definition of high-tech. It, however, called attention to itself. The wall-clinging puck looked too sleek and futuristic that it often became the centerpiece of a room instead of staying subtle, muted.
Clearly, Nest wants some diversity. It has now unveiled a new model, named Thermostat E, that's less stylish and more simplistic, less sleek and more understated, but surprisingly at least as functional as its more costly sibling.
It's a completely redesigned model that foregoes the original's glossy sheen and takes on a more subdued design, with the outer control dial made of plastic and its screen now "frosted." Whereas the old model was meant to stun and stymie onlookers with awe, this new one blends with its environment.
Nest Thermostat E Features
While the more expensive displays added information on the screen such as the current time and weather, the Thermostat E focuses on temperature. Also, it might not work with more complex HVAC systems, such as those with several stages of heating and cooling. Because of this, Nest claims that only 85 percent of U.S. homes will work with the new model. The older one, by contrast, works with 95 percent.
Original Nest Smart Thermostat vs Thermostat E
Besides looking less fancier and less prettier than its predecessor, the new Thermostat E pretty much packs in all the capabilities you'd come to expect on a smart thermostat. Users can manually set the temperature or control it via the Nest mobile app, and it learns their routine and habits over time. Additionally, it comes with a pre-set schedule on when it turns off, which can save energy. The company said it has saved 14 billion kWh of energy thus far and found in a study that using a Nest Thermostat cuts 12 to 15 percent off most customers' heating bills.
The Thermostat E costs only $169. The older model costs $249. So why buy the more expensive one when the cheaper model can practically do anything that you'd expect a smart thermostat can do? Well, Nest doesn't see the two as competitors. Instead, it sees the cheaper model as a way to introduce its smart thermostat to price-conscious consumers.
For its price, users will still get presence detection and integration with third-party services via Works with Nest. It supports Google Assistant, of course — Google owns Nest — and Amazon Alexa. Apple HomeKit users, unfortunately, will remain unsupported.
The Thermostat E rolls out on Sept. 1.