Newfangled Nest thermostat is so cool !

by Gary and Lisa Schoeffler on October 26, 2011

in Latest News

“You’re reviewing a thermostat?”

That pretty much sums up the incredulous reactions I received when I mentioned the topic of this week’s column. After all, the thermostat hanging on your wall is probably like your neighbor’s, a blah-looking controller you face only when it’s time to warm or cool the house.

Unless heating or cooling is on your mind, there isn’t much reason you’d turn to the Nest Learning Thermostat either. Except that this is the coolest thermostat I’ve ever come across, and I don’t mean cool as in temperature. Nest smashes any preconceived notions of what a thermostat ought to look like and how it should operate — whether you’re in front of it or accessing it remotely from an iPhone or iPad. It takes advantage of cloud computing and what techies refer to as machine-learning. And it learns from your behavior

To be sure, controlling the temp and helping you save energy is Nest’s primary aim. But you can’t help but be drawn to it: The $249 Nest is a thermostat with sex appeal. Nest becomes available in mid-November, though you can preorder a unit now at or

The thermostat was created by

Silicon Valley start-up Nest Labs, whose co-founder Tony Fadell used to be in charge of iPods at Apple. Fadell brings the Apple aesthetic to Nest.

Disclaimer: I haven’t had a test unit long enough to measure any true energy savings. Nor can I independently verify that the temperature the thermostat is reporting is as accurate as Next claims it to be.

That said, it’s extremely simple to use. And this is one beautiful hockey puck of a device with a silver ring and a reflective dark surface that wakes up as you come near — there’s a proximity sensor among other sensors for the temperature, humidity and ambient light.

To raise or lower the temperature you merely rotate the ring in either direction. Click the entire display to access various menu choices.

The display turns orange when the heat is on or blue when it is cooling. Your target temperature is shown in the middle of the screen, along with the time it will take to reach that temperature. Nest advises folks to avoid cranking up the temperature to extremes in an effort to heat or cool your home any quicker. The current temperature is shown at the top of the screen.

Nest can get smarter over time — based on the way you raise or lower the temperature when you come or go at different times. In a week’s time, Nest will automatically …..

Pro. Beautiful and simple to use digital thermostat learns from your behavior. Remote access via iPhone, iPad or Web.

Con. Expensive. Works with most but not all heating or cooling systems

Lisa Schoeffler, CRS, ASP
Prudential California Realty
A member of HomeServices of America, Inc.
a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate

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