Nest unveiled its first smart thermostat in 2011, and rolled out two updated variants with added compatibility for heating and cooling systems and a larger screen. The underlying design has largely remained intact, along with the $249 price tag.
Nest is looking to change that with the Thermostat E — a "simpler, more affordable" thermostat with an all-new design that will retail for $169. Whereas the Nest Learning Thermostat is made out of metal with a glossy finish, the Thermostat E features a polycarbonate chassis with a "ceramic-like" control dial that gives it a plainer look. There are other differences as well — the Thermostat E doesn't have a far-field sensor, so you won't be able to use Nest's Farsight feature. But you still get basic proximity detection.
Nest designed the Thermostat E to be able to blend into the background, and as a result the frosted display has a simpler interface that just shows the current temperature. The display itself has a resolution of 320 x 320, and there's a layer of polarized glass to diffuse incoming light from the screen.
Like the Nest Learning Thermostat, the Thermostat E can be controlled from your phone, tablet, or laptop, and it offers the same energy-saving features. The thermostat uses your phone's location to determine if you're home or away, adjusting the temperature accordingly.
It also learns your usage patterns over time, and it integrates with third-party services like Alexa and Google Assistant. Unlike the Learning Thermostat — which works with 95% of heating and cooling systems in the U.S. — the Thermostat E is compatible with 85% of homes.
By making smart thermostats more appealing to a broader audience, Nest is hoping to see a 3x increase in sales over the next four years. The Thermostat E is now available direct from Nest for $169.
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