Nest's third-gen smart thermostat has a bigger screen, keeps an eye on your furnace

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The newest Nest thermostat has a slimmer profile, allowing it to rest more flush with the wall in your home(Credit: Nest)

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Nest has announced a new version of its learning thermostat, the first major update to the product’s hardware since 2012.

Much like previous versions, the 3rd generation Nest replaces the existing thermostat in your home. The internet-connected device can be controlled remotely using an app, and learns how you use it over time, so eventually it learns to turn the temperature in your home up or down based on your personal habits. It also works alongside other Nest products such as the Nest cam and Nest Protect.

The newest Nest thermostat has a slimmer profile, allowing it to rest more flush with the wall in your home, and has an updated high-resolution screen that’s 40 percent larger than the display on the existing model. The larger screen has a 229 pixel per inch (PPI) display, a 25 percent improvement over the second-generation model.

You need to be within a meter of the current Nest thermostat in order for the screen to power on. With the new version, a feature called Farsight allows you to program the device to always display information like the current temperature or the time, so you’ll be able to view that information from across the room.

Also new with the third version of the device is a Furnace heads-up feature. Expected to come to previous versions of the thermostat later this year, the heads-up component pays attention to when your furnace decides to power itself off (something furnaces to do prevent overheating, but if it’s happening often then it might be indicative of a problem). If Nest notices an issue, it will send a heads-up message to the thermostat, giving you the opportunity to check on your furnace before the issue gets any worse.

Along with the new device, Nest is announcing a number of new energy partners who will be offering the thermostat for free or at a discounted cost for customers.

"The Nest Learning Thermostat has been proven by third-party researchers to save people, on average, about 10 to 12 percent on their heating bills and about 15 percent on their cooling bills," said Maxime Veron, head of Nest's hardware product marketing.

"The 3rd generation Nest Thermostat will not only be available at 7,000 retail locations and from 25,000 Nest Pro installers, but through energy and enterprise partners such as Southern Company, Direct Energy, SunEdison, Infinite Energy, Reliant, and ADT - companies committed to helping their customers stay comfortable and save energy by offering the Nest Thermostat at a discount or at no cost."

The new Nest thermostat is available today from both Amazon's and Nest’s websites for US$249. With the launch of the new device, the current version will see a bit of discount, running $199 from now on. Nest also has plans to sell the 3rd-gen device at a number of retail locations in the future, including Best Buy, Verizon Wireless, Target, and Sam’s Club.

You can check out the promo video below for a look at the new Nest in action.

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