Google's new Nest Thermostat is simpler and cheaper
The Nest Thermostat from Google is one of the most recognizable smart home devices of recent years, though it doesn't get updated all that often. The latest model to launch simplifies the design and lowers the price, while packing in some helpful controls using technology borrowed from the Pixel 4.
That technology is the Soli radar sensor: in the Pixel 4, it can sense when you're about to pick up and unlock your phone, and in the new Nest Thermostat it can detect when you're away from home and set the temperature accordingly. There's also a touch-sensitive panel around the device, matching to some extent the gesture control on the Pixel 4.
As with previous models, the main focus of the new Nest Thermostat is on reducing your energy demands and saving you money on your heating bills at the same time. The thermostat can be set manually as well as on a schedule, and will attempt to learn your heating habits over time, making cost-cutting suggestions as it goes.
At US$129.99, the new model – called simply the Nest Thermostat – is seemingly replacing the Nest Thermostat E in the line-up, which was previously the more affordable option. The Nest Learning Thermostat, made from a more premium set of materials and with a color screen, remains on sale for $249.
Google has emphasized the green credentials of its new smart home device: the plastic parts of the unit contain 49 percent recycled post-consumer plastic. The display is a subtle, two-tone affair with a mirrored finish, and the color options are Snow, Charcoal, Sand and Fog. There's even an optional trim kit to remove marks after wall mounting.
Besides the new design, the new Nest Thermostat also offers tighter integration with Google Assistant and the Google Home app, which has been developed at a rapid pace in recent years to become the center of Google's smart home operations – it controls everything from Nest cameras to Chromecasts.
The Google Home app will give users much more granular control over the new Nest – it can essentially be used instead of the actual Nest app, if you want to keep everything in the same place. As well as Google Assistant support, you can also control the device through Amazon Alexa, giving you a choice of assistants to talk to.
Google says you can set up the Nest Thermostat yourself in 30 minutes, whereas it recommends professional installation for the more expensive model. Preorders are open now, with shipping in the "coming weeks" according to Google.