Thursday, August 31, 2017

The new, cheaper Nest Thermostat E

Greg Kumparak for TechCrunch:

The Thermostat E, meanwhile, is meant to blend in. It’s for the vast majority of the thermostat buying population that doesn’t really want anyone noticing the little doodad that keeps their house warm.

Nest has dropped the metallic ring around the edges, instead replacing it with a white plastic ring that the company says is meant to feel like ceramic (it felt like soft-touch paint to me; velvety when brushed with the thumb, harder when tapped with a fingernail.) The screen, too, is white — or, more accurately, a fancy white diffuser on top of a black screen makes it look like a white screen. Most walls are white/off white, so going all white here lets the E blend right in.

I kind of get what Nest was going for with the all-white design, but it just seems like they missed the mark. The diffuser looks so plasticky, like they took inspiration from one of those white push lights you put in your closet. Gross. It certainly is a far cry from the design of my black and silver Nest Learning Thermostat.

Design inspiration?
Design inspiration?

On functionality:

So what can’t it do that the original can to account for that nearly-$100 difference? The screen is a bit more basic; it’s only meant to tell you the temperature now, rather than doing fancy things like acting like a clock in its downtime. Meanwhile, they’ve dropped a few wiring connections inside that Nest says will limit compatibility to around 85% of US houses rather than 95% — so if you’ve already checked if the original model will work with your place, you might want to check again here.

On availability:

Orders for the new Nest Thermostat E should open up on August 31st, with shipments going out on September 1st and hitting retail stores sometime around the 10th.

Design aside, this is most likely aimed at those who thought the main Nest was a bit too expensive. There will probably never be official HomeKit integration, since Nest is owned by Alphabet (Google’s parent company). There are, however, other ways to integrate Nest with Siri..