Nest unveils affordable connected thermostat

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Nest has unveiled the Thermostat E, a new version of its smart home thermostat that's created to be more accessible to consumers thanks to its more affordable price. The app for the Nest Thermostat E gets a similar frosted look.

We previously caught a glimpse of the Thermostat E when Evan Blass leaked an image of the then unnamed device. It also comes with a pre-configured schedule to start saving energy straight out of the box.

People love products that save them money, and the Nest line of thermostats certainly does that. So why buy the more expensive one when the cheaper model can practically do anything that you'd expect a smart thermostat can do?

Besides looking less fancier and less prettier than its predecessor, the new Thermostat E pretty much packs in all the capabilities you'd come to expect on a smart thermostat. On Thursday, however, Nest is unveiling a brand new smart thermostat that doesn't aim to be the best.

A new look. Unlike the original Nest Learning Thermostat, the E is nearly entirely white. Gone is the high-resolution screen, replaced with a lower-resolution one behind a polarized display that lets the display shine through, but blocks light from coming into the thermostat. Nest designed it so that it's not easily penetrated by incoming light, meaning you should have little to no issue with glare.

The biggest takeaway when comparing differences of the E to the original Nest Thermostat is the price. You can still, through the settings, switch to Auto Schedule if you want Thermostat E to learn.

The lower-priced E is "going to essentially double the market for those products", Kerber said. In fact, they considered doing so: Veron describes long meetings in which he and the rest of the Nest product team went over every feature on the device and asked, what can we get rid of to make this cheaper? Meanwhile, they've dropped a few wiring connections inside that Nest says will limit compatibility to around 85% of United States 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.

CR is now testing more than a dozen smart home thermostats. It supports Google Assistant, of course - Google owns Nest - and Amazon Alexa. It's ENERGY STARⓇ certified and expected to save between $131 and $145 a year per the results of an internal Nest study and two independent studies of the previous model.

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