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Nest shows slimmer, more advanced second-gen thermostat
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Join Date: Jul 2012
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Oct 2, 2012, 06:11 AM
Nest has introduced its second-generation Learning Thermostat that's much thinner and has more advanced features. Compared to the original, the new one is 20 percent thinner, lacks the sensor grille on the front, and has a solid stainless steel perimeter ring. There are changes under the skin as well, with the mounting screw holes now at the top and bottom of the thermostat.

Hooking up hardware is easier thanks to new wire connectors, with a new connector that can take on W3, E, HUM, or DEHUM connectors. The built-in level of the original is retained. More heating and cooling systems can be controlled by the device, with 95 percent of low-voltage systems, including 2nd- and 3rd-stage cooling, 3rd-stage heating, dual fuel, emergency heat, and whole-home humidifiers and dehumidifiers. There is also new software onboard, though owners of the original Nest will get the update as well when they connect to the web over Wi-Fi. The software can now detect the type of system it's connected to and issue reminders about filter change intervals. Through compatible Android apps, owners of Nexus 7, Kindle Fire, and other Android apps can control their Nest thermostat over Wi-Fi. The new thermostat can now be pre-ordered for $250, with shipping due to start on October 15.
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Oct 2, 2012, 07:30 AM
It looks cool but I don't understand the appeal. Sure it has all sorts of features but for a quarter to a third of the price I can get a regular automatic thermostat. For $69-$89 I can get one that, sure I have to program, once, but then I forget about it. After the initial setup the functionality is no different. It turns the heat up and turns the heat down. This might be a slick, high-tech device from a format Apple bigwig but what does it actually do that I need?
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Oct 2, 2012, 08:11 AM
Well the big appeal is that you can adjust it remotely. Clearly that's the big feature for most buyers.

But also:
It will automatically generate the schedule for turning the temperature up and down based on the time of the day that you manually adjust things while it is learning.
(That is the clever bit)
So when you first install it you do not even setup a schedule. You simply turn the temperature up and down manually through the day and over time it will learn when you like it warmer and cooler and build it's schedules from that.

It has a motion sensor on the front and if nobody walks by for an extended period of time it will automatically put the schedule into away mode to turn down the heat while you are not there.

It can email you if it detects certain kinds of problems. (Maybe the furnace is broken)

It keeps track of the amount of usage to calculate how much energy it's saving.

And the software gets updates so if they come up with new tricks your device gets better over time.

Yes it's much more expensive than the typical programmable thermostat. It's actually comparable in price to the more complicated automation versions. (The kind you cannot buy at home depot but must be installed professionally). Most programmable thermostats that include multi stage and humidifier controls are actually going to be more expensive anyhow so the price difference may not be as much as you think when you need those kinds of features.
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