Since Tony Fadell’s departure last year, Nest’s only major product release has been the Nest Cam IQ security camera. At $299, the 4K video camera hardly aided in the company’s efforts to reach more customers. However, the company today announced the Nest Thermostat E with that particular goal in mind.

Compared to the 3rd generation Learning Thermostat, the Thermostat E drops the glass and stainless steel look for a simpler design. Size-wise, it has a diameter of 3.19-inches versus 3.3-inches.

The new device drops the dark, black design of the previous model for a white frame and frosted display. That frame — made of polycarbonate with a ceramic-like finish — doubles as the ring used to navigate and change controls.

This new screen is intended to “blend into the background,” with a polarized lens over the LED display. This results in softer text and images that give off a glow. A proximity sensor is responsible for displaying the temperature when users are near the thermostat, while an ambient light sensor will ensure the appropriate viewing brightness.

Functionality is mostly on par with the 3rd generation Thermostat, though the Farsight feature for showing the time and weather is not available. Nest also notes that the Thermostat E will not be compatible with as many higher-end heating and cooling systems as the more expensive model.

The Nest Thermostat E comes in at $169 (versus $249) and begins shipping today.

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Abner Li

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