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New $129 Nest Thermostat features sleek new design, full Google Home app integration

Following in the vein of other product announcements this year, Google today announced the new “Nest Thermostat.” At $129.99, it’s the first Nest smart appliance to really match the aesthetic of the company’s recent Assistant products.

Like all other Nest thermostats that came before, this one is round. A mirror-like display has no branding whatsoever and is slightly recessed. It shows temperature, heating/cooling mode, and other important information in color. However, there is no spinning, dial-like bezel. You just swipe and tap on the right side — as marked by a strip — to make any adjustments. 

One notable aspect of this hardware is a Soli sensor underneath the front surface. Google is using radar technology to light up the display when users approach, as well as sense if anybody is near to power Home & Away Routines. Originally debuting with the Pixel 4, Google wanted to leverage the latest technology for this new thermostat. Soli also makes possible this completely reflective display with no cutouts needed for sensors.

Meanwhile, the outer casing is made of plastic, and available in four colors: Snow, Charcoal, Sand, and Fog. Similar to other Made by Google products, there is 49% recycled post-consumer plastic. It’s accompanied by an optional $14.99 trim kit that can be used to cover up the surrounding wall. It includes a steel and trim plate in matching hues.

This device is meant for those that are new to the smart home, rather than past Nest buyers. The intended audience is still using the thermostat that came with their house, and that informs the functionality of this product in crucial ways.

Gone is the “learning” aspect of past Nest thermostats. Instead of using the device manually for a week to give Google a chance to learn about heating/cooling preferences, users must set a Quick Schedule. You immediately select desired temperatures for when you’re home (Comfort), away (Eco), and asleep (Sleep), with suggested presets offered.

Everything is controlled from the Google Home app, with the old Nest client no longer supported. Besides a dial in the redesigned controller view, there’s a row of quick actions. You can manage with Google Assistant on any of your devices, while Amazon Alexa integration is also present. Google touts installations that take 30 minutes or less as the Home client guides users throughout the entire process.

This more manual control is intended to provide a familiar experience to those just transitioning from dumb thermostats that are often decades-old. It also acts as a key differentiation for the Nest lineup, and serves as a motivator for why buyers might go for the “Learning Thermostat.” That 3rd-generation will still be available, but Google is now restricting the Nest Thermostat E (introduced in 2017) to Nest Pro installers. Regular consumers will not be able to buy the previous entry offering themselves.

That said, Google will provide energy saving suggestions, like tuning down when nobody is home. Savings Finder will offer schedule tweaks that you can accept in the app. The Nest Thermostat has an Energy Star rating, and can “save people an average of 10-12 percent on heating bills and 15 percent on cooling bills.”

There’s also HVAC monitoring — first trailed earlier this year — that will detect and warn about any “unusual pattern.” It factors historical data and the current weather to look for signs that there are heating, ventilation, or air conditioning problems before you become aware of the impacts. For example, there could be an app/email alert to change an air filter or reminders about seasonal maintenance.

This Nest Thermostat costs $129.99 stateside and $179.99 in Canada. Google Store pre-orders open today, and it will be available in the coming weeks.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: