Alphabet’s smart home division, Nest, has an all-new smart thermostat. The Nest Thermostat E takes a cost-cutting pass on the smart thermostat guts and software, sticks it in a plastic case, and lowers the price to $169. Most of the functionality and features survive, but without the super-premium stainless steel body of the regular Nest Learning Thermostat, Nest is willing to cut the price from the usual $250.
Just because it’s plastic doesn’t mean Nest hasn’t obsessed over the design. The all-new look uses a frosted glass display and a white body, which aims to look less “techy” and blend into the wall. The motion-sensing tech—which the thermostat uses to detect if someone is home—has been integrated into a new “Nest pill” located on the front of the thermostat. The app for the Nest Thermostat E gets a similar frosted look.
Behind the frosted front is a smaller, lower-resolution display than the Nest E’s predecessor. The Nest E display (which remember, has a circular mask) is a 1.76-inch diameter, 320×320 display at 182 PPI. The regular Nest has a 2.08-inch diameter, 480×480 display with a PPI count of 229. While there’s still an on-device menu system, the cheaper Nest doesn’t have the “farsight” feature, which allows the Nest to show the time, temperature, or weather when not in use.
The Nest base has seen some cost-cutting too. There are only six wires compared to the original Nest’s 10, which means HVAC compatibility drops from “95 percent of systems” to “85 percent.” If you’re willing to pop your existing thermostat off the wall for a minute, there’s a compatibility checker here.
That’s it. The Nest Thermostat E. It’s cheaper, it’s plastic, it has a lower-resolution screen and slightly less HVAC compatibility. It starts shipping next week.