As the blogosphere exploded yesterday with news of a second generation Nest thermostat and a new major version of the software (for the thermostats and the controllers such as the web site and various SmartPhones), I wondered what impact the new software and hardware would have on average users, like us.
Do check out the blog post though for full details as there are number of new features in the new device that aren’t available to first generation owners (especially as it relates to supporting a variety of HVAC systems).
Before the Nest thermostat was announced and all of the news about lack of support for various HVAC systems, I hadn’t heard of a second-stage cooling, third staging heating, etc. I’d never had them and didn’t know they existed! Now, Nest claims to support up to 95% of HVACs installed in the USA (& Canada?).
I updated my iPhone to 3.0.1 of the Nest App this morning and checked out the new features. Two of my three thermostats had updated to firmware 3.0.1.
I looked through one of the thermostat’s menus and while there are a few changes (new features), nothing major has changed in the interface. The overall usability is still quite good although I wonder about discoverability of features as the number of features grows.
The home screen hasn’t changed much at all. Still, the giant house:
The user interface still requires rotation to horizontal to perform anything but the basic changes (such as temperature).
I don’t know why the Home icon needs to be so prominent as it takes up valuable screen space on a tiny device (and has only a few useful features).
One of the new features is that for a given thermostat, you can actually toggle the fan to ON now if you want. Occasionally we missed that feature (from our old thermostats) when I’ve cooked something that causes an odor to, politely, linger, for a while longer than we’d like.
The feature is buried though under the SETTINGS for a thermostat, and then select AT A GLANCE.
Toggle it to turn the fan on temporarily.
The remaining values are:
- Outside temperature (50F)
- Current inside temperature (68F)
- Current Humidity (46%)
- Current set point temperature (69F)
Under the menu, NEST SENSE, you’ll find a one big new thing and a few layout/naming changes:
Early-on is a feature that many early adopters had wanted and expected from a modern thermostat. We slapped our heads, cried, complained, hugged…, dismayed that it wasn’t there. And, glory to Nest Labs, they finally added it.
Now, your house can actually be warm/cool when you want. For example, it can be warm when you get out of bed, not just start warming when you get out of bed. This is a HUGE add and I’m very glad Nest has finally added it!
The schedule remains unchanged:
The overlapping circles still look a bit cluttered to my eye, but it gets the job done.
Under the Home Settings, you’ll find what amount to some survey questions:
I’m very pleased with the upgrade to the firmware and smart phone/tablet software. It adds some absolutely needed features.
As an update to my experience with Nest, I’ve definitely had fewer problems lately than I had during the first 6 to 8 months. While I still don’t applaud Nest for their activity in social media and reaching out to their customers proactively (as they never responded to any of the comments here), they have been active behind the scenes.
The wireless connectivity to the thermostats has improved. I haven’t noticed the same problems as before and I THANKFULLY haven’t had to re-add my account or Wifi information in months to any of our thermostats.
I’ve had enough good success recently to change my recommendation on Nest Thermostats. If you’re in the market for a new thermostat, and you’ve got $249US to spend, I’d say it should definitely be a strong contender.
Read through the comments and the issues – but understand a lot of the issues have been resolved.
You can buy the older model while supplies last for $229.
The second generation is available for preorder from Amazon today.
I think it’s ready to be part of your house (after you check your system’s compatibility).
If you have found these posts useful, please consider using the Amazon links above to buy your shiny new Nest thermostat (especially if you have Prime!) as a way of saying thanks!
What do you think of the updates and new hardware?