Tech Guide

This is Google's more affordable and totally redesigned Nest thermostat

A first look at Google's affordable and totally redesigned Nest thermostat
Key Points
  • Google's Nest team introduced a new Nest thermostat on Wednesday.
  • The new "Nest E" is more affordable.
  • It doesn't offer all the bells and whistles of the standard model.

This is Google's new Nest Thermostat E

Todd Haselton | CNBC

It's a complete redesign from the Nest thermostats you might be used to seeing. Nest said it did this to create a thermostat that blends in with its surroundings, instead of sticking out more as an "art piece" like the current Nest. Note the frosted, lower resolution display. Operation is still the same: twist the puck to change the temperature.

It's more affordable

Todd Haselton | CNBC

The new "Nest Thermostat E" will retail for $169. A standard Nest thermostat will set you back about $250. You'll still get energy savings, thanks to the Nest's ability to learn when you cool or heat your house, and when nobody is home. It can also be controlled by voice if you have a Google Home or Amazon Alexa.

It's not as pretty

Todd Haselton | CNBC

It's not as pretty as the regular Nest. The text is kind of blurry because of the frosted display. You don't get the metal accents or crisp and colorful screen. Instead, everything is a bit more muted, though it's still easy to see the temperature from across the room. Also, you don't get fun additions like the weather on the home screen, or support for advanced HVAC systems that offer humidity controls.

It's made for everyone

Todd Haselton | CNBC

The Nest Thermostat E is made for everyone, including folks who might not yet have jumped aboard the smart thermostat train for one reason or another, like myself. At $169, it's much more appealing to me, even as someone who has radiator heat and no central AC (and therefore very little need for a smart thermostat). But, since I live in an old house, I'll appreciate the alerts it can send me if my heating system breaks down while I'm away. That's worth more than the price of entry.

Should you buy it?

Todd Haselton | CNBC

I dig it, though I only played with it briefly during a meeting. I'm hoping to have a review unit soon, but setup should be just as easy as a standard Nest (it's a cinch, in my experience installing one for a family member). Plus, if you live in certain cities with rebates for smart thermostats (Chicago is one that rewards consumers particularly well), you can get the new Nest Thermostat E almost for free. That's pretty darn tempting.

The Nest Thermostat E goes on sale today direct from Nest and its retail partners.