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Smart Home

Nest's Thermostat E costs less, but is still seriously smart

Nest's $169 Thermostat E promises similar smarts at a much more affordable price.

Nest's more affordable Thermostat E retails for $169.

Nest

We've waited a long time for a more affordable Nest thermostat, and it's finally here. The new $169 Nest Thermostat E costs 80 bucks less than the Google company's premium Learning Thermostat, while retaining a lot of the same smart features. Nest's Thermostat E is available starting today at Nest's online store. The Thermostat E is only available in the US right now, but the price converts to roughly £130 or AU$210 at the current exchange rate.

Here's an overview:

  • Design: The Thermostat E has the same rounded shape, but a plastic (rather than a metallic) finish and a more minimal "frosted" display
  • Scheduling: This thermostat has two options -- a preset program based on a "typical customer's" habits or a learning algorithm that adapts over time
  • Proximity detection: The Thermostat E relies on a far-field sensor and other built-in tech to tell whether or not you're home
  • Remote access: You can adjust your Thermostat E from the same Nest mobile and web apps, as well as with Amazon Alexa speakers or the Google Home via voice commands
  • Installation: As with the Learning Thermostat, Nest says most customers won't need a C-wire to successfully install the Thermostat E

When Honeywell, Ecobee and other smart thermostat manufacturers began slashing prices on their second- and third-gen models, Nest's Learning Thermostat held steady at $249. Due to the Nest's appealing design, auto-home and away settings and easy-to-navigate app, it remained the thermostat favorite in spite of its high price. 

That was, until Ecobee added two new thermostats to its roster: the $169 Ecobee3 Lite and the $249 Ecobee4. The Ecobee3 Lite is a pared-down version of the startup's original Ecobee3 thermostat (now sold for $199); The Ecobee4 is the smartest connected thermostat we've seen yet. 

Not only does it have a variety of smart home integrations, it also has an Amazon Alexa speaker integrated into its hardware. That means you can talk to your Ecobee4 just like you would use a standalone Alexa device -- ask it to tell you a joke, to play NPR -- or to adjust the temperature. 

Nest introduced a few iterations of the same Learning Thermostat since co-founders Matt Rogers and Tony Fadell first unveiled it in 2011 -- until the Thermostat E. This more affordable smart thermostat should make Nest more competitive, particularly alongside the $169 Ecobee3 Lite and Honeywell's $150 Lyric T5. We expect a review unit shortly, so check back soon for our impressions. 

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