As the temperature starts cooling down, Nest is heating up smart homes with the third generation of its Learning Thermostat. Available today for $249, this connected thermostat features a larger display, improved graphics, and a few other improvements over earlier generations.
The display on the 3rd-gen Nest has a display that's 40 percent larger than the previous version--not that it was hard to read. There's less of a bezel around the circular 480 x 480 color LCD. A new feature called Farsight makes it easier to see on-screen information, such as the temperature or weather, from across the room. Furnace Heads-Up, also new to this version of the Nest, will look for odd shutoff patterns with your furnace, and alert you if there are any issues (this feature will also be rolled out to first- and second-gen Nests later this year).
As with previous generation Nest, this model integrates with other smart home devices, both from Nest and third parties. For example, if you have a Nest Cam (formerly DropCam), you can have it automatically turn on or off when the thermostat goes into Away or Home mode. Or, if you have it integrated with the Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home remote, it will automatically change the temperature when you start watching a movie. Of course, one of the smart home systems it can't connect to is Apple's HomeKit.
We found the Nest to be one of the better smart thermostats, and with the improvements to the newest generation, should be as enticing as ever for those looking to bring their heating and cooling into the 21st century. At $249, though, the third-gen Nest is about the same price as our favorite smart thermostat, the Ecobee3. Nest is also dropping the price of its second-generation thermostat to $199, if you want to save a little more green.
Editor's Note: This post initially stated the price of the Nest 3rd gen as $299, and was updated to reflect the actual price of $249.