Those who argue that the Nest Learning Thermostat is too expensive now have an alternative. That’s thanks to the unveiling of the Nest Thermostat E, a more affordable variant of the market leader in smart thermostats.

The Nest Thermostat E looks like a dramatic departure from the smart thermostat users have come to know and love. Delve deeper into the hardware, however, and it soon becomes apparent that this is essentially the same deal just in a different package.

New Design, Almost The Same Features

Gone is the signature metallic ring that users would twist and turn to control the temperature. Nest has also ditched the bright phone-like screen that lit up in a variety of colours dependent on whether it was on or not. In lieu of these features, Nest has equipped the Thermostat E with a plastic control dial that’s designed to feel like ceramic, while there’s also a new frosted LCD with a watercolour-inspired user interface.

Despite the cheaper materials, the Nest Thermostat E still resembles a premium product. In fact, it perfectly mimics exactly what users have come to expect from hardware built by Google. It’s clean, simple and unobtrusive; just like the Google Home.

Those with a Nest Learning Thermostat installed will find things a little different with the Thermostat E. While the user interface has changed to be subtler, there’s also a distinct lack of some key features. That means users will no longer be able to see the weather on the screen at a glance; the time is also absent. Instead the Thermostat E will simply show the current temperature – no more and no less.

High-End Homes Needn’t Apply

One of the biggest changes with the Thermostat E, however, is the inability to support any complicated HVAC systems. That means users with systems that include three stages of heating or cooling will have to stump up the extra cash for the standard Nest Learning Thermostat. Users with a HVAC system using a humidifier can also forget about connecting a Thermostat E.

Due to its incompatibility with complicated HVAC systems, the Nest Thermostat E will only work in around 85% of homes in the US. That’s down 10% when compared to the Learning Thermostat.

Thankfully Nest has kept in some of the features that users have come to know and love. That includes controlling the temperature through an app, using voice control or by swivelling the dial. The away from home feature is also still very much present, as are pre-set schedules.

Pricing and Release Date

The more affordable Nest Thermostat E isn’t actually all that big of a saving. While it’s only available in the US for the time being, the $169 price tag roughly converts to £130. That is technically a saving over the £199 retail price in the UK, although in a sale the fully-fledged Learning Thermostat can often be picked up for as little as £134.99.

No matter which model users pick up, Nest still expects consumers to make an overall saving on their energy bills. The company estimates that its thermostats can save homeowners between 12-15% on their heating and cooling bills each and every year.

Nest’s offering is not the only smart thermostat on the block anymore, however. Microsoft recently worked with Johnson Controls to craft a thermostat that even bested the Nest in terms of design, while Hive’s more affordable offering has also been giving the Google-owned company a hard time in the UK, with plans to expand to the US.

Those wishing to pick up a Nest Thermostat E can get one from today on the company’s online store. The company has yet to confirm when it will be made available outside the US, however.

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