Customer Review

130 of 170 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Functional, October 15, 2012
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This review is from: Nest Learning Thermostat - 2nd Generation T200577 (Electronics)
I just sat down from installing this. So far I am pleased. The packaging is simple, frustration-free, and esthetic. It comes with the thermostat unit itself, the wall mount that has an included level (I thought this was just fluff, but it would be difficult to level a circle without it), a metal mount if needed, a white rectangular backplate if you are covering up an unpainted area, and a screwdriver with 4 different heads that store themselves in the handle.

Installation was really easy. It took a little longer for me because I actually spackled and painted after I took my old thermostat off. Since half of the appeal for me is the Nest's design, I declined taking a shortcut and using the backplate, although that is an option and the part looks well made. The screws are long and driving them into the wall without anchors was adequate for me, although one was a little too long so I used one of my own. The installation instructions include little tags to label your wires. After plugging in your wires, you pop the main unit on top.

The build and feel of this thermostat is top notch. It feels like real glass on the front, but it may be plastic, hard to tell. The sides are real metal. The turning is smooth and effortless. Pressing on the unit to select menu options produces a solid click. I didn't have the 1st generation, but I like the very minimal, seamless, and slim design.

After putting the front part on, it turns on, detects your wireless, you type in your password (with the scroll wheel, it isn't too bad), it detects an update, takes a few minutes to load it, and you are in business. Setup is pretty easy. The menus are clear and self explanatory. Go to nest.com/account and you can then set up a free account. The website automatically detects that a Nest is on your network and a prompt pops up on the thermostat to add it to your account. Once done, you can access the nest with your account on the web or in the apps.

My experience beyond this is limited since I just installed it. I enabled the early-on feature so that when I set it to 74 degrees at 6AM it is actually 74 degrees AT 6AM, not just starting to heat up at that time. I also went online and added the morning temperatures for the whole week (when we wake up is pretty consistent and I'd rather it not have to "learn" this on its own). One thing I did read that may be helpful is that temperature change points set manually are not altered by the self learning, while points it learns itself can be altered as they change.

Finally, when contemplating this purchase, I found a dearth of information on actual usage and savings. News outlets covered this product extensively when it first came out, and plenty of people reviewed it, but I couldn't find a single solid review showing what it had actually done to one's energy bill. However, Nest itself has a very good white paper on this very topic. If you go to nest.com/press and scroll to the end, there are two white papers. The one I looked at is titled "Efficiency Simulation White Paper." I'm not positive on the specifics of whether it uses actual data or simply modeled data, but the paper goes over potential savings in a variety of climates (picked by different model cities). Given this data for my area (the northeast), the fact that my prior thermostat is non-programmable and we do not set it back manually, and the fact that according to the paper most of the savings comes from the heating portion of the thermostat (we only have heating hooked up to the thermostat), it seems like I will potentially recoup the cost in one winter.

Overall, I've been pleased with the product given my limited experience with it. If esthetics are important to you and you do not have a programmable thermostat, the Nest seems to be the best option (if not only option judging by how other thermostats look). If esthetics are not important to you, you already have a programmable thermostat, or you are looking at other programmable ones and are committed to actually programming them, and cost is a concern, there may be others to consider. However, for me this was a good purchase. Hope this was helpful! Feel free to reply if you have any questions. I'll update this review if there are any new developments.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 24, 2012 9:00:20 AM PST
I'm seriously thinking about purchasing the Nest 2nd Gen. I already have a Lux 9000Ts which works fine, but my wife's and I have a complex schedule and it's hard to program in our schedule. Questions if you can answer will be a great help
1) Did Nest cut your energy use for heat/cooling compared to last year? If so by what %? (I know there are variables outside your control, but what do you think?)This is my main concern.
2) My schedule is set on a 2 week cycle, however my wife's varies week to week, can Nest actually "learn" complex schedules?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 24, 2012 9:54:20 AM PST
G. Proulx says:
1) I'm not sure how much Nest has cut heating costs. We don't have central air, so it will do nothing for us in the summer. However, most of one's savings are to be found with heating, not air conditioning. Again, I was in the same position as you. I found little to no actual experiences where someone said "I saved X dollars or Y percent on my bill from last year." People just don't commit that much to their own pet experiments I guess. However, the best data I could find was from the white papers I mentioned in my review. They are on the Nest site themselves and showed rather significant savings. However, these are savings vs. a static state. So really, Nest won't save you much over a programmable thermostat that is actually used. The only advantages it has in savings would be from airwave (where the fan still runs after the AC coils turn off but are still cold) and from the auto away (which has limited functionality since usually you should put it to away if you leave, as auto-away takes 30 mins to 2 hours to kick in). Beyond those two features, esthetics, ease of use, and internet control are the only advantages this has over a normal programmable thermostat. So if cost is your main concern, and you actually use your programmable thermostat, it won't be worth it.

2) I wasn't too impressed with Nest's auto-learning. In fact, I turned it off. I know my schedule better than Nest, and artificial intelligence has a ways to go, so I'd rather just analyze my schedule, and then program it myself rather than consistently remembering to turn it up or down for a week for it to learn my schedule. To my knowledge it's complexity is limited to a weekly basis. So no, it does not analyze beyond a normal weekly basis. Because after your week of "learning" it gives you a week's schedule and you can see when it plans to do what. However, it does have an algorithm where it decides when to change your schedule. I read it someone, not sure where, maybe on the Nest website. But on a weekday, if you make the same change two days in a row, it will reprogram, while on the weekend I believe it may be more sensitive. Not positive on that. So, that could help you, but I think you may be changing it a decent bit. It could be better than a normal thermostat though in that it's learning combined with the fact that it has an autoaway function could be a bit more adaptive. But again, autoaway takes a little to kick in. Overall though, being able to change your thermostat from your smartphone may be a function that fills in the gap. If you are away someday when you normally aren't, check the Nest on your phone and change it.

So, not sure if that helps you. It may be better than other thermostats for your schedule, but won't be perfect. Internet connectiveness and esthetics will probably be the deciding factors for you. Hope that helps.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2012 12:31:39 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 25, 2012 12:33:15 PM PST
Thank you for taking the time to reply. With your input I have decided to hold off on purchasing the Nest for now. I have programmed my thermostat pretty well and I have set it extra low at night while I use a vornado heater in my bedroom and another in the living room. I don't know how that might mess up the learning feature of the Nest. Appreciate your input and honesty.
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