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Customer Review

1,600 of 1,771 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another frustrating gadget I wish I did not buy, March 28, 2012
This review is from: Nest Learning Thermostat - 1st Generation T100577 (Tools & Home Improvement)
I was very excited about this product when it was announced. I frequently travel in winter and wanted to monitor my house temperature remotely via wifi to ensure my pipes do not freeze etc. Most stats that can do that require a C wire that I don't have. Nest can do without.
Like others mentioned, shipping, unboxing, installation and looks are all top notch and puts other companies to shame. However, this is where it ends. At least for me. Before you read details, let me say I have been using this stat for >3months. Many reviews out there are written a day after installation upon being impressed by the looks and the ease of installation.

Learning: It does learn your schedule over time but it takes good 3+ weeks until it stops giving me "cold house morning" surprises and heating while I'm not there. Yes, initial learning takes about a week but full learning takes much longer. And, after all this, I still had to go to the computer to change my morning setpoints by 30 minutes so I don't wake up to a cold house because this stat does not pre-heat ahead of time even though it learns exactly how long it is going to take and knows weather outside. Search the web, this is one of the top complaints with the device. Eventually, I disabled the learning and just program it manually because it is much faster and more predictable and gives me no surprises (sort of, keep reading).

Auto-away: works reasonably for me but it might or might not work for you depending on how much activity you have near the stat.

Internet control: Works great from the PC but the Android app is seriously weak and desperately needs more features. You cannot see or adjust your schedule, and if the stat is in AWAY mode, you cannot even see the house temperature. People buy this so they can remotely monitor the house, vacation house etc. when they are not home (see my buying reasons above), they need to see what the temp is to see if there is a problem. They need to fix this. Android app was not updated since it was released. I hear the Apple app is better and was updated several times. On the other hand, the convenience is great.

Set point anticipation: As mentioned above, it learns how long it takes to reach the temp (and shows it) but it does not use it (or weather it gets from the internet) to start heating ahead of time to reach desired temperature at desired time. It only turns the heat at the specified time. I have a radiant forced water heat and it takes 30-40 minutes to reach the temp. This makes the learning feature a bit useless since you have to change it later anyway to have a warm house when you wake up. Most much cheaper programmable thermostats have had this feature for very long time. I would absolutely expect this for the price we pay for this stat.

Reliability: Reliability is the biggest problem with this gadget. Nest pushes a software update to the unit roughly once a month. The update can happen randomly when you are not home. Every time the update would take place, my unit would lose all settings. Schedule (that took 3 weeks to learn) gone, Internet connectivity account gone, location setting gone, heating system details gone. All accumulated learning data gone. Heat shut down until I come home and re-set the tstat. This would happen with three software updates. On a separate occasion, Nest cloud server was down and the stat trying to connect to the cloud drained the battery. Drained battery causes loss of wifi connectivity and disables your heat and control of it until charged. Wifi never automatically restores. All this was happening in dead winter with single digit temps outside. All you get on internet or a smartphone is a little "?" and a a statement that your stat lost connectivity. I was not travelling but can you imagine the scenario when I would be away for a week? Who would pay for frozen pipes damage? This is unacceptable. Stat should be a device that is dead reliable beyond a grain of doubt. Obviously, California designers do not share concerns of customers residing in cold climates. This made me to disable the key feature of the stat: learning (I do not have another 3 weeks patience for re-learning each time). I have asked Nest tech support to implement a feature that would need a user input to execute the software updates to prevent system sutdowns like this in ones absence. Still not implemented. Nest support recommended that I disable the wifi on the tstat to prevent updates. Another key feature and very reason I bought it. This would be likely the one most important reason why I'm considering switching to good ugly but trusted Lux or Honeywell. Since then the stat was replaced by Nest but problems continue.

Daylight savings time: This is with the replacement thermostat. Wouldn't you expect the smart stat be smart enough to handle DST switch? I would! Especially for the price paid. Well, it did learn new time automatically but guess what. It did not apply it to my schedule! How smart is that? I had to go in and reprogram all timepoints for all days in the week because they would be off by 1hr. That is ~28 time points! Come on, who wrote the code for this? My old Lux stat did not handle DST automatically either but only change needed was the clock!

Swing value: Nest does not have the ability to change the temp swing value. All other cheaper programmabe stats have had this basic feature for years.

Temperature hold: It does not have the hold feature. I would use hold feature when home on a weekday, like on holiday, Thanksgiving, or when sick home when I do not want to run my normal program. Any other cheap thermostat has this feature. Nest does not. The Away feature is not the same as hold. Hold should be one touch easy to use. The Away is buried in menus and generally reserved for low temperatures in cold season and not meant to be changed.

Energy use: By now it is well known that programmable thermostats do not save energy so they were taken off the Energy Star list. They preheat your house when you sleep and when you are not yet home from work. You would otherwise wake up or arrive to cold house with the manual stat and change it then. Nest takes this concept one step further. It allows you to preheat the house remotely when you are not yet home. Which you would otherwise need to adjust upon arrival home. Energy saving? Not. Convenient? Yes. Not a complaint, just saying...

Let me conclude with a paste of a section from Nest warranty statement. Like me, you probably did not read it before purchasing:

NEST LABS DOES NOT WARRANT THAT OPERATION OF THE PRODUCTS WILL BE ERROR-FREE OR UNINTERRUPTED OR THAT THE PRODUCTS WILL IN EVERY CASE PROCESS ALL DATA CORRECTLY.

and, in the case your pipes froze after a software update

YOU WILL BE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR (AND NEST LABS DISCLAIMS) ANY AND ALL LOSS, LIABILITY, OR DAMAGES, INCLUDING TO YOUR HVAC SYSTEM, PLUMBING, HOME, PRODUCT, PRODUCT PERIPHERALS, COMPUTER, MOBILE DEVICE, AND ALL OTHER ITEMS AND PETS IN YOUR HOME, RESULTING FROM YOUR USE OF THE PRODUCT INFORMATION, SERVICES, OR PRODUCT.

As of now, I cannot recommend this product. It looks great but that's about it. I recommend searching the web for more reviews as there are other problems reported but not experienced by me so therefore not included here. Many reviews concentrate on ease of installation. Yes it is true but ultimately you need a solid one-season-of-use review.

Update 04/08/2012: OK Nest released a new software update 2.0 which fixed/improved following features:
1. Android app was finally updated. Now I can see my temperature while in Away mode (auto or manual) or while off. I can now see and edit my schedule. +0.5 stars.
2. Reliability: Not really software related... They replaced my unit and it now survived two software updates without resetting itself or shutting off my heat. +0.5 stars. Maybe by next winter, I will trust it again....
All other feature and problems mentioned above are as before. Oh, one feature I forgot to mention: Some users complained about temperature accuracy (not me). Nest does not have a temperature calibration feature (common for many years on any other thermostat). Your only way to correct it is through exchange for another unit with Nest.

Update 07/15/2012: Apparently, this was not clear. This is a THREE (3) star review. NOT four (4) star review. Before the release of Nest 2.0. I had it as TWO (2) star review which I updated to THREE (3) star review upon release of Nest 2.0. Also, no comment on A/C-related features. I don't have A/C.
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Comments

Tracked by 15 customers

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Showing 11-20 of 130 posts in this discussion
Posted on May 30, 2012 2:16:00 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 30, 2012 2:16:52 PM PDT
This thing has sold quite a few at the Lowes for two-fifty each... not a bad price, but with three independent levels and HVAC systems... that would be $750 minimum for THREE thermostats. What also happens if the company goes out of business...??? ...Do I still have cloud connectivity to my thermostat from my phone??
The nice thing about Lowe's is: you can always return it... just keep the box and the receipt! :)

In reply to an earlier post on May 30, 2012 2:43:05 PM PDT
Nest thermostat communicates with the Nest cloud service. Your smartphone or PC also communicates with the Nest cloud service and controls the thermostat from there. You never directly communicate with the Nest thermostat without going via the Nest cloud service. So if the company goes out of business (currently being sued by Honeywell) then the cloud service should discontinue and with it the ability to control the thermostat remotely. It should however still function as a regular thermostat without remote control. Also, if you don't have a C wire, and battery eventually goes bad in ~5 years, with the Nest being out of business, the thermostat would be useless or you must install the C wire.

Posted on May 30, 2012 3:02:59 PM PDT
Thank you for the review - many genuine issues here, even if not all apply to me personally.

Posted on May 30, 2012 8:59:13 PM PDT
Fei & Tony says:
Thanks for the thorough review. I wanted to know more about Nest before considering a purchase. Now I'm of the mindset I might be better off with my normal and not-as-cool-looking programmable thermostat. Seems like they need to work out some of the kinks. Perhaps I'll consider a purchase when they come out with the next gen version.

Posted on Jun 4, 2012 9:08:12 AM PDT
Mark Harlien says:
yes yes thanks for the review. I'm a geek and wanted this but am staying away for now.

Posted on Jun 7, 2012 12:49:04 PM PDT
Ben Barbre says:
Amazn Shopper,

What are your thoughts on the Nest at this time after updates and other changes, do you like it any better? Are you still using it?

Posted on Jun 7, 2012 2:37:35 PM PDT
Mike McG says:
Excellent review, and one that is obviously not faked by an angry competitor. Thank you for taking the time, much appreciated!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 8, 2012 7:59:06 AM PDT
See my update at the end of my review. Not much changed since then. We are now on software 2.1 but I cannot see much difference. It did not reset when the update to 2.1 happened which is good news. I still don't like that updates happen when I'm not home, thus unable to intervene if there is a problem. I do not have the A/C and use it only for heating season so now it is off. They are not releasing updates as often now and in cooling season the reliability is not as critically important as in heating season so you might see more customer reviews when heating starts again.

Posted on Jun 8, 2012 1:09:48 PM PDT
cachman says:
Thank you for your initial & updated posts. I was excited about ordering "the nest" today. After reading your detailed review, I have changed my mind. My knowledge of thermostats is very basic. Your review brought attention to features or lack of features that I would have simply overlooked. Thank you again for your review.

Posted on Jun 8, 2012 2:56:04 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 8, 2012 3:01:23 PM PDT
G. Martin says:
I have a Honywell programmable thermostat and have been using the same one for 13 years. It has a HOLD TEMP you can tell how long you want it to hold until it starts running the regular programming again. It also knows how long it will take for it to get the temp up to your required temperature before you get up on any given morning. It senses when to shut down and then start up so your desired temp isn't reached until the time you have set on the thermostat. The only thing it won't do that the nest does is allow you to use a computer or smartphone to adjust the temp which for the life of me I can't understand why that would be necessary. I think too many people get hooked on the technology which in many cases is a real disappointment. Mine works as good as the day I got it and it only cost me $100 bucks installed. Sometimes cheaper can be better.