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The Nest Learning Thermostat, now on its third generation, is one of the most beautiful pieces of technology you can hang on your wall, even if it ends up in a hallway where most people won’t see it. But all that glass and stainless steel costs money. So today, Nest is announcing a new cost-reduced model made largely of polycarbonate that will sell for $169. Nest will continue to sell the $249 third-generation model, which is available in the original finish as well as copper, white, and black.
You’ll control the Nest Thermostat E using its outer ring, just as with the original, but the ring on the new model is made from a polycarbonate material instead of stainless steel. To ensure the thermostat feels good under your fingertips, Nest’s Director of Product Marketing Maxime Veron told me the white ring is treated with a coating that makes it feel like ceramic rather than plastic.
The Nest Thermostat E’s biggest visual departure from the original is its frosted display. It's a polarized polycarbonate lens that allows light to pass through from inside the thermostat while blocking light from entering it. When the display is off, the screen turns gray to blend into the wall. When it’s on, text is rendered in a soft-looking font and a pastel color palette that Veron says was inspired by watercolors.
The Nest model E will have a polycarbonate ring, compared to stainless steel in the more-expensive third-gen model, and a much simpler display.
You’ll still see the current and target temperatures, and the iconic green leaf icon will appear when you choose an energy-saving temperature. The model E doesn’t have Nest’s Farsight feature, however, so it can’t display the time, the current outdoor temperature, or a weather forecast.
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