Nest Learning Thermostat review

Here's how the smart thermostat fares after a year of use

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Many have followed Google's lead in making similar smart thermostats, but it’s hard to deny that the simplicity of the Nest’s design means it continues to be an appealing product. 

Yes, smart heating might be niche, and it might take more than a couple of years for the thermostat to pay for itself, but there is a benefit there, if only a minor one. 

Ultimately the proof was in the pudding for us, and with a substantial reduction in energy consumption it’s hard to argue the Nest doesn’t have something going for it. 

We liked

The Nest Learning Thermostat is well designed, simple to operate and packed with interesting design features. 

The way it learns your schedule is handy, but more impressive is the way it’s willing to automatically alter it when you don’t need heating, meaning you’re never in a position of having to turn off your heating remotely because you’ve decided to stay out for the evening. 

Its brushed metallic finish means that it's one piece of kit you will be proud to adorn your lounge's wall. The user interface, the app and everything else simply worked.

We had our thermostat set to show the time when it detected movement, a surprisingly helpful feature

We had our thermostat set to show the time when it detected movement, a surprisingly helpful feature

We disliked

Although Nest has gone on to expand its product range to include smart smoke alarms and security cameras, the Nest Thermostat is still a one product ecosystem, and that means that how well it works will massively depend on the layout of your home. 

Have it in a nice central location and the motion-sensing will work a treat, but you might find that the thermostat overestimates the temperature of your house and refuses to turn on despite some rooms being cold. 

Meanwhile, have it in a colder room that’s more out of the way means the motion-sensing works less well. 

What you’re getting for the price is a solidly designed and built piece of kit, but its utility will depend on your home. 

Final verdict

Given the high price, it would be unwise to buy the Nest Thermostat thinking that it’s going to pay for itself in the first year. By our calculations, a three year payoff period is much more likely, after which point you’re essentially making profit on your purchase. 

If you’re prepared to pay the cost, the Nest Thermostat is an intuitively designed and feature-packed piece of equipment, although the lack of zonal heating is a shame. The interface is a joy to use, and the thermostat looks good affixed to your wall. 

Jon Porter

Jon Porter is the ex-Home Technology Writer for TechRadar. He has also previously written for Practical Photoshop, Trusted Reviews, Inside Higher Ed, Al Bawaba, Gizmodo UK, Genetic Literacy Project, Via Satellite, Real Homes and Plant Services Magazine, and you can now find him writing for The Verge.