How the Nest Learning Thermostat Works

Nest Features: Improved Design

The Nest Learning Thermostat has both energy-saving technology and an innovative design. Before we look at the energy-saving features, check out these design highlights that make Nest a cool gadget to show off to your friends:

  • Nest works with many existing HVAC systems, making it relatively easy to install in place of an existing thermostat.
  • The circular interface fades to a black screen saver when not in use.
  • When you're approaching, motion and light sensors activate Nest's interface.
  • Nest's circular outer ring is the dial you turn to adjust the temperature.
  • Nest's body is a reflective silver-gray -- originally brushed aluminum and plastic, but now stainless steel.
  • Nest uses a color background on the screen to indicate whether you're cooling (blue) or warming (orange) your home.

The second generation of the Nest, which came out in October 2012, is around 20 percent slimmer than the original. The assembled unit, including device and base, measures 3.27 inches (83 millimeters) in diameter and 1.26 inches (32 millimeters) in height.

Although the overall shape and usability remain largely the same, the new model has some other design improvements. The grill that housed the sensors has been replaced with a smooth, opaque black plastic surface that blends more seamlessly with the device. The entire outer ring is now a single rotating piece, whereas before you turned a separate front portion of the ring. And the internal connectors have been arranged in a circular pattern to allow room for two more connection points.