Jul 29 AT 10:22 PM Taylor Wimberly 35 Comments

Growing up in South Texas, I became used to hot summers and high electricity bills. A winter electricity statement might only run $50, but it could easily climb to $200-300 in the summer months. Studies show that your thermostat controls half your energy bill on average, so it could be a wise investment to purchase a smart thermostat that learns your schedule and provides energy saving tips.

This month I finally decided to purchase the Nest learning thermostat. Last year I got one for my parents and then I read a ton of positive reviews, so I felt I should give it a try as we entered the warmest months in Dallas. Normally I would wait a couple of moths before reviewing a product such as this, but I was so impressed with Nest that I decided it was time to share my thoughts.

The Good

Fast installation: I installed my Nest thermostat in less than 30 minutes, and I could probably do it in under 10 the next time I move. The package includes a universal mounting brace, screwdriver and screws, and optional wall plates. Videos are provided to help you check compatibility before you purchase and show you how to complete the install if you run in problems. For those that want a professional to install the device, Nest offers a concierge service for $115.

Ease of use: Before I purchased the Nest for our place, we gave one to my parents last Christmas. They had no problems using it and told me they love it. I have found that basic operation is no different than most thermostats. Anyone can operate the Nest.

Build quality: Nest is sleek and stylish. It looks and feels like a high end product. The rotating dial is so smooth and the clicking action feels solid.

Estimated savings with Nest.

Saves money: The Nest thermostat has multiple ways to save you energy and cut down on your monthly energy bill. Auto-away allows Nest to turn itself down when you’re out so you don’t wast energy cooling an empty home. With the help of Airwave, your AC can run up to 30% less. When your home’s humidity is low, Nest can turn off your compressor and keep cooling your house by running the fan and blowing air over your cold evaporator coil.

Convenience: Does your wife or significant other always complain about the temperature? With Nest, you will no longer have to climb out of bed in the middle of the night to adjust the thermostat. Just reach for your phone and you can easily turn the temperature up or down. It’s also really convenient to turn on your AC a couple of minutes before you get home after being away. Nest learns your schedule within within a week, so no programming is necessary.

Monthly energy reports: I haven’t completed my first month yet, but the sample reports look pretty cool. Envery reports include detailed info about what your thermostat has been up to and pointers on how to save more. Every month you will get a new, personalized tip on how to save more energy.

It gets better: Just like your Android phone or tablet, the Nest thermostat receives firmware updates over the air. They just released Version 2.0 in April that added a ton of new features, and more updates are planned in the future.

The Not-so-good

Android app doesn’t work with tablets: I tried installing Nest mobile on several tablets. I was greeted with a message, “Nest Mobile doesn’t work with your Android device’s screen size and resolution.”

Nest app running on an Android phone.

Price: Nest retails for $249, but I doubt the bill of materials is no more than $100. They don’t exactly have a lot of competition in the smart-thermostat-that-connects-to-your-phone department, so Nest can charge a premium for their product right now. Hopefully the price will come down as sales start to take off.

Not all HVAC systems are supported: Most of the negative reviews I have read on Nest are related to customers with heating or cooling systems that were not compatible. Make sure you visit the compatibility checker before you purchase.

Final Words

To put it simply, I love my Nest and I’ll never return to my old thermostat. Even though I have only used it for a couple of weeks, I can already tell it is going to save me money. I’ve always been a forgetful guy, so having the auto-away feature is a big help. Now I check my energy reports each day and review where I could make small adjustments. I’m looking forward to my first energy report to find additional ways to save.

As mentioned above, I think the asking price is a little high, but Nest should pay for itself in under two years. I’m already pleased with the product as is and I can’t wait to see how it is improved with the next software update. It’s unfortunate that the mobile app doesn’t work with Android tablets, but I expect that will eventually get fixed (you can use the browser in the mean time).

If your home is compatible and you can afford it, I would definitely recommend Nest. They are starting to appear in several retail stores, but the easiest way to grab one is on Amazon.

As I keep using Nest, I will return to this review and continue to update my experience.

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • LukeT32

    This is genius! I think I need to buy a new HVAC unit so this is compatible! :D

    • history

      beat the heat! beat the heat! beat the heat!

      mavericks nba champions 2011.

      • Justin Ziemba

        As a Celtics fan, I was thinking the same thing! ;)

  • vt

    Nest is not quite what it is advertised to be, in the long run. I’ve found that its loudly touted “Airwave” feature is actually hurting my electric bill due to specifics of the system it’s installed on. Geek value of this thermostat is close to zero – nothing in it is configurable. “Learning” schedule is actually so annoying, I shut it off. Auto away doesn’t kick in for a few hours, and there’s no way to change the interval.

    I’ve put together a comprehensive review, and am updating it once in a while, here: http://diy-zoning.blogspot.com/search/label/competition

    DISCLAIMER: I’m the author of DIY Zoning Open Source project, which is a direct competition of Nest (though, of course, completely incomparable, with different audience in mind).

    • yankeesusa

      Well, out of several of the reviews I have read, not one says not to get the nest. They have some cons in it but they all say if you have the money try it out. I will stick with trying it out since all reviews I have read seem to be completely different than what you are saying. Thanks but not thanks.

    • 4n1m4l


  • sunrise

    Why is this even on Androidandme? I guess they paid you advertisement $$$$ to promote their product, which makes be believe even less that this product is actually good. Nest? No Thanks…

    Please stick to Android phones and tablets.

    • thekaz

      I tend to agree. while I love Android & Me, I can usually tell by the headline which blog posts are going to be more “advertisement” than review lately…

    • yankeesusa

      I think the reason this is here is because it can be used with an android device. Even if it was advertisement, who cares. All google phones do is advertise, thats why google offers android for free. Its not that big of a deal.

    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      Surprised by the negative comments. I reviewed this product because it has an Android app and I really enjoyed it. Nest did not pay for this post and I purchased the product with my own money.

      There is more to Android than just phones and tablets.

      • thekaz

        in that case, I apologize.. but do stop trying to sound like a PR guy in your titles then ;)

        • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

          Just trying to keep it creative. “XXX review” gets boring.

          • thekaz

            yeah, some XXX reviews would be ok :)

          • Ironzey Lewis

            Thanks for the review. I have pretty much written the Nest off as a non-Apple iDevice. I’ve never heard of an Android user using one. Too bad about the tablet app.

            We could use some more of this type of review.

          • psouza4

            Erm, I’m an avid Android user, I love my Nest (have had it over a year now when they first came out), and it works great on *both* of my tablets (I have an nVidia G Tablet and a Nexus 7).

            Taylor needs to try the app on multiple devices, perhaps — I don’t even have to do anything fancy to get it working, like using UI compatibility settings with SpareParts or anything. It just works.

            I’ve also got to say the price tag is justified (after all: I bought it, and hey — didn’t you, too?). The cost of research and development, ongoing support, etc. needs to roll the price up beyond the mere sum of the price of its components, right?

            There’s plenty of criticisms I have about this device (I too turned off learning mode: I operate a small business from home and don’t need it thinking I’m out of the house when I’m not, etc.), but those above two are certainly not concerns of mine and it’s my opinion that they probably ought to not be for most folks interested in it either.

    • kk

      It was actually created by a former Apple Exec…..and was sold in select Apple retail stores for a little while

  • thekaz

    My programmable thermostat (which probably cost me $30) is fairly easy to use… it doesn’t look cool but I am pretty sure my friends and neighbors don’t think any less of me for it.

  • Steve

    200 to 300 for your summer bill is expensive. Try living in my world. My monthly bill is 250 per month for a normal monh and over the summer it tops out at about 500 a month. I have a small house that is well insulated. Now you see why monopolies are not a good thing for consumers. My power company is a monopoly so they can charge whatever they want. And the local government actually listens when the power company complains that they are losing too much money because of the price of fuel so they always vote to authorize the surcharges and fees that the power company asks for.

  • Shawn Flanagan

    I recently purchased a WiFi thermostat from 3M for $100, and it’s worked great so far. It also has an Android and iPhone app that works on all devices (I have it on my Evo 4G LTE, Kindle Fire, and iPad). It’s extremely configurable, which I like, and even lets you build a network of thermostats for different areas in the house and other homes (in the event that you have other houses, such as a cabin or rental property).

    I did look at Nest and it seemed really cool, but in the end I chose the option to be able to manually configure my thermostat instead of just trusting Nest to choose the best options for me.

    The one thing that really caught my interest that my thermostat doesn’t offer is the energy report trending data. I am looking forward to hearing more about that in future updates, Taylor.

    • steven

      Model #?

  • http://muddypa.ws/blog nportelli

    It looks neat, but man I question peoples sanity that buy it. How much money can this save over a normal $30 programmable thermostat? I mean it has cool gadgets and what not, hows it tell I’m not home? A sensor in it? So if I don’t walk by it for a while, it might not think I’m home? Does it do zones? Does have different satellite thermometers? In my opinion, way to expensive to solve a problem you can go by at your local hardware store.

    • Futureboy

      You are making the assumption that everyone works a normal M-F, 8a-5p work week with little to no variance. Yes, a $30 programmable works great for any one with a predictable schedule. However, there are many people whose hours vary greatly. This will be a major convenience and money saver in the long run. For example,for anyone who freelances, typically no two days are the same (so of course the “learning” function would be turned off). An 8 or 10 hour day can easily become 14 hours (or more), and that’s not just for freelancers. This can be the same for anyone at any job. Sometimes work will go late, so you can set it low when you leave and turn it on as you drive home. You might leave on vacation and forget to adjust the thermostat. If you’re single, you might be out and decide to crash at your friend’s/girlfriend’s/boyfriend’s place. In all of these instances a $30 programmable could be costing you money to heat/cool an empty house.

      Now… I know you mentioned satellite thermometers and different zones, and that would certainly be the optimal solution in any larger home (again, for people on a regular schedule, and furthermore, condos/small homes town homes may not need more than one zone). However, very few people are already set up with zoned systems and the cost to convert to a zoned system can be quite expensive – far more than a ~$250 DIY control solution. The Nest is not a multi-zone controller, but rather a good option for someone with a one zone system (central air and heat) that may not live according to a set schedule and would like a little extra cost savings along with the convenience of controlling the thermostat remotely.

  • yankeesusa

    Don’t know why so much negativity for a device that people aren’t willing to try out. All I know is that I have tried several thermostats and some do work better than others, mainly due to programming. So I think this will work pretty good compared to most thermostats and even the programmable ones. The biggest issue with other thermostats is the programming part, most people never do it. Plus out of about 8 reviews that i have read all say to buy this and try it if you have the money upfront. The way I see it is if it doesn’t work for you after using it then resell it and if your not going to buy it stop saying its not going to work unless you try it. Either way if I can save up some money I will definitely try it.

  • Mark

    I have a Radio Thermostat that’s wifi enabled. I can control my A.C with my Android phone and my tablet and program schedules. It’s probably not as smart as Nest with its built in prediction algorithims’ and cool breeze and motion sensors but it’s served me well for 2 years now. My problem is the stay-at-home wife, so there’s rarely a time where our house isn’t occupied by humans and requires cooling, the A.C runs all the time and the power bill is horrendous. I need to invest in a bigger A.C so I don’t have to run it all the time or maybe invest in additional insulation in the attic to make the current A.C more effective.

  • Clara86

    Android fans dont need a thermostat, they live in the cellar basement!

  • fletchtb

    I’d like to try the Nest, but like most other posters here, price seems to be the biggest barrier to entry. I live in a house with 3 heating zones. I really find it hard to justify purchasing 3 Nests to maximize the benefits of the product. Even just getting the Nest for my 2 most used zones is a $500 outlay.

    I do like the concept of the Nest, in that once it is installed there is very little a user needs to do in order to reduce energy consumption. I look forward to competition in the market driving the price down to make adoption for typical households more prevalent.

  • spazby

    this is cool. also, if interested in home automation, check out vivint.com – has anyone out there used them? Will be moving in 3 months and may want to give them a try.

  • Tangent

    I’d be willing to try this if it wasn’t $250 and my $60 Hunter thermostat took care of every one of these benefits. The only major differences as far as I can tell is the hunter isn’t as slick looking and I had to do some initial configuration. Based on a couple of comments though, that time spent doing the initial config left me with better settings than what the Nest gives you after it learns for a while.

    With individual settings for each day of the week and 4 time periods during the day it’s always saving energy while we’re not home and will cool/warm the house shortly before we get up in the morning or get home from work. It also has temporary and vacation mode overrides. It doesn’t have wifi access, but considering how seldom we have any need to adjust the temperature after the initial setup I’m not sure I see any point to that. It even has settings to run the fan for an adjustable amount of time after the compressor has shut off like the Nest’s “Airwave” seems to do…

  • Nathan D.

    Didn’t know smart thermostat were really good at what they do I thought you had to wait for the next version so they start working properly. Nice to know they work now, might have to talk about this with the people I know.

  • Danny F

    Just wanted to ask the editor one question, what part of South Texas did you grew up at? I’m asking because I Also grew up in South Texas

    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      Corpus Crispy

  • Ardrid

    I was absolutely sold on the Nest after reading the ArsTechnica review. This review only reaffirmed my excitement for it. It’ll definitely be one of the first purchases I make when we move to our new house.

  • klcow92

    just waiting for when it will be out in the UK. looks awesome and functions awesome too