Google unveils new low-cost Nest Thermostat with Soli and other smart features

At $179.99 CAD, the new Nest Thermostat is the most affordable yet

Google’s Nest smart thermostats can be a great way to automate temperature control while also saving energy. However, these digital thermostats can be pretty expensive, which is why Google announced the new Nest Thermostat with a much lower $179.99 price in Canada.

To put this in perspective, the Nest Learning Thermostat costs $329, while the lower-cost Thermostat E is $229. Along with introducing a lower-cost alternative, Google also reimagined several aspects of the Nest Thermostat to provide more functionality for users.

For starters, the Nest Thermostat relies on the Google Home app instead of the Nest app like past smart thermostat offerings. That means users will fully perform setup in the Home app and have full control over their heating and cooling there as well. Further, the new setup flow guides users through programming their thermostat temperatures for different times of day and scenarios. It can also recommend energy-saving settings.

Additionally, Google worked several smart features into the Nest Thermostat and Google Home app. ‘Savings Finder,’ for example, looks for small optimizations users can make, such as tweaking their scheduled temperatures, to reduce energy consumption. Moreover, the thermostat now includes Soli — the radar technology Google built into the Pixel 4 — to detect motion. Soli can light up the thermostat screen when you walk by, or it can combine information with your phone’s location data to move into an ‘Eco temperature’ that saves energy when you’re not home.

Google claims the Nest Thermostat can save people an average of 10 to 12 percent on heating bills and 15 percent on cooling.

New design with easy installation

The new Nest Thermostat changes up the design quite a bit from the Learning Thermostat and Thermostat E. Google ditched the rotating edge on its other thermostats in favour of an outer casing that’s touch-sensitive. Users can adjust temperatures by sliding their finger along the edge, or access features by tapping the side of the thermostat.

Speaking of the outer casing, it’s made of plastic this time around. Google says it’s 49 percent recycled post-consumer plastic, and the optional Trim Kit is 75 percent recycled post-consumer plastic.

The Nest Thermostat comes in four colours, ‘Snow,’ ‘Sand,’ ‘Charcoal’ and ‘Fog,’ which looks quite similar to the new ‘Subtle Sage’ Pixel 5. The options line up with Google’s new Nest Audio speaker colours as well.

Aside from the case and colours, the thermostat includes a new display as well. The front is a flat, mirror-like panel that can display the current temperature, whether you’re heating or cooling and more.

Since Google’s wanted to reduce barriers to adoption like price with the new Nest Thermostat, the company also touted the device’s easy installation. The company claims people can install the Nest Thermostat in less than 30 minutes and that it will work in the majority of houses. There’s even an online compatibility checker tool to make sure it’ll work before you purchase.

Smart alerts and more

Most people don’t know much about heating or cooling systems in their homes, which can lead to missed maintenance and other issues. In an effort to curb those problems, Google added smart alerts with the Nest Thermostat.

There’s new ‘HVAC monitoring‘ that watches for potential issues and sends alerts to your phone if it detects a problem. For example, it could let you know if it takes longer than normal to heat your home. Beyond just warning users, however, the Google Home app can also help find qualified technicians to fix problems. If you have a technician install your Nest Thermostat, they can add their contact info and it will automatically surface in the Home app for you when there’s a problem. The Google Home app can also help users find a technician through ‘Handy,’ an online platform for finding residential services.

Handy won’t be available everywhere, unfortunately, but Google notes that HVAC monitoring and pro booking support will roll out to all eligible Nest thermostats in Canada later this month.

Pre-orders for the new Nest Thermostat open today, and it will be available in the coming weeks on the Google Store and at select retailers including Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond, Home Depot, Lowes, Rogers and Staples. The Trim Kit is sold separately for $19.99.