Reviews

Review: Nest Thermostat V3

Review: Nest Thermostat V3 is a smart thermostat that gives you insight into your energy consumption when it comes to heating your home.
4.7/5 - (62 votes)

We’ve talked about the Nest Thermostat several times in recent months, but we had not yet shared our experiences with this smart thermostat. We have had the Nest Thermostat V3 in our possession for several months now, so it is time for an extensive review.

What is the Nest Thermostat V3?

The Nest Thermostat V3 is a smart thermostat that gives you insight into your energy consumption when it comes to heating your home. With a stylish thermostat, a Heat Link accessory that you connect to your boiler and the Nest app, you gain insight into and control over the climate control in your home. The thermostat is one of three smart products that Nest has brought to the market, which also work smoothly in the Nest app. Earlier we also looked at the Nest Protect and the Nest Cam . The thermostat can be purchased for around 250 euros at the time of writing.

What’s New in Version 3?

As the name implies, this is the third generation Nest Thermostat and actually the only one you can find in stores at the moment. A number of things have changed compared to the second generation. For example, the design has been adjusted; with a larger screen, higher resolution and a slimmer body. In addition, a modulation function has been added, allowing the thermostat to gradually bring the room (s) up to temperature without exceeding the set temperature. The temperature in the room is also kept constant as optimally as possible. All in all, this is an improvement over the simple on / off function. Thanks to the new ‘distance display’ you can have the temperature and other information displayed on the screen with the V3 when you pass in front of it.

In the field of software, a few things have also been renewed in the past year, which is also available for the previous generation of thermostats. For example, it is now possible to set one thermostat in different accounts. This is very useful when you are in the house with a complete family, do not want to share the accounts and still want to adjust your thermostat to the behavior of the entire family. From now on, the thermostat takes into account everyone who has the thermostat in his or her account and does not only look at the Nest sensors in the house to determine whether someone is present. The location of your phone is now also checked, via WiFi and GPS.

Content and design of Nest Thermostat V3

As we have come to expect from Nest, the Nest Thermostat V3 comes in a chic-looking package, with almost everything you need. Only the standard can be purchased optionally, you pay 35 euros for this. Everything else is in the box; the thermostat itself, a holder for the wall, a wall piece so that the Nest is neatly concealed and hangs straight, the Heat Link for coupling to the boiler, the necessary cables and a few screws to hang everything on your wall. We have chosen to hang the Nest without the wall piece. That simply looked better.

In terms of appearance, the thermostat itself is of course the most important, as it hangs in sight. The circular device has a diameter of 8.4 cm and is 2.7 cm high, with a diameter of 5.4 cm for the screen itself. The thermostat has been given a premium finish, with a curved glass front, a nice large and easy to read display and a silver-colored stainless steel edge that is the rotary knob. Simply put, it is a nice gadget for on the wall, one that may stand out but should also stand out. Incidentally, the sensors are incorporated in the lower part of the ring of the thermostat. For example, the screen will switch on when you come close and it (also) determines whether someone is present.

Installation and configuration

The Nest Thermostat v3 is therefore supplied complete and in principle the installation can be done yourself, provided you know what you are doing. However, for a few bucks you can have a technician install it, as we did. That was a good thing, too, because our boiler needed an adapter to communicate with the Nest via the Open Therm protocol. If you want to connect multiple thermostats, it is always advisable to let a technician do the work.

The technician ensures that the Heat Link is hung by the boiler and connected directly to the boiler. The Heat Link is then connected wirelessly to the thermostat, which can be placed in any position. Our thermostat could be placed exactly where the old thermostat was and could also be supplied with power in the same way (12v).

The app of Nest Thermostat V3

Although you can basically set everything on the Nest Thermostat V3 itself (in terms of thermostat functions), the app is the heart of the smart system. This allows you to set everything correctly once and then every now and then manually (or via the app) set your thermostat a little higher or lower. We have already discussed the app extensively in the reviews of the Nest Protect and Nest Cam, so here we mainly focus on the functions for the thermostat.

The Nest app is one of the most user-friendly and beautifully designed apps for smart home products we’ve seen to date. First of all, it must be said that the app is effortless, fast and simple. A child can do the laundry is certainly applicable to this app. Adding your Nest product is also a piece of cake; scan the qr code and follow the steps.

The home screen of the app gives you a complete picture of the home situation, including all Nest products you have. For example, you can see your Nest Cam and Nest Protect here. We also immediately see the temperature outside, the temperature inside and whether the hot water supply is on or off. The latter is especially useful if you are away from home for a longer period of time, for example on vacation. If you click on the icon of your house, you can indicate whether you are at home or if you are absent. Thanks to the GPS location data discussed above, the Nest products will also find out themselves, but there is often a short time in between. It is therefore more energy-efficient to set your house absent when you leave.

At the top right (in portrait mode) of the screen, you get access to the general settings of the Nest app, including information about your home, the away function and the products that are linked. If you click on the icon of the thermostat, you will arrive in the vicinity of the Nest Thermostat V3. The first screen you see shows the temperature in the house, the set temperature, the outside temperature and the humidity. With the arrow you can directly increase or decrease the set temperature here. At the top right you will find the settings for the thermostat. Here you can indicate, among other things, where it is located, indicate whether the home / away function should be switched on, set the temperature for when no one is present, view information about the boiler and set the temperature scale. Nest Sense offers a number of options to help you and make the system smart. For example, you can indicate whether you want to turn on the Auto-Schedule with which Nest creates a schedule based on your behavior (temperature higher, lower, absence, etc.). You can also activate that Nest itself learns to estimate how long it will take before the set temperature is reached. The expected time will then appear on the thermostat display. If the schedule indicates that it must be 19 degrees at 20.00, Nest will also start heating a little earlier, based on the experiences with heating the room. The green leaf can also be activated and gives you an indication of whether you are energy-efficient. lower, absence, etc.) create a schedule. You can also activate that Nest itself learns to estimate how long it will take before the set temperature is reached. The expected time will then appear on the thermostat display. If the schedule indicates that it must be 19 degrees at 20.00, Nest will also start heating a little earlier, based on the experiences with heating the room. The green leaf can also be activated and gives you an indication of whether you are energy-efficient. lower, absence, etc.) create a schedule. You can also activate that Nest itself learns to estimate how long it will take before the set temperature is reached. The expected time will then appear on the thermostat display. If the schedule indicates that it must be 19 degrees at 20.00, Nest will also start heating a little earlier, based on the experiences with heating the room. The green leaf can also be activated and gives you an indication of whether you are energy-efficient. based on experiences with heating the room. The green leaf can also be activated and gives you an indication of whether you are energy-efficient. based on experiences with heating the room. The green leaf can also be activated and gives you an indication of whether you are energy-efficient.

When we go back to the home screen of the thermostat, we see an icon for heating at the bottom left. You can indicate here that the heating should simply be switched on or off completely. To the right of it we see the Scheme. Click on this and you will get a weekly overview with the temperatures that Nest maintains. You can set these temperatures yourself, but the great thing is that Nest creates this schedule itself. The longer you work with the Nest, and thus manually adjust the temperature, the better this schedule will respond to your lifestyle at home. The history is the last part and shows the activity of the last ten days. This way you can see which hours you have fired, whether you have made manual adjustments, which temperatures have been used and even whether you were present or absent. This part therefore gives you insight into your consumption.

All in all, the app is very sleek and very easy to use. Are we not missing anything? Yes. We would have liked to see the possibility to create different schedules. You can say different scenarios. For example, there are weeks when I really only work from home and weeks when I am mostly out. Every time a week is very different from a previous week, the standard schedule is adjusted again and the Nest has to start learning again. Switching to a different scenario (schedule) would make it easier for me (I don’t have to manually adjust the Nest) and it wouldn’t ‘confuse’ the Nest either. There are also other situations where different schedules are useful, such as for different seasons or holidays (where you are at home).

Use

We discussed the features of the Nest Thermostat V3 above and the great thing is that it also works as it should. The most important thing is that you set the thermostat correctly once in terms of general settings such as absence, Nest Sense, users, etc. Then you give the thermostat time to learn. Manually set the temperature to the desired level and continue to do so until Nest creates a schedule that suits your lifestyle. In our case, this took about two weeks. Nest knew when I got up, when the temperature could be a bit higher during the day and when we went to bed. And even after that Nest continues to learn; when it gets colder outside and you want it a little warmer inside or when you have to get up earlier to go to work. However, some things do depend on a (reasonably) fixed schedule. If you come home later than expected and you have not switched on the away mode, the thermostat has been heating the room for a while and you therefore waste energy. It is therefore important to switch on the absence detection; it helps prevent waste.

Nest Sense’s True Radiant feature also works very well. After two weeks, the thermostat knows how long it takes before the desired temperature is reached and shows this neatly on the screen (or in the app) when you adjust the temperature. Should it be 19 degrees at 20.00, the Nest will also start heating the room in good time. Another feature that we are very happy with is the above mentioned automatic absence function. When I am away for three hours, the thermostat switches off automatically and when I return home, the room is heated up to standard again. How quickly the thermostat is put into Away mode – and thus (since the last update) takes on an eco temperature – depends on what it has learned and how you have behaved when leaving and coming back. Nest itself explains it as follows;

If you don’t have a Nest Thermostat, your home will switch to Away soon after you leave with your phone. If you have a Nest Thermostat, there will be a delay before your home switches to Away to balance comfort and energy savings. Your thermostat will learn to wait to see if you’re coming back soon or if there’s still someone at home. It will wait anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours to switch your home to Away mode, depending on what it has learned about your home and your habits.

Incidentally, as indicated above, you can also operate various functions via the thermostat itself. By pressing the thermostat and then turning the ring, you will see information and menu items, as you see them in the app. Here you can, for example, view or adjust your schedule and view the history. Nice and handy, but we mainly use the app for insight. If you don’t have your phone with you, you can always get started with the thermostat itself.

We all think it is great to see how energy efficient we are and the Nest just gives you a push to be energy efficient. The green leaf works wonders here. I notice that the temperature is much less often higher if this makes the green leaf disappear or if this causes me to be far above the weekly average. You will also receive a monthly overview of how energy efficient you are, also compared to other Nest users in your area. I currently belong to the top 10 percent of energy-efficient users and I like to keep it that way. It therefore has an absolute effect on your energy consumption and that will probably become clear in the final bill next year. But, it is and will all be an indication. Nothing is fixed with numbers, not what you save and not what you use. This requires deeper integration with your boiler and the energy supplier and that is simply not arranged at the moment, at least not for the Nest. There are energy suppliers that already offer deeper integration with other thermostats, sometimes their own thermostats. However, the indication Nest offers is a good step in the right direction; it actually helps you consciously monitor and limit your energy consumption. Incidentally, we do see room for accessories that Nest has not yet come up with, including temperature sensors or motion sensors for rooms other than where the thermostat is located. There are energy suppliers that already offer deeper integration with other thermostats, sometimes their own thermostats. However, the indication Nest offers is a good step in the right direction; it actually helps you consciously monitor and limit your energy consumption. Incidentally, we do see room for accessories that Nest has not yet come up with, including temperature sensors or motion sensors for rooms other than where the thermostat is located. There are energy suppliers that already offer deeper integration with other thermostats, sometimes their own thermostats. However, the indication Nest offers is a good step in the right direction; it actually helps you consciously monitor and limit your energy consumption. Incidentally, we do see room for accessories that Nest has not yet come up with, including temperature sensors or motion sensors for rooms other than where the thermostat is located.

Smart home integration

The Nest Thermostat V3 works together with the Nest products itself; the Nest Protect smoke detector and the Nest Cam cameras. All products appear in the same app and use the away function (if enabled). They also respond to each other, for example by switching off the boiler immediately when the Nest Protect sounds an alarm. Nest knows how to get the most out of the collaboration between these products, so it is no superfluous luxury to expand further with the products from the company’s range.

However, it does not stop there. You can also integrate the Nest Thermostat with smart home products from other manufacturers. For example, we gave the thermostat a button on the Logitech Harmony Elite remote control. This allows us to operate the thermostat with the remote control when we sit in front of the TV. The Spin remote is another remote that we were able to pair with the Nest. We have also linked Nest with Philips Hue . The lights turn on when Nest Cam detects an intruder, and the lights flash red when Nest Protect sounds an alarm. When Nest sees that I’m out, the lights will automatically turn off. There are many more partners that you can link with Nest. 

Conclusion

The Nest Thermostat V3 is actually a great product on all fronts. The design is beautiful and well thought out, the functions work as they should, the thermostat and the app are user-friendly, and – more importantly – it actually makes you more aware of the climate control in your home. An additional plus is that Nest continuously works on improving its products and therefore often comes up with updates. So in the near future you will be provided with a user-friendly, complete and attractive thermostat that – if you give it the time – automatically helps you lower your energy bill. Could it be better? Absolutely. For example, we cannot wait for deeper integration with energy suppliers so that you do not see an indication but an actual consumption or actual savings, and the possibility for different schedules is also welcome.

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