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Nest Thermostat 3 UK Review: Powerful smart heating simplified

Written by  Simone Dresler Feb 20, 2018

Now on the third generation, the Nest Learning Thermostat remains one of the best and simplest smart heating systems around.

The Nest thermostat system ships as two components: the smart thermostat and the Heat Link, which connects to your boiler. With this version, the Heat Link is capable of controlling both heating and hot water. In addition, you can install multiple Nest Thermostats into zoned heating systems if you have one installed.

It is quite straightforward to connect up the Nest yourself, professional installation might be a better idea, particularly as the Heat Link needs 230V mains power.

Nest Learning Thermostat, 3rd Generation

Installation is fairly flexible. If you have existing thermostat wires, you can hook these up to the Heat Link’s 12V DC output. The Nest Thermostat is then powered directly via these cables.

If you don’t already have a thermostat, Nest can operate in wireless mode, with the Learning Thermostat powered via USB. In the box, you get a wall-mount for the thermostat.

Design - Nest Thermostat 3 Review

Your main decision when buying the system is to choose which colour thermostat you want: copper, white, stainless steel or black, All versions look the part.

It’s not just a pretty design, though: the Nest Thermostat is also practical. The outside spins and the unit acts as one big button, letting you control temperature, schedules and other features directly from the thermostat.

It helps that the entire front of the thermostat is a display with a sharp pixels, meaning the Nest Thermostat really does look state-of-the-art.

Setup is quite straightforward, using the thermostat’s controls to hook it up to Wi-Fi, so that it can be remote-controlled. Once online, you can control everything from the Nest app, which is the same app that also controls the cameras and Nest Protect. 

But, the idea is that you shouldn’t need to touch the app much at all. As the name suggests, this thermostat is designed to learn how you work and set a schedule automatically.

To begin with, you’re encouraged to turn the heat up when you get up, turn it down when you go out, and up again when you get back in. We found that the automatic schedule could be a bit sporadic, so it’s good to see that you can set your own schedule both in-app and on the thermostat. If you leave the Learning mode on, the schedule will be tweaked over time, but you can just disable the Learning mode altogether.

Nest Thermostat 3

Motion sensor - Nest Thermostat 3 Review

Nest has designed the thermostat to save money, by switching to Away mode and reducing the set temperature when you go out. It uses two methods for this: your phone’s location (multiple users are supported), and the motion detector mounted on the front of the Nest. The combination works brilliantly and should help you save money on heating bills.

Nest can use the motion sensor for its Farsight mode, too. When you’re up to 5m away, the thermostat can flash up some information on its screen, as set by the app. You can have a clock, the current room temperature, weather forecast or target temperature. It’s a neat feature that makes the most of the screen and makes the Nest Thermostat more useful than for just heating your home.

True Radiant is Nest’s smart learning algorithm that learns how your home heats up. It’s designed to turn your heating off early, so that hot radiators don’t push the internal temperature past the set point. As the Nest Thermostat 3 learns how your home works, you should find that the temperature doesn’t vary much from the temperature you set.

nest-thermostat-3rd-generation
Also see: LIFX Mini Smart Bulbs UK Review: Genuine Philips Hue Rivals

Compatibility - Nest Thermostat 3 Review

Nest has built its thermostat to work with the Nest Protect. For example, if a siren goes off, the thermostat can display an alert. Even better, if carbon monoxide is detected, the thermostat can shut off the heating to prevent making mattters worse.

There’s an IFTTT channel, too, which lets you set the temperature on your thermostat automatically. And, you can make other things happen when the thermostat rises above or below a temperature threshold, or switches from Home to Away mode.

Nest is owned by Google, so naturally the thermostat supports Google Home, as well as Amazon Alexa.  But there’s no Siri support via Apple HomeKit.

Nest Learning Thermostat, 3rd Generation by Nest

Verdict - Nest Thermostat 3 Review

The Nest Thermostat certainly isn't especially cheap, and there’s no option to add smart radiator valves, but that is a minor issue for most. If you want a simple, centralised controller, it’s hard to beat Nest’s combination of simple controls and powerful heating options. A popular choice and a trusted brand.

Also see: Best UK Smart Plugs: Connect to your smart home

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