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Tuesday October 25, 2011 12:40 pm

Nest: The amazing iPhone-controlled learning thermostat

Nest thermostat

If your house is less than 20 years old, you probably have a programmable thermostat. It's probably a plain rectangle with a handful of buttons and a monochrome LCD screen, and it's probably a slight nuisance to program. It also probably isn't connected to your home Wi-Fi network. Nest is trying to change that with its new Nest Learning Thermostat.

The thermostat is a round metal dial with a circular color LCD screen that works a lot like an iPod classic click wheel. That could be because Nest was co-founded by former Apple employee Tony Fadell, one of the creators of the iPod. You can turn the temperature up or down by twisting the dial, or you can go through its menus by pressing it in like a button. It can be set to automatically change the temperature based on the time and whether you're present.

If you don't want to program it, it can program itself by tracking the temperature settings you use over a week, automatically changing the temperature based on when you change it yourself. A green leaf appears if the temperature setting saves energy according to Nest's standards, and an Auto-Away setting lowers heating and cooling when you're not at home. The display even turns red and blue when the heating and cooling systems are active, letting you know what settings will kick the heating or air conditioning into overdrive.

Most importantly, the Nest Learning Thermostat connects to your home Wi-Fi network, letting you remotely control heating and cooling through your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Besides programming the thermostat, you can also use your devices to watch energy consumption, track when heating and cooling are used most, and make plans to reduce your heating bill based on your needs.

The Nest Learning Thermostat ships in November and will be available at a suggested retail price of $249 - you can pre-order Nest now. According to Nest, you can install the thermostat yourself in just 20 minutes, without the need of a professional installer.

This article, written by Will Greenwald, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.

Read More | Nest pre-order

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