By Don Reisinger
August 31, 2017

Alphabet’s Nest Labs has expanded its smart thermostat line with a new model designed to not be noticed in the home.

The company on Thursday unveiled the Nest Thermostat E, the latest installment in its line of thermostats. Like its predecessors, the Thermostat E can be controlled via the company’s Nest smartphone app, but comes with a dramatically different design and a lower price than the company’s flagship Thermostat.

The Nest Thermostat E is designed to “subtly blend” into its environment, Nest said in a statement. The device comes with a white exterior ring instead of the metallic finish found on the Learning Thermostat. The thermostat’s display comes with a “frosted” design. It’s been specially engineered to let light out from its screen but not let light in. The effect makes the screen look grey when the display is off. When the screen is on, the Nest Thermostat E uses an ambient light sensor to only light up the screen as much as required in that moment.

On the software side, users will find a pre-set schedule, which will turn the thermostat on and off based on the average user’s habits. It also comes with the learning techniques employed in Nest’s Learning Thermostat, so the Thermostat E can analyze how users employ heat and air conditioning and create a custom schedule based on that.

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Indeed, Nest Labs has built its name on the learning concept. The company’s thermostats have a built-in learning mechanism that can see how owners are using energy and adapt accordingly. The idea is to reduce the amount of human interaction with the thermostat and ultimately keep users feel comfortable throughout the day.

According to Nest, its technology saves customers between $131 and $145 per year, based on studies performed both by the company and by unidentified third-party researchers.

In addition to the learning mechanism, the Thermostat E takes other cues from its higher-priced alternative. It similarly works with voice assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Home, and can be integrated into a broader smart home featuring smart light bulbs, doorbells, and more. It also alerts users to possible problems with their air conditioning units or furnaces.

Available now, the Nest Thermostat E costs $169, making it slightly cheaper than the traditional Nest thermostat, which currently retails for $249.

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