Nest’s European Model Can Do More Than Its American Counterpart

November 17, 2015, 4:14 PM UTC

Alphabet’s (GOOG) connected thermostat, Nest, has traveled across the pond. A month after launching in the United States, the third-generation Nest thermostat went on preorder in Europe on Tuesday, and it even picked up a few tricks along the way.

Nest is the most advanced thermostat on sale in Europe, and now it comes with an extra piece of hardware called the Heat Link. It hooks up to your hot water boiler and lets your Nest control it like it does your home temperature. If your household often runs out of hot water for showers in the morning, you might find the feature to be handy. Users can set a schedule that “boosts” hot water availability for a period of two hours, and saves energy by holding off on heating water while you’re out of the house.

The Heat Link should work with most hot water tanks, according to Nest, but as with all smart home products consumers with unique setups might run into incompatibility issues. Owners who don’t want to install it themselves can pay £50 for professional installation, which can be done as soon as December.

The European version also now works with a standard called OpenTherm, which was originally developed by Honeywell (HON), one of Nest’s main thermostat competitors. OpenTherm allows two boilers to communicate with both each other and your Nest thermostat, which ends up providing more granular control over home temperatures. “Instead of just turning the heat on and off, OpenTherm can turn it up higher or dial it back. It’s like a dimmer for your heating system versus an on-off switch,” Nest writes.

The Nest sold in Europe is largely the same as the American version. It sits on your wall, learns your schedule, and saves money by intelligently heating or cooling your house based on whether you’re home or not.

Unfortunately, Americans with third-generation Nests won’t be getting the new features as part of a software update, because they require specialized hardware designed for European homes. “We had to create custom hardware for the UK market: a high-voltage Heat Link, that connects to the thermostat wirelessly, a new backplate, and even a stand since many homes don’t have wires in the wall since they don’t already have a thermostat installed,” a Nest spokesperson told Fortune.

In both markets, the third-generation Nest is thinner and has a larger screen than its predecessors, which allows features like Farsight, which intelligently wakes up the Nest’s screen and lets customers view the current temperature or time from across the room.

Nest is charging £199 for the third-generation model in the U.K., which is up from £179 from the previous version. Although Nest is increasingly positioning its devices more like consumer electronics—emphasizing thinness and screen size, for example—your thermostat is not a smartphone and has a much longer upgrade cycle. Most people don’t spend $250 or €250 to upgrade their thermostat every few years when a new one comes out. Ultimately, Nest’s improvements are incremental, and while the new European features are nice, they probably aren’t enough to get a current Nest user to upgrade.

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