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Nest learning thermostat 3rd generation: Hands on pictures

We’ve just got hold of our third generation Nest review sample. Ahead of getting this installed and cracking on with our full review, here’s some early pictures and our initial thoughts. 

Nest says that its latest learning thermostat is smaller and slimmer than the previous generation. While we’ve not been able to see one of those in the flesh, we’ve only got the official numbers to go on; the new 3rd gen thermostat is a slender 1.06-inches deep while the older 2nd gen model is a chubby 1.26-inches. While that might not seem like a huge difference, Nest says this reduced profile is all about lowering the thermostat’s profile for people who want to mount it on a wall. 

Related: The Nest Episode – Nest Protect, Nest Cam and thermostat controlled by an all-in one appFor those who don’t, there’s also a fancy kickstand for the new Nest, with which we’ve been supplied with for review purposes. 

Perhaps what’s more immediately obvious is that, the 3rd gen Nest thermostat has been tricked out with a bigger screen (2.8-inches vs 1.75-inches of the previous model) with a higher resolution (480×480 vs 320×320), meaning greater legibility for when you’re looking at it across the room. 

This could be key for enabling one of the other fancy new features Nest has been keen to talk up – something called Farsight. 

If the screen is dormant and you’ve got Farsight turned on in the settings, when you wave your hand at it sensors will detect the motion and momentarily power the screen on for you, showing you either the temperature or the time. 

While of course you could just as easily get this same information from the Nest app on your phone, Farsight could be useful for folks with accessibility issues or in situations where you’ve misplaced your phone or it’s on charge.  

One thing we’re not going to be able to test out during our review is how it interoperates with OpenTherm-certified boilers. On paper, this promises to work out the precise amount of gas that’s needed to get your water and rooms heated up to the correct temperature. 



Related: NestCam reviewIt’s perhaps worth noting that the 3rd gen learning thermostat is also the first from the Nest stable that’ll let you heat up your water as well as your radiators. As well as that, it’s also a dual-band WiFi device, which means if there’s congestion on the 2.8GHz radio band, the thermostat will be able to move over to the less-busy 5GHz channel. 

Seeing as this has to communicate with the Heat Link hub – the device that sits between your boiler, the thermostat and your router, you’ll want to consider where you’re going to position everything. Though the instruction manual says you can set the hub and ‘stat up within 30 metres of each other, signals on the higher 5GHz frequency aren’t as good at penetrating walls as those on the 2.8GHz band. Then you’ve got the fun of hoping that any structural metal and signals from microwave cookers, baby monitors and the like don’t interfere with any communications.  

We’ll let you know how we get on once with the installation and everything else in our full review. 


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