Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation

Smart thermostat
Mobile controls
Hands-free controls
Visual features
Audio output
Tactile features
Dexterity features

What is it? The Nest is a smart, programmable thermostat from Google that claims to be able to learn your schedule, and then programme your heating for you.  

Category: Smart heating control

Money-saving features: 

  • Mobile control
  • Hands-free controls
  • Optimisation
  • Automation and geolocation
  • Zone control
  • Compatible with smart TRVs
  • Boost function
  • Automatic frost protection
  • Temperature graphs
  • Learning thermostat

Ease-of-use features:

1. Mobile control

  • Can be controlled via the Nest app (iOS or Android)
  • Can be controlled via a website

2. Hands-free controls

  • Voice-control works with Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri and IFTTT (If That Then This - a program which makes your devices and apps compatible with each other)
  • The device has a hidden motion sensor which lights-up the display when it detects movement nearby

3. Visual features

  • The Nest has a medium-large colour LCD digital display with a backlight
  • The display colour contrast varies between a black background with white text and an orange background with white, depending on the setting it is on
  • The room temperature is displayed in large numbers in the centre of the dial
  • The viewing angles are good from left to right, but not from below

4. Audio output

  • When the dial is turned the internal speakers make verification clicks
  • The whole unit clicks quietly when used to select an on-screen option
  • The Nest app works reasonably well with Apple’s Voiceover screen reader and most buttons are clearly labelled 
  • When used with a smart speaker voice verification is available for basic functions  

5. Tactile features

  • The device itself is controlled by a dial and by pressing the screen to confirm choices
  • There is no tactile feedback when turning the dial or the screen

6. Dexterity features

  • The device has a large dial which turns easily with little resistance
  • The whole screen operates as large OK button 

7. Simplicity

  • The basic features on the device and the Nest app are reasonably intuitive and simple to use 
  • The advanced features on the device and Nest app are more complex to use, although once automation and learning features are set-up regular user interaction with these features may not be necessary

Is there anything I should watch out for?

  • The dial is very responsive, and it can be hard to select choices without also changing the dial settings, making it difficult to programme manually
  • The dial is large, very slippery and has no raised grip-markings which could make it difficult to turn with one hand
  • The dial can be turned continuously through 360°

Who might want to buy it?

We think the Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Gen would be great for people who already use some smart tech (e.g. a smart phone) and who would like a lot of control over their heating and hot-water. 

Our consumer panel told us…

  • Although the Nest device lacks audio or tactile verification, when it is paired with a smart speaker or used with the app its voice-control features and screen-reader compatibility could be useful for people with visual impairments
  • The mobile controls, voice control and motion sensor could be useful features for people with mobility and dexterity impairments
  • The basic controls are reasonably intuitive, but the advanced features could be problematic for people with some cognitive or memory impairments

To find out more about the Nest check out these links: