Nest unveils new Temperature Sensor – but there’s still something missing

Nest has announced a new Temperature Sensor, which will allow the smart themostat to measure the temperature across more locations in your house. 

Available in packs of three for $99 (~£70), or as a single unit for $39 (~£28), the idea is that you place the new sensor in an area of your home that gets particularly hot or cold compared to your central Nest Thermostat. You can then schedule your home’s heating to ensure that, for example, a cold upstairs bedroom is guaranteed to be warm when you want to go to bed later in the evening.

At present, because the Nest thermostat only takes a temperature reading from a single location, it can play havok with a house that experiences large variations in heating. For example, your heating may not turn on despite an upstairs room getting cold, or if your Nest is in a colder part of the house then it may turn the heating on despite most rooms already being at a comfortable temperature.

Related: Nest vs Hive

A step short of zonal control

The new sensor is a step in the right direction, but stops short of a fully-fledged zonal heating system.

These smart heating systems use internet-connected radiator valves to set the temperature in your home on a room-by-room basis. Does one of your flatmates prefer their room to be a toasty 21 degrees, while another likes theirs at a cooler 19? Systems like the Tado Smart Thermostat or Honeywell’s Evohome will adjust radiators accordingly to allow these different temperatures to be achieved simultaneously.

Meanwhile Nest, even with the new sensors, can at best make sure it gets the heating right in a single location at a time.

We’ve been waiting for Nest to upgrade its thermostat with this functionality for years, but aside from a new budget version of the Nest Thermostat called the Nest Thermostat E, the company has recently been much more focused on its security products, including cameras like the Nest Cam IQ and a home security system.

It’s a shame too, as despite this lack of zonal control, Nest’s thermostat has an astoundingly simple interface that’s an absolute pleasure to use. Here’s hoping Nest’s merger with Google’s hardware team brings some renewed focus to the smart home company.

The Nest Temperature Sensor is available to pre-order now in the US with a UK release yet to be confirmed.

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