2nd generation NEST Learning test: a smart thermostat at an affordable price

As Evelyne says, “in winter, it's cold”! Even if less and less, but that's another story… So you have decided to equip yourself with a connected thermostat? It is indeed a connected thermostat. It allows you to do a lot of things with a connected thermostat. And even more when it is compatible with Alexa ! Lots of things ? Yes but what ? This is what we will see.

We have chosen to present to you after a period of test the 2nd generation Nest Learning Thermostat. Why the 2nd generation and not the third? First, in relation to the price. When the last Nest is at € 230, the second is at € 130 or even less depending on promotions (€ 140 with installation on Direct Energie, subject to conditions). Second, because even if they exist, the differences with the Nest 3 will not change the way you use this thermostat, and they are not very high added value for everyone.

Installing the Nest Learning Thermostat 2

The Nest is delivered in a rather nice and above all solid box. We find the thermostat, the wall bracket with bubble level, a wall plate, the Heat Link as well as a plug and a USB cable. There is of course also an installation guide!

There are two ways to connect the Nest: on a wall (either at the location of an old thermostat or as a new thermostat with the wiring to be done) or on a wall plug (hence its presence in the pack). It can also be put in any other place with a stand (if you buy it as it is not included and the price is quite inflated which is a weak point).

To install it, a thermostat installation tutorial is available on the site if you feel up to it. Indeed, you still need some knowledge and it can go from easy to not simple at all ... Do not necessarily follow the advice where you are told that it is done with your fingers in your nose, because it can quickly turn into WITH fingers in the nose, and it is less easy. To avoid any mistakes that could be expensive, do not hesitate to call a professional. But you have to add around 80-90 € and a good hour.

Otherwise, in short, the Heat Link connects to both the mains and the boiler control system. It can be simpler if you already have a remote thermostat in place because it is enough to transplant to the same place. Otherwise, you have to know a minimum. The Nest is also directly connected to the Heat Link via a cable if you already have a thermostat in place. It's very simple, you plug it in instead. You can also plug it directly into an outlet, which is much easier and no need to connect to the Heat Link in this case.

Namely that it is compatible with 95% of heaters: mixed boilers, heating only (gas or electric), biomass boilers, hydraulic underfloor heating and air and geothermal heat pumps. However, this is not the case with systems having more than two cooling stages. You then have to set up the Nest itself via the physical thermostat and the app. All this is detailed in the tutorial.

And in use?

The design of the thermostat is quite nice. Round silver with a diameter of 8,5 cm and 3 cm thick, it is very qualitative. Its non-touch screen is very readable. It is the silver ring which will, by turning, allow the various functions to be selected. It is also he who, in part, takes the ambient temperature (you validate by pressing the screen). Which is a shame because if you stay too long to handle it, the temperature increases artificially. It also makes it possible to capture ambient humidity.


Its screen is also equipped with a motion detector which will allow it to light up when you approach but also to detect a presence or not to heat the home or not (if the automatic mode for absence is activated). Interestingly, the absence function also works with the owner's phone's GPS, it is possible to put several accounts, and therefore prevent the rest of the family from catching cold because the main account is out ...

It's possible to get a lot of info about the Nest itself, just by activating it and going through the menus:

- Activation or not of the device,
- Type of heating (eco or not),
- The current programming and when it will pass from one level to another,
- History,
- The parameters as such,
- A global view on the outside temperature, the time, the temperature in the house and the indoor humidity.

The settings will allow you to manage your Eco temperature, activate or not the absence function, activate Nest Sense (we will come back to this), screen brightness, screen activation (detection or manual ) and many other inputs such as location, unit of measurement (° C or ° F), location in the house, technical documents, Nest account, Wi-Fi or even Nest Pro inputs for further adjustment.

We talked very quickly about the Nest Sense. What is that ?

Nest Sense is the heart of Nest's “Learning”, its learning system. It will provide all kinds of information concerning the house and the way in which the boiler or the heating behave: the time needed to heat it (and the time to go down in temperature), it also takes into account the time outside for heating. adapt to the heating time, to the ambient humidity… Thus, it will automatically calculate the time at which to start heating to reach the desired temperature at the given time. Also note a "sun visor" which avoids distorting the temperature of the display if the sun falls on it ...

Your smartphone will be of great help to you

The live uses on the Nest are great, but they are interesting on your Smartphone, hence the fact of having invested in a connected thermostat. It will be very useful for you to activate or deactivate your district heating, to quickly and easily change the setpoint temperatures but also for many other settings. On the other hand, to make a programming, we invite you to go through the Nest website (with your credentials) because it is almost impossible otherwise.

For this you need the Nest app

You can thus, on the reception, select your appliance and activate it, choose the eco mode (a lower temperature during the day), program and view your heating and consumption history. But you also have the possibility of activating the absence functions, your eco temperature and especially to act on the Sense. This means allowing your Nest to learn your preferences and your daily routine on its own so that it can anticipate everything on its own!

And that, really, is nice ... when you have fixed schedules because otherwise you will quickly go to standard programming or live use via the smartphone with the absence function. However, it can be very useful in a lot of cases. In ours, very varied schedules, the interest of some of the functions of the Sense was limited ...

And with Alexa ?

To be able to be used with Alexa, you need to activate the Skill "Works with Nest" and enter your Nest account.

However, don't expect to be able to do some outstanding voice activations. It is also quite frustrating ... The easiest way is to tell you what you can do: ask Alexa to lower or increase the temperature and know the temperature in your room. Here it is ...

Ask him to activate the Nest remotely? no… ask him the ambient humidity and the outside temperature? no no…

It's a shame, a great shame, because Alexa really brings little added value compared to all the information available and that it would be interesting to have.


So, in the end, is it worth it or not?

The answer is yes for the thermostat itself. Its anticipation, all the information available, the multi-programming and learning of the Nest are very interesting. It is quite pretty, which does not spoil anything, and knows how to be forgotten. The part connected via smartphone is excellent. It is piloted with the finger and the eye. On the other hand, with Alexa, we are too limited. So indeed, we can ask him the basic of the basic, but we quickly see the limit. On the other hand, in all cases, a connected thermostat allows to make significant savings in the short term!

NEST Learning 2nd generation connected thermostat








Application (skill Alexa)


Price quality



  • Price at 130 € which makes it interesting
  • Good mobile app
  • Design
  • The learning system
  • Multi heating system

The lessers

  • No base provided and sold too expensive
  • Interactions with Alexa are limited when there is a lot of information available
  • Temperature may vary if handled
Did i choose Alexa or did she choose me? Let's say that as a beta tester, it's a bit of both! And I do not regret having met our favorite assistant nor this adventure undertaken with Alexien Modo. Technophile, self-taught and loving popularization, I try to make our common passion easy to access!