3 December 2014

REVIEW: Nest Protect

Nest of both worlds.

This humble and, admittedly, poorly written website is largely produced in the most connected home on Earth. That is because over the past couple of years we have been collecting a growing number of home automation gadgets and systems, remotely controlling everything from our Lights to our central heating. Now Test Pit Towers is set to take yet another step into the future - and it's one that could save our lives. Introducing the NestProtect.

The Protect from wireless thermostat makers Nest is essentially a connected replacement for your existing smoke detector - one with so much more going on. Firstly, the compact gadget (which is about the same size as the traditional, wail-at-the-slightest-fume-from-the-kitchen detector) also detects carbon monoxide, AKA The Silent Killer. And when colourless gases which have no smell are called that, you definitely want something to detect them!

Both the smoke and CO detection systems act like in the traditional manner - if they sniff 'em, the alarm sounds. But Nest Protect is a connected gadget, and thanks to the Nest app for iOS and Android, you can be kept in the loop about what is happening in your home from anywhere in the world.

Set up is as easy as downloading the app, pulling the battery tag on the Protect itself (or wiring it up to your house electrics, if you get the wired version) and then hitting that big button on the front. The Nest Protect will connect to your house's WiFi and then immediately carry out a test. And, thankfully, the automated female voice that tells you everything is okay (or not - gulp) is clear and has a British accent (and, if we're being honest, sounds a bit sexy). Included is a plastic mounting plate (which is foam-lined on both sides to protect your ceiling/wall and the device itself) and four screws. You simply screw in the plate to wherever you want the Protect to... erm... protect you (suggestions are included in the documentation), then slot it on with a twist. This means removing the Protect for maintenance, updates, battery changes etc are as easy as pie.

After that, the Nest Protect is customisable via the app, with the user able to change the way it behaves if and when smoke or CO is detected. The Protect will carry out a daily analysis of the air to test for carbon monoxide, and you can also set a test running yourself by tapping the big button. All this data is readily available in the app, including when the tests took place and how your battery life is doing.

 The app itself is very easy to use and read and gives over plenty of room for other Nest products you might have in the home, such as the company's flagship thermostat device (which we've heard is incredible - hint, hint). We discovered that for even greater flexibility of use, an IFTTT account comes in handy. There are several pre-programmed IFTTT recipes available for the Nest Protect, such as giving you a call/text/email when smoke or CO is detected - ensuring you'll never miss an alert.

We really love the Nest Protect and having it installed in the house seems to make the draughty old place feel so much safer. This is an automation device that doesn't just make our home more modern and fancy, it could actually save our lives one day.

Right, we're off to kick that old boiler in the basement for a while; that should give the Nest Protect something to detect.


Available from www.amazon.co.uk

And, of course, here's ours in situ. The ceiling was white when we moved in, but how the hell do you clean a ceiling? Seriously?

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