Nest Learning Thermostat 2.0 Review



The Nest thermostat provides an incredibly thoughtful design with a friendly analog front end. Nest has taken something as mundane as a thermostat and tricked it out in an attractive package with smart phone apps and a PC dashboard to appreciate the intelligence inside. This is the company's initial foray into home automation and a sign of much bigger things to come.

Installing Nest is as easy as matching the wires to appropriate terminals. Nest says it’s compatible with 05% of 24V systems. Essentially, if you have a typical thermostat that is basically a low voltage on/off switch with some programmability, you can upgrade to Nest with little to no drama.

































Is it nuts to spend $250 on a thermostat? Yes and no. Today’s thermostats offer plenty of programming options to set conditions inside your home for larger blocks of time. For example you may program the device to heat or cool in the morning, late morning, evening and late evening. That works pretty well for most folks but it’s not very dynamic and what happens when no one’s actually in the house?

Nest takes these gross adjustments and continually builds on them with the micro adjustments you make during the day and any movement the house that triggers the sensor in the thermostat. All this is data is wirelessly fed to the app to continually improve performance, become more efficient and hopefully drive your energy costs down.

We really like Nest. The 2.0 design is even sleeker and it pretty much works as advertised. It’s a very impressive feat to make the thermostat cool (no pun intended). If the net result is lower energy costs, which we can’t confirm until after an extended period of use, so much the better and that’ll make the $250 price tag a little easier to take.

Visit Nest for more information and all the specs.

NuGreen LED Desk Lamp Review



























We love this lamp. The NuGreen LED desk lamp from Newer Technology has a sleek, solid design that features 50 LEDs that give off plenty of natural light. The light works well at a computer workstation, bedside or just to help light up a small bedroom.

NewerTech does a good job packaging the NuGreen LED desk lamp. It comes nicely folded and wrapped in soft touch packaging materials. No assembly is required. If NewerTech can figure out how to lose the wall-wart and build the power supply into the base of the unit that would make this lamp even better. The aluminum material and quality finish helps offset the cheapish wall wart.

The lamp also has some nice design touches. The on/off switch is a soft touch design at the base of the flexible neck. NewerTech includes a sticker on the base of the unit that calls out how to use the soft touch control. Perhaps some folks are still more comfortable with a traditional mechanical switch. We like the red glow when it’s in the off position as well. Very cool.

The NuGreen LED desk lamp is little pricey with a street price of about $60. However, we think this is money well spent. The lamp creates cleaner, brighter light than a standard bulb, is mercury free and is estimated to last 22x longer. Plus the LEDs don’t generate any heat, making this an ideal reading lamp for kids as well.

Visit Newer Technology for information on the NuGreen LED desk lamp.

Sony ICF-C414 Dream Machine Clock Radio Review





























So it's back to school time. The end of summer is near and you may have to actually get out of bed at a pre designated time. We're not happy about it either. But with that in mind, if you need a little help consider the Sony ICF-C414 Dream Machine clock radio.

We recently went on the hunt for a basic clock radio for about $20. When it comes to clock radios we have very simple requirements. It must have a big bright display, have hardy controls and be easy to set and include a good AM/FM tuner. Some type of battery backup in case the power goes out is always good to have too.

Now you would think in this day and age that would be a slam dunk. But it's not. We encountered all kinds of junk. Sony is one of the last companies making decent clock radios these days. You can find boatloads of iPhone/pod ready contraptions and even lamps with built in docks for more money. But when it comes to the simple clock radio for $20 or less there's not a whole lot to choose from.

The original "Dream Machine' was one of our all time favorite clock radios. It was a simple white or black cube with all the basic features and battery backup. It worked great.

But then Sony lost its way for a while and started adding too many features and buttons and funky (not the good funky) knobs on the side of its radios and suddenly its Dream Machine lineup became more of a nightmare.

Well we're happy to say the Sony ICF-C414 is a true Dream Machine to use. The display is huge, the controls are simple and the radio sounds pretty good. For $20 this is the benchmark for a good quality, no frills clock radio.

Visit Sony for more information.

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