Nest Protect Wi-Fi smoke detector (preview)

A Wi-Fi connected smoke and carbon monoxide detector

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Nest Protect
  • Nest Protect
  • Nest Protect
  • Nest Protect

Pros

  • Works with iOS or Android app
  • Attractive design
  • Heads-Up voice feature

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not available in Australia yet

Bottom Line

The Nest Protect is a smoke and carbon monoxide detector that allows users to control its settings and check its battery life using a dedicated iOS or Android app. Unfortunately, it's not available in Australia just yet and it's also expensive.

Would you buy this?

A Wi-Fi connected smoke detector doesn't sound like the most appealing product in the world, but that's exactly what US company Nest has just created. The Nest Protect is a smoke and carbon monoxide detector that allows users to control its settings and check its battery life using a dedicated iOS or Android app.

The Nest Protect is a square box with rounded corners and comes in black and white variants. It's immediately distinguished from most other smoke alarms on the market thanks to a large, LED ring around the big, circular button in the middle, and a flower-print design surrounding it. Nest says it chose a square design purely because most current smoke detectors are round.

The LED ring around the Nest Protect's circular button illuminates in various colours depending on the status. It will glow light blue during setup, will illuminate yellow to warn you if there's risk of an emergency, will flash red during an emergency, and will glow green to let you know when everything is OK.

Nest says it chose a square design purely because most current smoke detectors are round.
Nest says it chose a square design purely because most current smoke detectors are round.

At night, an optional feature called "pathlight" will illuminate the LED ring white when it detects someone walking under it, mimicking the function of a sensor-operated night light. Conveniently, this feature is deactivated by default if you've install the Nest Protect in a bedroom, so as to not wake your partner when you get up for a midnight toilet break. When you initially set-up the Protect, you'll need to specify what room of your house you'll be installing it in.

In addition to the LED ring, the Nest Protect will also talk to users, a feature the company calls "Heads-Up". It uses a female speaking voice to tell you where smoke is or when carbon monoxide levels are rising. If the warning is a false alarm, such as burnt toast during your breakfast, you can simply wave your hand in the direction of the Protect to dismiss the alert, negating the need to press a button on the device. Nest says your hand should be 60cm to 2m away from the Protect for the wave feature to work effectively, and that you should wave your whole arm "like you are trying to get someone's attention".

Users can wave their hand in the direction of the Nest Protect to dismiss an alert.
Users can wave their hand in the direction of the Nest Protect to dismiss an alert.

As the Nest Protect is connected to a Wi-Fi network, it allows multiple products to effectively connect to one another. In the event of an emergency in one room, all Nest Protect units in a household will sound an alarm. Nest says the device has a number of sensors built-in including a smoke sensor, a carbon monoxide sensor, a heat sensor, a motion sensor and an ultrasonic wave sensor.

Nest will sell two models of the Protect, a battery operated device that runs on six AA lithium batteries, and a wired model that's powered by a 120-volt connection, specifically designed for the US and Canada. The company claims the battery operated model will last "multiple years".

In the event of an emergency in one room, all Nest Protect units in a household will sound an alarm.
In the event of an emergency in one room, all Nest Protect units in a household will sound an alarm.

The catch? The Nest Protect isn't currently available in Australia and it costs a rather expensive US$129. Most basic smoke alarms sold in Australia range from $10 - $50 in price. The Nest Protect will be available from November in the US, Canada and UK.

A promotional video of the Nest Protect can be seen below.

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Neil

1

No distribution in Australia yet. Boo! Come ON!

snuffles

2

• Life with Nest Protect

Not what you would expect…..

It’s normal to have some growing pains with a new product like this so I was willing to accept the odd little problem but not the list we have experienced.

We have a Nest thermostat now for almost a year and we also have 2 Nest Protect owned for 4 months now,

The Achilles Heal of any automated home is your ISP and the equipment they provide you, to support your wifi network. In our case (we live in the country) our ISP (Bell Canada) is pathetic only providing 5gb download, and the modem (Siemens) reboots daily. When I call in to tell them this I get someone half way around the world reading from a script who has no clue what’s going on. As an IT person myself for 30 years I do (the SLAM is set to high) but I can’t convince the ISP Support person so the modem continues to reboot and initially that also meant losing wifi completely. The Nest and Nest Protect would loose the wifi connection when the modem would reboot and would stay lost until I intervened and reconnected them manually. Wonderful if you’re on vacation.

I solved this by adding 2 Apple Routers (each end of the house) connected to UPS’s to support the wifi network. Turning off the ISP’s wifi (Siemens) offering and using Apple exclusively. All wifi connections are maintained and the modem can reboot all it wants behind the scenes. Internet is lost of course but only for a few seconds.

I also discovered that if you set your router to “Auto” select it’s channel the Nest products can’t keep up. You have to pick one channel and stick to it. Either 6 for 2.4 or 11 for 5.0.

Safety shouldn’t be annoying.

No it should be but with Nest products it certainly is.

Both of our Nest Protects have failed now several times and always for one specific issue… sensor failure. Initially I had no idea how to fix this. I assumed a warranty issue. I Emailed… no response. I called the 1-855 number but again would get someone reading from a script. One thing they did tell me was it’s a dust issue. “Dust it off “ I was told. I dusted.. no change. To make a long story much shorter I did learn to take down the Nest Protect and walk it to my shop and blow it out with an air hose. Then it works. I have to do this EVERY BLOODY MONTH.

On top of this we receive notice that the company is doing an update to remove the “Nest Wave”. Lovely.

So, I paid $129 each for 2 of these things and they are a pain in the ass a features are now being removed.

Bottom line: DO NOT BUY A NEST PROTECT ESPECIALLY IF YOU LIVE IN THE COUNTRY ON A GRAVEL ROAD.

As for us: we are using them for now but I can promise when they need to be replaced (when I get really sick of them) they will be replaced with good old fashioned smoke detectors I can purchase for $30.

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