We know, we know, who cares about their thermostat? Well, not too long ago your amazing smartphone used to be a clunky handset wired to the wall; we've come a long way, and there's no reason controlling your home's basic functions should be any more difficult than checking your email. But Nest does even more than turn on your AC: by learning your habits and your home's unique thermal profile, it can automatically save you energy in ways a standard programmable thermostat can't, and provides you an energy usage history to boot. It's gorgeous and thoughtfully designed, top to bottom, which is part of the reason why installation far less intimidating than we expected. The 2nd-generation version is even better looking than the first model, and is now easier than ever to connect to your home's heating system.
How It Stacks Up
Rift (development kit)
Nest security cameras can be knocked out via Bluetooth
Burglars could have an easier time breaking in.
Nest said to be working on home security and a low-cost thermostat
The company is recovering from a lull in its home automation lineup.