Nest Protect Wi-Fi smoke detector (preview)

A Wi-Fi connected smoke and carbon monoxide detector

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Nest Protect
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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.

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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.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

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