The circular glass interface, meanwhile, is a beautiful thing to behold and so incredibly simple use; all you require is an opposable thumb and a forefinger.
The Nest Learning Thermostat comes with everything required to fit it DIY style but you'd be far better off having an engineer do it, especially as the £279 price includes installation. Given that Hive is a British Gas innovation, chances are this is the thermostat you'll most likely be using. The Hive system is fitted by a qualified engineer and incorporates three pieces of kit: a boiler receiver, an internet router hub and a wall-mounted thermostat.
Another very cool feature is that the thermostat itself can be installed in two ways: as a wired replacement for your current unit or wirelessly, using three AAA batteries.
The wireless option allows you to place the thermostat in any room which is handy if you use one room more than the another.
The thermostat itself may not be quite so handsome as the Nest, but it's ridiculously easy to use, as is the accompanying i OS and Android app, which lets you change the temperature or the on/off schedule from anywhere there's a cellular or Wi-Fi connection.
It's easy to program an on/off schedule using the excellent Nest app but this might not even be required since the unit also has activity sensors on board so it can detect if no-one's home and adjust/turn off the heat accordingly.
That means you can set a temperature for the whole house, or have a warmer front room and cooler bedroom, or shut off heat in underused rooms entirely.
As long as your system is fairly modern, this takes and involves no spanners or getting wet.
And here it is, a translucent plexiglass cube with a simple display.
Given that it's designed by one of Europe's foremost creatives, The Netatmo's old-fashioned black E-Ink display and white casing is a little bit, er, ordinary, especially when placed alongside something like the Nest. Netatmo predicts its thermostat will save the average user about 37% in energy costs, so that's a bonus.