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2nd generation Nest Protect is sleeker, smarter and better at detecting fires

Tom Morgan
17 Jun 2015
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a ground-up redesign and improved smoke detection for Nest's second generation Protect smoke alarm

Nest's Protect was one of the first smart smoke alarms, which let you monitor your home from anywhere in the world using your phone, but it wasn't perfect. False positives, a focus on slow-burning fires and the inability to turn off the alarm without actually reaching out and pressing the detector. The company is looking to change all that with a newly announced second generation Protect. It's thinner, sleeker, easier to mount on a wall or ceiling, and built to deal with modern fires.

According to Nest, the new Protect was redesigned ‘from the inside out’, starting with the all-important smoke sensor. The first generation Protect used a single photoelectric smoke sensor, which is great at detecting the large smoke particles created by slow burning fires, but less so at detecting fast-burning fires. 30 years ago it took 30 minutes for a fire to engulf a room, but the new materials found in the home and new construction methods used today means it could take just five minutes. To cope with this, the new model has a split-spectrum sensor for both fast and slow fires. These sensors are usually found in commercial detectors, but have never been used in the home before.

The new model was also designed to prevent dust and insects getting inside and triggering a false positive, with a wire mesh only letting small particles into the sensor chamber. If you do get a false positive, however, the new App Silence feature will let you silence a Protect alerm using the companion app on your Android or iOS smartphone. 

As with the first generation model, the new Protect tests itself over 400 times per day to ensure it is working correctly. The original model was built to last seven years before needing a replacement, but a change of chassis material and internal components means the new model will last 10 years before needing a replacement.

It has already passed the required tests for smoke alarms in the US, and other international testing facilities have passed it with flying colours too. That means Nest is able to put the new Protect up for pre-order today, and will be ready to ship to customers as early as next month, in wired and wireless versions for £89.

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