Hands-on with Nest's thermostat from a galaxy far away

We called the Nest the "thermostat for the 21st century" based on its looks alone. No kidding. No surprise: it's designed by someone who oversaw the design of the iPod, so you know it's bound to garner some serious attention. We finally got to see the sold-out thermostat in person and it's every bit as fantastic as we thought it was.

It's hard to get giddy over a thermostat, but we did. Rather than come in a bland white box, the Nest is a cylindrical-shaped thermostat that is controlled by spinning its outer ring.

Learning how to use it is as easy as understanding the iPod's click wheel. Why is that? That's because the Nest shares a common link: Tony Fadell, a key hardware engineer largely credited for the design of the original iPod. That's right, Fadell is pegged for masterminding the concept of the iPod, but Steve Jobs is often seen as the man who took all the credit, because he marketed it like a masterful showman.

Within seconds I was turning and navigating Nest's abundant menus without any frustration.

It's also smartphone, tablet and laptop controllable. With the Nest Mobile app, you can use your iPhone to adjust all of the settings without ever having to walk over to it.

There's more. Because it has a powerful ARM mobile processor, it has the brains to really learn how your thermostat-cranking habits. After adjusting the Nest for a week, turning it down when you leave the house, up when you're cold and down when you're hot, it'll intuitively create a schedule of your individual usage and start adjusting itself for you.

The Nest is so ahead of the curve, that it feels like a gadget straight out of Star Trek.

It's been on sale since November for $250, but like we said, it's sold out. No word on when it'll be back in stock. Too bad, I'd buy one in a heartbeat.

See for yourself how simple yet smart the Nest is in the video down under.

Posted on location at CES 2012 in Las Vegas.

All photos taken by Raymond Wong for DVICE. Video shot and edited by Raymond Wong for DVICE.

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