Engulfed in yet another cloud of smog, AllChinaTech explores last year’s RMB 899 (USD 140) Xiaomi Mi Air Purifier – the only air purifier model of theirs that is currently available for puchase.
What do you get when you combine Xiaomi peripherals with ‘smarts’? A box of freshness that looks cool – likely performs admirably (read on to find out) – but in practice seems so far to be over-hyped.
What Xiaomi brings to the table:
Xiaomi offers a high-style proposition in its Mi Air Purifier, something that kind of looks like a chic paper shredder, but has some of the nice beeps and LEDs that come in a cooler 21st century ‘smart’ gadget.
The Mi Air Purifier is fully controllable from a smartphone-installed app and theoretically works like an air purifier with an advanced thermostat; able to turn itself off when not needed, able to remind you to open your windows when the weather outside is good and able to remind you to change the filter. Bear in mind, I’m comparing this to my Smart Air ‘Original’ unit that costs a fourth of the price, delivers on its promise and offers no convenience other than performing its primary function.
Yes it’ll likely clean up the garbage air inside a smaller sized room; it has a variety of modes to suit your different lifestyle – importantly, the machine is able to automatically adjust its noise output – a common complaint of air purifier owners – but is it really all that convenient?
What I did:
On one wholesome pollution-filled day in Beijing, I brought to work two things – my Origins Laser Egg particle counter/AQI testing unit and my trusty ol’ Smart Air ‘Original’ fan-centric purifier.
Putting them to the test at about 10am this morning, I placed my Smart Air in one room and the Xiaomi purifier in another similarly-sized room.
What did I uncover?
My office rooms seem to have a strange constellation of factors that prevent these purifiers from working as they should. Beginning the experiment, my readings were at AQI US 190. 16 minutes into the experiment I walked in to take readings, which now sat at about 155 and this is where readings would remain. An hour in, two hours in, still at 150…
So can I vouch for its effectiveness? So far, not really.
I will say this much however, my building likely has an air intake leak which is preventing me from gathering accurate readings. I intend to rectify this in part 2 where I will attempt the same experiment in my home.
Where it falls short:
Placing my Laser Egg monitor at a distance of about 5 meters from the machine, my PM2.5 readings were at about 112 today. The machine, however, reports readings of 5. Puzzled, I placed my Laser Egg on top of the machine and what do you know, my Laser Egg also reported readings of 5.
So if the machine reports readings of 5 but nearby readings are almost 3 times that amount, how can you trust the machine to self-manage turning itself on and off when needed?
In short, it appears you cannot. Today’s Beijing AQI readings from several reputable sources, including the U.S embassy’s particle counter and the Chinese State Government’s own readings, clearly contradict the findings from the Xiaomi purifier, which essentially means the purifier won’t turn itself on.
After playing with the Xiaomi box for about half a day I’ve uncovered essentially that it’s a cool looking thing that links up with smartphones and all but where it counts – in the value-add stakes – it doesn’t seem to bring the goods. Does this mean its a write-off?Not yet, at least until I can ascertain whether the primary function of the unit indeed works as it should.
Stay tuned for part two where I take the Mi Air Purifier to the bedroom and test to see if it can outperform my Phillips and Smart Air Purifiers!