Can’t afford Dyson's Pure Cool Link? Try the Mi Air Purifier instead [Review]
Having revolutionized the world of vacuum cleaning, James Dyson moved his attention to hand drying, heating and cooling. The latest gadget to roll off the Dyson production line is the IoT-enabled Pure Cool Link air purifier. Like just about every Dyson product out there, reviews are almost universally positive, but there is the question of the price tag.
The Pure Cool Link comes at something of a premium (be prepared to part with around $500), but it's certainly not a unique product. Dyson may have blazed a trail in many areas, but when it comes to air purifiers, it wasn't the first, and it certainly isn’t the cheapest. Take, for instance the Mi Air Purifier from Xiaomi. It's a relative snip at just $200, and the lower price tag doesn’t mean missing out on the Internet of Things.
Look to Dyson's advertising, and you'll see that the Pure Cool Link's HEPA filtering system removes "99.97% of allergens and pollutants as small as 0.3 microns". Despite being significantly cheaper, the Xiaomi device boast very much the same specs: "it filters out over 99% of particles sized 0.3μm and larger". Specifically, it is claimed that the Mi Air Purifier filters out 91 percent of formaldehyde and other harmful substances, 99.3 percent PM0.3 (0.3μm inhalable particles), and 100 percent dust, pollen and other large particles.
Does it work? Without specialist equipment to independently monitor air quality, it’s hard to say exactly what's going on, but the Mi Air Purifier certainly makes a noticeable difference. I'm lucky enough not to suffer from any allergies, but my girlfriend is not so lucky. In the month or so I have been testing the unit, she has come to rely on it to prevent irritation of her throat and lungs. There are times, such as after cleaning the house, or after using the open fire when the Air Purifier has a discernible effect on the air. But even when it's just left running, the air feels different... and a bit cooler.
As well as removing unwanted particles from the air, it also manages to do a good job of eliminating smells. Not that I live in a smelly house, you understand, but I cook, we have two cats. Smells happen. The Mi Air Purifier does keep things at bay.
Just like the Dyson Pure Cool Link, there's an app available for the Mi Air Purifier (iOS and Android) that not only allows for monitoring of air quality, but also for controlling the unit itself. The Mi device does not have the uber futuristic look of the Dyson, but it's still a good looking piece of kit. It's beautifully simple, and keep wonderfully elegant thanks to the single button to be found on the top. This button allows for powering up and down, as well as cycling between some of the available modes. But fire up your smartphone, and the app gives you access to far more settings, and gives you advice about when to open the window, and tells you when the filter needs to be changed.
The button on the Mi Air Purifier can only be used to access three different purification 'speeds'. Fire up the Mi Home app, however, and you'll find that it's far more flexible than you first thought. There is a 'standard' purification mode, but also an intensive mode that can clean the air in an entire room in a claimed 12 minutes. It has a CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) of 406m³ of air per minute, and is effective in rooms sized 28.4m2~48.7m2.
You might well be concerned about the volume of an air purification system, and the standard, automatic mode is certainly audible, but soon blends into the background. Intensive, High Speed mode is loud, but it's not an invasive sound. It's not something you'd want to endure all day, that's for sure, but for a quick blast it's something you should be easily able to put up with for a few minutes. If you like the idea of running the unit in the bedroom while you sleep, there is a night mode option which not only dims the activity light but also make the unit run far, far quieter. For the most part, the auto setting does a great job. The on-board sensor detect the current air quality and adjust the power accordingly.
With a footprint of just 260mm x 260mm, and measuring 735mm tall, the Mi Air Purifier is not huge, but it is noticeable. It is a good-looker, and it's much lighter than you might think -- very easy to carry one-handed from room to room.