The Mi Air Purifier 2 from Xiaomi is smart, simple, affordable and effective.
In the early-90′s people would think you were a lunatic if you told them that one day you’d be buying “mineral” water bottles. The water that came out of taps in most homes was fit enough to drink or maximum one would add a dumb filter that would attach itself to the tap and you had clean, drinking water. Not anymore. The same seems to be the case with the air that we breathe.
According to WHO, India has half of the world’s 20 most polluted cities when it comes to PM2.5 particulates in the air. The problem gets worse in Delhi during winters and last year I spent two months of breathing agony. Since then I have tried a variety of air purifiers but most of them cost upwards of Rs 30,000, look out of place in a house and are quite noisy too. Like everything else, Xiaomi thinks it could fix this too. Say hello to the Mi Air Purifier 2.
The Mi Air Purifier 2 is unlike any air purifier in the market when it comes to design. This is probably the only air purifier that even mom got excited about and approved it to be fit for the living room. The Mi Air Purifier 2 is relatively small, is well built with good quality plastic and would possibly fit right into most home decors. It is just 20-inches tall and takes less space on the floor than an A4 sheet of paper. The compact dimensions ensure it doesn’t stick out in the room.
Setting up the Mi Air Purifier 2 is extremely simple. All you need is the Mi Home app, which is available both for Android and iOS. Plug the device to a power source and switch it on. On the Mi Home app, search for a new device and the Mi Air Purifier 2 should show up. Connect it and follow the steps on the phone to connect it to a Wi-Fi network. And you are all set.
From the app, you will not only be able to switch the Mi air Purifier 2 on and off but also control the fan speed, change modes and see the air quality, temperature and humidity in real time. You can set the fan speed, put it into sleep mode or just set it to auto where the fan would automatically adjust the speed depending on the air quality. The unit is connected to your Mi Account so you can control it from multiple devices. In case you want to go the old fashioned way, you can even toggle through various modes from the button on top of the unit. But to see the air quality and other details, you will have to use the app.
Talking about the fans, the Mi Air Purifier 2 is disturbingly quiet. The first time I powered it on, I had to physically check the unit to ensure the fans were running. They were. Xiaomi says this has been made possible thanks to two specially designed fans and a high quality brushless DC motor, which have been inspired by a aircraft engines. There is an axial fan at the top that throws the air upwards into the room in 360 degrees. The second fan has a mix of axial and turbine blades to suck air into the purifier from the ducts on all sides of the unit. This air passes through the cylindrical filter and the clean air is thrown out by the first fan. There is a brushless DC motor sandwiched between the two fans.
Xiaomi says the two fans work in sync and that shows in the quietness of the device when it operates. The only time you can hear the Mi Air Purifier 2 is when it is in turbo mode, which kicks in when the air quality is bad.
The design and smarts of the Mi Air Purifier 2 is okay but the most important thing of any air purifier is its filter. So far, of all the air purifiers I have tested, most of them come with a flat filter compartment in which three-four sheets of filters are assembled. You have to manually put in each filter and take it out to clean. Xiaomi has obviously innovated there as well.
Instead of having flat sheets of multiple filters, Xiaomi has designed a cylindrical three-layered filter. The first layer is the PET filter that blocks larger particles like dust, hair and others. The second is an EPA filter, which traps the tiny PM 2.5 and PM 0.3 air borne particulates. The final one is made of activated carbon for odors and formaldehyde. The EPA filter Xiaomi is using is capable of removing up to 95 percent of PM 0.3 air borne particles. The more expensive ones from Philips and BlueAir have a HEPA filter that can clean upwards of 99 percent. But they are also at least three times as expensive.
Xiaomi says that one filter should be able to last for six months, depending on usage. The Mi Home app also gives indication of the filter condition so you can order one in advance. The replacement filter costs Rs 2,499 and will be available from mi.com. Removing and changing the filter is extremely simple. You just have to remove the back panel and pull a tab to remove the filter. Putting one back in is even simpler and you just have to slide it in. It is strange that Xiaomi has not announced any recycling program for the filters, considering it is the most expensive component and users cannot use it for anything else.
In terms of usage, I found it extremely easy to use. While there are not many ways to prove the effectiveness of an air purifier but I could experience some of its usefulness. I lugged the device from Delhi to Bangalore and used it at a friend’s house, who was going through a severe spate of allergic bronchitis attacks. After using the Mi Air Purifier 2 for a couple of days, she thought she could breathe better at home. Yes, it is a purely unscientific test and it could be purely psychological but it did work.
Xiaomi has priced the Mi Air Purifier 2 for Rs 9,999, which is a new benchmark for this product category. It claims the unit uses less energy than an energy-saving light bulb so the running costs won’t give you an electricity bill shock later either. At this price and running cost, the Mi Air Purifier 2 makes a lot of sense for anyone who had been sitting on the fence about buying an air purifier. I would recommend this for those who already have breathing problems or have pets at home.
The Mi Air Purifier 2 could also make for a good Diwali purchase too, especially considering the pollution level spike we see during that period. It goes on sale on mi.com/in on September 26 and will also be available on Flipkart from October 2.