Nara – Gimmick or the smart air purifier for a new era?
A while ago, the Aquapur team emailed us about their new air purifier and asked us to review it. To be honest, we weren’t too excited at first, as an air purifier is basically… just an air purifier. But after seeing its EVE (from WALL-E) style design completed with a changing face, it looked fun so we agreed and told them to send us one.
A household air purifier like nara is useful for us city dwellers. When many tall buildings are around, the air pollution can get intense from time to time and damage your health. I personally own one purifier by Panasonic, which does its work well but operates solely manual. I only switch it on when AirVisual tells me that the pollution is high. Sometimes I keep it running even after the air quality has improved, which is a waste of power and filter lifespan. nara claims it can avoid that, so let’s see!
The air purifier came packed inside a basic cardboard box. The box lacks the usual specs and certification labels, so it might not be the finalized design. The purifier appears fully assembled, secured inside firmly. Only the nara, its cable, a sealed filter and a user manual came packed inside. I see this as a plus, for you can pack nara back into the box without taking it apart for storing or moving.
nara is around 40cm tall, has a conical shape with an opening for its “head”. A striking difference from most other air purifiers is that there is no air intake or outlet on nara. It takes in air from the small slot near its base, where the duct fan is located. The air passes through the filter and goes out again from the gap around its “head”. Like Dyson products, this prevents your finger from being caught by the fan blade and causes accidents. I unpacked the filter and fitted it into the base of the nara.
nara is a multiple-stage air purifier. While its main Nano Shield filter traps harmful particles and gas away, there is also a UV-C sterilizer, set at the common 254nm range to kill bacteria and viruses after they have been filtered out. UV-C is bad for your eyes and skin in direct contact, so it is hidden well inside the device for safety. Some air purifiers use Ozone to do the same, but it gives out some weird smell so I prefer the UV approach. I have plugged in and switched nara on. The ACQI is just 45 today, pretty good considering it can go up to 150 sometimes, so nara is showing a smiley face.
For a modern air purifier, the air quality sensors are just as important as its filters. Accurate data from the sensors will allow the purifier to run at the optimized level, so running noise is lower and filter life is longer. nara has a laser-particles sensor as well as a gas sensor. This combination is considered to be one of the best available. To test out how effective they are, we have decided to light one cigarette near nara and see how quick it can react.
The sensors reacted sooner than I had expected. Tobacco smoke is a mix of gas and particles, so we guess both of its sensors have captured its effect. The face of nara changed in about 15 seconds, with the fan speeding up noticeably. Under a direct lightsource, we can see the smoke getting sucked in by the base, and then spitted out again near its “neck” with most white smoke gone. Although the smell of tobacco still lingered around for a while, the larger, visible particles were removed quickly. I think nara has proven itself to be a decent air purifier. But what makes it different from the rest is its IOT/Internet connectivity. We will be testing it next.
Going to the Apple app store (Play Store for Android), I have downloaded one IOT app that is supported by nara. I have actually picked this one because I have downloaded it for another gadget before, and find it easy to use. As usual, I followed the instructions to link up nara to my home WiFi network so it can access the WWW and other devices in the network. nara is now collecting air quality data from the approved sites. I can also switch it on and off with my phone, or adjust power levels. This is very handy when I am in another room. This should really come standard on modern appliances.
So here is the end of today’s review. As an air purifier, nara does its job reasonably well, passing our smoke test easily. The sensors are also good, kicking in around 15 seconds after smoke has been present and turned up the power level. We have yet to test the filter life, but it should be more or less the same as other similar designs. Prepare to swap it every 4-6 months.
The facial display is a highlight and we all agree that it is a neat idea. By replacing texts and numbers with eye expressions and colors, it doesn’t only allow you to view from a greater distance, but also brighten up your day. I like the idea of replacing simple information in a similar style. After all, how much difference would there be between ACQI 62 and 68? You will turn up the purifier and let it do the rest anyway. I would recommend nara to anyone looking for an air purifier. 1-2 naras should cover most households.