QOOLA Pro – A portable Ac that straps on anywhere you need
We got another call from the QOOLA team last month. It turns out that after the eyeSpa eye massager that we have last reviewed, they have gone back to the portable air conditioner idea and made an improved QOOLA successor. Despite being designed to do the same thing, the design of this QOOLA Pro is quite departed from the previous one. Instead of a neck brace, it is now more like a huge belt buckle. Let’s see whether it has gotten better or worse.
The set has arrived in a pale white cardboard box, pretty standard these days. The box size is around the size of average Samsung smartphones, thin for portable ACs. The QOOLA Pro has a claimed weight of just 190g, and the whole box isn’t much heavier than that. Let’s take off the lid and see what’s inside.
Inside lies the QOOLA Pro at the middle with its proprietary strap folded up beside it. A standard USB charging cable is found underneath the strap. The packing is very clean, with high density foam holding the items firmly in place. The strap is in a light gray with a color-matched buckle. It is worth noting that the device itself has a very modest matt finish, with little paint or coating.This might be done to avoid wear and tear from use, as QOOLA Pro is intended to be worn directly over the wearer’s skin.
QOOLA Pro retains the basic design of previous QOOLA products. As far as we know, it was mostly designed by the same team. The lines are minimal yet not plain, with some art deco-like stripes added to the top surface. The main turbine/fan is fully covered under a dome, the air intake is located along its gap while the large side vent on one side allows the air to escape. The cooling plate is found at the bottom side. QOOLA said it is made of some very highly conductive metal. It always feels cold to the touch even when off. A covered USB charging port is located beside it.
The strap is made out of a fine-knitted elastic material. It is more stretchy than usual, at the cost of being slightly more bouncy. But the QOOLA Pro is just 190g, so this shouldn’t be a problem. The stitchings are all done reasonably fine. I have done a rubbing test and confirmed that they won’t scratch your skin under use. It is buckled to the AC by backpack style buckles, which is pretty standard and more than durable enough for the task.
I have switched on QOOLA Pro after a full recharge. Two blue LEDs turn on when I click the power button once, indicating the chipset is cooling and the fan is turning. It comes with 3 default power levels without using its App, which is recommended especially when it is worn somewhere out of reach of my fingers.
The main difference seems to be the fan speed, as the plate gets pretty cool even at the lowest setting. The fan runs quiet before I switch to the highest mode, which makes about the same noise as other portable fans. QOOLA Pro blows out cool air from its vent as a byproduct of the cooling process. It gives a little boost to the cooling when tucked under my shirt.
The QOOLA team said the app isn’t fully ready yet, though we were given the APK of the test version for this review. On the app, we are able to select the actual temperature in addition to the basic 3-levels setting. QOOLA has explained to us that it works by using your phone as a controller. When the mini sensor on the QOOLA Pro reports back the actual temperature it has detected on the user’s skin, your phone will calculate and command the device to run up or down to retain the set temperature.
Once the length is working with the two buckles, the strap is pretty comfortable while worn on my waist, chest and back. The elastic material is similar to those used in sports equipment, so that is expected. Much of the strap can be removed and washed, a short section near the device doesn’t. This might require occasional washing with very skinny people, but for most it barely gets in contact with your skin. There is no opening on the sides, so I guess you can dip-wash the inner strap if you want (I won’t worry about that).
For your limbs and possibly also your neck, the strap design of QOOLA allows you to double-wrap for a good fit. They have moved the air intake to the sides to allow this, which is very helpful. Normal cooling is done by wearing it on your torso, and strapping it on elsewhere is mainly to relieve muscle soreness or bruises. Use the same two buckles to adjust strap length for an ideal fit. It does get more restricted with the strap wrapped around twice, but it is not intended for you to wear while on the move. I tried the maximum cooling mode to simulate an ice pack on my leg. It doesn’t get as cold in the beginning, but ice packs warm up pretty quick while QOOLA Pro retains the same chill throughout the time. Dripping on water is another plus for QOOLA.
I think this covers most aspects about the QOOLA Pro. Is it better than the original in cooling power? I think they are hard to compare, as the Pro allows you to mount it at very different spots. The cooling plate is larger and reaches the set temperature sooner, so performance-wise it is an improvement.. The strap does what it promises without going too fancy. Most importantly, one portable AC is never enough, so it is a good idea to combine it with other neck-based AC like the original QOOLA. Wear one on your neck and another on your lower back for maximum effect. They together still weigh less than a small bottle of water. I can see it finding many uses both outside and at home. I recommend it to everyone, I am keeping my trial unit!