Diwali is just around the corner. While some may look forward to the festival, there are others who know only too well how the choking smoke is going to affect them. And how that night is a preview of what is to come all through winter. We do not wear masks, and so far, we buy barely any air purifiers. And yet, if we want to protect ourselves from the insidious effects of bad air, we should be really worried.

Believing that this country could really do with air purifiers, Xiaomi has launched the first of its connected home products in India. In China, Xiaomi has over 55 partner companies working on IOT products, but these will only be brought into India when the market for them seems mature enough. But, the Mi Air Purifier 2 is in, and even disregarding the startlingly low price, it seems a great product.

Does it work?

Most air purifiers do not bother with any kind of indicators. In any case, these can so easily be fabricated. The Mi Air Purifier connects to your smartphone via the Mi Home app, which is where you can see what is going on when it is functioning. No one can see clean air, but the changes in the indicators seem to make sense. When cooking begins or too many doors open up, the PM2.5 indicator goes up — in my case to 550. At other times, specially with a bedroom closed and ready for sleep, the count has been down to 009. You can also smell and sense the freshness in a room where the machine is on.

How air is filtered

The Xiaomi purifier is a little white tower of about two feet. It looks trendy enough and yet understated enough not to stick out like a sore thumb, the way some radiator heaters tend to. The air from the room goes in from all four sides. Once in, it is handled by a cylindrical filter set which includes a PET filter for large particulars, an EPA filter for small ones, and an activated carbon filter which catches the smallest, unseeable matter and odours. This set of filters works with two fans. The filters can be pulled out with one tug, but they are not intended to be cleaned by the user. Every six months or so, the filter just has to be replaced — it will be available from the Mi Store and other online outlets for ₹2499. You may be tempted to wash or vacuum clean it, but that would be defeating the purpose as these methods will not tackle the smallest and most dangerous particles.

Connected to Home

From the Mi Home app, for which you must register with a Mi account, you can see the dashboard of your device. PM2.5 index, temperature, humidity, turbo or sleep controls, and more can be checked and controlled from your phone. In sleep mode, the machine is so quiet, you will have to go up and check if it is working. The one thing that is distinctly upsetting is looking at the number of days to the next filter change reducing before your very eyes.

Price: ₹9,999

Love: Connectedness, with indicators

Hate: No hand-grip to carry device easily