With tropical climate comes sweltering weather, and along with that, the demand for personal air coolers is on a rise among homeowners – after all, not every home has an air conditioning installed.
With that said, Close Comfort, a West-Australian company, has released a new portable air conditioner, the Close Comfort Cool Focus Personal Air Conditioner. Set to focus on the individual, the aircon offers a unique take on personal air cooling.
The Cool Focus is neither an air cooler, nor a conventional aircon, but a personal aircon as what it essentially does is that it creates a microclimate around you instead of trying to cool a whole room – think of it as creating a bubble of cool air around it.
What sets the Cool Focus apart from your typical aircon is that Close Comfort claims that you can save up to 75% on power as it consumes only 300 watts for a single day of 8 hours of use. That only adds up to less than S$216/year, $18/month, or S$0.60 per day. This is a huge steal as compared to a typical air conditioner which can rake up an electrical cost of about S$1,080/year.
We immediately tested out this cool tool in our office. After starting it up, the machine only took 19 seconds to start cooling the air. What stands out is that the machine is extremely easy to set up out of the box, as there is no need to attach external drain tubes or refrigerant piping.
The power cable is also very long, stretching out to a maximum length of 4m, which means the Cool Focus can easily reach any part of your room from a single PowerPoint.
Close Comfort claims that the Cool Focus can be used in a variety of situations such as in home-offices and dorms, and it can even be used with the windows open. This is a great plus because unlike the conventional aircon that recirculate stale air, the Cool Focus is constantly filling the room with fresh and cooled air, as long as there is an open-source. Hence, we reckon that the versatile nature of the Cool Focus will even allow it to be used even in outdoor settings such as balconies or during the outdoor table during a BBQ.
The Cool Focus also boasts an easy maintenance process as there is no need to refill or drain water condensation from the machines and no need for the recharging of refrigerants. The only maintenance you will find yourself doing is cleaning out the 3 dust filters. There is one in the front, back, and on the top, and three are super easy to remove and replace. We recommend cleaning the Cool Focus once every fortnight, depending on the usage.
What’s more, all these perks only come at the price of S$649. That’s less than half the price of an average air conditioning unit which can cost up to S$2,000 discounting maintenance and installation fees.
However, like every other bit of tech out there, the Cool Focus Personal Air Conditioner does come with its own set of drawbacks.
The Cool Focus does not cool the room, meaning, if you live with a large family, it cannot really help to keep everyone cooled. Also, with a body weighing at 17kg, the Cool Focus is quite the heavy unit. However, the company has kindly attached wheels for it to be easily wheeled around, so, there is no need to do back any breaking work of lifting the entire unit.
The unit works by drawing in the surrounding air. Next, the compressor cools this air to lower degrees than ambient temperature. But, we realised that in the process, it will generate hot air from the back, which ended up warming up the other half of the room.
Moreover, this is more of a nitpick on our end but the covers have to be raised manually. We wished it could have been electronically raised in order to complete the cool design for our cooling machine. Also, it would be better to have a manual button on the machine itself. For now, the machine can only be activated via a remote controller and if you should lose the remote, well, then you will probably find yourself in hot waters with your machine.
Furthermore, assuming that the Cool Focus works, the unit only has sufficient power in cooling an area of 1.5m distance from it. Using our temperature tool, we were able to directly measure the surrounding temperature of the air from the personal aircon. After 10 minutes, we measured the temperature of the surface of a table next to the unit, which was at least 10 degrees lower than the temperature of the other end of the table, which was not within the cooling radius of the Cool Focus.
We even did a humidity test by seeing how dry our skin felt after using the air conditioner. In the end, we felt that the Cool Focus does not cause the air to dry drastically, unlike normal air conditioners which usually do. We could also keep the windows open, hence allowing the air in the room to constantly circulate in and out. However, we do have to say that the dryness of the air is also subjected to the surrounding air of your own room.
But since it releases hot air, what we do recommend is having proper ventilation so the heat from the aircon will be able to dissipate more effectively. Essentially, a closed room will not change the performance of the machine within the cooling zone, as the heat from the output will affect the temperature of the rest of the room.
Condensation does gather on the lid after use, so there is a need to do a quick wipe down whenever you are done using the Cool Focus. As for the noise level, we tested the machine in the low, medium, and high setting. As expected, when the machine is set on high, users may find it somewhat distracting over prolonged hours of use. We would recommend a low or medium setting so that noise level won’t affect your work or sleep.
For an additional S$99, the Cool Focus also comes with an additional igloo tent. The tent itself doubles as a cooling tent and a mosquito net, which is very useful due to the rise of dengue cases in the scorching months ahead. The lightweight tent can also be used over your existing bed.
The Cool Focus does look good on paper, claiming that you can save more in the long run. The aircon does what it says and does it well, but it does come at a steep price. It is not designed for cooling the whole room but designed for personal use, so it will definitely not work well for those with more members in their household.
But if you’re living alone, in the dorms, or want the cool comfort while working from home during this period, and want to save some serious cash, you may not find a cooler that is as hassle-free and easy to use as this all-in-one packaged personal air conditioner. The portability means you can easily wheel it across your home, from sitting on the couch watching TV, sitting by the balcony enjoying a drink, or even cooling off with your furry friends throughout the day. Those looking for a personal air cooler can look no further than the Cool Focus.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
Suffering alone in sweltering heat will no longer be a problem if you’re living with the cool comfort of the Cool Focus Personal Air Conditioner.
Aesthetics - 7.5/10
Build Quality - 8/10
Performance - 8/10
Value - 8/10
Geek Satisfaction - 8/10