Can the affordable Realme TechLife Air Purifier counter indoor pollution?

Just ahead of what we dismally call the “pollution season”, Realme is making an early move into the air purifier space in India. The Realme TechLife Air Purifier will likely make Philips, Honeywell and Xiaomi sit up and take notice
Realme is making an early move into the air purifier space in India. The Realme TechLife Air Purifier, priced at <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>6,999, will likely make Philips, Honeywell and Xiaomi sit up and take notice. (Realme TechLife)
Realme is making an early move into the air purifier space in India. The Realme TechLife Air Purifier, priced at 6,999, will likely make Philips, Honeywell and Xiaomi sit up and take notice. (Realme TechLife)
Published on Nov 03, 2021 03:15 PM IST
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Soon after the festival season, as the weather will change and the mercury will dip with the onset of winter, we will face the problem of air pollution.

Unlike in other seasons, pollutants will remain trapped in the air. While we cannot do much about the outdoors, there is some hope for the indoors.

We spend a lot of hours at home – and it’s quite a lot these days. Air purifiers do provide significant respite inside homes, for all the polluted air that’ll stream in, merging with indoor pollutants such as pollen and fumes, making it a deadly cocktail.

Just ahead of what we dismally refer to as the “pollution season”, Realme is making an early move into the air purifier space in India. The Realme TechLife Air Purifier, priced at 6,999, will likely make Philips, Honeywell and Xiaomi sit up and take notice.

The Realme TechLife Air Purifier’s design does remind us of the larger design language of air purifiers made by Blueair, the Swedish air quality experts. Maybe it’s the contours, maybe it’s the mix of curves and straight lines.

This purifier isn’t very tall while the clean air emerges from the top and there are touch controls on the panel within the circumference of the clean air vent.

Also Read: Crackers or not, Diwali to plunge air into ‘very poor’ range in Delhi

You may be wondering if this design of the clean air vent will hamper the flow of air from the purifier. Rest assured, it has similar total coverage area as a Philips 2000 series air purifier.

In fact, Realme insists that the Air Duct Design on the inside allows more clean air to be churned out. We didn’t see this struggling to spread clean air. The front panel is removable, and that’s where you access the filters from.

It is pretty much par for the course that there is a prefilter and a HEPA filter that the air will pass through on its way out. The prefilter is essential to capture the larger dust particles, lest the HEPA filter layer does that job, which will mean it’ll get clogged sooner.

The pre-filter can be washed. The HEPA filter itself is a high-efficiency H12 grade spec, which theoretically is among the most capable filters for home air purifiers. These will capture particles as large as or larger than 0.3 microns.

A thick filter is what the Realme TechLife Air Purifier uses, which is good since there is more filter for the pollution and particulate to pass through. It will still be some time before it’ll reach that stage, but there are claims that this can last as much as 2,800 hours of use. That will vary significantly based on how polluted your home gets from time to time.

Realme has used air quality sensors made by Sharp, to keep tabs on your room’s air quality PM 2.5 levels, also marked as AQI or Air Quality Index. Sharp itself makes very capable air purifiers, which most certainly gives the Realme TechLife Air Purifier a solid foundation to build on.

A simple guide - if the air quality in your room is good, the light will be green; if it is moderate, that’ll be yellow; and red, as the colour suggests, is a red flag for bad air quality.

You have the choice of leaving this on the auto mode and letting the sensors alter the fan speed and power based on these readings. Or you can simply select one of the three fan speeds manually.

A timer lets you set this to turn off after two, four or eight hours. And the Sleep mode, as the name indicates, quietens things down so that even the faint whirring of the fan inside the purifier doesn’t bother you in the silence of the night.

In our testing experience with the Realme TechLife Air Purifier, which incidentally is coinciding with a steady increase in pollution and a decrease in ambient air quality, this does seem very sensitive and reactive to even the slightest of AQI changes.

Crack open a window for about 30 seconds, after the Realme TechLife Air Purifier has stabilised the air in the room, and this immediately detects a new pocket of air, and speeds up if need be.

Testing this with a Laser Egg 2 air quality monitor, this takes 15 minutes to bring down the AQI readings from 123 microgram/cubic meter (ug/m3) to a steady 24 ug/m3.

The fan is audible when it is at its max speed, while there is a gentle hum at medium speed and it is barely audible at the lowest fan speed.

What’ll definitely count as a miss is the lack of a smartness quotient. And by that, we mean the lack of any Wi-Fi connectivity that would allow for smartphone control.

Mind you, it isn’t exactly common in this price range, but the Xiaomi Mi Air Purifier 2S (around 8,999) has it.

While there are variables such as how long the HEPA filter would last and how well this holds up when the brunt of bad pollution becomes a reality in the peak of winter, there is no doubt that the Realme TechLife Air Purifier is building the blocks of experience on a solid foundation.

The thick HEPA filter layer, the air quality sensors made by Sharp and a design that blends into the background in your room, are positives. As is the price tag.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Vishal Mathur is Technology Editor for Hindustan Times. When not making sense of technology, he often searches for an elusive analog space in a digital world.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2022