Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor review: small and inexpensive, but not very smart – The Verge

Amazon’s $69.99 Smart Air Quality Monitor is the company’s first foray into the increasingly popular category of indoor air quality monitors (IAQs). And, based on my experience with the product, it’s a bandwagon-jumping move. While relatively inexpensive and helpful thanks to voice control, the Smart Monitor doesn’t add anything particularly innovative or useful to the concept of a consumer air quality monitor.

An indoor air quality monitor purports to tell you all about nasties you can’t see floating around in your home (the EPA says indoor air may be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air). You may have heard about volatile organic compounds and other airborne pollutants that are common in modern homes, many of which can aggravate or contribute to respiratory diseases such as asthma. Common activities in our homes, such as cleaning and cooking (especially with gas), add minuscule particulates to the air that can cause harm and also exacerbate existing health conditions. And of course, the outdoor air can creep in, which, if you live near a busy road or in an area affected by wildfire smoke, can make life miserable.

Good Stuff

  • Inexpensive
  • Voice alerts for poor air quality
  • Nice, compact design
  • Can trigger Routines based on temperature
  • Stores historical data

Bad Stuff

  • Can’t trigger a smart air purifier based on air quality
  • Needs an Echo smart display or speaker
  • No carbon dioxide monitoring
  • Limited notifications
  • Poor app experience

A smart air quality monitor can not only give you a heads up when the air quality is going down so you can do something about it (open a window, turn on a fan, fire up an air purifier), but it should also do something about it without you needing to interfere, thanks to its connected nature.

“Alexa, what is the indoor air quality?”

For example, when particulate matter rises, a connected air quality monitor can tell a smart plug to turn on the fan connected to it or direct a smart thermostat to kick on the HVAC system to get the air moving or even trigger a smart air purifier to start cleaning the air.

Herein lies the problem with Amazon’s cute little $70 smart air quality monitor: it can’t do any of that.

What it can do is send an alert to your phone, announce over an Echo speaker, and indicate with its LED light when your air quality inside is poor. It can also turn on your heating or AC based on temperature, which could help move some air.

The Smart Monitor has a nice, compact design and is powered by a micro-USB cable.

There’s no on-device screen to show you exactly what’s wrong (a feature on almost all the competition); instead, you need to have a nearby Echo Show to see your readings (or look in the app). The alert it sends just says the air quality is poor — no other info. Other monitors I’ve tested will send …….



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