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Accessories Internet of Things (IoT) Product Reviews

Mi Wifi Router 3C Review: Smarter and Faster with better Control

Mi has officially announced their Mi 3C WiFi router in India, today. If you’re looking for a router that’s simple, sleek, lightweight, good range, and with good control and flexibility, look no further, we found your perfect match. This Router is equipped with 4 outer antennas with 2.4 GHz single frequency, that makes it accessible from long distances, suited for larger homes. Also ensures a more stable connection with fast and optimised signal, with the highest rate of 300 MBps.

The Mi 3C router is designed for people who don’t really enjoy navigating through the admin console on the browser for setting up the router. Well, to be honest, it is not such a huge deal setting up a router, but who doesn’t love a simple app with a good interface especially when compared to a really outdated version of the same on the browser; The WiFi router can be set up with an app (Android or iOS). You’re good to go in a few steps; Just make sure you create an account with Mi. We can talk later about the app, but for now, here are some screen grabs to give you an idea of how this works.

The app reports both upload and download speeds coming into the router, making it easy to monitor the speed and usage more carefully. If you’re obsessive about testing your home WiFi speed at various points of the day, (really?) this can be done remotely too! So I ran some speed tests on the device to see how it fares on my WiFi, with the WiFi boost option etc. The WiFi boost option basically checks the WiFi quality, signal strength, Bandwidth allocation and network speed and makes decisions for optimisation. However, on my network, every time it said no optimisation was required.

I personally like how I can limit and set priorities for bandwidth usage of every connected device. If I’m streaming music and gaming at the same time, I would allocate more bandwidth for the gaming device compared to music streaming, and such. This is rather helpful if you are constantly maxing out on your connection. So, the next time your roommate’s friend is coming over and using up all your bandwidth, you know what to do!

You can also create guest networks for friends to use if you don’t want to share your password with them, and if you want to restrict access to shared files (if any). In case you’d like to share the password, the sharing options have also been made simple, like copying to a clipboard etc., and sharing over Messaging apps like ‘WeChat’. 

I agree, if you are more of an advanced user who likes playing around with the connection settings on the console, installing custom firmware or setting up various access points with the same network, you may not want to use the app but seriously, who would not like a no-nonsense setup and usage? The console on the browser can also be used if you’re concerned about the flexibility of options. In my observation, one of the primary drawbacks of this device is the presence of only three Ethernet ports. However, my connection speeds with the cable and over WiFi was pretty much the same. So unless you need connecting to multiple machines via LAN cables, this shouldn’t be an issue.

The Mi Wifi Router 3C priced at INR 1199, is a steal deal and definitely is a competition to the market leaders like D-link in this segment. To wrap up the review, for convenience, a great performance right out of the box. I would prefer this pocket-friendly, lightweight and consumer experience focussed router to the more expensive counterparts with the Guest Access/App Setup/Home control features.

As the first step to a whole wider range of other IoT/home automation devices and home connectivity, this is a really welcome beginning!

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Accessories Product Reviews

Mi Air Purifier 2 Review: Improves your Indoor Air Quality

According to the WHO report, 22 of the world’s 50 most polluted cities are in India, contributed significantly by industrial and vehicular exhaust. 

Air purifier is one of the things people should really consider buying, but generally are very wary about it. There are a few reasons – One, It’s something you think you don’t need; Two, even if you make a mind to get one, its very expensive.

The biggest caveat of an Air Purifier is that, it is not visual, like a water purifier. Remember the advertisements that show you the dirty water, one purifies it and then drinks the same water. Well, it isn’t that easy with air. However, the Air pollution is really harmful  and the adverse effects are measured in years. With water, at-least you have an option not to drink it and choose to drink something else; with air? well, you’re already in trouble!

http://aqicn.org/map/india/
http://aqicn.org/map/india/

A month ago, Xiaomi introduced its first smart home product to India, Mi Air Purifier 2. Priced at INR 9,999, Mi Air Purifier 2 is an intelligent product with smart features that make using it to clean the air simply effortless. I have been using this product for over a month now and I am definitely impressed.

The setup is simple. It’s just plug and play. This is the first ecosystem, home appliance product from Xiaomi in India. Most of these products are made by third party companies that Xiaomi invested in or partnered with. XIAOMI provides them the marketing, sales channel etc. The internal engineering team ensures that all the products feel consistent regardless of the 3rd party company they come from.

Mi Air Purifier 2 seamlessly connects to the cloud via Wi-Fi, enabled by the Mi Home app (Android and iOS), which acts as the central hub for a range of smart home products from Mi Ecosystem and other third-party companies. The app also tells you when to replace the filter. You don’t need to clean it yourself or rather, you can’t clean it completely.

Mi Air Purifier 2 - FilterThe 360° cylindrical filter on Mi Air Purifier 2 takes in air more efficiently from every direction compared to conventional air purifiers. Its triple-layer design removes particles larger than 0.3 microns with a high-density EPA filter, while an activated carbon filter removes formaldehyde, bad odour and other harmful substances.

Mi Air Purifier 2 quickly removes PM2.5 particles, dust, indoor plant pollen, pet fur and more. With its high 310m3/h CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate), Mi Air Purifier 2 takes just 10 minutes to circulate purified air in a 21m2 room. 

You could just brush off the dirt and dust from the pre-filter. For the internals, you may have to replace the filter.

It doesn’t make too much of noise. Vouching for it, it doesn’t make any noise at all in a relatively cleaner room, where the air quality is better. There is a buzzing sound when the fans are running on full throttle. But that stays for few minutes before it turns back to normal. The motor is extremely energy efficient with advanced aerodynamics to reduce noise and wind resistance, resulting in a noise level as low as 30dB in Night mode.

The intake is in the bottom side and the fans are blowing the fresh Clean air from the top.

Mi-Air-Purifier-2-Top

The air purifier uses 4.8 watts and the energy consumption is low. To increase awareness about air pollution, Xiaomi has now become the first smartphone brand in India to integrate Air Quality Index (AQI) data — which also reflects the measurement of PM2.5 particles in the air —  into its MIUI 8 Weather app.

People have a myth that, one you’re indoors, you breathe fresh air and air quality is fine. If you have or planning to buy an air purifier, we recommend you use them in the place where you spend most of your time. For some, bed room could be the most ideal one. The design of the product is kids and pets friendly; also stays stable and grounded. Ideally this should be placed on the floor. So do not use it on a table. 

Being less expensive isn’t the only reason why we recommend this product; The build quality and companion mobile app are top-notch as well. 

Summing up, This is a product that grows with you. I mean to say, you do not see a visual difference in your health immediately to say things had gone better. However, it would definitely make your lives better overtime. For people who would still rely on the numbers, the companion app does give you the metrics on how the Air quality has improved.

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Accessories Product Reviews

Zagg Pocket Keyboard Review: A Nifty Smartphone Accessory

Smartphones have really transformed over the years. While there are lots of new hardware which are included every year, something that went missing is the physical keyboard which many of the business phones had. While its faster to use the onscreen keyboard, few of us still prefer a physical keyboard. Especially, the ones who love to work or write long.

Meet this portable keyboard from Zagg, which is simple and compact; and works great with any smartphone or tablets.

The keyboard is designed well. When folded, it is compact and is around 9” tall. Its thin and light. You could easily slip it into your bag. Could it fit in your pocket? Well, that’s subjective!

Zagg Pocket Keyboard

The Keyboard connects to your smartphones/tablets using Bluetooth. Pairing it is very simple and quick. It worked perfectly with different gadgets I tried – iPad, iPhone and various other Android Phones.

This keyboard promises a great battery life of a couple of years between charges. It goes into standby mode when its not being used to conserve battery life. There is no power button on the keyboard; The magnets on the device keeps the Pocket folded and help maintain battery life by automatically turning it off when closed. There is a 2 to 3 second lag when the keyboard wakes up from standby mode and it automatically shuts off when closed. You can recharge by connecting a micro USB cable to the keyboard.

The Zagg keyboard has built-in holders to hold up the device to give a more upright position and a computer feel to the user. This is also slightly a problem, as you get only a fixed angle.

Zagg Pocket Keyboard Review

The chicklet keyboard feels great to use. It’s not a touchpad but an actual keyboard in true sense, with true key presses. Although, the size looks smaller than a standard keyboard, it’s not cramped. The Pocket maintains over 85% the typing space of a desktop keyboard. I was still able to type with great accuracy and quick. The device has a neatly laid out keys. Pleasantly surprised at the tactile feedback. The key travel is very short; ideal for those with a light touch when typing.

The hardware quality could’ve been slightly better. It does feel plastic though. The keyboard has been designed to be used only on a flat surface and will not work that great on your lap or any other unstable surface.

Zagg Pocket Keyboard Layout

After using the ZAGG Pocket Keyboard for a couple of weeks now, I’ve really started to enjoy it. I wrote this entire review using this keyboard paired with my iPhone. I even used this on my seat tray in the flight and it fitted in perfect regardless of the space between.

While there are few areas of improvements, I would still recommend this. If you are a writer,  It’s a great accessory for your phone. Its easy to use and most importantly, portable while you travel. It will take sometime to get used to; but once you do, you will start to enjoy typing on this.

The Zagg Pocket Keyboard works on both iOS and Android devices and is available on Amazon.in here.