Smart air-conditioner controllers: Check first if air-con is compatible

The Ambi Climate unit does almost the same thing as the Tado but, unlike its German competitor, it is from Hong Kong and its creator is actually Singaporean.

Users need to install the Android or iOS app to aid in the set-up.

The Ambi Climate is slightly easier to set up than the Tado, but it still required me to contact its support staff.

This is because the software requires users to select the model of their air-conditioner's remote control. The information is usually found on the back of each remote.

But the one shown on my unit was incorrect, and there was another remote that I should select, for better compatibility, so I was told.

None of this was listed in an instruction manual. So, I recommend that you start by contacting customer service first, to check if your air-conditioner is compatible with the Ambi Climate.

The device stands upright. Its wide base allows it to sit neatly on a table top.

Three green indicator lights glow steadily when everything is normal. One shows Wi-Fi connectivity; the second, the power icon; and the third, a cloud icon.

The app learns your usage habits and can show a graph based on usage and temperature patterns in the room.

Like the Tado, the Ambi Climate works with an infrared transmitter, so it needs a clear line of sight.

I placed the device off to one side, on a dressing table, and it worked fine.

You do need a separate device for each home air-conditioner unit you want to control.

And those with central air-conditioning units will have to look elsewhere for remote access.

Instead of trying to replicate the controls on a conventional air-conditioner remote control, which offers fan speed, date, time and other icons that many of us tend to ignore, Ambi Climate's app is more of a redesign of your remote.

Swipe right to control the louvre, fan speed and swing of air blades. Slide your fingers across a row of numbers to increase fan speed. The app tracks room temperature, although this is not shown on the unit, unlike with the Tado.

It even records the data to show what temperatures the air-conditioner had been set at.

Instead of making you work out the right temperature for your room, you just select the comfort level option closest to how you feel, and the device will change the temperature accordingly.

After a while, the device learns your preferences and builds a profile. This makes sense if you are the only occupant, but it would be difficult to pull off with more people in the room.

Alas, the Ambi Climate unit does not have a proximity setting, so if you want to cool the home before you get there, you have to remember to do so manually.

TECH SPECS

PRICE: $279

CONNECTIVITY: Wi-Fi/bluetooth

DISPLAY: Three front-facing LEDs

RATINGS

PERFORMANCE: 4/5

FEATURES: 3/5

DESIGN: 3/5

EASE OF USE: 4/5

OVERALL: 3/5


This article was first published on Feb 10, 2016.
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