TechStage is an offering from one of the most widely used IT news services in Germany: heise online. The site focuses on comparison tests, guides, and buying advice on smartphones, smart homes, computers, and technology. In comparison with nine other air measuring devices, the air-Q was subjected to the practical test.
Natalie Lament, air-Q: Has the topic of air quality played a role in your office so far and how did you come across the air-Q air measuring device?
Schmerer: Yes, we have already published various articles in the context of the smarthome topic. So far, we have tested both air quality measuring devices and simple sensors, e.g. temperature or humidity. In the course of the last report, I was researching suitable air measuring devices to see what was new and came across the air-Q. We already had other devices in use, but the air-Q has the most measuring points with 14 different sensors. For example, there are not many meters that can measure ozone . Of course, there are individual ozone sensors, but they don't measure anything else.
Natalie Lament, air-Q: How do you usually conduct a test? In a practical test or do specialists or lay people test in the lab? How did you integrate the air-Q?
Schmerer: We don't have an affiliated laboratory and rely on Stiftung Warentest to select the products to be tested. The devices that do well there, we test our guide in practice. We focus on practical aspects, such as volume and possible locations, and test these in combination with smart home control. Stiftung Warentest has already established that the devices clean well, for example. This brings us closer to consumers. In our test, we coupled the air-Q with the air purifier. This works well with Smarthome-enabled devices such as the Philips air purifier. We integrated the devices via IFTTT and locally also via the Homey Pro and connected them to the air-Q.
Natalie Lament, air-Q: Among other things, you have tested smart air purifiers with integrated sensors with the air-Q. In your opinion, where is the relevance of an additional air measuring device?
Schmerer: That is easy to explain. The purifiers we examined usually only have a fine dust sensor integrated, which in some cases only analyzes particle sizes down to 2.5 pm. But air purifiers also clean the air of substances that can only be detected indirectly or not at all by the integrated sensor, such as VOCs. The idea is to clean the air not only on the basis of a single sensor, but much more efficiently thanks to the comprehensive analyses of a sensitive multi-sensor device such as the air-Q.
Natalie Lament, air-Q: You not only had the air-Q live in action, but after longer tests (e.g. at night) you evaluated the data via the app?
Schmerer: Yes, that also interested me personally. The beauty of the air-Q is that it records the data and then displays it graphically very nicely via the desktop interface. You don't necessarily have to use your phone with the small screen either, you can track it comfortably via the big screen. During the test, we were able to observe very interesting aspects, as the problem with Sahara dust in Munich arose during the test period. Whenever you ventilated, you might have been able to lower the CO₂ concentration in the room, but you brought more particulates into your home.
Natalie Lament, air-Q: What expectations did you have of the air-Q and were they met?
Schmerer: Yes, definitely. For example, the Xiaomi air purifier is equipped with an ionizer. According to scientific research, an imbalance of ions causes discomfort. The Xiaomi air purifier can just enrich the air with negative ions, but this process can create ozone. We had many excited reader inquiries regarding this. We were able to calm everyone down because the air-Q was able to prove over a long period of time that the ozone level in the air did not increase. What I also noticed at home with the air-Q is that, for example, when cooking, the fine dust level rises rapidly even in other rooms. That surprised me because you don't feel it.
Natalie Lament, air-Q: Are there any features that you still miss?
Schmerer: I would still like to see the push function, so that you can receive notifications directly on your cell phone when certain values are exceeded, for example. Especially when it comes to smarthome control, you naturally want to be able to monitor and control your home from anywhere. But the push notifications are supposed to come with the next app version, right?
Natalie Lament, air-Q: Exactly, this is already close to publication.
Schmerer: Furthermore, I would like to see even more Smarthome connections, since there are a lot of control centers.
Natalie Lament, air-Q: This is also already in the starting blocks. Many smart home standards are already integrated - including IFTTT, Homey, openHAB and others; also Homekit or Homebridge connection is already possible. Voice control through Alexa will come soon. Do you have any other suggestions for improvement or ideas for us?
Schmerer: I have noticed that far too little attention is paid to the subject of air quality. Many things are not known at all, e.g. air humidity or mold is not only dangerous for health, but also for the building fabric. If you have ever played around with such a device or if you look at the scientific studies of the effects of air pollutants, e.g. in the air-Q app, then you realize how important air quality is. And on top of that, you should read the quite excellent explanations of the individual pollutants, which are, after all, also available in the air-Q app. There's also the health advisor, which tells you what you can do to make the air better. Air purifiers are a story, but I read on your company blog that you've been looking into air-purifying plants as well. I discovered the whole topic of air quality for myself in a whole new way because of you. Many of our readers are also interested in this topic.
Natalie Lament, air-Q: Glad we could inspire your passion for air quality.
Schmerer: You can work on such topics much better with passion than if you just look at it objectively. I wanted to see the connection. We now know from the Corona crisis that air quality is important for health and the immune system. Northern Italy, for example, has very poor air quality due to the industrial areas and the Alps. The many cases of corona in northern Italy are certainly also due to this. Apart from testing the air purifiers, we also want to test 3D printers. Certain devices are likely to cause air contamination, and we want to test this with the air-Q in the future.
Natalie Lament, air-Q: Thank you for testing with our device and for supporting us.
Schmerer: To be honest, I'm not doing this to please you. I'm simply using the most powerful equipment on the market for the tests we do here. I'm pleased myself that we can offer our readers even a bit more value than would normally be the case.
Thank you for your time and support. We would also like to thank TechStage for the conducted field test and the opportunity for our air-Q air measurement device to present all its advantages. We look forward to further tests and results!