When one mentions the word ‘smarthome’, the thought that comes to mind is usually lightbulbs, security cameras and smart speakers. What if I told you there’s a device for the air cond too? Well, there is and we have here the review of the Ambi Climate 2. The Ambi Climate 2 is essentially a smart remote control for your aircond with a few tricks up its sleeve.
From here onwards, the term ‘Ambi Climate’ is referring to Ambi Climate 2.
[Disclaimer: This Ambi Climate 2 unit was sent to us by the team at Ambi Labs. This is not a paid review. All views expressed in this review is solely of the writer. We would like to thank the folks at Ambi Labs for being gracious in sending us a unit for review.]
At the top of the unit are the infrared(IR) sensors. The unit is white in colour and has a wooden base. Just looking at it gives an impression of a green environmental friendly product. Its simple design is sure to fit into any home setting.
Setting up the Ambi Climate is pretty straight forward. First, ensure the Ambi Climate is within line of sight to your aircond. Next power it on using the included usb cable and power socket. Download the app (iOS or Android) onto your smart phone. Launch the app and follow the instructions. A note to potential buyers of the Ambi Climate. Do check the list of supported air conds here. I myself have a Panasonic 1.0 horse powered aircond.
Usage and Performance
With the Ambi Climate, you’re able to control your aircond on your smartphone. This works by the command that is received from your smartphone to the Ambi Climate, and the Ambi Climate sending the IR signal to the aircond. In terms of general usage and performance as a remote control, the Ambi Climate was easy and straight forward. Just like your regular remote , you are be able to control the temperature, fan level, and the mode (cool, dry) by tapping on the screen. This method of manual control is aptly called Manual Mode.
Another mode offered is Temperature Mode. In Temperature Mode, you set the desired temperature and Ambi Climate will select the best setting to maintain the room at that temperature.
The next mode offered is called the Comfort Mode. In Comfort Mode, you are given a list of selection of ‘temperature feelings’ like ‘Too Warm’, ‘Comfortable’, ‘Abit Cold’ and ‘Freezing’. So for example, if the current temperature in the room at the moment feels like it’s freezing, all you have to do is tap on ‘Freezing’ and the Ambi Climate 2 will adjust accordingly to the optimal temperature.
I have to admit that as a first time user, figuring out what this feature does exactly was a bit of a challenge. The user interface for this mode does not provide any clue as to what I was supposed to do. I had initially thought that ‘Too Hot’, ‘Comfortable’, ‘Abit Cold’ and ‘Freezing’ was Ambi Climate’s temperature notification for me. Thankfully the Ambi Climate team has provided a description on their website on how each mode is supposed to function. You can view them here. The last mode is Away Mode which I did not get to test. For those of you who have an Ambi Climate, do share your experience with it.
AI and Analytics
Continuing on from the Comfort Mode, you may ask, “What’s the difference in a situation when I feel cold and I use a manual remote to adjust the temperature compared to selecting ‘Freezing’ and Ambi Climate adjusts accordingly? Doesn’t both methods achieve the same thing?” Well, it does but Ambi Climate’s AI is able to achieve much more. For example, with rain on a particular day, comes with cooler weather. And if Ambi Climate has learnt that your comfort level is 23°C (77 Fahrenheit), it may adjust the temperature a little higher to compensate for the cooler weather. Don’t like what Ambi Climate has adjusted the temperature to? Just tap on ‘Abit Cold’. You get the picture.
On the Analytics side, you’re given 3 statistical areas to view: Insights, History and Deployments. With Insights, Ambi Climate records statistics like the temperature and humidity of the room, average aircond run time and average ac points.
With History, you’re able to see a graph of the temperature and humidity for the past day, week and month.
And with Deployments, think of it as an actual log file of all actions done with the Ambi Climate.
Even when you’re pointing the regular remote at the aircond and pressing the buttons, the Ambi Climate somehow manages to track that command and update itself accordingly. Meaning, a command from the physical remote to lower the temperature will be reflected on the Ambi Climate app. Pretty neat stuff. In the smart home front, Ambi Climate works with Amazon Alexa. So you could give commands like ‘turn on/off the aircond’ and to ‘set temperature’. I do not have an Alexa device so I wasn’t able to test this feature.
Price and Availability
The Ambi Climate is priced at USD $129 (RM 530.34). Shipping to Malaysia is USD $10.00 (RM 40) for Post Shipping or USD $14.00 (RM 57) for Courier Shipping. Head over to the Ambi Climate website to purchase.
So what do I think of the Ambi Climate? Let’s start off with the areas that can be improved. In terms of the app’s User Interface, I think it could be more accessible to new users. Yes, there’s a user guide provided but a more intuitive User Interface would have given a better impression of the app. I reached out to a representative from Ambi Lab’s and she assured me that the team is looking into improving it.
From the Analytics stand point, for me personally, I find that these are all insightful information but one that I don’t particularly need. I mean, it’s nice to see how long your aircond was turned on/off for the past week and at what average temperature was. But for me as a regular Joe, my main concern is whether the room temperature was comfortable (which I will get to soon below). It is useful no doubt, but probably these analytics would be more helpful in a setting where the room temperature has to be monitored for a specific purpose; I’m thinking in a plant nursery or hospital?
On to the juicy bits. The Ambi Climate 2 is really a smart device which learns and adapts to your feedback and your environment. It’s packed with features that makes your normal remote look really dumb. After learning my ‘temperature pattern’, I found myself waking up lesser at night compared to when I had to adjust the temperature manually with a regular remote. One of the modes I really liked is the Comfort Mode. Once I got used to the interface, everything was a breeze. Feeling abit hot? No problem, just tap on ‘Too Warm’. With the ability of control on your smart phone, I was now able to turn on the aircond and let it get to the optimal temperature before I enter the bedroom to sleep. This was handy as I would usually blast the aircond to cool down the room first.
Many of you may be wondering has all of these smart features resulted in a lower electricity bill. For my case, I’ll be honest and say that it’s tough to determine at this moment. Why because we use the Ambi Climate 2 only in the upstairs room. If this was the only aircond we use it would be easier to measure, but we have an aircond in the living room as well. For those that have a more controlled environment, the electricity savings would be more obvious.
All in all, the Ambi Climate 2 is a wonderfully thought off product. It’s reasonably priced for what it can do. The app just needs a bit of polishing. Other than that, it’s a great addition to your smart home.