The image below shows the levels of microscopic dust particles in the atmosphere in January 2019. While Europe and the US don’t generally experience the sort of levels that made headlines in Thailand at the start of the year, we shouldn’t be complacent.
By the time smog becomes visible, particles can already be at unhealthy (150+) levels. So how can we know just how much of this toxic dust is floating all around us?
The Kaiterra Laser Egg
The Laser Egg is an updated version of Kaiterras original AQI monitor of the same name that launched in 2015. This new 2019 version adds indoor temperature and humidity monitoring to the AQI and PM2.5 particle detection of the previous model.
The Laser Egg’s accuracy has tested very favorably among other consumer level air quality monitors.
There is an even newer model (the Laser Egg+ Chemical), but at the time of writing this was out of stock in the UK.
The unit is attractive and certainly wins over most of the cheaper models when it comes to styling. There’s a 6.5cm (2.6″) screen at the front, a power and mode button on top and micro USB charging port at the rear which powers the monitor. The box also contains a small printed manual in English and Chinese, and a USB charging cable.
An internal fan draws air in at the rear, across the sensor the exhausts it out the front. While quiet, there is a faint buzz / whine from time to time which is really only noticeable at night or in a quiet room. The micro USB charging port is also at the back.
There are just two buttons on the unit; power and mode. Hold down the power button for a second or two to start-up / shutdown, while the mode button cycles through the 5 display modes.
The screen is a little disappointing at the price point and it lets the rest of the unit down somewhat. The brightness is fine and can be adjusted via the app, but by today’s standards the resolution is low and the viewing angle pretty poor.
The close up below reveals that the display is not at a native (i.e 1:1) pixel resolution which causes the screen output to be scaled across adjacent pixels. This makes the already low resolution appear even worse.
The unit has five display modes that cycle through by pressing the mode button…
The 5th mode is “LCD off” and dims the screen to its minimum setting. This is still just visible at night but should be low enough not to interfere with sleep.
The Kaiterra smartphone app for iOS or Android is needed to connect the Laser Egg to a WiFi network. Firstly, make sure your phone is connected to your home WiFi and that Bluetooth is on, then pair with the device which should be found by the app. This will add the device into the app and also configure the correct WiFi name (SSID) and password. Once complete the app will communicate across Wi-Fi so Bluetooth can be turned off again to save the phone battery if you’d prefer.
The app also adds extra functionality to the monitor including local air quality and weather information, plus automatically checks for any firmware updates…
|Without App||With App|
With regard to the app, there are maybe a couple of areas where it could be improved. As the pollution reading increases, the background color changes from green to yellow to orange etc. The white text however remains the same so can sometimes become so lacking in contrast that it’s almost impossible to read even at maximum screen brightness. A re-think here would be good and I hope Kaiterra can find a way of keeping the text and background at a higher contrast.
Secondly, as a recommendation, it would be nice if the “current” and historic particulate information for locations around the world could also include information on future predicted levels over maybe the next 24 hours.
Websites like https://aqicn.org are able to forecast levels in advance so maybe Kaiterra could offer this in future updates?
|Attractive design||✘ Relatively expensive|
|Good feature set||✘ Screen quality|
|Monitor via smartphone app||✘ Power cable is USB only|
- ACCURATE. Monitors major pollutants and factors that affect indoor air quality, including PM2.5, temperature, and humidity.
- MOBILE. Monitor from anywhere with the Kaiterra app. Get access to historical trends and receive alerts when the air exceeds predetermined thresholds
- CONNECTED. Works with other home appliances via Apple HomeKit and IFTTT. Set up your smart home ecosystem to automatically protect your home against pollutants and allergens
- WIFI-ENABLED. Support for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets
Overall the Laser Egg comes recommended. As well as measuring indoor air quality it also keeps you updated on readings from your nearest air quality measuring station via the internet.
Although the screen quality is disappointing considering the price point, the unit still looks modern and stylish. One other slight niggle is that it only comes with a USB cable for power so needs to be situated quite close to a USB power source. It would have been nice to have a longer cable included with the option to be plugged in permanently at a wall socket.