Summer can mean sweltering temperatures and the need to cool down quickly. Fans don’t always cut it, either, so what can you do? Turn to a portable cooler, and Evapolar might have the answer.
From October to March, much of Australia can feel like one of the warmest parts of the earth. We’re possibly complaining a little too much, but when the temperature swelters, it’s understandable why people get a little frustrated, and staying cool is a necessity rather than a mere desireable.
A recent entrant to the cooling game, Evapolar has an approach that we’ve not yet seen in a compact size, shrinking an evaporative cooler so that it not only fits on your desk or bedside table, but that it also runs from USB.
That’s part of the premise with the Evapolar EvaSmart EV-3000, delivering a crumb of comfort in a compact cube. Does it work?
Design and features
Different from your regular air conditioner or fan, the Evapolar EvaSmart EV-3000 is essentially a small white box with a fan and a tank of water, pulling in the water drop by drop and running it against the 30cm tall cartridge found inside the unit, dispersing cool air based off contact against the fan.
That’s essentially the crux of what an evaporative cooler normally does, and Evapolar’s EvaSmart EV-3000 does this in about as small a size as we’ve ever seen from the category, measuring roughly 17cm on each side, and only a smidge longer on one side to make it not quite a cube (but close enough for jazz).
The water tank is easily filled, holding 750ml of water and able to be removed with little effort, sliding out, though there’s also a small door at the top if you feel you just want to pour the water directly in. The cartridge is seen as a consumable for the unit, recommended to be replaced every six months or so, while the water should last a good six hours.
Most interestingly, however, is what else the Evapolar EvaSmart EV-3000 has going for it: smarts and lights.
Built into the cooler is support for WiFi and a connection to the Evapolar app made for both iOS (iPhone) and Android, while a customisable LED lighting system can be found by the water tank, brightening and colouring the water reservoir.
Evapolar’s EvaSmart EV-3000 runs on a USB Type C cable, consuming 10W of power, and can run off either a wall connection or a USB power bank.
Once plugged into a power source, the power light and touch control becomes visible, almost as if Evapolar took a nod directly from Wall-E’s Eve.
Press it and the EvaSmart EV-3000 springs to life, the fan whirring into action and the system coating the cartridge inside the system with water, which after a minute or two should begin to lower the temperature of the expelled air.
Much like the power button, the EvaSmart is operated by touch, with the controls being a simple menu system that lets you jump between fan speed, LED colour, and LED brightness, with the personal cooler working by itself otherwise.
There’s also a WiFi mode and an app from Evapolar which should let you connect the EvaSmart to your wireless network and control it remotely, though you may find the app is a little buggy.
Over the course of a few weeks of testing, we found the app had trouble connecting the EvaSmart to our network most of the time, and only worked upon our last try before boxing it up. Out of a rough month of trying, it worked on the last time, making the connection and letting us try the EvaSmart remotely.
If you have problems, rest assured that you’re not alone, and try updating the app or plugging the EvaSmart into a different USB wall connection or power bank.
Once it’s working, however, control isn’t far off what we experienced in Dyson’s Pure Hot+Cool Link, though doesn’t look anywhere near as nice. You’ll be able to see the temperature from your WiFi network and phone, as well as control the air speed and lighting, but the interface is fairly low-end, and really feels like an after-thought.
After dabbling with both control methods, we stuck to the on-device controls, as they seemed to be as responsive and very easy to get used to, with a touch here and a prod there.
And with that, we were on our way to feeling the cool air, or what cool air we could get out of the EvaSmart EV-3000.
Let’s get something straight off the bat, because the EV-3000 is not your standard air conditioner. Built as a small evaporator, it uses that lovely bit of science of evaporation to cool the air, dropping the temperature of the air but increasing water density at the same time.
It means that if the air happens to be dry around you, the EvaSmart can actually drop the temperature of air that passes through it. However, if you happen to live somewhere rather humid — like Sydney, for instance — the temperature doesn’t have much to room to move.
That’s not a fault of the EvaSmart, mind you, but rather something that affects all evaporators.
Pricing wins some points back, however, simply because at $399, the cost of the Evasmart makes for an easy investment, and one that won’t take up space.
It’s just so compact and easy to place, not to mention giving off the feeling of being futuristic, even if the teething issues are noticeable from the occasional app issues.
Once it all fits together, the system comes across like a tiny smart air conditioner, though it’s a tiny smart air conditioner with a couple of major downsides.
What needs work?
The problem here is that the Evasmart just doesn’t get cold enough, nor does it spread that cool air as much as you may hope for.
Depending on where you have it running and what the temperature of the room is, not to mention how much humidity is in your home, you may find it only moves the mercury a couple of degrees, and that’s a positive result.
Testing the Evasmart for a few weeks, we found that the majority of the time, the temperature nudge was not much more than half a degree, jumping from 28.1 to 27.4, and only letting out a small amount of air.
That last part may well be one of the problems associated with relying on a USB plug to supply power, and while there are easily benefits to the use of a USB Type C connection — portability, for instance — a lack of sheer power means the fan can’t drive tremendous amounts of air.
As such, Evapolar’s Evasmart only delivers enough cool air where it’ll feel nice on your face at a bedside table, but won’t fill a room.
In fact, like the Close Comfort we reviewed recently, it’s probably most effective cooling a tent or an enclosed space that normally doesn’t cool easily, but your bedroom or living room is certainly not ideal. It barely made a dent on the baby’s room for us, and she’s small.
Final thoughts (TL;DR)
There’s little doubt that staying cool is one of the more important things to do whenever it’s warm, and Evapolar’s Evasmart does make it possible, though it’s a very personal sense of cool. In fact, it’s so personal, it’s essentially just you.
If a personal bubble of cool is all you’re looking for, Evapolar’s EvaSmart EV-3000 provides something that works, though we’d probably stick with a fan or consider a bigger air conditioning unit if you need something all-room encompassing.