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Airthings View Plus reviewed: insights with little action

Quick review

Airthings View Plus
The good
Works without much intervention
Provides data without an app on its on-screen eInk display
Offers more data for use over time in the app
The not-so-good
Doesn't give you many actionable insights
Connecting to the rest of the smart home isn't as seamless or easy as it could be

Not sure if the rooms in your home are the right temperature or need clearer air? The Airthings View Plus could help, though we’re not sure how much.

What is the Airthings View Plus?

Designed to monitor the air for nasties that might cause you or loved ones harm, the Airthings View Plus is an air monitor with the ability to track and check the air you leave the gadget in.

One of a few models found in the Airthings range, the View Plus is basically the premium model that can do it all, and even shows you results on a small display.

Ovular in design, the View Plus is very much a passive device that you just leave on, connected, and to do its own thing, with a small electronic ink screen up front that can be configured to show the measurements you need most, with a hand wave in front of a sensor telling you whether the air is good with a happy face, or less good without.

You can have it run on batteries for up to two years, or even keep it plugged into a USB Type C power source if need be. All up, it’s a fairly simple design made for use inside the home, though works for one room at a time.

What does Airthings View Plus do?

Air monitoring information on the View Plus includes tracking dust particle levels in the air (PM), excess CO2 from when we breathe out or cry, temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, airborne chemicals known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that emerge often from the paints and treatments used on furniture, and even potentially slight forms of radioactivity called radon.

There’s also an app that can talk to your phone, compiling the results of previous days to let you know whether you have issues in the immediate, or if they’ve been building for some time.

It’s the sort of technology that might be handy if you have loved ones with a respiratory illness or some form of immunodeficiency, as it can provide a glance as to what the air is doing inside your home and their room, reporting in either the app, the gadget’s screen, or even popping up on your wearable.

Does it do the job?

If you’re looking for a way to check what the air is like in a room, the Airthings View Plus definitely provides that, with a quick read out on the small e-ink display on the device, plus a little more with some data over an extended amount of time.

Helpful data like an increase on VOC levels might make you rethink your furniture choices, or even go out and buy a purifier that can cut back on the levels of airborne chemicals, such as when you touch a piece of furniture. It’s a similar situation if you’re intending to work out if a room is too hot or too cold, and whether that drives you to turn on a fan or the AC. That can be super helpful, because those insights could calm air levels in a room in the following ways:

  • Too much CO2? Open a window. Easy.
  • Too many VOCs? Consider a purifier and switch it on.
  • Temperature too high? Turn on the AC or switch on a fan. Makes sense.

The issue of temperature has been quite useful through our time reviewing the View Plus, simply because it provided a good understanding of the warmth for the newborn’s room.

With temperature being tracked on the floor with a heater and up top in a baby monitor, the Airthings View Plus provided a position in the middle of each that was able to more accurately cite what our baby would have been feeling the temperature to be, which was always a degree or two cooler than the gauge in the camera.

Unfortunately, insights like this need to be interpreted by you, the user, and worse, can’t be triggered in an automatic way, at least not at the time of publishing this review.

What does it need?

We live in a world where many things can connect. Grab some smart lights and they can be triggered and controlled remotely, and the same is true for many appliances, fans, air conditioners, and so on and so on. The world of the smart home is upon us, and things can talk. They can trigger from each other and play nice.

But Airthings doesn’t appear to have gotten that memo, at least not in a remarkably complete kind of way.

You can connect Alexa to your Airthings account and get it to check a sensor reading in a room, and you can have that talk to IFTT or Amazon Alexa in the smallest of ways. But it’s not a simple logic of “if temperature equals this, then do something else” sort of affair.

It would be great if an increase in temperature detected by Airthings could trigger Alexa or IFTTT to turn on a compatible fan, or even if the View Plus picked up on increased humidity, if it could turn on the power switch for a smart power point connected to a dehumidifier. These should all be technically possible, but none of them are at present.

In fact, almost every attempt we had at making a smart home action for the Airthings View Plus didn’t result in success. The most we could seem to do was ask Alexa what the temperature was, which wasn’t exactly our idea of using the View Plus to improve our smart home, and just came back to that overall problem of lacking any immediate action inside the smart home.

Is it worth your money?

You’ll likely find a few insights here and there with the View Plus, but at $399, it’s hard to call it a compelling purchase, especially given where aspects of the technology can be found.

Comparatively, Dyson’s Purifer Cool Link fan range has the ability to monitor temperature, VOCs, and particulate matter, and adds in a way to treat it, too. Granted, it comes in a little more, fetching a good $300-400 on top, but it provides the “action” part of the insight, which is what Airthings lacks.

Yay or nay?

Simply put, the Airthings View Plus is all insight, no action, and that makes this one a difficult choice. There are some suggestions at times — open a window — but for the most part, this is insights with little action, something that itself is frustrating, to say the least. You can make your own calls, of course, but if there was a little more in the way of joining the dots, the roughly $400 spend for the View Plus would make sense for more people.

If you have someone that you care for who needs to have these details checked, the View Plus could be a handy addition. However, Airthings really needs to sort out its smart home connections and capabilities, because that lets down the package overall. It means you can get the information, but you’ll need to work out what to do with it, because there’s no too much help here, automatic or otherwise.

Airthings View Plus
The good
Works without much intervention
Provides data without an app on its on-screen eInk display
Offers more data for use over time in the app
The not-so-good
Doesn't give you many actionable insights
Connecting to the rest of the smart home isn't as seamless or easy as it could be
3.3
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