Hands-on review: Proscenic A9 air purifier
Image credit: Proscenic
Spring clean the air in your home.
"Inhale pure. Live pure". That's both the promise and the core remit of this air purifier from Proscenic. Concerned about PM2.5 particles in your home? The A9 has got your back.
The issue of a build-up of deleterious particulate matter in our homes has become more of a pressing concern lately, now that post-pandemic many of us are spending way more time than we ever did in the same rooms at home, breathing and rebreathing the same air. Seriously, our homes are potentially dangerous places!
The airborne particles given off daily by cooking, lighting scented candles and incense, smoking and other noxious sources are all a cause for health concern. Of course, you can't see all these tiny demon particles, but they'll definitely be there and they'll be working their way into your lungs. Without meaning to panic anyone – seeing as many of us will have got along just fine to date without an air purifier in our lives – the ability to effectively clean the air in our homes at the touch of a button is undeniably an easy path to peace of mind.
Proscenic's take on the air purifier concept is a minimalist, monolithic rectangle of white plastic, with black accents, the front of which is dominated by the matrix of drilled dots for air intake. Your dirty air is drawn in at the front and your refreshed clean air is piped out of the top of the unit, so it's best not to leave magazines and such like lying on top.
The A9 is approximately the same size as a small child (technically 56cm tall, 26cm square), so you may want to consider where best to situate it so it doesn't dominate your home. This is an inherent dichotomy with a good air purifier: to do the best air-scrubbing job, the thing has to be reasonably big in order to take in as much air as it can as quickly and efficiently as possible. The A9 has a more slender, taller, squarer profile than its circular A8 predecessor, which is an overall cosmetic improvement.
Obviously, the A9 can also only clean one room at a time. If you live in a small flat or apartment (as per all the Proscenic promotional images), great. If you live in a house, and you want several rooms to have the cleanest air, you'll have to move it around from room to room, which is a bit of a drag. At least it's not too heavy – in fact, it's surprisingly light for its size, weighing in at 6.4kg.
Once you're happy with where you've stuck it, you can just switch it on and let it get to work. There is a Proscenic app, naturally, from which you can control the features and analyse its air-purifying performance in more granular detail, but it's not compulsory to register with the app. You can just turn on the A9 and operate it directly from the control panel on the top of the unit. The app can also connect to the device via Bluetooth, so you don't necessarily need to enter your home Wi-Fi network details into the app, if that's something you're cautious about.
The A9 cleans a room fast. It is spec'ed to cope with a room up to approximately 270 square metres (2,904 square feet), with a range of fan speeds (four) including a 25dB quiet sleep mode if you want to leave the A9 running constantly. There's also an auto mode, whereby the A9 detects and reacts appropriately to the atmospheric conditions. It is very quiet, even at high fan-speed settings, with a stated maximum noise level of 55dB. In our experience, with normal home life carrying on around it, the motor noise is barely perceptible. We've known hard drives and fridges that made way more noise than the A9.
With a stated clean air delivery rate (CADR) of 460 cubic metres per hour, the A9 will purify 90 square metres (968 square feet) of air in 20 minutes, circulating the air in the room up to five times per hour. For smaller rooms, the CADR is estimated at 33 square metres (355.21 square feet) in seven minutes, or a 20 square metre (215.28 square feet) room in just four minutes.
With these numbers in mind, it's easy to 'clean' the air in a room in a standard-size house by simply switching the A9 on for, say, 10 minutes. After that, you can move the A9 to another room and repeat the process. It's a little like vacuuming the air in the house. The A9 doesn't have to permanently stay in one place.
The filter inside the A9 is a four-stage affair, containing a pre-filter, a nano-filter, an activated carbon filter and an H13 HEPA filter, all of which will adsorb 99.97 per cent of fine particles and allergens as small as 0.3 microns, as well as larger pollutants such as dust, pet dander, smoke, mould and pollen. You'll have to factor in the cost of buying a replacement filter every so often to keep your air purifier at its purifying best. Proscenic suggests replacing the filter every six months, but you could probably eke out the life of each one a bit longer, if the dust etc in your house is typical. There is a filter replacement LED light on the display panel, which lights up when the A9 decides it's time for a new filter, much like on a printer when it decides it needs ink.
There are in fact four different colour-coded types of replacement filter available: a white H13 high-efficiency filter, a purple antibacterial special filter, a green pet allergy special filter, and a black toxic gas special filter. There doesn't appear to be much data available to compare and explain the efficacy of each type of filter; we suspect that there won't be that much difference between them: it's not going to be night and day. The real difference is already going to be achieved simply by having an air purifier running where before you did not. After that, the devil will be in the details, the fine margins that theoretically separate, say, an antibacterial filter from a pet allergy filter.
The A9 also acts as a smart sensor and real-time monitor of air quality, scanning for PM2.5 particles – although only these. Other gases and pollutants are not detected. That seems like something the A10 is going to need in order to step up Proscenic's game in the smart-home gadget market. Still, the obvious visual indicators (ranging from Green, good, to Red, unhealthy) of PM2.5 levels in the room are clear and it's reassuring to verify that they're dropping once the A9 gets to work filtering them out.
For those who want to know exactly how well the A9 is doing, and to check the cumulative output of purified air, that's something for which you'll need the Proscenic app. From the unit itself, sans app, the LED screen on the front panel can be set to display the current PM2.5 air index, a timing countdown, the air quality indicator and more, so key data is always visible directly on the unit.
The app's record of the A9's purification performance is an obvious way of reassuring the owner that they haven't wasted their money. It's difficult otherwise to prove that a device like the A9 is actually improving the quality of your air and thus your life. It's not as if you've been choking on those PM2.5 particles and now you can really feel the difference. Your air will simply be purer: fact.
Certainly, with smells and smoke there is an obvious, near-immediate tangible difference once the A9 kicks in, but it's really about the holistic air-quality improvements over the long-term as the reason to install an air purifier in your home. If you have been thinking about getting one, the Proscenic A9 is a solid option at a reasonable price. You can spend (a lot) more and get additional features and sensors that monitor your air for a wider range of diabolical molecules, but the A9 will do a fine (particle) job for anyone.
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