Finally, Finally, an Attractive Air Conditioner

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
March 21 2014 6:22 PM

Finally, Finally, an Attractive Air Conditioner

aros
Aros is a classic window unit air conditioner in many ways, but it's much nicer to look at and has some smart features.

Photo from Aros.

Buying an air conditioner is sort of like buying a mattress. There are numbers you can compare and reviews you can read. But bringing it home is really the only way to tell whether you'll like what you bought. And one of the reasons that it's so hard to tell what you want is that the differences between air conditioners are very slight. The major appliance brands have been making similar window units for decades. It was time for someone to break away.

Quirky, best known for its flexible power strip, partnered with GE last April to put some Fortune 500 muscle behind developing Internet-connected devices and appliances. And its Aros air conditioner is clearly trying to do something new (though the units are currently in pre-order so we'll have to wait until May—A/C season opening!— to see if it delivers). At $300 the Aros isn't absurdly expensive, but nor is it cheap for an 8,000 BTU air conditioner that cools 350 square feet. The good news is that it connects to Wi-Fi and can be controlled from Quirky's smart home app Wink.

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Aros has touch capacitive controls, a sleek front, and redesigned air vents. The vents are placed so the unit is more likely to take in hot air, instead of air it has already cooled. The connectivity also allows the unit to track energy costs in your area and lets you see how much money you've spent. If you don’t trust yourself to be economical come those hot July days, you can set limits for how much you want to spend on energy for air conditioning in a given month. It also factors in the weather forecast and helps you determine when you will want the most A/C. It's kind of amazing that no one has radically redesigned the air conditioner yet, and if the Aros is any good, it's gonna be a winner.

Of course, first we need the weather to actually warm up.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Lily Hay Newman is lead blogger for Future Tense.

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