Rising interest in the Internet of Things (IoT) or connected home devices have given a new lease of life to consumer electronic products such as refrigerators, air conditioners, air purifiers, televisions, fans, etc. Irrespective of how useful they are, they tend to appeal to niche tech-savvy consumers. However, smart fans are a different story altogether. Besides automating most of the actions that you otherwise need to perform manually, smart fans provide additional utility functions that you cannot perform in conventional fans.
To understand how the smart fans work, I got a unit from India’s leading consumer electronics brand Orient. Named the Aero Slim (Rs 7,790), the fan is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and smart speakers powered by these services such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home. Setting up the fan to work with either of these devices or speakers is a difficult process, but once connected it is easier to operate it using voice commands. Unfortunately, the voice command feature is limited to only turning the fan on or off.
For additional services, there is an app available on App Store and Play Store for iOS and Android devices, respectively. The easy-to-use app is loaded with a tons of features, including setting the timer to turn on/off the fan, changing modes, regulating fan speed, and enabling or disabling fan light. The app also has an option to schedule fan operations, for example you can create a schedule to turn on the fan at 12 PM every day with fan speed set at maximum and lights turned off. This feature makes it easy to automate the task of using the fan, if you know your schedule.
The fan comes bundled with a tiny tube shaped remote controller. Minimal in design, the remote controller has dedicated keys to regulate fan speed, change light intensity, change modes, on/off fan, and on/off light. Through remote controller, you can perform almost all the tasks, except scheduling and automation features that are limited to app only.
In terms of usability, the fan is a silent performer with good air throw coverage area. It works like a charm using voice commands, and the extra value addition features available in app makes it a lot more useful than conventional fans. There is nothing to not like about the Aero Slim fan. However, it would have been a complete package if all its app features were also supported by voice commands.