While Delhi was blanketed with a little fog and a lot of smoke this winter, I got a call from BlueAir to review their new air purifier — Joy S (and joy was exactly what my lungs felt in anticipation). The levels of air pollution were worse than ever this year, and unfortunately, my own air purifier broke. When I knew the BlueAir Joy S was coming over for review, I saw this as a win-win situation, I would use it in my room in place of my own purifier, and in turn be able to review the device in and out. But after using it for a couple of weeks, things did not turn out as expected and here’s why.

Design

The BlueAir Joy S is a tiny little device, which is also fit for a tiny little room only. I wouldn’t recommend it for a large living room or lounge, that is over 10X12 feet. Aesthetically, it is sleek and has a short tube-like body. The walls of the machine are still, but the top and bottom are made of plastic.

It is quite light, so you can move it around easily and can comfortably lift it in one hand too. You will just have to hug it and pick it up as it has no handles.

  BlueAir Joy S air purifier review: Compact but marred by confusing controls

BlueAir Joy S has a simple power + three fan speed touch panel. Image: tech2/Nandini Yadav

It has a long wire attached to it, with a regular three-pin plug that you can plug into any of your standard plug points in India. It is also pretty energy-efficient with consuming just 1.5 watts of energy at the normal fan setting, and 10 watts at the maximum setting.

The magnetic clip on the wire is a thoughtful design idea that lets you wind the extra wiring to the body of the air purifier, so that if you have extra wire lying around. I love keeping things neat and tidy, so I really appreciate the feature.

This little magnetic clip on the wire keeps the wire in place. BlueAir Joy S has a simple power + three fan speed touch panel. Image: tech2/Nandini Yadav

This little magnetic clip on the wire keeps the wire in place. BlueAir Joy S has a simple power + three fan speed touch panel. Image: tech2/Nandini Yadav

Features

The BlueAir Joy S throws air from the top, and sucks in air and pollutants through the cylindrical wall which is porous. Opening the air purifier is simple. You just turn the machine upside down, and you will see this little grip at the bottom. Hold and twist it open, and the base will come off like a cap.

The BlueAir Joy S is very easy to open. BlueAir Joy S has a simple power + three fan speed touch panel, with a twist and pull lid at the bottom. Image: tech2/Nandini Yadav

The BlueAir Joy S is very easy to open. BlueAir Joy S has a simple power + three fan speed touch panel, with a twist and pull lid at the bottom. Image: tech2/Nandini Yadav

The filter inside is spongy, and you can grip the tag on the filter to pull it out. These filters are available on Amazon India, and they cost Rs 3,000, which seems kind of steep. But, BlueAir claims that if you use it every day for 12 hours, then you would not need to change the filter for a year.

As for the features, the air purifier is pretty basic. It has a power button and three fan speeds. That’s all.

The air purifier has these touch-sensitive buttons and they are not very intuitive, neither very sensitive to touch. The first time you actually use the device, you will find yourself incessantly poking the air purifier to figure out the panel.

So, touching the power button once and softly, may just not do the job. Eventually, you do the hang of it and I figured the right amount of pressure to get the panel to work. But then comes the part where you have to figure how to adjust the fan speed and there was some trial and testing needed out here too!

BlueAir Joy S 'filter.  Image: tech2 / Nandini Yadav

BlueAir Joy S ‘filter. Image: tech2 / Nandini Yadav

Initially, you will be poking around all over that thing to see how to speed up the fan. Soon enough something would make it work, and then you will need to figure out what made it work. I hope you are able to visualise me sitting next to the Joy S like a dog trying to figure out a slice of lemon.

But I did figure it out eventually, and it works when you poke the centre of that panel a few times, automatically revving up the fan. Press it again, it will go to the third speed, and once again will bring it back to speed one. As you can tell, the experience is not very intuitive.

I should also mention, that at the first and second fan speed settings the air purifier’s sound is quite bearable. You actually can’t tell when it’s running on the first speed settings, but at third setting the sound is audible from the corner of a room. You definitely, cannot keep max it out at night if you are a light sleeper.

Performance

While I am willing to keep these quirks aside provided I can breathe easy, the performance of the air purifier is a bit of a problem.

BlueAir claims that the Joy S removes 99.97 percent of airborne pollutants, bacteria, virus, allergens, microplastics, smoke, dust, pet dander and pollen as small as 0.1 microns in size. But, every air purifier manufacturing company claims that. Is there proof? Nope. Is there an app to monitor it? Nope. Is there a screen which shows you how the purification is working? Nope.

BlueAir Joy S. Image: tech2 / Nandini Yadav

BlueAir Joy S. Image: tech2 / Nandini Yadav

Here’s the thing, other air purifiers that do come with accompanying apps or some other IoT support, could easily be tampering with their data too, but this world is rooted on customer satisfaction, and that’s what the app does for you.

When I was testing the purifier, there was no real way to test or know if at all the fan noise was actually doing something. So I created my own test for this. I lit three incense sticks in my room and filled it with the smoke, and shut all the doors and windows of my room. Coughing my way through the room, I switched the air purifier on, put the fan speed on full and let it do its magic.

Let me reiterate, my room is really tiny, it’s 8×10 feet, and the smoke I filled in my room was quite uncomfortable to breathe in, to be honest. Now my aim was to get that smoke out of that room quickly. The fragrance could stay, but that feeling of discomfort in breathing is what the air purifier had to quickly get rid of. That’s the whole point right?

On full speed, it took the air purifier a little over three hours to get rid of the excess smell, while that latent residual smells of the incense still remained. Coming back to the lack of any monitoring system on the device, simply put, the device fails to earn the trust of a user.

Verdict

The BlueAir Joy S is portable, easy to place in any corner of a room, and promises a long-durability filter that you don’t need to change for a full year. However, the absence of an indicator on the machine that tells you about the air you are breathing really dents the credibility of the unit.

If you have the Joy S, you just have to believe it’s doing its job, there is no other way to find out the air quality around you. Unless you want to spend another four to five grand on an AQI measuring device, which makes no sense, because there are options like the Xiaomi Air Purifier 2s available in the market, which costs about Rs 9,000 and includes a digital screen that constantly updates the performance of the device and the AQI levels around it. So then, for what joy would one go for the Joy S? None.

Breath easy guys, peace!