Welcome back to Just Fun Tech, our series where we take a look at the fun and geeky tech custom-made to get you excited about being a techie again. Today, we’re looking at a product that’s truly one of a kind, the Zero Breeze Portable Air Conditioner. An air conditioner at GameSpace? Well, hold your horses because this is a unique bit of tech that might just become your summertime best friend.
- Model Number: Z19-B
- Color: Blue
- Refrigerant: R134A
- Type of Compressor: Rotary
- Refrigerant Output: 1100 BTU
- Rated Voltage: DC 12V
- Power Consumption: 150W
- Rated Current: 12.5A
- Waterproof Rate: IPX3
- Noise Level: ≤68 dBA
- Night Light: 250 lumens / red
- 2 x USB Out Port: 5V 1A
- Working Temperature: 37-122F (3-50C)
- Unit Weight: 12.8 LBS (5.8 Kg)
- Unit Dimension: 18 x 11 x 8 inches (46 x 28 x 19 cm)
Have you ever looked for a personal air conditioner? I have. See, even though our home has central air, the vents are so poorly thought out that it barely reaches my upstairs office. In the middle of a hot summer day, It’s not unusual for that room to hit 78F before I’ve even turned on any electronics. With my PC going full bore pumping hot air into the room, it’s not long before it’s pushing 85C and any thought of gaming is wiped away in a haze of sweat.
But here’s the thing: they don’t exist – except for the Zero Breeze. An air conditioner is a complicated piece of machinery, it’s not as simple buying a small unit to place on your desk. A quick search of Amazon might confuse you on this fact. There are lots of “personal air conditioners” but their secret truth is that they’re anything but. An air conditioner requires a compressor and refrigerant to work their magic. Those imposters are little more than fans pushing air through a wet sponge.
The Zero Breeze is currently the only real portable, personal air conditioner you can find. It’s small enough to easily carry using it’s included handle and includes everything you’d need to get up and running without having to invest in a special case or extra equipment. You can set it on your desktop in an unairconditioned room, by your bed at night, take it out for a family picnic, or even on a table while you’re sitting on the back porch on a warm summer evening. If you’re a camper, it’s also the perfect fit to keep your tent cool.
In fact, it even comes with a couple of extras to make it an even nicer travel buddy. Above the front vent, a releasable panel will pop up a hidden speaker and USB power bank. It even has a flashlight. I can easily imagine sitting with this around a fire, listening to some tunes, or camping out listening to an audiobook before bed. At the PC, it’s great for popping on a podcast while grinding mobs in an MMO.
Given its small size, this obviously isn’t something you’re going to look to for cooling a large space. It’s a portable air conditioner but I think it’s more fitting to call it a personal air conditioner unless you’re in a small space like a tent. The Zero Breeze uses a mini-compressor that’s able to drop the temps of a 50-square foot room by about 20 degrees. On that front, it works just like a normal AC unit. In a larger space, you’re going to find it’s much less effective. My 9×12’ office doesn’t get near that but it does become less humid which still makes a big difference.
The Zero Breeze is best when you’re sitting right in front of it. There, whether you’re outside on a hot, sticky day or trapped in a dorm room in June, the Zero Breeze gives you your own little cooling bubble; a slice of solace in a desolate desert.
So, the selling point is definitely the portability, but it’s not without sacrifice. One could quite fairly ask why you would spend nearly $900 on the Zero Breeze when you could get a much more effective window unit for far less. If you don’t need portability, then yes, you should 100-percent buy a window or portable unit. For those of us who struggle with heat and need something we can easily carry with us? The Zero Breeze is a godsend.
Here’s the big caveat, though: while a new model is expected this summer, the Z19 unit we were sent for testing does not include the battery. Buying the battery is so cost-prohibitive ($349) that it leads me to believe that they don’t want people to buy it. Instead, you’ll be stuck plugging it into a wall or extension cord. They even sell an adapted to plug it into your car’s cigarette lighter. The new model is planned to include a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and we would recommend you buy that version if you plan on using it without a line to a wall outlet.
There’s no mistaking how expensive it is but if you’re the kind of person looking for a portable air conditioner and is ready to accept the extra noise that comes with using it, I suspect the cost will seem a lot more reasonable. Over the last month of using it, being able to take it anywhere and have air-conditioned air blowing directly on me has been a treat.