Close Comfort’s Cool Focus Review: Personal air conditioning is starting to get interesting

I love personal air conditioning. I know that’s a strange thing to say, but ever since owning the Dyson Pure Cool Me, a portable air conditioner that selfishly focuses on me has become a summer essential. Can Close Comfort’s Cool Focus compete? It definitely tries too, and does a bang up job doing so, offering a personal air conditioner that’s fascinating both in design and function.

Design

Cool Focus is quite odd to look at. The design is like a mini office printer and scanner, and is about as straight forward as you can get. It’s one for those who appreciate a portable air conditioner that won’t need any set-up or up-front installation – plug, play, cool. All you’ll need to do is temper the three speed operation based on desired temperature.

The focus for Close Comfort is obviously power efficiency. Personal air conditioners may seem like a luxurious evolution of the age-old desk fan, but there’s a deeper importance there. Using a big air conditioner can chew through power like nothing else, whereas something like the Cool Focus only uses 300W – that’s at least 75% less than standard portable air conditioning units, which are designed to cool an entire room.

Focusing on just one person is an economical solution to fighting a big issue that comes around each summer. Imagine if every household made use of a few personal air conditioners as opposed to one large one? Hello net positive cumulative effect.

The Cool Focus can either run out 2 x AAA batteries, or get its energy from an outlet. Either way, the power that sits behind this thing is immense. The air that flows out of it has an immediate cooling effect and can shoot at you like a concentrated jet with the Focus Enhancer feature turned on (via the remote).

There are a few issues, however. The two flaps that define the flow, particularly the front flap, physically define how wide the actual stream of air is. It’s not very wide, and so you won’t get a breeze that’s as wide as the one you’d get from the Dyson Pure Cool Me. This could have easily been fixed with a swivel feature, but the only way to control the direction of air flow is by moving the front flap up and down.

The flaps are key to design here. The backmost flap expels the hot air in the other direction, while the front shoots cool air onto you within the designated cool zone.

At 17kg, it’s not as light as you’d want a portable fan to be, but Close Comfort offset this with caster wheels on the base, as well as two grippy handles on the side. It’s easy to haul around.

Another credit to the excellent design here is that there are only three filters that make up the Cool Focus, requiring a little cleaning every few weeks but for the most part keeping things nice and efficient. There’s a removable tray to catch any condensation, which can easily be emptied.

Verdict & Value

At $699, the Cool Focus is quite expensive for what it is. Although it’s well worth investing in a personal portable air conditioner in 2021, where energy usage is an increasingly vital concern. However, it’s $200 more expensive than the 32-watt Dyson Pure Cool Me which has more functionality, is just as interesting in design (albeit completely different) and comes from a proven company.

Even considering that, I’d say the Cool Focus is a step in the right direction for Close Comfort. The flap design is interesting and you can play around with it in various ways (example, sliding it under a blanket to, in a way, amplify the spread of the air. The power efficiency will save you in the long run, and also demonstrate just how efficient it is to stay cool without having to use a bigger air conditioner.

The ease of use is also a big credit towards the Cool Focus. You’ll just need to plug and play, or use the batteries, and well on your way to humidity-busting heaven. And I do mean heaven; this can cool you down immediately.

THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Highlights: Low energy consumption; can choose between electricity or battery; Smart design makes it easy to roll around; can immediately cool with a stream of cold air; very easy to operate and clean; everyone could use a personal air conditioner.
Lowlights: Still quite expensive compared to better offerings; no ability to swivel back and forth.
Manufacturer: Close Comfort
Price: $699
AvailableProduct supplied by Cool Comfort for review.

Chris Singh

Chris Singh is the Deputy Editor of the AU review and a freelance travel writer. You can reach him on Instagram by following @chrisdsingh.

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