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If you’re a regular Gearlog reader, then you probably remember when I listed the Desktop Air Conditioner as the #21 gadget on my Summer Lovin’ Gadget Countdown.
A couple of you asked if it really works. So, I decided to put it to the test. Oh, and those aren’t my Quaker Grits. They belong to Product Review Coordinator PJ Jacobowitz (a.k.a. my partner in crime).
The Desktop Air Conditioner ($19.99) contains a freezer bottle that is filled with ice, which is what gives the cooling effect together with the fan. When I received it in the mail, I took it out of the box and removed the freezer bottle inside. I filled the bottle up with water and placed it in the freezer overnight. (There are a lot of Lean Cuisines and unidentifiable food items in there!)
When I returned to the office the next day, I grabbed the freezer bottle and placed it into the Desktop Air Conditioner unit. To my surprise, I turned the fan on and heard a very annoying noise. The fan part didn’t seem to be screwed in tight enough into the unit, causing the loud noise. I didn’t want to break the unit, so I didn’t fuss with it. After awhile, I learned to drown out the sound, and the frozen bottle lasted for about 3.5 hours. During this time, I had to check the compartment tray and get rid of the water; it has to condense somewhere!
But, what do you do when the freezer bottle turns to water? You have to freeze it again, and it takes 6 to 8 hours to completely freeze…so you’d have to buy an extra freezer bottle to use as a spare. I found this to be a big pain.
Likes: It cools somewhat (not as good as a real air conditioner obviously, but it suffices if you’re desperate to cool off). Got me a lot of attention at work (people would stop and ask, what the heck is that?!).
Gripes: The fan makes noise when on. AC adapter isn’t included (who keeps spare D batteries around?). Once the bottle is no longer frozen, you have to wait a long time before it freezes again. There should be different fan settings (it doesn’t blow very high). The unit could be smaller and come in different colors.
So what did I learn? You can get the same effect by placing a frozen water bottle in front of an ordinary fan (of course, be prepared to place some paper towels underneath the bottle for condensation). And that’s just what my cubicle buddy, Commerce Producer Arielle Rochette, did.
Even so, the Desktop Air Conditioner is a cool gag gift for a co-worker.
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