Despite having a vast and rich product portfolio in China, Xiaomi continues to focus on the smartphone space in India. Over the recent years, the company launched its air purifiers, suitcases, water TDS testers, TVs, and routers among other products in India. A couple of months ago, Xiaomi introduced its smart water purifier, which it pitches as an industry-first DIY water purifier. I’ll come back to why this is called DIY a bit later. But in case you’re wondering if you need to upgrade the water purifier you’re currently using, here’s my Mi Water Purifier review. Also Read - Xiaomi e-book reader to launch on November 20; set to take on Amazon Kindle
Since I’ve been following Xiaomi for years now, I’ve always been curious about the next category the company would launch in India. Although a sleek looking laptop, a robotic floor vacuum cleaner are also part of the list, I was particularly excited about the water purifier. And there’s a specific reason for it. I’ve always been paranoid about drinking water in India. The occurrence of water-borne diseases, infections and contamination levels differ from one city to another. So when Xiaomi announced the Mi Water Purifier, I knew I had to get my hands on one. I know of family and friends who use different kind of water purifiers, including my own home. Over the years, I’ve seen the evolution move from a percolating kind to ones with a water pump and storage. Also Read - Xiaomi’s latest smart device is the Mi Water Purifier, priced at Rs 13,000
Setting up the Mi Water Purifier
Once you purchase the Mi Water Purifier, a Xiaomi engineer will install the product. That would be the first and the last time you would need to interface with a human. Unless, of course, you’d need servicing a product for some reason. For every other need, you could simply use the Mi Home app.
On the front of the purifier are two buttons – Switch and Reset – to power on and interface with the product. To connect the product with the Mi Home app, you would need to press both buttons together till you hear a soft sequential beep tone. Pair it on the app and that’s it. You would need the Switch button the next time you want to change purifier cartridges.
Mi Water Purifier Design
Much like its other products in the home category, the Mi Water Purifier has a pleasant minimalist design language, which isn’t imposing in your kitchen. Since it’s plain white, without any element of color, it easily goes along with your kitchen wall irrespective of your decor. The top portion of the product can store up to 7 liters of drinking water, which helps in times of a power outage.
Water purification stages
The Mi Water Purifier offers an impressive 5-stage water purification system. Since I live in Mumbai, this is an overkill for my home as I realized later, but there was no way for me to know that. Primarily because Mumbai has soft water with comparatively lower levels of TDS. For example, at my home, the TDS levels are in the vicinity of 30ppm.
Things to know before buying a water purifier
I didn’t understand water purification while growing up. Like other consumer appliances, a lot of those purchases happen for reasons beyond efficiency. Aspects such as deals, brand, advertising play a key role. I admit, I’ve fallen for those as well. But while purchasing our last water purifier, I did some research over TDS levels. I even pondered over whether I need an RO purifier in the first place.
In case you need to buy a water purifier system and don’t know where to begin, start by measuring the TDS level of your water supply system. In addition to TDS, the other parameter you need to evaluate is taste. If you’re in the safe range with TDS and the water tastes and smells good, you’re doing just fine. The only reason you need one then is during emergencies.
The problem here, is you don’t know how long that equilibrium is maintained. There could be an emergency in the supply system, pipes get damaged during road side repair and contaminate water. Nonetheless, if your water is not hard and is within permissible limits of TDS, you don’t need an RO system. Don’t let sales personnel scare you into buying one. The thumb rule is if something is good, why process it!
Xiaomi has an affordable TDS water tester which should be your first step. Sampling your water supply yourself takes away from the doubt you may have from any brand. In case the TDS level in your area is above 300ppm then you have some reason to be concerned. Not alarmed, just concerned. There are places where the water system measures around 1000ppm of TDS. The air situation is no different. Delhi has an alarming level, but it isn’t excellent in other cities either.
The purifier cartridges
Once you open the tray on the front of the water purifier, it reveals three purification cartridges. Each cartridge has a dedicated function. Before storing in the above tank, the water flows through each cartridge from the left to the right.
PPC + AC: The first filter cartridge is a polypropylene with activated carbon stage that filters away larger visible particles such as sand grains.
RO: The second filter stage is a reverse osmosis one, where the TDS levels are brought down. This is where salts, heavy metal and organic impurities are filtered away.
PAC: The final cartridge to process the water is the post activated carbon stage which takes away odor and enhances taste.
UV: The last purification stage is in the 7 liter storage on the top, where UV
Now as any aggrieved citizen weighed down by infrastructure challenges, I’m conditioned to take a very dejected and despondent approach to state of public utility services. But I when I read the TDS readings at home, I was indebted to the local PWD authorities and, of course, the higher powers that be for placing me in a city with soft water. Just like the ongoing air quality crisis, primarily in Northern India, access to basic drinking water is a pressing challenge in India.
Somehow I didn’t expect water with such an excellent TDS reading. That said, I’ve spoken to quite a few friends in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, and the NCR region. And those readings have swayed a great deal. But to put them in context, they’ve been in the 100-300ppm range. Any reading beyond that is reason for concern. And in such cases, real time monitoring helps a great deal.
What’s different is that most cities in India have hard water. The presence or absence of dissolved salts determines whether water is hard or soft. Besides the additional load on your body to process these salts and overworking your kidneys, one visible test is the lathering from a bathing soap. Now you must understand that there’s a difference between bathing soap and detergent. Standard shampoo, and laundry wash are all detergents and can create lather even in hard water.
Ease of maintenance
The Mi Air Purifier is plug and play in the true sense. After installation, you have nothing to bother about. You simply monitor the Mi Home app and wait for the app to notify you about the use of the cartridge and if it needs a replacement.
Mi Water Purifier Review: Should you buy one?
To sum up this Mi Water Purifier review, you first need to get a hang of the TDS level before making any buying decisions. If your TDS levels are low, you don’t need one. How does getting one harm you ask? Then here’s a short answer. RO systems need a water outlet. I won’t get into the explanation of it, but a long story short is there is ‘waste water’ that an RO system releases. This is water with salt and scale levels. It’s unfit for drinking but you can use it for cleaning the floor or flushing toilets. Unfortunately, that needs a great deal of collective discipline to efficiently use that ‘waste water.’ Practically, that water goes down the drain, quite literally.
In case you have a higher TDS level, and need real time monitoring, then this is the answer to all your needs. If it fits your budget, it is a must buy.