iClever Indoor Air Quality Monitor review: App issues spoil this indoor air quality monitor

Though not a household name, iClever is a major producer of household devices, ranging from smart plugs to kitchen appliances to security sensors. Its latest is an indoor air quality (IAQ) monitor that can, naturally, interact with many of its other products, or be used alone.

The monitor is a boxy little unit measuring about 2.5 by 3 x 3 inches (HWD). It is a slight device—holding it in my palm, I’d swear it was hollow—so although it’s meant to be portable, it probably requires careful handling when toting it around.

Designed to give you at-a-glance insights into your air quality, the monitor displays information in two ways: An LCD provides numerical scale readings for temperature, humidity, and particulate matter, as well as indicators for the monitor’s Wi-Fi signal strength and lithium-battery level. Additionally, a light ring around the bottom of the device glows different colors to identify the current state of the air quality: green for good, yellow for so-so, and red for unhealthy.

This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best indoor air quality monitors, where you’ll find reviews of competing products, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping.

71avhpkmoml. sl1500 iClever

Setting the monitor with the light ring down gives you at-a-glance air quality status but makes it impossible to see the temperature, humidity, and PM measurements without walking over to the device and looking down at its display.

My unit came partially charged out of the box, so I only needed to press the power button below the LCD to activate it. As with any IAQ monitor, it takes several hours for it to get accurate readings, which was just fine as that gave me time to fully charge the battery. One gripe I had was that although iClever supplies a USB charging cable, it does not include an AC power adapter, so I had to scare one up myself.

The monitor is designed to stand freely on any flat surface, but placing it provoked another minor complaint. Because the LCD and light ring are on opposite sides, it’s nearly impossible to see both simultaneously. If you position it with the LCD facing forward, as you would a clock on a nightstand, then the light ring will be at the back facing away from you. In that position, the light ring is practically invisible if you’re looking at the monitor from across the room. It also puts the charging cable precariously jutting straight up from the top if you leave the monitor plugged in, as I did most of the time.

If, on the other hand, you place the monitor with the light ring down—the optimal position for seeing its color-coded readings—then the LCD is at the top facing up, requiring you to walk over and look down on it to see the numerical readings. Since I was using the device in my living room where I’d be viewing it from across the room, this was the less-than-ideal setup I went with.

iclever app Michael Ansaldo/IDG

The Smart Life companion app had trouble syncing readings with the monitor, often showing no PM levels at all.

What makes iClever’s IAQ unique is that it measures three different sizes of particulate matter, the particles and droplets that circulate in our air as the result of cooking or smoking or outdoor pollution that travels inside through open doors or windows. Of these, PM 2.5—the only size most IAQ monitors track—are prominently displayed on the LCD in a type size that can be seen at some distance. PM 10 and PM 1.0 are displayed much smaller on the side of the LCD, along with the current indoor temperature and humidity.

During my usage, the monitor’s temperature and humidity consistently jibed with the indoor thermometer and hygrometer I have set up. Evaluating the accuracy of particulate matter readings was harder, but they generally remained low when I had the downstairs windows open and rose when I was cooking or had the house sealed up, as you would expect. The light ring readings, meanwhile, always corresponded to the fluctuations between “good” to “moderate” air quality.