The weather is getting hotter again – it's UK Heatwave 2.0! This makes me think all the way back to last Friday, when it was really hot. That could have bad news, because my front room is exactly the kind of space you don't want to be in – it's got floor to ceiling windows that only open a crack, almost no blinds, and it's quite a modern building, so it's very well insulated. Oh, and the kitchen is attached to it, too. All of which is great in winter, not too bad for most of summer, but a bit sweaty on a genuinely hot day. And Friday – or 'the one-day heatwave' as I'm calling it – was all too genuinely a hot day.
Thankfully, I was able to lay my hands on one of the best portable air conditioners I've tried, at very short notice, so massive thanks to Princess and more specifically, Princess's UK PR team. This was definitely weather in which even the best fans would not remotely cut it, so I was extremely grateful. And lovely and cool.
With high temperatures expected for the next few weeks, now is still potentially a good time to buy a portable air conditioner. But do avoid making the mistakes everyone makes with air conditioners. This Princess model is easy to setup, powerful enough for quite large, hot rooms, can be controlled from your phone and even looks quite attractive, at least by the standards of air conditioners. It also has a nice long duct, which also proved very handy for me, personally.
Believe it or not, the full name of this portable aircon is Princess 01.353200.01.001 Smart Air Conditioner 12000 – that really trips off the tongue, doesn't it? I really wanted a 12000 BTU unit and as you can probably guess, the 12000 on the end of that very long name refers to the BTU rating of the machine. In theory, that is enough for a room 100 cubic meters in size, which is about 30 square meters, unless your ceilings are unusually high. This should be just enough for my front room, although as I mentioned, the design of it makes it quite a challenge for air con.
The first thing I loved about the Princess Smart Air Conditioner 12000 is that I was able to get it working in minutes. Unboxing is a cinch as the box just lifts off and then it was short trundle on its handy casters to the front room. The device paired with the iOS Climate app with great ease, and could also be added to my Alexa voice control system – Google is supported too.
An interesting sealing system is provided with the Princess – the idea is that you velcro something rather like a small tent to your partly opened window, and run the outlet duct from the air con through a hole in it. Unfortunately, my windows are not suitable for this approach. Truth be told, I didn't really fancy velcroing a small white tent to any part of my lounge anyway, so I opted instead to just run the duct out of the balcony door. It should be said that this is by no means an ideal arrangement, but needs must when the Devil is heating up your living room to a Hellish temperature.
Thankfully, even in this trying environment, with my shoddy setup efforts, the Princess proved able to cool the room to a beautiful degree. With the mercury hitting 32ºC outside, the room, even in direct sunlight, stayed in the mid 20s. Admittedly, that is still quite warm, but it's very bearable. Walking outside, even onto the balcony was a genuine shock to the system, as it was so much hotter than the lounge.
What made this even more impressive was that the unit that arrived wasn't even working properly – due to some kind of damage in transit, it was making a lot of noise, but it still managed to cool the space. Princess later replaced it with a fully functioning one, and this makes just the usual air-con level of white noise – it's rated at about 65dB, which isn't bad at all.
Another very welcome feature of the Princess is that it has an A energy rating. If we ever get a heatwave that carries on for more than one day, the cost of air con could really start to ramp up, so it's great to know you're getting the best possible energy efficiency with these beasts.
It also is able to operate as a fan – albeit an unnecessarily enormous one – and a dehumidifier, although you'll need to add a length of hose for that.
Overall, I am extremely impressed with the Princess 01.353200.01.001 Smart Air Conditioner 12000, despite its preposterous name. The price of it is pretty reasonable as well, considering how good it is and the fact it could be a life-saver – perhaps even literally – when the temperatures next soar.
Princess Smart Air Conditioner 12000: price and availability
This fine air conditioner is just £549 at Amazon UK.