The first thought we had when we took the Breville AirRounder Plus Connect out of its box was, “Hey, Wall-E’s girlfriend!” (Remember EVE?) Then we set it up, started using it and thought, “Whoa, Dyson killer!”
And that pretty much sums up our review of the Breville AirRound Plus Connect – it’s a great Dyson alternative if you’re after a purifier fan heater. It’s pretty quick to warm up a small space, its fan circulates air really well and, what we absolutely appreciate about it is its full 360º oscillation.
It might not look like much, but it brings a bit more to the table than a Dyson fan/heater at a slightly lower price, and that means there’s more bang for your hard-earned buck here.
Breville AirRounder Plus Connect: price and availability
There are two models in Breville’s AirRounder range – the Plus and Plus Connect. The feature set between the two is pretty much the same, but the main difference is the size (thus the area each can cover) and the degree of oscillation, with the Plus Connect being the bigger sibling.
That means it’s also more expensive and will set you back AU$599 at full price. In comparison, the smaller AirRounder Plus is AU$399. The good news, though, is you can find both models for less on Amazon Australia or occasionally discounted directly from Breville and other major retailers.
The AirRounder range isn't available in the US or the UK at the time of writing.
Breville AirRounder Plus Connect: design and build quality
We’re not quite sure what the Breville designers were
smoking thinking when they came up with the concept for the AirRounder but it’s a… erm, well-rounded design. Everything about it is round – the stand, the head, even the remote control is circular. There’s definitely a theme going here. While some people might find the AirRounder cute, we’re not huge fans of the EVE-esque (R2D2?) design.
Aesthetics aside, the AirRounder Plus Connect’s plastic body is sturdy as. It’s available in just one colour – white – and, even though it weighs a little over 5kg, it’s easy to move around and that’s what you want from a portable purifier fan heater.
The AirRounder’s stand (or leg) houses the purifier filter which, we have to point out, is sealed in a plastic bag and no mention of that is made anywhere in the user manual. This is a major oversight on Breville’s part, particularly since this functions as a heater and the possibility of a mishap is high. We used the machine a couple of times before realising something was blocking airflow and couldn’t be happier to discover the plastic packaging hadn’t melted when we used the machine in heater mode.
Access to the purifier filter is via an easily removable panel on the rear of the stand. On the front is a circular LED display that shows the room’s ambient temperature, air quality index and, if set, the timer countdown.
Around the grille on the ‘head’ of the machine is a ring that lights up as soon as you switch on the AirRounder Plus Connect – it glows blue in cooling mode and red when the heater is on. There’s a small circular depression on the back of the head where the round remote control fits in magnetically. See what we mean by a ‘well-rounded’ design?
On the top of the device is a touch panel with controls for power on/off, setting the mode and speed levels, switching on oscillations and setting the timer. All these options are also available on the remote control, but considering you can do it all via the Breville Home Connect app – you’re likely to have your phone closer to hand than the remote – we found the remote redundant. Moreover, it’s small and easy to misplace, so we pretty much left it stuck it in nook on the rear of the machine.
The AirRounder Plus Connect can oscillate, of course, in three specific angles – 60°, 120° and 360° (compared to the smaller AirRounder Plus’ max oscillation of 180º).
Breville AirRounder Plus Connect: app and features
What you see is not the only thing that you get with the AirRounder Plus Connect. There’s a lot more going on here, including automatic power off in case of a tip-over, as well as overheat protection and a child lock to prevent mishaps if your toddler happens to start playing with the buttons on the device’s touch panel.
There are quite a few lights on this little machine, from the glowing ring around the grille to the display and the indicator lights on the touch panel. So we really appreciate the built-in ambient light sensor. This automatically switches off all lights on the device if it senses a darkened room. It doesn’t even have to be pitch dark for it to work – dark blinds are enough for it to figure out you want to nap.
The other sensor on board is for estimating air quality, which is then displayed on the front of the machine and on the Breville Home Connect app (this on-board display will also go dark when the ambient light sensor kicks in).
Speaking of which, you really don’t need to use the app at all. The only reason to do so would be to set up voice control (via either Google Assistant or Alexa, no Siri support here) and home automations, which we really, really like. For example, you can set up the AirRounder to turn on automatically in heater mode if the ambient temperature drops below a specific number, or you can have the fan come on if the room heats up to, say, 30ºC. These smarts work as long as the AirRounder is plugged into a wall socket and is on standby and connected to your home’s Wi-Fi network.
Breville AirRound Plus Connect: performance
It might look like an alien from outer space but the Breville AirRounder Plus Connect is a great multifunctional device for us mere Earthlings. Whether it’s to warm a room in winter or cool down in the summer, the AirRounder does it with aplomb.
Let’s start at the very beginning – the setup. This was really easy for us, connecting the device to the Home Connect app over Wi-Fi. All the instructions you need for this process are in the manual (surprisingly detailed instructions we might add) and it went swimmingly.
And since we received the AirRounder in the middle of the Aussie winter, our first test was heating a 5sqm room. The average ambient temperature of the room was about 15ºC and we set the thermostat (via the app) for a more toasty 25ºC. On average, it took the AirRounder Plus Connect about 30-35 minutes to get to that temperature, after which the thermostat switched off automatically, only to start up as the ambient temperature began to drop. We usually set a timer for an hour during our testing period and the device switched off on dot; not one single hiccup in that regard.
It was a little difficult to feel the temperature changes in a larger room, but we quickly realised that placing it in the middle and having it oscillate a full 360º was the way to warm up a 11sqm space. It took the device approximately 45 minutes to go from 15ºC to 25ºC in this larger room. While Breville claims the AirRounder Plus Connect should be able to cover a space up to 40sqm in size, we’re sceptical of that number – we didn’t have the opportunity to try it in a space that big, but extrapolating from our test spaces, we think the AirRounder Plus Connect won’t be much help in a space larger than 25sqm (the coverage area Breville claims the smaller AirRounder Plus can handle).
We weren’t really expecting a lot from this stumpy little thing in cooling mode, but even on a medium fan speed setting you can feel the air movement while sitting a couple of metres away. It’s important to note that the AirRounder isn’t a portable air conditioner, it’s a fan in cooling mode. So while you can’t set a temperature for the fan, it circulates air really well to keep you cool during the harsh Aussie summers.
And then there’s the purifying capabilities, with a PM 2.5 sensor on board. This refers to particulate matter and droplets in the air that are 2.5 microns or less in size, meaning the Breville can truly detect very minute particles, including formaldehyde. The app and the LED display will show you how much it’s sucking up so you can breathe easy, plus you get a countdown for when the filter needs to be replaced. There’s no spare filter in the box, so you will need to purchase this separately either directly from Breville or an authorised stockist.
We connected the Breville to work with Google Assistant and simple commands like “switch on the Breville AirRounder” or “switch off the AirRounder Plus Connect” worked without a hitch. Unfortunately, the voice assistant couldn’t quite understand commands for going from heater mode to fan or switch on a specific mode. This machine can also be set up to work with Amazon’s Alexa, but there’s no Siri support here.
The one issue we did struggle with when the AirRounder Plus Connect was running was the noise level. At full bore – whether heater or fan mode – noise levels can hit about 50-55dB. That’s about as loud as a modern-day kitchen range hood and just a little quieter than a vacuum cleaner on its lowest setting. While that constant hum could become white noise for some users, this reviewer found it hard to fall asleep easily (but that’s the way of light sleepers anyway) initially but has since gotten used to it. The noise issue, however, is not unique to Breville – even the Dyson Pure Hot+Cool range emits the same level of noise.
All in all, Breville’s done a stellar job with the AirRounder Plus Connect.
Should I buy the Breville AirRounder Plus Connect?
If you’re after a single device that you can use year-round, then we couldn’t recommend the Breville AirRounder Plus Connect highly enough. Admittedly the design takes a little getting used to and may not be everyone’s first choice, but if aesthetics aren't a deal breaker for you, then this is a powerful heater and fan.
What we really appreciate about the Breville is its affordability as compared to its only competition: Dyson. The Pure Hot+Cool range has a starting price of AU$699 (the HP00 model) and discounts aren’t too deep either. On the other hand, the Breville AirRounder Plus Connect can be got a much better deal price if you pick it up during a major sale. And considering the smarts you get that the Dyson lacks, there is a lot more value for money here.
There aren’t too many multifunction purifier fan heaters on the market, so the only other big-brand competition is from Dyson. If you’ve got the money to spare, the Dyson Pure Hot+Cool Formaldehyde is the ultimate machine. In our five-star review of the Pure Hot+Cool Formaldehyde, we call it the “best fan, best heater and best air purifier ever” for good reason. Not only does it do everything it’s meant to do really well, it looks pretty darn good doing it too.