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Honeywell Air Touch U series keeps the air pure, but needs refinement elsewhere

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If you still needed some convincing, there’s new data which should. The annual report from Swiss tech company IQAir, which through the last year collected logs from 30,000 air quality monitoring stations across 7,812 locations in 134 countries, pegs India as the third most polluted country in the world, after Bangladesh and Pakistan. That’s the collective ranking of air quality in different Indian cities, some of which including the capital city, figure among the most polluted in the world. Outdoor air has limited scope of correction by individuals (wear a mask, perhaps), air inside your homes can be maintained within a healthier realm. As important as they are in homes now, not all indoor air purifiers are equals.

The Air Touch U1 is now available for around <span class=
The Air Touch U1 is now available for around 23,999 while the U2 sets you back by around 27,999. (Official image)

A lot of the actual air cleaning performance is directly related to the quality of filters, while additional features may be subjectively relevant. Air humidification, for instance. Technology company Honeywell’s current home air purifier line-up may best be unified by its diversity. The Honeywell Air Touch U1 and the Air Touch U2 achieve the same result, but have very different specifications and feature set, to get there. There are specifics that add value, the soft of functionality that’s still not commonplace.

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Selecting one out of the two doesn’t hinge on the pricing now, since there is little window between the two price tags.

The Air Touch U1 is now available for around 23,999 while the U2 sets you back by around 27,999. Dimension and form factor differences aside, both purifiers have a 4-stage filtration process at play – a pre-filter, anti-bacterial filter, an activated carbon filter and an H13 HEPA or high-efficiency particulate resistance filter to close the loop. That theoretically takes care of a broad spectrum of airborne particles, measured in microns.

In our testing, it becomes clear that the pre-filters are quite effective in the Air Touch U2 in particular, which translates into longer life of the filters that follow.

In our tests, a bedroom with 255 AQI before the Air Touch U2 got into action, was stabilised at 23 AQI in about 30 minutes, in auto mode. However, you may not want to leave the U2 in this mode for too long, since the fans can get quite loud beyond speed 2 (there are up to 8 levels). For the daytime, manual selection up to speed 2, and night mode for sleep time, are the way to go. There is a very neat colour changing LED ringing the circumference of the purifier’s control panel, but it doesn’t have any illumination level settings and neither does it dim if you turn the room’s lights off.

The biggest advantage of the U2 is the humidifier. The water tank is large (around 2 litres) and for the typical Delhi NCR climate and dryness levels, this needed filling up every 24 hours of use through the day and night. That said, it is perplexing that every time the purifier powers on, anion (or negative ions) and the UV (ultraviolet purification) turn on by default. I have not noticed any mode or setting that keeps these off in the event of a power state recycle. Speaking of which, the Air Touch U2 doesn’t power back on in case of an electricity cut – that’s quite perplexing, a basic capability that’s missing.

Also Read: Honeywell Automation, Adani Wilmar and more: 10 biggest midcap losers of Nifty 50 in 2023

With a fairly different form factor is the Air Touch U1, more of a tower style which demands a 360-degree filter design because of the air intakes on all four sides of the purifier. All purification layers are integrated into the single unit, and that for matters of simplicity when replacing, might be a good idea. Less e-waste too. The U1, much like its sibling, also struggles with high fan noise on levels 3 and fairly noticeable fan noise on level 2. It is understandable since there are three speed levels. In auto mode, this tends to go into a higher speed sooner rather than later, not willing to take any chances with air composition. Some movement close to the purifier, which may make it detect any movement in airborne particles, also gets it into higher speeds soon enough.

In a large hall space, the U1 improved the 221 AQI to about an AQI of 55 in 30 minutes, in auto mode. Keep this at fan speed one, and that gets maintained between 55 and 75 AQI levels for the most part – not bad for an active room. There is no humidifier in the U1, and also no negative ions, but this also has the UV which automatically gets enabled every time the power mode is cycled, or you power this down and switch it on again. The purifier also cannot return to its earlier power state after an electricity cut.

Honeywell, many years ago, were among the first brands to make a concerted effort to make home air purifiers ‘smart’. That mission seemingly continues till today. Both the Air Touch U1 and U2 work with the Honeywell AirTouch app (available for Android and iPhone), and the smartness extends to the fact that when I was pairing the U1 to the app, it detected the U2 as well in the vicinity and paired with the same Wi-Fi. The app is simple enough to use, and the layout doesn’t pose any learning curves. Minimal visual appeal, but gets the job done.

You need an air purifier for home, and in some cities in our country, perhaps even one in each room. Buying one accordingly that’s fit for purpose in specific room sizes is important. Both Honeywell’s Air Touch U1 and U2 are equally adept at actively cleaning the air in large rooms (a living and dining room combination, for instance), as well as smaller bedrooms.

The app on the phone adds to some convenience of use. That said, firmware updates must fix some refinement issues, such as the auto-start of all features, and the present inability to resume after a power cut as well as retain the mode it was in previously. If these cannot be fixed, you’ll have to do slightly more manual intervention, when required.



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Nikhil Kamath alerts investors on ‘hand-picked stocks’ WhatsApp scam: ‘Use common sense’

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Zerodha co-founder Nikhil Kamath informed investors that he has never had any WhatsApp group where he shares “hand-picked” stocks as advertised by a group. The group claims to assist people in picking the right stocks and Nikhil Kamath said that “this is obviously not from me” as he urged people to use a little “common sense”.

Zerodha co-founder Nikhil Kamath alerted investors about a scam on Whatsapp.
Zerodha co-founder Nikhil Kamath alerted investors about a scam on Whatsapp.

“Scam alert, this is obviously not from me, I have never had or have any WhatsApp groups, nor do I give tips etc. Please report these… Also to all the brands who reach out, I don’t do paid promotions/collaborations/ads/paid speaking engagements of any kind. Please stop spamming, and everyone use a little common sense please,” he said along with an image of the fake advertisement.

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What did the scam advertisement claim?

The scam advertisement showed that the WhatsApp group had details of stocks handpicked by Nikhil Kamath that would rise in April. The ad asked investors to join the WhatsApp group which would share their picks of reliable stocks every day as it said, “First 1,000 members get it for free.”

See Nikhil Kamath’s post here:

Earlier Nikhil Kamath advised fellow entrepreneurs in India to not open franchises of global brands in India but try to take Indian brands to the world.

He said, “To all my entrepreneur buddies, the future may be to take Indian brands global, not franchise global brands in India. The Indian narrative is getting cool globally, we have mystique, royalty, history, artisan, handmade, exotic, and so much more to sell.”

He added, “What was yesterday a garment manufactured in India called John, Peter and Louis something and marketed by western models, could be tom Subko, Hatti Kaapi, 11.11 etc sold in New York with the faces of Indian artisans who spent hours on each product individually.”



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RBI ban on Bank of Baroda World app: Finance ministry’s likely plan on frauds

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Union finance ministry may propose stricter measures to protect citizens from cyber fraud, it was reported. This comes after an increase in incidents of frauds, including the Bank of Baroda World app scam, the Times of India reported citing sources who “mentioned a recent inter-ministerial meeting focused on bolstering cybersecurity and tackling financial fraud”, it noted.

A security official walks past an emblem of the Reserve Bank of India at the RBI headquarters, in Mumbai.
A security official walks past an emblem of the Reserve Bank of India at the RBI headquarters, in Mumbai.

What was RBI’s action on Bank of Baroda World app?

In October 2023, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) stopped Bank of Baroda from onboarding new customers on its mobile app ‘BoB World’ citing material supervisory concerns. The bank said in response that it had already carried out corrective measures to address the concerns.

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“The Reserve Bank of India has, in exercise of its power, under Section 35A of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, directed Bank of Baroda to suspend, with immediate effect, any further onboarding of their customers onto the ‘bob World’ mobile application,” RBI said in a statement.

“Any further onboarding of customers of the bank on the ‘bob World’ application will be subject to rectification of the deficiencies observed and strengthening of the related processes by the bank to the satisfaction of RBI,” it added.

What report said on steps Finance Ministry could take?

The report claimed that Finance ministry could be in support of stricter Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures and due diligence by banks and financial institutions while onboarding new merchants. This applies to Business Correspondents (BCs) as they may be more vulnerable to security breaches, as per the report.

Additionally, the ministry’s proposal also stresses on the need for improved data security and data protection practices at the merchant and Business Correspondents level. The report claimed that the RBI may ask banks to review concentration of Business Correspondents in areas with a high incidence of cyber fraud.



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Sakuma Exports shares to trade ex-rights today: Check price, allotment, ratio here

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Sakuma Exports rights issue 2024: The rights issue of Sakuma Exports Ltd will open on April 25 and will close on May 13. The rights issue record date is April 15 and the company will offer 78,984,298 equity shares at a price 25.3 per share. The issue size is 199.83 crores while the entitlement ratio is 33:98 which means 33 rights share for every 98 fully-paid equity shares held on the record date.

Sakuma Exports rights issue 2024: The rights issue record date is April 15 and the company will offer 78,984,298 equity shares at a price <span class=
Sakuma Exports rights issue 2024: The rights issue record date is April 15 and the company will offer 78,984,298 equity shares at a price 25.3 per share.

Sakuma Exports: What is rights issue?

In the rights issue, a company grants existing shareholders the right to buy new shares at a discount to the current trading price. The issue gives existing shareholders securities called rights while companies give shareholders a chance to increase their exposure to the stock at a discount price.

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Sakuma Exports: What to expect?

The Board of Directors of the company declared rights issue of equity shares for the eligible shareholders and said in a stock exchange filing that “the issue of 7,89,84,298 equity shares of face value of Re. 1 each (Equity Shares) to Eligible Equity Shareholders aggregating up to Rs. 19983.03 lakhs in accordance with applicable laws, including the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Issue of Capital and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2018, as amended (SEBI ICDR Regulations).”

“The Board of Directors, in accordance with Regulations 30 and Regulation 42 of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Listing Obligation and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2015, as amended and Regulation 68 of the SEBI ICDR Regulations, at its meeting held today ie., April 8, 2024, has considered and approved April 15, 2024 as the record date for the purpose of determining the Eligible Equity Shareholders who are eligible to apply for the Rights Equity Shares, in the Issue (Record Date),” it added.



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