Panasonic Cube AC, initial ownership review
Panasonic launched it’s new ‘Designed and Made for India‘ AC range called the Panasonic Cube AC in the end of Jan 2011. The Cube AC is supposed to have the benefits and features of a split AC combined with the price and economy of a window AC. It comes 1.2 and 1.5 tonne capacity, each with or without Remote Control. The Panasonic website describes it thus:
The Cube AC has been developed and launched considering the requirements of the Indian consumer, which reflected in the survey conducted by Panasonic starting in mid 2009 using interview method with the consumers. Keeping in mind the Indian climate conditions and space restrictions with a rise in the apartment lifestyle, the Cube retains the best features of both spilt and window AC stronger air throw with reduced noise levels, quick cooling, sleek and stylish looks, can be mounted on the wall and most importantly, is an economical option.
Determined to accomplish strong air flow and fast cooling with low noise level, they have redesigned new diagonal propeller fan for the indoor unit. Improved blade shape curvature simultaneously enhances aerodynamic performance and reduces noise level. Added to this, front intake grill with a wider air discharge further delivers better airflow for fast cooling effect The result was the CUBE – a compact, energy-efficient, high-performer with a sleek and stylish design that would look equally attractive mounted close to the ceiling or at window level.
I was slightly impressed by the reviews and write ups and wanted to get it for the home. I was looking for 2 ACs for the apartment but thought I’ll get one first and if I like it, get another one of the same type. I started asking for this AC at major electronics dealers, but most had not even heard of it (guess I am ahead of them in terms of latest tech news, eh ;) ) and many said they will get stock after 2 months! I had to go to the only exclusive Panasonic dealer in the city to ask about it. Luckily the dealer had the models in stock ready to deliver. There was just one piece available for display but he would not even switch it on for a demo. I wanted to listen to the sound to see how noisy it was and compare it’s thickness to a regular (rectangular) split AC. Luckily he was able to point out the specs for the noise in the manual and I could compare those numbers to the specs of the regular split ACs (which were also found in the manual!). The thickness of the Cube AC was just a bit more than that of a regular split AC (also on display at the store) and the sound levels were comparable and much lesser than the window AC levels.
Given below is a comparison of few dimensions and units from the manual:
This was enough to satisfy my curiosity and the price was compelling enough for me to buy this AC for the bedroom. Since this was a new product launched by Panasonic India, they also offered free installation (labor only) for a limited time as a promo offer. And so the deal was clinched. The AC was delivered same day to my home, but the installation would be done 2 days later, as the dealer said they were inundated with deliveries and installation slots for the next day! The buying experience was a pleasant one, but little did I know that the installation would be a nightmare!
Installation was scheduled for Monday evening after my work hours. The installers (2 of them) came before I could reach home, and insisted on starting work right away. My spouse told them where we wanted the AC installed in the bedroom. They immediately started taking measurements and making markings on the wall. They did not bother to explain her what they were going to do and how they were going to fix the AC unit. They made holes for the screws and fixed the mounting bracket on the wall. Gawd knows what measurement they were taking for so long because the bracket ultimately turned out to be NOT horizontal! The dust from poking the holes was all over the room, they could have at least asked us to cover the stuff below the wall which they were poking holes in!
Very fast and efficient cooling. There is no directional control to direct the airflow, but still the “throw” is decent. The wind throw is quite powerful and a little to the right of the unit (diagonally) instead of dead straight. Only feature I did not like is that there are only 2 fan speeds, low and high, nothing in between! The unit itself is pretty quiet.
The installers were very disappointing and took more than 3 hours to install the thing, poked holes in the wall without asking and used electrical outlets without confirming. Plus, he forced me to buy his voltage stabilizer even though I had a circuit breaker already installed.
If the size appeals to you (it does look odd having a huge cube so high in the wall) then it surely is a good buy.
My initial impression of the unit is as I mentioned earlier. It’s got a powerful blower which cools my ~150 sq ft room in minutes. The fan blows air over the oversized cooling fins, hence the cooling occurs much faster. Relatively silent. Waiting for the bill shock at the end of the month. It could have done with a little more choice in fan speed than just low and high (nothing in between). Both the inner and outer units are “Made in Malaysia”.
Some photos and my opinions I made on another site about this AC: My Panasonic CUBE AC review on Team-BHP.com
But IMO it would look ugly in a living room, but again, its just my opinion. Looks a little “fat” Very good VFM for a bedroom AC.
Update: Panasonic has launched an updated version with 3 fan speed settings, Low, Medium and High, but rest of the features remain the same.