Xiaomi sent us a fresh gizmo to the review last month – a radio, lightweight inflator under its Mi selection of products. Xiaomi often impresses with their packaging, design and construction – be it something no more than the Mi band or something big like their weighing scale. The Mi Portable Electric Air Compressor will come in a concise, minimalist cardboard packing too and inside you get the machine itself, an instructions in multiple languages and a soft bag to carry the inflator and its own accessories, such as the micro USB charging cable, an adapter for use with smaller valves and another adapter pin for use with footballs, basketballs etc.
The construction of the inflator is pretty good, the plastics feel robust the touch and most of its body panels and tightly come up with, just how you expect of reduced product. The matte black finish feels good to touch, is simple to grip and really should theoretically become more enduring against scratches over time. The carrying pouch provided for the inflator is constructed of soft cloth that accumulates dust and dirt easily and a waterproof alternative could have been an improved idea for a lightweight device of the kind. The unit appears like a pad-lock/iPod/battery-pack/portable-speaker – all rolled into one – nonetheless it isn’t either of these. It can have a LED torch though, that is a useful addition if you were to possess a puncture at night.
The Mi inflator is started up by simply taking out the filler tube, and vice versa to change it off. While in transport, if this tube were to get pulled out and activate the inflator unintentionally, the machine will automatically switch off if there are 3 minutes of inactivity – so that’s one less thing to worry about. The pump includes a 150psi pressure limit which is plenty of to fill tyres on bicycles, motorcycles and even cars. The iPod like switchgear on the fascia is not a rotary dial but has switches organized in a clockwise format. The main one at 3 o’clock cycles through four presets – bicycle tyres, two-wheeler tyres, four-wheeler tyres and inflatable sporting balls. Using the adjacent +/- switches you can adapt the pressure according to your need. The fourth switch toggles the LED torch.
For the tests on the Mi inflator, I began with a bicycle which had lost all air, because of the lockdown and my laziness. The machine took in regards to a minute to fill the tyre from 0PSI to 22PSI. Bicyclists will particularly appreciate the wireless configuration of the lightweight inflator and given its small size and lightweight, you can merely pop this unit into your waist pouch through the longer rides.
For motorcyclists, I tested it on the trunk tyre of my R 1250 GS, which it took about 4mins to go from 22PSI to the 36PSI. Riders of adventure or off-road motorcycles will most likely drop air pressures for better traction on dirt and replenish the air pressure again for road use. In that scenario, the Mi inflator makes a whole lot of sense.
For the automobile test, I hooked it up to the tyre of our permanent Creta which it needed around 10mins to go from 15PSI to 36PSI. Once you attach the filler tube onto the valve, the Mi inflator may also tell you the existing pressure of the tyre – so that’s great in case you are monitoring a tyre for a leak or slow puncture lacking any onboard tyre pressure monitoring system. The R 1250 GS and the Creta, both include it even though the indicated starting value was identical on the TPMS and the Mi inflator’s display, the ultimate values were off by around 2PSI, with the inflator indicating that it had reached the set value however the TPMS on both vehicles disagreeing with it. Letting the pump cool-down somewhat and rechecking values with it showed that the pressure was indeed off by 2PSI.
Having said that, the pump doesn’t get worryingly hot and even after back again to back tests on these vehicles, it didn’t quit or overheat. Mi claims that the inflator may charge eight bicycle tyres, six motorcycle tyres or five car tyres on a complete charge. Take that with a pinch of salt though because by enough time we did one bicycle tyre, one motorcycle tyre and one car tyre, it had already started blinking amber on underneath of the machine, indicating that the batteries were right down to 50%. Furthermore, the inflator won’t work when you plug-in the charger, meaning you need to make sure that it really is fully charged (needs three hours) and ready throughout your travels. For anyone who is the kind of one who doesn’t want to worry about charging another device throughout your travels, a wired inflator could still make more sense for you. But unless you have a 12V socket on your own vehicle or for anyone who is alert to how iffy 12V sockets will get with dirt and grit, the wireless lightweight charger will make more sense for you personally.
To place things into perspective, other popular inflators are the ResQTech Micro Tyre Inflator coming in at Rs 990, the Amazon Basics lightweight inflator priced between Rs 3,000-4,000 and the Michelin 12264/12266 tyre inflators priced between Rs 2,500-4,100. Each one of these options are, however, the wired type. The Mi inflator, priced competitively at Rs 2,300, trumps these options using its wireless form factor, better construction, easier interface and relatively better portability.