This Standing Air Conditioner’s Quiet Cool Will Make Me Miss Working From Home

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Photo: Marina Galperina/Gizmodo

At my therapist’s office, there’s a small portable AC. It’s a loudly humming, short monster that grunts at me, disapprovingly, from a foot away. I’ve coped with this by annunciating my anxieties. It’s actually cathartic at 45-minute intervals. But for my work-from-home pandemic setup, that kind of pandemonium is unsustainable. My apartment was one air conditioner short and I was looking for a quiet, yet still powerful, portable AC solution.


My living room office buddy roommate takes a lot of calls, and we needed a living room AC. Usually powerful air conditioners sound like my therapist’s, but that level of noise won’t work for a home office. So when I got the chance to review the Midea Duo air conditioner, we were pleasantly surprised at the subtle, calm whoosh emitting from such a powerful machine.

The Midea Duo’s unique feature is nested inside the unusually wide and hefty accordion air pipe, a hose-in-hose design with dual chambers. One brings in fresh air, and the other ejects hot air. Clocking in at an impressive 12,000-14,000 BTU/h, it blows up to 26 feet away and cools 450 square feet of space.

And it gets cold.

An Easy-to-Use AC With Lots of Controls

Midea’s cleverly U-shaped window unit, which we previously reviewed, seemed like a solid option, but the Midea Duo black monolith was my only living room option due to the window-flush bars on the first floor. The window installation was somewhat frustrating with the Duo’s array of insulators, sliders, and air dividers. I will note here that I am an impatient, easily frustrated person when it comes to assembling things, as demonstrated by my crooked Ikea furniture. But there are no drills necessary, so I shouldn’t complain. Similarly, the 32.4 by 19.5 by 16.7-inch, 72-pound AC should be easy to move, maybe just not for me, what with my quickly dwindled upper body “strength.”


I also do this thing where I hesitate to fix things that seem off. Instead, I accept certain pains, discomforts, and peculiarities. For example, the Midea Duo arrived with a slightly crooked vent that needed a confident, hard yank to even out. At first, I did not yank. I gently jostled. I prodded. I became obsessed with this “design flaw.” Finally, I yanked. It’s flush, it pivots, and it seems to provide what Midea dubbed as “immersive” spatial cooling.

Are you a buttons type? Remote type? App type? Midea Duo’s got all three, in increasing level of complexity. It also works with Alexa and Google Assistant, but I don’t use those, because they are creepy. Specifically, the app is quite nifty for that “immersive” purpose of directing cool airflow to my corner of the living room over here from the rotating vent way over there. The entire living room is generally cooled evenly, but sometimes you need to feel a reassuring breeze.


Midea Duo is powerful, relatively quiet, and the kind of AC that fits my window placement options. It is good. There is the rare, small whiff of trash, because my only workable living room window looks out directly onto the trash. Nothing I can do about that. Not Midea’s fault. Smelled fine usually.

Though Midea claims the unit is energy saving, it doesn’t actually report how much energy it uses. All I know is that the roommates and I were trapped in a day-long circus act attempting to figure out which outlet to use so it doesn’t keep blowing out fuses. (I will note here that we have an exceptional amount of electronic equipment running frequently, in an old building.) The shared utilities bill jumped noticeably, as was expected.


Why I’ll Miss This Thing

Maybe it’s my fault for keeping it so icy. Not only has the Duo kept my brain from boiling on the hottest month recorded in history (though I turned it off when advised to by New York’s phone alert blasts), the cold helps me concentrate.


I’ve grown quite attached to this AC and had to leave it recently when I optionally returned to the office one day. As a bit. And to claim a desk near the window, since they moved our office again. I… came back. There is only a very small circulating handful of us popping in and out of here, and I can only excuse this weird behavior with a crisis-level need for occasional work/home separation, even if it meant abandoning my Midea Duo, and other home office necessities for awhile.


This unit has conditioned me with an ability to modulate sound and feel. At the office, I am powerless. The centrally controlled AC’s ominous hum is pronounced to the point where I can’t not hear it. There is a faint, stale, dystopic vent scent. The temperature and whoever controls it seem indifferent to my existence.

Summer is nearing its end, but climate change isn’t, so those with the option of working from home still have time to enjoy what the Midea Duo has to offer. Just make sure the vent is straight.