Bluarmor BluSnap Helmet Cooler: First Impressions
- by Nabeel Khan
- May 21, 2018
- Views : 2792
Someone took ‘keep a cool head in traffic’ way too seriously!
There is a long list of rider accessories that promise to keep you safe available in the market. However, there are some like the BluSnap that work towards adding convenience. In a nutshell, what it does is suck in air through a wet filter and blow it on to your face, ensuring a cool flow even while being stationary in traffic. But is the BluSnap, which adds 400g of weight to your helmet, be comfortable in the long run? We gave it a shot in the Pune summer to find out just that.
How big is it?
Do you remember Tom Hardy as Bane from the movie Batman: The Dark Knight Rises? The BluSnap is something along the lines of Bane’s audio-muffling mask. When attached on to the helmet, it sticks out quite a bit at the front and is instantly noticeable. The unit sticks out about 3 inches from the helmet, is 4 inches tall and 5.2-inches wide. In terms of weight, the BluSnap, with its 60ml water capacity, weighs close to 390g. You won't feel its weight when you hold it up in your hand, but attached to the helmet, it causes a downward force at the front. It won't be much of an issue if the helmet is a good fit, though. However, it could cause some movement if your helmet is loose.
Does it work?
Yes. It works on the same principle as your average desert cooler. The fan sucks in air, which is filtered through a wet air filter. Here, the evaporating water reduces the temperature of the air cooling it in the process. This air is then blown in the front of your face via two 2-inch long nozzles which come close to the height of your chin. This helps keep the front of your face cool, even when the temperature outside wants otherwise. It remains pleasant inside the helmet even while riding close to 80kmph. This does feel a little odd at first as the rest of your body is sweating due to the heat. However, it is a good feeling nonetheless. Here’s a pro tip: use icy cold water and the cooling becomes a lot faster and better.
It works best in the city with slow-moving traffic - scenarios where you would want to crack your helmet visor open to let in some fresh air. On the contrary, the BluSnap works best when the visor is kept shut, keeping the hot air from around you at bay. Even while stationary, the cool airflow keeps things very pleasing on this side of the visor. As it is a water-based cooling system, it works better in dry heat when compared to humid climates and does filter out some of the dust particles as well.
How long does it work for?
The manufacturer claims that the fan will run for approximately 10 hours on a full charge. And when it runs out of juice, you can simply charge it using a regular micro-USB charger. However, there is a catch. On a hot summer day, the water will last for just about an hour and a half. Yes, there are hacks where you can wet the filter separately to keep it moist for longer, but that too won't be enough for a highway ride. It is, however, ideal for college or office-going commuters who have the facility to refill it before riding out again. Once the filter drys out, it just sends filtered air that’s the same temperature as the outside air.
Is there a chance of it slipping off the helmet?
Well, no. While the snugness of the ‘fit’ will depend on the helmet you use, we did try it on a wide variety of them present in our office and it attached well to all of them. The strap gets silicon ribs which prevent it from slipping once wrapped around the helmet and, with the vents tucked in, there is barely any movement at all.
Is it loud?
Not at all. The fan does have a sound, but because it sits outside the helmet, it is barely audible. Also, the sound of the bike/scooter or the traffic around easily mask it.
Yes, a few. First, because this a one design fits all kind of a device, it is important to note how well it fits with your helmet. If your helmet has an additional chin protector, which most of the good helmets do, there might be trouble. Because of this protector, the nozzles start to point towards the neck, and not into the helmet. This reduced the cooling effect quite a bit in our case. It would have been a big help if the nozzles were adjustable, something we hope will be incorporated into the next generation of the device.
Secondly, it is a big unit. Though it doesn’t hamper your vision, the size and weight play a small role. Over the course of our three-hour ride with the BluSnap, I could feel the difference in weight distribution after about an hour. This became more obvious as I spent more time with it. A more compact unit would have gone a long way in it fitting evenly and even looking better with the helmet. This would also help maintain a better balance for the helmet, which currently tips a little to the front with the unit in place.
Then there are safety concerns. In the event of a crash, the chunky unit placed in front of the helmet could force your neck to turn in ways it shouldn't. Though the folks at Bluarmor claim that the unit has been crash-tested and that it has been designed to break apart in the event of a crash, it still remains a bit of a concern, at least mentally.
Should you get one?
There’s no denying that the Bluarmor BluSnap helps you beat the heat. However, this being the first generation of such a device, there are a lot of factors that need to be addressed. If you live in a city with severe dry heat conditions like Pune or New Delhi, and your commute is largely limited to the city, we’d recommend you give it a try. Adjustable nozzles would have made it a better fit for a wider range of helmets and we know that a water level indicator will be present in the next generation of the device. Currently, it costs Rs 1,948. With a price tag like that, it is a gadget worth having to keep cool and ride on!
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