When my nutritionist suggested I get an air fryer last year, I was hesitant. I didn’t need another kitchen appliance sitting on the countertop, occupying space. But I was wrong. The Philips Air Fryer proved to be a game changer. It ensured I could stay on track with my diet, as I could whip quick snacks without worrying about excess oil. Most importantly, I could enjoy French fries without worrying that they were soaked in oil. So when Xiaomi sent their new ‘Smart’ Air Fryer for review, I was intrigued. I was curious to see what was different here. I’ve used this product for more than a week now, and here’s my take.
Xiaomi Smart Air Fryer review: So what’s different?
The Xiaomi Smart Air Fryer has a capacity of 3.5 litres. This one also comes with a separate grill, which you can place inside the basket. The grill allows you to create two layers. For instance, if you are frying a lot of chicken wings, you can keep some at the bottom, and some at the top of the grill.
Xiaomi states you can use the air fryer to bake a cake, dry out your fruits, and even make curd, in addition to ‘air-frying’ chicken, veggies, frozen snacks and french fries.
But the key difference here is that this is a ‘smart’ air fryer. So this can connect to the Mi Home app on your smartphone. You can just start a pre-set program from your phone, and pre-schedule a meal, though I’m not sure why anyone would do so. The app also has other recipes.
Of course, you can choose to do all this baking and air-frying via the knob and screen on the device itself, and avoid the smart route altogether.
Xiaomi Smart Air Fryer review: So what’s so good?
When I first set this up, I had this feeling the product would annoy me. Does anyone need to connect their ‘Air Fryer’ to Wi-Fi? But once I got used to setting the recipe from the app, I have come to appreciate this more. No more twiddling around with the knob to figure out the exact time or switch the temperature. I found the app more convenient to use.
Connecting this Air Fryer to the Wi-Fi and my iPhone was easy. You will need the Mi Home app on your phone for this. The Air Fryer should appear in the list of devices to add. Keep in mind that this ease of connecting to Wi-Fi might also depend on the size of your house and how far the kitchen is located from your Wi-Fi router. Most people living in apartments with an open kitchen should not have a problem.
Once the Air Fryer was connected to the WiFi via the Mi Home app, I could see various preset options for select items. The list includes French Fries, Chicken Wings, Fish, Shrimp, Vegetables, Cake and Dried Fruit. The first time I used the French Fries setting, it suggested the temperature at 200-degree Celsius, which seemed on the higher side to me. The good thing about this Air Fryer is that it reminds you to ‘shake’ the fries as they are cooking. This is a critical step in air fryer cooking, and it’s good that Xiaomi reminds you of the same.
The fries did turn out nice, but a little too crispy. I should have reduced the temperature settings and gone with 180 degrees Celsius. You can tap on the temperature option in the app and reduce as per desire, even in these preset options. The second batch of fries I made in the Air Fryer was much better with better texture. This second batch was a frozen one. These were sliced, boiled slightly –which does contribute to crispier fries — and then frozen. When cooking these in the Air-Fryer I added some olive oil and salt. Yes, air fryer food needs some oil, not a lot, but some. The texture was much better in round two.
I’ve also made my usual ‘air-fried’ chicken tikka in this, and it has turned out quite juicy. I went with a temperature of 170 degrees, Celsius, and it took around 15-20 minutes to cook. I also made some chicken wings coated with breadcrumbs, and these turned out nice and moist. When making the wings, I went with the preset recipe setting in the app. There’s also an option to ‘preheat’ the air fryer when trying some other recipes. You just have to toggle the option in the recipe settings.
The fact that the Xiaomi Smart Air Fryer’s basket has a no-stick coating instead of the steel grill style on my Philips is another advantage. It means cleaning this is usually much easier.
The recipes page in the Xiaomi app is very useful in my view. It has options for many items you might normally want to cook in this. From potato wedges to baked eggs and tofu, even lamb chops and salmon, Xiaomi has laid out the instructions well in this recipe segment. It mentions the exact quantity, the ingredients, the time and temperature, and the instructions to follow. I plan to test out tofu next since that is one item that has never turned out perfect in the Air Fryer.
Xiaomi Smart Air Fryer review: What’s not so good?
The air fryer also claims it can be used to make curd. I did try that out, and the instructions said the milk+curd mixture should be placed in a glass bowl inside the air fryer. But when I checked halfway, the milk had spilled into the rest of the basket. So yeah, that wasn’t ideal. Maybe there’s another trick, but it didn’t work for me. Plus, I don’t see too many people using the Air Fryer for this purpose.
When using the manual mode, it can get confusing, especially since my Philips one is very old school and simple compared to this — you just rotate the dial on top for the temperature and the one at the bottom for the time, and you are done . But this Xiaomi is more advanced.
When I cooked some chicken without using the app, it took me a while to figure out how to adjust the temperature. The problem is that the screen also responds to touch, and I kept pressing up and down on it in hope of reducing the temperature. I soon realized I had to rotate the knob to tweak the temperature and time. It took a few tries to figure this out. There is a learning curve involved with this air fryer, which could frustrate some users.
My biggest problem with the Xiaomi Smart Air Fryer though is the color. This pristine white will not stay so in Indian kitchens for too long. Xiaomi needs to bring this in black. I can already imagine the number of turmeric stains that will stick to this if I used it daily.
I also want to point out that the size of the Air Fryer is a bit too compact. I’m not sure one can actually bake a cake in this. Because you would need a baking tin which will fit inside. I, for sure, don’t have one this size in my collection of baking tins.
Xiaomi Smart Air Fryer review: Should you get this?
Yes, if you have been looking for an air fryer and want something smart and are good with tech. And when I say good with tech, I mean you are someone who has always wanted smart kitchen gadgets and is confident about learning the ropes soon. The Xiaomi Smart Air Fryer does the job well. It is a great product to eat all the snacks you have wanted to eat–including those pre-frozen ones– without worrying about extra oil.
But if you have a large family with parties being hosted regularly, this one might not be big enough. Or this could function as a second air fryer in your home when the first is busy and the demand for snacks is on the higher side. Finally, if you prefer kitchen appliances that are easy to use and understand, the Xiaomi Smart Air Fryer might not be ideal for you.