Dreo Pilot Max S review: A smart ventilator at an equally smart price

Dreo Pilot Max S

MSRP $130.00

“The Pilot Max S allows users to control their smart fan with their voice, as well as up to 12 different speed settings – but that level of granularity just doesn’t seem like enough to justify the price.”

Advantages

  • Easy setup and installation

  • Smooth and responsive control

The inconvenients

  • Lack of features beyond the basics

  • Unattractive design

With summer in full swing in many parts of the country (and bringing heat waves), you need to stay cool, especially if you have second floors in your home that aren’t as optimized. This is the struggle I face; my upstairs loft is a playroom, perfect for spending the hours on a humid July day, but it easily stays five degrees warmer than the rest of the house.

The Dreo smart fan next to a table.

As long as I’m using a fan it’s perfectly comfortable – but the problem comes at night when I’m crawling in bed and hear the fan upstairs. The last thing I want is to go back up there and turn everything off. That’s where the Dreo Pilot Max S comes in. It’s a connected smart fan that can be controlled via my phone, Amazon Alexa, or Google Assistant, and does a great job of pounding me with air. Fresher. It’s just a shame it couldn’t do anything to keep my palms dry during some of the toughest times in Tunic.

Setup and Installation

There’s not much to installing a smart fan. The trickiest part of the whole process was attaching the base, and even that took less than 30 seconds. The entire Pilot Max S is assembled right out of the box; even the bracket only needed to be clicked in and secured at the bottom. The hardest part was finding the included remote, which didn’t have its own packaging and ended up at the bottom of the box among a pile of packing supplies.

Setting up the Dreo Pilot Max S was as easy as pressing the Wi-Fi button on top of the fan for three seconds until it became discoverable in the app. After that, I just needed to press a few buttons to do the rest of the process. Straightforward and simple, just like setting up a smart home device should be.

Daily use

You can control the fan via built-in capacitive touch buttons, through the use of an included remote, via your phone, or with voice commands. That’s more than enough options for the average person; in most cases, I didn’t even bother to use my phone. I just sat down at my desk and grabbed the remote. Alexa came in handy for turning off the fan at night when I didn’t want to dig into a smartphone app.

The rest of the time? Honestly, once I set the fan speed I liked, I rarely touched the settings. I don’t use oscillation since I’m sitting in one spot, and since the fan is upstairs, the sleep setting wasn’t necessary.

The controls on the Dreo Smart Fan device.

One of the main selling points of the Dreo Pilot Max S is that it’s quiet. According to some branding and marketing elements, it’s “undetectable”. This is not entirely true. At low speeds, it’s so quiet you won’t even notice it. You won’t even feel the air on your skin. Of the 12 different fan speed options, I found 9 to be the ideal level. At level 12, you will definitely notice this. The fan looks like a jet preparing to roll down the runway.

App functionality

The app forgoes aesthetic appeal in favor of function. In most cases, I’d be fine with this design choice – but when there are so few features, it might not be a bad idea to make it a bit more attractive to look at.

The app displays the name of the fan, the indoor temperature where the fan is located, and then gives you access to four different control settings.

  • Normal is what you’d expect: smooth, direct airflow.
  • Natural adjusts the fan to look more like an outdoor breeze, but the effect falls a bit flat. When I first used it, I thought the fan was malfunctioning.
  • Sleep quiets the fan so it doesn’t keep you up at night.
  • Auto adjusts fan speed based on room temperature. If you want to keep space within a defined range, Auto is the best option for that.

On the right of the app is an adjustable slider to change the fan speed. Below that, you’ll find a quick button to turn oscillation on or off, as well as set a timer.

Swiping up from the bottom of the app gives access to a user manual, an FAQ page, and options to disable fan chimes and manipulate auto-brightness settings. This is also where you connect your voice assistants if you wish.

Like I said: not much there, but it’s enough to control the fan.

Design

It’s more like where you would place a well-aimed shot to destroy the core reactor of a Death Star.

While the Dreo Pilot Max S does a lot of things right, its design isn’t one of them. It’s not exactly an ugly device, but it does look very industrial. Like the app, it seems that little attention has been paid to the appearance of the device instead of the functionality. While it’s a better decision than focusing too much on looks and not enough on functionality, it’s something people are going to be looking at in their homes every day. It should have some aesthetic appeal, but it’s more like where you’d land a well-aimed shot to destroy a Death Star’s core reactor.

Our point of view

There’s not much to say about the Dreo Pilot Max S. It’s a ventilator with smart features, and that’s pretty cool. It does what it’s supposed to do and keeps a cool area, although I can’t say I noticed an overall decrease in ambient temperature while it was running. Is it worth buying the $130 fan rather than investing in a regular fan and plugging it into a $25 smart outlet? I’m not sure – but I can say that I don’t think I would have spent so much on this if it hadn’t been sent to me for review. It looks like a smart device that must cost about half that cost. At $75, I can see it’s a solid buy.

Is there a better alternative?

Dreo has several other alternative models at lower prices that do almost the same thing. The costlier element to this one is the sleep mode, and that doesn’t seem like enough to me to justify the increased cost. After all, who cares about a little white noise while they sleep? If you’re looking for a high-end smart fan that doubles as an air purifier, consider checking out the LG PuriCare AeroTower. Although it costs $600, it is packed with features. Besides, it looks nice.

How long will it last?

The fan is well built. I suspect it will last a while, even with the moving parts. If anything goes wrong, Dreo offers a 12-month warranty, as well as a 100-day money-back guarantee.

Should I buy it?

Not this particular model. A smart fan is a great investment, but look into one of Dreo’s other models rather than spending $130 on it. Once the price of the Pilot Max S drops a bit, it’ll be a great buy – until then, the price just seems a little high.

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