Jun 05, 2023

GE Profile Clearview PHNT10 Smart Air Conditioner

Window air conditioners provide an affordable alternative to central systems, but they tend to be loud and block a lot of your view to the outside. The GE Profile Clearview PHNT10 Smart Air Conditioner ($529) solves both of these issues thanks to its split-housing design: The bulk of the unit sits below your window line and all the noisiest components remain outside. It also offers voice and app control, energy usage reports, and support for third-party integrations via IFTTT. All of these qualities earn it our Editors' Choice award, though just know that similarly powerful competitors with traditional (window-blocking) designs cost less.

The PHNT10 is a 10,300 BTU air conditioner that works for rooms of up to 450 square feet. It has four operational modes (Cool, Eco, Quiet, and Fan Only) and four fan speeds (Auto, High, Medium, and Low). The fan runs constantly at a fixed speed in Cool mode and cycles on and off in Eco mode. It runs more slowly in Quiet mode but will take longer to cool down the room. The unit has built-in 2.4GHz Wi-Fi for connecting to your home network and Bluetooth for pairing with the mobile app.

As with the Midea 8,000 BTU U-Shaped Air Conditioner, the PHNT10 uses energy-saving inverter technology; essentially, it employs a variable speed compressor that adjusts as necessary rather than turning on and off. Its 72-inch power cord terminates in a three-prong, 115V/15A plug. The unit comes with a seven-button remote, foam spacers and weather stripping, mounting hardware and brackets, a foam window support, a foam side panel, a window wedge, and a manual.

You can use the PHNT10 in windows that are between 20 and 40 inches wide, that open at least 13 inches, and that sit a minimum of 10 inches off the floor. It has a white finish, measures 12.7 by 19.6 by 28.0 inches (HWD), and weighs 80 pounds. Unlike most window air conditioners that use a typical box-shaped enclosure to hold the cooling components, the PHNT10 uses a split-housing design that allows the majority of the unit to fall below the window line. The fan, air outlet, and onboard controls sit inside the window, while other cooling components are on the outside. This design not only prevents the AC from blocking your view but also allows for quieter operation.

The area between the interior and exterior enclosures (GE calls this the chase-way) is adjustable to accommodate window depths (including the walls and interior sill) between 4.50 and 13.75 inches. Simply remove the four screws (two on each side) and pull the front assembly out to one of three adjustment points, then replace the screws to lock the chase-way in place.

The top of the interior enclosure has a louver that you can adjust up or down to change the airflow direction. Under that are a series of backlit buttons for power, Wi-Fi, delay (you can set the appliance to turn on or off after a specific amount of time), mode, and fan speed. There are also up and down arrows for adjusting the set temperature, a set temperature readout, and a filter indicator that lights up after 250 hours of use to remind you to clean the filters. A foam dust filter sits behind a removable grille cover on the front and the left side of the unit includes a smaller one. You can clean both with warm soapy water. There’s a drain plug on the right side that lets out any water that might accumulate over time, while two adjustable supports on the rear of the outside enclosure help keep the AC in place.

The PHNT10 supports Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands, and it works with third-party devices via IFTTT. But unlike its less powerful and more affordable cousin, the $329 GE Energy Star 115-Volt Electronic Room Air Conditioner AHC08LY, it doesn’t support Apple’s HomeKit platform. It doesn't offer Matter compatibility, either.

Whereas the older Energy Star AHC08LY unit used the now-defunct GE Comfort app, the PHNT10 pairs with the SmartHQ app (available for Android and iOS). The AC appears in a panel on the main screen under Connected Devices. Tap the panel to open a control screen where you can turn the unit on and off, see and create schedules, view an estimated energy usage (kWH) chart with a scrolling timeline, and check how much power (in kW) the unit is currently drawing. This screen also has a filter status indicator and a No Demand Response Override setting. The latter comes into play only if you enroll in a demand response plan with a local utility or service. It remains grayed out unless there is an active energy management event in progress, but you can always override the event.

When the AC is on, the top of the screen displays the current and set temperatures, the operating mode, and the fan speed. Tap any of these readings to change the associated settings. A gear icon in the upper right corner opens the Settings screen where you can enable filter notifications, view a history of notifications, check Wi-Fi signal strength, choose a temperature unit (Fahrenheit or Celsius), and check the firmware version and serial number of the device. Tap the Automation button on the Home screen to configure geofencing (location-based) settings.

Installing the PHNT10 is relatively easy, but make sure to have someone else nearby when it comes time to place the unit in your window opening. I started by measuring the depth of my window opening and setting the chase-way to the corresponding position. To do so, I needed to remove the two screws on either side of it, slide it out to the correct adjustment mark, and replace the screws.

Next, I installed two adhesive-backed foam mounting supports in the bottom of the window opening to make the surface level. My wife and I lifted the unit and placed it down over the sill. Then, I used the exterior adjustable supports to secure a tight fit against the outer wall, lowered the window onto the unit, and made sure everything was level. I installed the side filler panel on the left side of the appliance, but there was still a small gap on the right side so I cut a piece of foam that I had laying around, wedged it into the gap, and used the included foam gasket and weather stripping to seal off any openings. I placed the wedge in the window to prevent an accidental opening and moved on to the app setup.

To add the AC to my network, I turned it on and tapped Add Appliance on the mobile app’s home screen (you have to download the app and create an account first). The app immediately recognized the device via Bluetooth, so I followed the instructions to select my Wi-Fi network and enter my password. I gave the AC a name to complete the installation.

The PHNT10 had no trouble cooling down my 360-square-foot bedroom. With a starting room temperature of 77 degrees Fahrenheit, I set the unit to 66 degrees and the fan speed to Auto; after 24 minutes, the room temperature was down to a comfortable 68 degrees. That’s a bit faster than the GE AHC08LY, which has an 8,000 BTU rating and needed 30 minutes to go from 77 to 68 degrees.

The PHNT10 is relatively quiet with the fan speed at high, but I can hear a low hum from the compressor when it kicks into high gear. It's still quieter than the comparable Hisense AW1023TW1W window AC, which I had in another room, though. And in Quiet mode, I can barely hear it at all.

The AC responds instantly to app and Alexa voice commands to turn on and off and change the set temperature, mode, and fan speed. It adheres to my schedule to turn off at 6 a.m. every weekday and at 7 a.m. on weekends. Location-based settings work as intended and the energy usage reports are in line with readings I get from a Kill-A-Watt power meter.

GE's Profile Clearview PHNT10 low-profile window air conditioner packs a ton of smart features including app and voice control, third-party integrations, built-in Wi-Fi, and location-based settings. It does a fantastic job of cooling, runs nearly silently in its Quiet mode, and can tell you how much energy it uses. You pay top dollar for all of these premium features, but it justifies its cost enough to win our Editors' Choice award for smart air conditioners. If you can do without the split-housing design and a few integration options, however, the aforementioned Hisense 10,000 BTU Window AC ($449) is a reasonable alternative that costs slightly less.