Home electronics were once status symbols and often the center of the living room, but consumers now tend to prefer gadgets and gizmos that camouflage themselves into an Instagram-friendly space. That now includes wall-mounted air conditioners, which LG is keeping out of sight behind an LCD art screen.
LG’s Artcool Gallery air conditioners aren’t themselves new, but previous versions of the product featured a front-facing picture frame that users could either fill with printed pieces of art or photos that could be swapped out as often as they wanted. You could even fill it with a section of wallpaper to make the unit blend into an already decorated wall. The Artcool Gallery line also featured a unique square and flat design (most wall-mounted AC units are still long and narrow), which extends and angles out from a wall to open vents that facilitate airflow and cooling.
Today, LG revealed the latest version of its Artcool Gallery air conditioners, which now incorporate a 27-inch square LCD panel on the front that allows the displayed imagery to be easily changed using the company’s ThinQ mobile app, instead of having to physically swap artwork in and out. LG promises that “users can select from a growing range of gorgeous, static and animated images,” but the air conditioner’s screen can also be used as a giant digital photo frame cycling through users’ personal photos. Can it be used as a TV too, for streaming content? The 1:1 aspect ratio isn’t ideal for that, and LG would much rather steer users towards a separate TV purchase as well.
The Artcool Gallery is also good at conditioning air using a dual inverter compressor that helps reduce white noise. LG boasts that the unit offers “3-way indirect airflow” so it’s not blasting cold air directly onto someone standing in front of it, but that’s less a feature and more a result of the unit’s design, as it lacks front-facing vents. Air can really only be pumped out through the sides.
Given this is a pre-CES 2023 announcement, LG is saving details about pricing and availability for the new unit until the show gets under way next month in January. But despite how small it looks, it won’t be as affordable or portable as window-mounted AC units, since it requires a separate unit located outside and some more involved installation than just opening a window and slotting it in.