SOOCAS is one of many many brands under the Xiaomi umbrella. We came across this beautiful product with a 4.9 stars rating on one of the online marketplaces in our search for hair dryers. We look for a full review online and came up short. Even the company's website failed to load for us. So, we decided to take the plunge and test it for you.
Although we purchased the product on a local platform, the package was shipped from China. However, shipping was fast (it took less than a week), and the package was well protected from damage.
APPEARANCE & BUILD QUALITY
We were impressed by the SOOCAS H5 during our unboxing. The hair dryer had a nice and sleek finish, almost reminiscent of an Apple product (well, kind of like most Xiaomi products).
Our unit came with a 2-pin round EU-style plug. The plug and the cable were in a nice deep red colour, matching the red on the hair dryer itself. The 2-pin plug was set in a large round casing that we believe was intended to be used for cable management. However, we fail to see how it can be used when plugged in. Additionally, the large round setting meant that we were unable to push the plug all the way into the socket using a standard 2-pin plug adaptor. One might get around this by cutting off part of round casing or modifying the standard 2-pin plug adaptor by cutting off the lip. We used an international travel adaptor for our review.
SOOCAS's website refused to load for us, but we managed to find a listing from an online retailer indicating the weight of the hair dryer at just 150g. If that sounds too good to be true, it's because it is. Our unit weighed in at a total of 520g. Weighing just the product itself with the cord and 2-pin plug off the scale, the hair dryer itself weighed in at 370g. That's definitely not 150g, but it is actually pretty light. In fact, it's by far the lightest hair dryer out of the 4 that we have reviewed.
The air inlet grill at the back of the hair dryer is fixed, and cannot be removed for cleaning unlike the other hair dryers that we have tested.
The glaring omission, though, was the lack of a hanging loop that allows you to hang the hair dryer on a hook, which was rather disappointing.
COMFORT & USABILITY
SOOCAS did not advertise any built-in cooling system to help keep the surface cool unlike the Braun Satin Hair 7 that we tested. We ran the SOOCAS H5 on it's hottest setting for 10 minutes and touched the surface of the hairdryer to see if the surface heats up.
We did not feel any appreciable difference in temperature after 10 minutes on both the handle and head of the hair dryer. In fact, our testers felt that the head of the hair dryer was cooler to touch as compared to the Braun Satin Hair 7 which has a built-in cooling system to cool down the surface temperature. However, it has to be noted that the SOOCAS H5 has an advertised maximum temperature of just 57°C compared to the Braun Satin Hair 7's 130°C.
SOOCAS included LED indicators on the handle, allowing you to see the setting currently in use. There are 4 white LEDs, labeled with icons that were not intuitive to read. According to the product manual, the 1st LED (the sun icon) indicates 'Warm', the 2nd (the sun with more rays) indicates 'Hot' and the 3rd (the snowflake?) indicates 'Natural'. We describe in more detail each of the settings in the section below.
There is a 4th LED that was consistently lit up when the hair dryer was in operation. This LED appears to be an indication for negative ion, although you are unable to switch negative ions off. We flipped through the product manual again and found this little gem of a note:
"Negative ions are generated when the product works at any speed. However, negative ions cannot be seen by the naked eye."
SOOCAS probably included this LED so users can 'see' that negative ions are generated. Since you can't see negative ions, at least you get to see the LED assuring you that there are negative ions!
What's puzzling to us is that although SOOCAS decided to include an entirely redundant LED indicator for negative ions, they decided against including an LED for the 4th setting, the 'Hot and cold air switching' (according to the manual), or in English, alternating hot and cold temperatures. This setting is instead indicated by the blinking of the first (warm setting) LED.
HEAT & SPEED CONTROL
The SOOCAS H5 comes with 4 settings - Warm, Hot, Natural and 'Hot and cool air switching' (which we will be referring to henceforth simply as Alternating).
The controls are simple, with an on/off slider and a single button to cycle through all 4 settings.
Lacking a separate speed control, the Warm and Hot settings in the SOOCAS H5 differ in both air speed and temperature. The Hot setting blows faster and hotter air compared to the Warm setting. Hence, you are unable to chose a 'slow and hot' setting or a 'fast and warm' setting that all the other hair dryers we tested provided.
The Natural setting is reminiscent of the 'cool-shot' setting in many other hair dryers. However, it is not a true lower-than-room-temperature-cool-air setting like the Braun Satin Hair 7 that we tested, but a slightly-higher-than-room-temperature setting like the Panasonic EH-NA65 and Philips Drycare Prestige. It is noteworthy, also, that the speed of this setting seems to be closer to the speed of the Hot setting rather than the speed of the Warm setting.
The Alternating setting switches back-and-forth between the temperatures of the Hot and Natural settings, taking approximately 5 seconds to change from Hot to Natural and back to Hot.
A nice feature that SOOCAS included in the H5 is the settings memory. The SOOCAS H5 remembers the last setting that was used and defaults to the same setting the next time you turn it back on. The correct setting was retrieved even after the product had been unplugged.
The SOOCAS H5 comes with 2 attachments included in the box, a nozzle and a diffuser. Hidden deeper in the box were 2 unique surprises, a silicone anti-slip mat and a drawstring travel bag.
The nozzle creates a more directed airflow, leading to more precision. However the nozzle is pretty wide at 2.2cm, limiting it's ability to direct the airflow. In comparison, the Braun Satin Hair 7 has a nozzle opening that is measure at just 0.8cm wide. The SOOCAS H5 nozzle appears to be built in 2 parts - a white opaque interior and a clear exterior. There is a noticeable gap between the 2 parts. We are unsure if this is a considered design feature, but testers felt that it likely to trap hair, dust and other grime over time.
The diffuser attachment comes with 15 bristles, each around 3cm in length, which is rather standard compared to the other hair dryers we have tested.
SOOCAS provided a silicone anti-slip mat and a drawstring travel bag which was a surprise. No other hair dryer that we have tested included any accessories other than the standard 2 or 3 attachments. The silicone anti-slip mat would likely come in handy to place the hair dryer on the counter as it does not come with a loop for hanging. The drawstring travel bag is also likely to be useful if you intend to bring the SOOCAS H5 along in your travels. This would be a smart choice as the SOOCAS H5 is the lightest and most compact among all the hair dryers we reviewed.
The SOOCAS H5 hair dryer is a beauty to look at, and it comes in various colour choices. We love the simple single button operation, although perhaps the design of the LED indicators could be better improved. While it may be lacking in adjustability and is limited by a lower max heat setting, it is by far the cheapest, lightest and smallest out of all 4 hair dryers the we tested. Hence, we have decided to award the SOOCAS H5 as the BEST FOR TRAVEL hair dryer out of the 4 we have tested. With its included drawstring bag, it is the perfect choice if you need a hair dryer to bring along your travels.
The SOOCAS H5 Negative Ion Hair Dryer is available from online platforms such as Lazada and Shopee for $59 at the time of writing.