Right from the moment I realized I was probably going to need a CPAP device, I knew that I wanted the Fisher & Paykel Icon+ CPAP Machine. Even while I was in the sleep clinic getting my sleep studies done, I was playing around with the demo unit in the room and reading all of the literature they had available on the machine.
Why? Well, what captivated me was just how stylish the F&P Icon was. It looks like a really cool clock radio/CD player that you’d happily have in your bedroom sitting on the night table. The other machines looked like medical devices and while I know that’s exactly what they are, I can’t help but think why do they have to look like that. And the truth is, they don’t. Fisher & Paykel has proven that you can mix contemporary design and deliver a really good CPAP machine.
First of all, let me say that this review will really cover both the Icon and the Icon+. What’s the difference, I hear you ask? Well, the Icon+ is the next generation replacement model for the Icon, but functionally, they’re pretty much the same. When I rented the machine for the first four weeks of my CPAP therapy, I rented the Icon. Then after visiting my doctor after about a month, we decided it was time to purchase. When I turned up at my CPAP supplier’s office, they told me that the Icon+ had just arrived that morning and the Fisher & Paykel rep had taken away the older Icon models – lucky me!
The Icon+ has a heated humidifier unit built in. I think this is a great idea because virtually everyone who uses a CPAP machine now uses a humidifier, so why not be clever about the engineering and integrate the two? The Icon+ has a twist off top that reveals the removable humidifier well. Being able to pull this well out makes it extremely easy to clean and there’s a handy little line that shows you exactly how high to fill the well up before popping it back into the base unit. The device also comes with a heated hose, which is very handy!
One of the many things I really like about the Icon+ is that it runs very quietly. The machine that the sleep clinic used during my sleep survey was quite a bit louder and made a noticeable buzzing sound as it humidified the air. The Icon+, on the other hand, is as quiet as a whisper.
The major difference between the Icon and Icon+, other than the slight change in colour (the Icon is a brushed metal colour and the Icon+ is charcoal black) is in the menu system. The newer model has a simplified menu option and in some places is easier to navigate. Functionally though, as I said, they’re identical.
The one feature I really like is the SensAwake functionality.
The device has plenty of bells and whistles that I’ve not used and probably never will – it has a built in alarm clock that you can load songs into via the USB memory stick where you can read your data from and it will wake you up to those tunes. Oddly enough, since I’ve started my CPAP therapy, I’ve not really needed the alarm clock let alone the one built into the machine!
There are a few small problems with this device though. My primary complaint is that it doesn’t let me extract my sleep data and view it on my computer, I have to take the memory stick to the supplier and have them print me off reports. The last time I went to my supplier they said Fisher & Paykel are working on a web based reporting solution at the moment. I’m not particularly concerned because I can check my data on the machine’s display, but ideally, I’d like to see it visually on a screen over the long haul.
The second problem I see is that because the humidifier is built into the device, it’s a bit heavier than the modular units from other suppliers which can make travelling with it a bit more difficult. The Icon+ CPAP Machine comes with a nice travel bag that’s big enough to carry the device, the hose and your mask. I will be travelling soon and I will take my device with me, but I could see if you were a regular traveller for business, you might consider this an issue.
I’m extremely happy with my Fisher & Paykel Icon+ machine. I like the digital interface, it is nice and quiet, but most importantly, it is helping me get great results and in the end, that’s all that matters.