Sept 2015 | Helen
Where some smart technology offers us genuine solutions that could completely change our lives: monitoring our health, keeping us safe, connecting us to loved ones, the Smart Kettle,…well, not so much.
This baby is all about pandering to our laziness. Why leave the warmth of your duvet to go and switch the kettle on, and then stand around for…gosh…a good 2 or even 3 minutes with chilly toes waiting for it to boil, when you could do all that from the comfort of your cosy bed?
Basically, the smart kettle is the modern day teas-made, but is the wifi kettle destined to thrive where the teas-made flopped, or is our trusty old dumb kettle standing firm? We take a look…
What smart kettle did we choose for The Wifi Pad?
We want wifimypad to be tech site you can trust, no flogging of dead horses here. So, when products don’t cut our particular mustard, they won’t make it past The Wifi Pad bouncer.
And sadly for smart kettles, the only model currently on the market, the iKettle just doesn’t offer enough for us to think it’s worth the cost. So, as a result we aren’t putting it in The Wifi Pad – read below to find out why.
What were we looking for, and why didn’t the iKettle tick our boxes?
Ordinarily, at wifimypad, when we are looking at a particular product area we like to thoroughly research all of the models currently on the market to save you the effort.
With smart kettles, that research was short and not-so-sweet as, at present there is only one model of smart kettle available, the iKettle.
Functionality – what can it do? Does it cover the basics well and give you any notable extras?There aren’t many innovative features to report for the iKettle since the main function is exactly the same as your regular kettle – to boil water…just from a distance.
The 1.8L capacity is fairly standard. As is the 2400W power supply and the standard boil-dry protection that most modern kettles offer to prevent your kettle from burning out.
That said, for hot drink enthusiasts, the iKettle does offer a few interesting extras.
As you would hopefully expect by this point in the article, the iKettle does offer the ability boil your kettle remotely, but does it do anything else?
Well, you can set it to boil at different temperatures – between 65°C to 100°C – depending on the type of tea you are having. It just won’t do to brew your Lapsang Souchong at anything other than the perfect temperature, darlings!
It also offers a ‘Keep Warm’ function, which means if your five extra minutes in bed turns into 10 your water will still be the right temperature when you finally make it to the kitchen.
Connectivity - is it compatible with Apple and Android? Does it use a wifi or Bluetooth connection? How reliable is the connection?Wifi, and the relevant Apple or Android smart phone app – both of which are available – are required to control the iKettle. Multiple user access allows different devices to connect with a single iKettle – so the fight about whose turn it is the go and boil the kettle can turn into the one about whose turn it is to find their phone and boil the kettle.
However, as we know, sometimes our wifi gadgets lose their internet connection due to patchy wifi or signal failure, but with most gadgets they’ll simply reconnect automatically after a short period of time. Unfortunately the iKettle doesn’t seem to be as smart as that because when the signal is lost, the only way to reconnect is to reset it – which is a pretty annoying flaw if your home wifi signal is especially flaky.
Usefulness of app(s) - how useful is the associated app and can you sync data with other health apps?As you might expect given the single function of this gadget, the job done by the accompanying app is also limited. After your wake-up alarm rings, you can choose to boil the kettle immediately or postpone for an extra snooze if you prefer. And that’s pretty much it. It cannot refill the water level but will pop a quick reminder up after you’ve boiled the kettle and will tell you when it is empty.
For those of you constantly waging battle with you phone’s storage capacity, the size of this app – 1.5Mb, JUST for an extra 5 minutes in bed in the morning may be a deal breaker.
Does it look good? – this baby is going to be on show in your kitchen, does it look good enough to eat (or at least eat near)?The main body of the iKettle is made of stainless steel with the handle, water filter and lid made of other materials and looks pretty slick. The cordless jug and the smooth silver form create a modern clean-cut and nice high-tech feel. It now also offers a range of brightly coloured silicone insulating skins which you can buy separately.
Value for money – does it come with a price tag that'll leave you crying into your perfectly hot tea?The price of the iKettle is approximately £100 (at the time of writing) making it over twice the price of a regular household kettle, and given that the smart kettle cannot fill itself, then the bottom line is: what are you willing to pay for an extra 5 minutes in bed in the morning? For us, the answer is not a lot as the chance of us remembering the fill the kettle the night before every single day is slim. Besides, if you’re REALLY into having hot water at the precise moment your want it, then we’d get an instant dual hot/cold water tap installed instead, like the InSinkErator HC3300 hot and cold water tap. It’s not cheap but it is the perfect solution for hot drinks at a moment’s notice without any advanced planning required. Et voila!
The home foot spa test – a.k.a. is this a genuinely useful smart product, we’ll give the heave-ho to products that you are likely to only use once before relegating them to the local charity shop collection box.Sadly the iKettle just doesn’t make the grade for us. It won’t end up in the jumble sale because it can still be used in its most basic function just like a regular, manually operated kettle, but that does kind of beg the question as to why spend extra on it if you aren’t using its smart faculties?
The issue of it needing a reset when it loses the wifi signal – which in our house happens a lot – is a mega fail in our book. The only bonus is its Keep Warm setting, but that isn’t enough to save it. The bottom line for us is: given that you still have to fill it and make your own tea, it really is just saving you one walk to the kitchen to press the boil button – and The Wifi Pad just isn’t THAT big that the walk to the kitchen defeats us.
Smart kettles have some way to go til we’ll be convinced to buy it for The Wifi Pad.
What do others have to say about the iKettle?
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Take a look at the iKettle
Applying your iKettle skin
Which other smart kettles did we check out?
The AppKettle is a smart kettle currently in production and not yet available on the market. But at a sneaky peek, the AppKettle looks jam packed with useful features and is a visual treat of the stainless steel variety. It is due for release by the start of 2016 so watch this space to see if we can finally get a smart kettle in The Wifi Pad…we’re gasping for a cuppa!
The Sage Smart Kettle
Smart technology is still in it’s relative infancy in the UK and therefore there is still plenty of confusion about products that are called ‘smart’ but aren’t, and what exactly makes a product ‘smart’. The Sage Smart Kettle by Heston Blumenthal is a good example. Although it was called ‘smart’ by the designer, it doesn’t offer technologically ‘smart’ functionality at all. That said, in spite of the absence of a wifi connection this kettle has a lot of fans for the features it offers which include: a variety temperature controls (different teas have their own ideal brewing temperature don’t you know!), a slow release lid to avoid splashing hot water, dual high visibility windows to monitor water level and auto-off protection for safety. Many positive reviews appraise the variety temperature control and the high quality of the kettle. So if you are a tea connoisseur just looking for a bloomin’ good brew, this could be the kettle for you.