Category: Bluetooth-enabled cooking thermometer
System Requirements: Thermometer can be used by itself. For integrated iOS app, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 3.0.
Review Device: iPod touch 2G and iPhone 4
Network Feature: Yes
Price: $99.99 (additional probe available for $20)
Availability: Out now
If you need any proof that the iOS devices have left the world of computer geekery and entered into a platform for “consumer electronics,” you need look no further than the iGrill, a bluetooth-enabled cooking thermometer that has an iPhone app.
The iGrill itself is a white plastic brick that’s a little larger than the original iPod (remember those?). Attached to it is a metal probe on a 3 foot cable that you snake into the grill or oven and into the meat (it also has another port for a second probe (not included) if you’re cooking two different items). At this point, the iGrill works like any other digital thermometer; it’ll display the temperature, and even alert you when your desired temp has been reached.
Where it enters the realm of geekery is the iOS app. You pair your iGrill with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch using long-range Bluetooth—this means you can monitor your cooking from up to 200 feet away. Once you’ve established the pair, and downloaded the free iGrill app, you get access to a host of tools. You can monitor the temperature (both as a number and on an analog display that shows the recommended temp for different types of meat), along with setting a timer in the app that will display a push notification and sound when it runs out. The app will also estimate how long until the meat is cooked, along with a graph of the temp.
The app also has a few other extras, like tips on selecting the best steak for grilling year round, and recipes for seasoning meat and making marinades. The integrated browser which takes you to the iGrill home page was a little flaky; I couldn’t get it to work.
Once it was set up, the iGrill worked flawlessly. I sat in the living room, typing away while dinner cooked. Once the meat reached the desired temperature, my iPhone displayed a message along with an alarm, and we were good to go. Seeing as how it’s winter in Minnesota and we just had our third blizzard of the year, I haven’t yet had a chance to check it out on the gas grill.
A few caveats, though. You need to remember you’re not controlling the iGrill from your iPad, the iGrill is broadcasting info to the iDevice. You can’t set the alarm temperature on the iPhone and send it to the iGrill. So to master the iGrill, first you must master its controls, which can be a little finicky as they consist only of three buttons: the power button, a plus sign and minus sign. To switch between probe 1 and 2, you touch the power button, then + for probe 1 or – for probe 2. The iGrill will then display P1 or P2, and then you can adjust the alarm temperature.
Getting it to synch with a new device can be tricky as well. I tested it out with my iPod touch, but when I left for work and my wife wanted to try it out, getting the iGrill to break the pair with my touch and sync to hers was problematic. You do this by turning the iGrill off, then pressing and holding all three buttons for four seconds. This causes the blue light on the display to flash (rather than be solid, indicating a connection), but the flashing blue light is also what it displays when it’s looking for an established connection, as well as having been wiped and looking for a new connection.
The biggest drawback to the iGrill is the price. At a hundred dollars, there are digital thermometers out there for 1/5th the price and analog devices for under five dollars. My wife, who is an experienced cook with an intuitive style that eschews sticking to the recipes, found it amusing but not essential, whereas I, someone who cooks infrequently and has a hard time remembering how long a burger needs to cook to be “medium,” will probably rely on it more. True, with the iOS integration, you’re not tied to the stove, but when I’m grilling in the summer, part of the fun is standing over the grill, flipping burgers and checking the pinkness.
The iGrill has a great gimmick: iOS integration. And for people who need to do a lot of cooking and also spend a lot of time away from the oven, the ability to remotely check your stove would be handy. For most, though, it’s a nifty digital thermometer with a hefty price tag.
Buy the the iGrill