The humble kettle, trusty resident of households up and down the UK, has been given a modern makeover by British company Smarter – which has created the wi-fi kettle or iKettle.
The iKettle is a unique device - it’s the first kettle you can control using your smartphone. It’s what’s called a connected device, part of “The Internet of Things” which you can read more about here. Such devices can access the internet, enable users to check their status, control them remotely and for them to communicate with each other.
The iKettle includes built-in wi-fi for connecting remotely. So instead of getting up from a warm bed or comfortable position on the sofa to flick the kettle on, you instead reach for your phone, tap a few buttons and it does it for you.
You are probably thinking “genius” or “pointless”. We’ve been using the iKettle and here’s what we think.
Check out the video above to see it in action.
Design and set-up
Made from stainless steel, the iKettle is well built and attractive, if a bit plain. Built into the base are four buttons for variable temperature settings for different types of tea – 65 degrees for green, 80 degrees for white, 95 degrees for coffee and 100 degrees for black. Controls tea lovers will appreciate.
If you don’t want to use the iKettle with the app, simply tap a button to boil the kettle.
There are two options for connection. Connect via your Home network, something we struggled to do, despite numerous attempts. Alternatively the iKettle creates its own Direct wi-fi network, which you use by selecting iKettle within your phones’ Settings menu. For us this worked more efficiently, but the disadvantage is that you have to manually select it when you went to boil the kettle. Once connected it remembers the network, so you don’t have to pair again.
The simple interface ensures the app is very easy to use. Tap the huge power button and the kettle will start to boil, tap the temperature icons to change them.
When it’s finished an alert is sent to your phone and the iKettle will loudly beep five times before reminding you to refill it.
We had a few issues, whereby our phone lost the kettle’s network connection just as it was about to boil, but we changed the location of the kettle and it worked easily.
While the remote boiling feature is fun, Smarter has added some extras that make it more useful.
In Wake up mode the app functions are your alarm clock. Set the time you want to get up and when the alarm sounds, tap OK to start boiling the kettle, or if you fancy a lie-in tap Snooze to delay it.
In Home mode set the time period you return from work. The iKettle detects when you arrive and asks you if you want to turn it on. To do this it does require access to your location.
Keep Warm maintains the water temperature and once you’ve added water, you can set a Brew time, depending if you prefer weak or strong tea.
There’s something satisfying about using the iKettle. Setting it to boil when you are still in bed might be lazy, but on a cold morning it’s a nice feature to have and really does save time.
Detractors may say there’s no point in it - someone we showed it to said: 'If I'm filling the kettle with water, I can turn it on as well" which is exactly why it reminds you to fill it up after each boil. So you may have to adjust your tea-making routine a little.
Set-up wasn’t as straightforward to use as it should have been – both initially connecting and maintaining the connection – but once these teething problems were resolved it worked perfectly and the app is very simple to use.
Priced £100 the iKettle is too expensive for the majority of people– but considering it’s the first device of its type, it’s not crazily expensive. In fact it’s the same price as high-end kettles from De’Longhi, Smeg, Kenwood and Dualit - none of which offer the wi-fi control.
The iKettle is incredibly important because it is the first of its kind and indicative of the direction home gadgets are taking. No, it’s not an essential gadget and not perfect, but in the future more and more devices will offer this type of control and for that we applaud it.
What kitchen device do you wish you could control with your wi-fi? Let us know in the Comments below.