Rhik Samadder tests the iKettle. Photograph: Christian Sinibaldi/Guardian.Why walk to the kitchen when you can boil the kettle using your phone? This is the future! If only it worked…What?
The iKettle (£99.99, firebox.com), “the world’s first Wi-Fi kettle”. A metal carafe with contained heating element, for boiling water. The unit may be operated remotely when networked to a phone.
Boiling a kettle uses a lot of energy, though I’m not sure that saving you a walk to the kitchen is the way to reduce that.
Wi-Fi kettle. The words are ludicrous. They suggest a world off its rocker, unable to stop putting touchscreens on things. What’s next? Wi-Fi socks? Downloadable toast? But I have to admit that this futuristic horror sounds … quite good. Using your phone’s location tracking and in-app alarms, it can greet you freshly boiled when you get in from work, or pop itself on when you wake up. It heats to 65, 80, 95 or 100C – optimal brewing point for a range of herbal teas and proper coffee. It even keeps the water hot until you’re ready. Perfect housemate, no?
No. Pain in the arse. To network the kettle I have to disconnect my phone from my home broadband and into the iKettle network. It doesn’t work, of course, but I don’t give up. The app advises me to reset my router to factory settings. I don’t usually like to touch or go near my router, which I think of as the life-support system for the house, but I do it. The app fails again. Not giving up, I call the support line. I’m given some jazz clarinet for a few minutes, before being transferred to voicemail. God almighty.
As a last resort, I try the “direct connection” mode, which links the phone and kettle but within a very limited range. It works! I boil the kettle from my phone. I’m in the future! I catch sight of myself in the kitchen window, remotely negotiating with a kettle a metre away from me, while there are real problems in the word. This is the point I give up.
A week later, my emails are still arriving erratically because my internet is in my kettle. But I guess this is what the future looks like. Wi-Fight it?
If you remove Wi-Fi from the equation, it’s not a bad kettle. Temperature settings and keep-warm functions are nice. But that is like complimenting the rocks when they’ve forgotten the whisky.
Counter, drawer, back of the cupboard?
Back of the cupboard or next to the primary phone socket, away from metal objects and other interference. 1/5