We all love convenience and it is essential anymore when making purchases, particularly in the electronic market. We want items that are multifunctional and provide many different features at your fingertips. Our phones are so much more than just phones, featuring video/music players, web browsers, video game machines and even a GPS. Video game consoles are more of a multimedia centre now, streaming movies and music along with the ability to play games.
It comes as no surprise that an electronic device would be made with a foodie in mind. The QOOQ tablet is a digital cookbook made to be used in the kitchen. This splash proof tablet has almost everything wanted at the fingertips of the home cook. It is perfect for anyone hesitant to use their iPad or other tablet in the kitchen. I am a foodie and spend a lot of time in the kitchen. The ability to have culinary expertise, the internet, multimedia and more, right with me in the kitchen while I am whipping up dinner is exactly the type of device I would consider buying. I am the target market and I have had the chance to play around with the QOOQ tablet for a couple weeks. Here is what I experienced.
The QOOQ has a well thought out design. There are four legs with rubber stoppers that, when laying the tablet on the table or counter, keeps it raised about ¼ inch from the surface. This can protect the tablet from getting wet if something were to spill. There is also a swing out stand that can allow the tablet to stand up on an angle. This is the position that I have used the tablet regularly. It is sturdy and the perfect angle for viewing, while prepping or cooking dinner.[youtube id=”luOHhw96V4Q” width=”620″ height=”360″]
The screen is a 10.1” 16/9 display that has a bright and clear display when looking straight at the screen. Looking at the tablet from a sharp angle distorted and darkened the picture. It is adequate, but the display is not as good a quality as some of the other tablets on the market. The processor is an ARM Cortex A9 Dual core to 1 Ghz. While not up to current specs of iPads or Android tablets, the QOOQ ran smoothly when using most of its features. I did notice some slowdown though, when using the web browser and surfing some graphically intensive sites.
The main feature of the QOOQ tablet is that it is a digital cookbook providing recipes and video instructions from some of France’s top chefs. In this the QOOQ delivers. There are 1000s of recipes and they have clear instructions and a nice photo of the finished dish. I watched a few of the video demonstrations and they were clear and informative. I was impressed that they showed almost the entire cooking process, so you could turn it on when you are ready to start and let it play while you are cooking. One feature that I absolutely loved was the ability to change the serving size. Increasing or decreasing the number of people causes the QOOQ to automatically adjust the quantities of the ingredients. Need to make a trip to the supermarket? No problem, there is a button at the bottom of the ingredients which sends a grocery list to your email inbox. It even separates the ingredients based on the aisles of the grocery store. It is these features that show how the QOOQ is made to bring convenience to the home cook.
The QOOQ tablet was made in France and the recipes are provided by some of France’s top chefs. So, it is no surprise that the selection of recipes has a clear French influence. There were recipes I had never heard of and ingredients I had no idea where to obtain in Toronto. For example, the lasagna recipe included foie gras, porcini mushrooms and crème fraiche. This is very different than the lasagna I typically make. While I like to stretch my culinary repertoire, there is not enough North American influenced recipes in the database, and the ones that are here do not seem typically American. Of the 1000s of recipes, there are 46 that are classified as being American. That is not many and one of them was Celery Root and Yogurt Puree. That may be a delicious dish, but in my mind that is not one of the classic 46 American dishes to make sure is in the QOOQ recipe database.
Even though there are not many North American dishes, there still are many recipes available in the QOOQ database. The base model comes with hundreds and there are many more available to purchase. Setting up an account provides 100 free credits that can be used to purchase recipes that range from 2 to 8 credits. The recipes that include a video demonstration are the more expensive ones to purchase. More credits can be purchased using your credit card and they are about $10.00 for 50 credits, which works out to about $0.20 per credit. That means additional recipes can be purchased from around $0.40 to &1.60. This is one feature that I feel hurts the QOOQ. The tablet itself is $399 which is almost as much as an iPad. That might be acceptable if it came with 1000s of recipes built in to the cost. The additional cost is hard to swallow and pushes the price point of the tablet higher than it should be.
There are plenty of recipes in the QOOQ database, but if you have a family recipe, or a favourite dish you would like to save and access in the future, the QOOQ can handle that as well. Using a computer, you can log into your QOOQ account. From there you are able to input new recipes, including ingredients, directions, a photo of the dish and more. You can choose which of your inputted recipes you wish to sync to your QOOQ tablet. The next time you turn the tablet on, the recipe will automatically download onto the QOOQ, where it can be found in the ‘my recipes’ section. I tried this feature and inputted one of the recipes from my website. Adding the recipe was fairly straightforward and accessing it on the QOOQ was easy. It displayed as nicely as any of the regular recipes on the tablet.
There is one more feature I absolutely love and this also shows how thorough the development process was for the QOOQ. You have the ability to select how much you like or dislike any ingredient. By doing this it will affect the recipe recommendations the QOOQ gives you. Your favorite ingredients will pop up more frequently when the QOOQ makes recipes suggestions and ingredients you dislike will appear less often. Not only that, but if you have an allergy, the QOOQ will remove any recipes with that ingredient from the list of suggestions.
Like I mentioned earlier, the QOOQ tablet is much more than just a digital cookbook. This tablet has many more features at your fingertips. Here are just a few.
- Built in apps – There are many apps like a notepad, timer, weather, email viewer
- Internet Radio – listen to 100s of US radio stations while you cook.
- Web Browser – check Facebook, Twitter or even search recipes online using Google
- There is a built in SD card port and spot for a USB memory stick. With these, you can fill a memory card with music or videos to help make cooking enjoyable in the kitchen. I watched an episode of America’s Test Kitchen while cooking and it worked great!
These additional features make the QOOQ so much more than just a digital cookbook. It truly is a mini computer and I found myself regularly looking at new emails, checking sport scores, listening to music and reading my newsfeed in Facebook.
After writing all this, it leaves one big question. Is the QOOQ tablet worth it? That is a difficult question to answer. I personally think that the QOOQ tablet is an excellent device and truly is perfect for anyone spending lots of time in the kitchen. There are so many features that I know I will use regularly, including emailing myself a grocery list, to listening to internet radio and more. But, at $399, the QOOQ tablet is not cheap and then, having to spend even more money on recipes hurts, especially considering that many of them are quite different to typical North American cuisine. If the QOOQ was able to introduce many American recipes and reduce the additional cost of buying individual recipes, I think that the QOOQ tablet would become a MUST HAVE for any foodie. As it is, the QOOQ tablet is an excellent device that is a luxury item for the home cook.
To find out more about the QOOQ or to place an order for one, check out their website here.
Disclaimer: QOOQ provided me with the QOOQ tablet. They did not pay me for this review and the views expressed above are my honest reactions after trying the QOOQ tablet.