Kitchen technology has come a long way since your grandmother stood behind the counter. Gone (but not forgotten) are the days of flipping the pages of cookbooks and sharing recipes with the ladies from the neighbourhood. Everything you need is just a finger swipe away.
But technology is also fragile, and prone to failure after those inevitable kitchen “accidents”. Tech giant Sony knows the struggle is real, and think they've come up with a solution in their Xperia Tablet Z Kitchen Edition.
What it is
The Xperia Kitchen Edition is your meal-prep partner, optimized for helping you find and plan healthy meals, organize shopping lists and discovering time-saving tips and tricks. It functions like any tablet on the market, but its shell is built to withstand the “toughest kitchen environments”, with durable glass, a carbon fibre panel, and its revolutionary water-resistant design. Sticky fingerprints got your screen down? No problem. Drips and spills rinse off under fresh water. And the Xperia can handle being submerged for up to 30 minutes.
This lightweight tablet has 32GB of storage, with an option to additional memory via a microSD card (that means over 250,000 recipes on hand) and comes packaged with a hand-dandy book-style stand, pre-loaded with recipes from Saveur magazine, and a Bluetooth enabled iGrill wireless meat thermometer. A nifty gadget, the iGrill lets you monitor your food temp from up to 200 feet away, and will alert you when said food has reached optimal temperature.
It also features high-def display, an 8 megapixal camera that shoots HD footage, and a few other fun things (i.e. FM Radio and a remote control) that round out this solid product.
Does it work?
Anyone who's ever accidentally dropped a phone in the toilet will probably be reticent to believe the claim that any kind of technology involving microchips and batteries would ever be safe around liquids.
Amazingly, the Xperia (both the original and the new Kitchen Edition) lives up to the brand's claims and is actually water-resistant up to 3 feet for 30 minutes. Would we recommend dropping your tablet into a tub full of water to try it out? Of course not. Why risk a $600 investment? Rest assured however, your new kitchen toy will be safe from whatever your flour covered hands might throw at it. (Bear in mind, however, any external ports, say for USB and HDMI , are only water-resistant when the covers are in place.)
Do you need it?
The bottom line here, if you already own a tablet, we'd say no, especially if you aren't a huge mess in the kitchen. If you happen to be in the market for one and love to cook, though, this is actually a pretty cool deal. Since the Xperia functions like any other tablet, you still have the capability to download apps that aren't food related. Likewise, if you are a huge mess, in or out of the kitchen, or tend to work with little sous chefs, the fact that this product is actually water-resistant should be all the reason you need.
And we have to admit, the included bells and whistles are fun, but considering they come sold separately, it's conceivable that you could purchase them for your existing tablet. We should add, however, the iGrill, has earned mixed reviews. It's a novel idea but no chef who's willing to fork out this much money for a gadget is going to be 200 feet away from their food and rely on a wireless thermometer to do the work for them.
→ Check out more of our kitchen tool and gadget reviews in our Gadgets section!