Sunday, April 22, 2018

Prodigio, Bluetooth and Stupid

This is not a review of the Nestle Nespresso Prodigio, merely a critique.

Let me first say that I'm a big fan of the Nespresso system when used with prudence.   Nespresso, the coffee system is a small Aluminium capsule filled with different coffees according to your taste that you insert into a machine such as above.

The capsule is punctured and boiling water forced thru the capsule to make your coffee.   Then either a solenoid or a manual handle action ejects the capsule. In less than 45 seconds from cold (on modern machines) a wonderful coffee is made, consistently every time, without mess.

Nespresso Vertuo
Neslte recently introduced an alternate range called Vertuo, first in the US, now worldwide.  It uses a different non aluminium capsule in different sizes allowing for much large coffee delivery and simpler recycling of the spent capsules.   Every Nespresso vendor I've ever spoken to insists that Vertuo is not a successor to the classic capsule format, but we will see of course.

Back to Prodigio 
We first checked this out in Switzerland almost 2 years ago.  But this week we were offered a machine practically at no cost.  So we decided to review it to see if it can supplant our current Nespresso U Milk

Via a Bluetooth connection to your Internet Connected Smartphone and Nespresso App this was supposed to provide some additional useful features.

Let's start with the common features of the latest gen regular machines:
- Very Fast Starting
From cold it's ready to start dispensing in 25 seconds.   This is about the time it takes you to insert a capsule and find a cup.  Absolutely astonishing.

- Solenoid Operation
After putting the capsule in and closing a hatch, a solenoid clamps and punctures the capsule.   The older method, and still used on most cheaper machines is: a large handle that you turn to move whilst slides and pierces the capsule, and then you manually  eject it after coffee brewing.

With a solenoid you can take your coffee and then the solenoid unlocks and dumps the capsule as you walk away.

Save vital seconds and is much slicker.  No really.

- Auto Coffee dispense
This means you can power on the machine, press the appropriate size dispense button, then when the machine heats up (25 seconds) the coffee brewing automatically starts.

You don't therefore have to wait for the machine to come to temp and press buttons.  Again, this innovation makes for a slicker experience

Prodigio Specific
To the above list the Prodigio adds:

- 01 Capsule Management
If you use the app to order capsules then the machine figures out what it is dispensing.   So then it knows what your remaining coffee levels are and can alert you to order more.

But what about capsules not ordered in the app, (say in a Boutique)  or if you damage one, etc.  

Flawed feature :-(

- 02 Cleaning notification
After certain hours of operation the connected Smartphone application can ask you to clean the machine.

Useless feature.  This is something most respecting owners take care to do for themselves. :-(

- 03 Schedule a brewing
You can tell it to make a coffee on a schedule. But, you need to have previously inserted a capsule and a cup.  And we have already established it takes only 25 seconds to warm up.

Quite the most idiotic feature for a coffee machine ever :-(

Bonkers Bonkers
To summarise, it is as though they took a decent machine and added 3 features, which are between dubious to zero value.   They don't add to the user experience and are simply there perhaps to claim that a connected machine exists.

A big thumbs down!