REVIEW – Question: what makes a device “smart”? Answer: it all depends on who you ask – the one selling a device or the one wanting to buy it. The Cosori Smart Electric Gooseneck Kettle has “smart” right there in the product name. Is it? Read on to find out…
What is it?
The Cosori Smart Electric Gooseneck Kettle is a multi-purpose electric water heater. Traditionally these devices are associated with making tea or coffee, although we also use it just to get hot water for activities like making pasta or Jell-O. The Cosori is a stylish version of this device that also has “smart” features. More on that shortly.
What’s in the box?
- The Cosori Gooseneck kettle
- The heating base
- A manual and an invitation to join their community on Facebook
How does it work?
Like any water heater, you start by adding water to the kettle.
OK, so “smart” aleck comments aside, here’s a pro tip: if you plan on taking advantage of the smart features, before you unbox the kettle download the VeSync app from either the Google Playstore or the Apple App Store. After you download, fire up the app and create your account. Yes, I said create your account. I am not entirely sure WHY you need an account since all of the interaction happens between your device and the kettle locally, but that is the price of entry to use these features. After the app is installed and your account is set up, you can then unbox the kettle.
Why in that order? Well, the first time you plug in the kettle it goes into pairing mode and the app can locate the kettle. As you can see in the picture above, there is what appears to be a Bluetooth button third from the right. In my testing, I uninstalled the app from my phone (a Samsung Note 20 Ultra) which apparently also removes the kettle from your list of Bluetooth devices. On reinstallation and signing in, no pressing or press/holding on the Bluetooth button would get the kettle back into pairing mode so my phone could see and connect with the kettle. I used my wife’s phone with my VeSync account, and holding the Bluetooth button for about 5 seconds allowed the phone to see the kettle and connect with it. I was never able to get my phone to reconnect, though, so be warned – this might be a one time opportunity.
With my wife’s phone connected, I filled up the kettle and set the kettle to heat the water to 195 degrees – tea time! The app will warn you if the kettle is not on the base and will remind you to be sure there is water in the kettle. Here’s a screen shot of the app the first time I set it to heat:
As the water heats, the background of the display changes from blue to this orange color. You can also set a temperature hold time, a period where the kettle will maintain the water temperature so you can come back for a second (or third, depending on how your day is going) cup.
The app also allows you to delay the start by up to 12 hours. Here’s another pro tip: if you use this feature over night, do it on a night where your phone does not restart. I have my phone set to restart at 3:00 AM on Tuesday and Friday, so on Tuesday morning I woke up to a cold pot of water, which – I assume – was directly related to the reboot of my device.
Now to the question of “smart”-ness. Is the Cosori kettle smart? In my opinion, no. The app acts as more of a remote control than it does as a device director, and it does not integrate at all with any smart assistant. So no matter how many times you say “Hey, Google, tell Cosori to heat to 195 degrees”, your assistant will steadfastly ignore your request by telling you it can’t communicate with the device or service. That isn’t to say that the VeSync app doesn’t support assistant connections – it does. But the Cosori is not in the list of 22 supported devices.
As a remote control, though, the kettle is underwhelming simply because Bluetooth is not the most resilient protocol. Zigbee, Z-Wave or even just WiFi would have been better connection protocols. Take a look at this picture, taken from my bedroom doorway to the kitchen across the living room:
The kettle is on one end of the island in the kitchen – not where either my wife or I would want it, but there to prove a point. The distance, according to my laser measure, from my phone to the kettle is 22 feet, 3 inches. Still well within the Bluetooth range of 30 feet and as you can see, no walls or other obstructions. Yet I cannot connect to the kettle from here. The left-most chair at the counter is where I would get a rock-solid connection and could control the kettle – and that’s only about 7 feet. It defeats the purpose of a remote control if you have to walk up to the device in order to control it.
What it does – and does very well – is heat water to a specific temperature. But the things that are marque-level draws for the kettle are underwhelming to say the least.
What I like
- Stylish – it looks good on the counter
What I’d change
- Literally everything about the “smart” nature of the kettle
I so wanted to love the Cosori Smart Electric Gooseneck Kettle, and for its ability to heat water I do. But I am also on a quest to make my entire house “smart” and I am disappointed that this isn’t such a product. Had the communications between the kettle and the phone been better, I could have loved the remote control and lived with the phone reboot issue. But when I have to walk up close to the device in order to communicate with it, the whole remote control nature of the relationship is defeated.