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Customer Review

192 of 206 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The app is cool but way too limited, June 15, 2011
This review is from: iDevices iGrill 7685-IGLK Grilling/Cooking Barbecue Thermometer, Black (Lawn & Patio)
I bought one of these a few months ago and have been using it to a moderate level of satisfaction. I have tried it with iPhone, iPod touch, and my wife's iPad. Due to the awful battery life of the iPhone and iPod touch, I primarily use it with the iPad. I use it with two probes to monitor the temperature of a chosen cut of meat and the internal temperature of my Primo XL smoker.

This product has so much potential but I'm only giving it 3 stars. Why? Well, for one thing, the build quality is a little bit suspect. I have a white unit, and the plastic housing doesn't feel very tough or rugged at all. I wouldn't want to see the unit take a fall onto a hard floor - the plastic has a flimsy, almost brittle feel to it. While I would like it to be more rugged, it's not my primary concern. My biggest concern/complaint is that so far, the iGrill is ONLY compatible with their own homegrown IOS iGrill app. The app itself is okay and provides some basic functionality, and is generally fine for short duration cooks, but when I am doing "low and slow" cooks (of up to 30 hour duration), I need a more robust app with a few more features.

1) The iPad app just closes on its own periodically. This means you lose all the data that's been collected on the temperature trendlines.
2) There is no way to log the data to a file. I'd love to have the app just pump it into a csv file or even "to the cloud" in google docs. When I am cooking new things on the smoker, it's great to be able to go back and see exactly how long it took to cook items and how it correlated to the grill temp
3) There is a target temperature alarm that you can set independently for both probes, but when I leave the smoker going all day long or overnight, I'd love to be able to have a LOW temp alert an alarm that alerts me if the grill temp dips too low.
4) This is one of the things I hate about IOS, but this app won't operate in the background, so if you're using your iPad/iPhone/iPod touch to monitor a long cook, you can't really use that device for any other apps without losing your temperature data. Of course, when the app crashes on its own like it does, it doesn't much matter.

Honestly I would forget about those app shortcomings if there were a full featured app available for Mac OSX and Windows 7. Most laptops have bluetooth adapters and you can get a cheap USB bluetooth adapter for a desktop computer for less than $10. I hope iDevices strongly considers doing this or at the very least releasing an SDK or API so independent developers can create their own apps to communicate with the iGrill. If that happens I would give the iGrill a bump to 4.5 stars. (To reach 5 stars it still needs to be more rugged).

Just a few other notes
1) battery life seems pretty good. 4 fresh batteries seem to go for at least 50-60 hours of use.
2) the display on the device is nice for a quick temp check when your wife confiscates her iPad, but it can be difficult to read in bright light, at least on the unit like mine with the white plastic housing.
3) i bought my iGrill at the apple store because I'm impatient and didn't want to wait weeks to order one online. Unfortunately it's only sold with a single probe at the Apple Store. I ordered a spare probe directly from iDevices but they rip you off on shipping and you end up paying around $30 for the 2nd probe. The probes seem accurate but like the iGrill itself, I am a little suspicious of the durability - the wire lead is quite thin, so $30 is a ripoff. It's better to buy the bundle that includes 2 probes with the base unit.
4) I don't expect the white housing to hold up very well over time. If the Apple Store had it in black, I definitely would have purchased the black one. That white plastic gets dirty easily and I'm pretty certain it will yellow as it ages.

UPDATE August 11, 2011:
It's been a few months since I wrote my initial review above, and coincidentally, (almost as if on cue) an updated version of the iGrill app came out within a few days of that first review being released. Much to my delight, a lot of features were added to the new version 2.0 app, including items #2 and #3 in the list above. Unfortunately, there are still some glitches. I have not been able to get the CSV file function to work at all - it just freezes and crashes the app. The pdf function works, but for very long cooks, the scaling on the graph is messed up so that the labels on the x-axis all overlap each other, making them completely illegible. The updated app seems to be a bit more stable - I have witnessed a few lockups and freezes here and there but the last 2 long cooks I've done, it didn't crash at all. I had a few issues where it wouldn't link up with the outdoor unit for several minutes, or it would launch and then close immediately, but I think I have it figured out now. Basically, launch the app and turn on the iGrill device as soon as the app loads. If it doesn't display a temperature right away, just wait a few minutes and it will show up. Another glitch I've found that impacts the device's usefulness is if one of the probes is over 125F when you turn the iGrill on, it seems to lock everything up. This happened once when the iGrill app crashed in the middle of a cook, and in an effort to get everything going again, I pulled the batteries out of the iGrill device. When I replaced them and turned the iGrill on, the alarm sounded immediately and the iGrill app couldn't connect, so eventually I figured out I had to remove the probes from the food in the grill to get it restarted. It was quite a frustrating ordeal.

I hate throwing away alkaline batteries so I use rechargeable AAs in almost everything. The iGrill works pretty well with the NiMh batteries that I have, but the "low battery" threshold in the iGrill app should be lowered. Due to the slightly lower voltage of rechargeable AAs, the iGrill erroneously thinks the batteries are running out of juice and it throws false warnings. It will show up within minutes after putting in a freshly charged set of AAs, but then the iGrill works fine for a good 40-60 hours even though it thinks the batteries are low.

Regarding probe accuracy, mine seem to be pretty accurate. I tested both of the probes that I have and both of them read within 1 degree of each other across a wide range of temps. I have tested them against a digital J/K thermometer and the readings are within 1-2 degrees across the range of tested temps, so I think these are accurate enough for cooking. The wires are braided metal but they tangle easily and compared to the probes on my other meat thermometers, they seem rather fragile, so I try to be careful with them when wrapping or unwrapping the leads for storage.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 7, 2012 9:07:31 AM PDT
Brian Hall says:
Has the ability to switch between apps been fixed?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 15, 2012 12:51:43 PM PDT
BBQguru says:
The app ABSOLUTELY works in the background of the you iDevice. The only time data transmission is interrupted is during the sending/receiving of a phone call, like any Bluetooth device, but as soon as you hang up it's right back to streaming temperature data from the unit. If your mobile device is updated to iOS 4.2+, the iGrill Pro App will continue to run in the background, so you can use your phone to check email, surf, anything else you want, during your cook!

Source: iGrill enthusiast!!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 13, 2013 6:46:53 AM PDT
J. Palmer says:
Yes, one of the updates added this capability and it works pretty well now. Most of my initial concerns, sans the build quality, have been addressed by the app. Apart from a crack in the case (and I don't ever remember dropping my iGrill) it's held up reasonably well, but I have had 2 probes fail under normal use.

Posted on Jul 14, 2014 6:36:59 AM PDT
How do you export the data?
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