QOOQ Touch Kitchen Tablet, Red
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Touch screen tablet for use in the kitchen. Includes software to play music and videos.
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The device itself is a Linux tablet with a capacitive touch screen and a design dedicated to one thing: sitting in the kitchen to show you recipes and perhaps play some background music. Short curly feet lift it from the surface in case of any spills, and you can wipe the screen clean.
On the right is a rubberised switch for on/off and volume, and on the left ports for audio, USB, wired Ethernet and SD card. The main reason for USB and SD card is so you can put music or photos on the device; you can even use it as a photo frame with a slideshow.
It feels solid and well made, though the ports on the left have a rubber cover that tends to come loose, making it more vulnerable to spills.
The operating system is a special version of Linux, not Android. It mainly just runs the recipe application, though there is a basic web browser with Flash support (though off by default) which you can use for tracking down non-QOOQ recipes on the web. There are also some simple apps such as notes, internet radio, music player and clock, which dock to the right of the screen.
The main thing here is the recipes. You get 1000 supplied, but over 3,500 are available if you subscribe or pay per recipe. These come from the QOOQ internet database and are downloaded on demand. Presentation of the recipes is excellent, with clear step by step instructions as well as ingredient list and information on cooking time. If a video is available, the steps link to the video, so tapping a step takes you to that point.
QOOQ comes from France and there is a strong French flavour to the selection. The makers approached top chefs and got them to cook some of their best dishes in front of the camera, with comments as they go. There are exceptions, but in general the recipes are aimed more towards special occasions than everyday. If you want a basic cooking guide and recipe book, this is not for you. On the other hand, if you want to explore some enticing new dishes then QOOQ is an absolute treat.
There is a problem with most of the videos, in that they were made in French, with a rather wooden English voiceover. Some of the personality and expression is lost in translation.
Extra features include a food encyclopaedia and a complex profile system where you can build up details of your skills and culinary preferences. Unfortunately it is not all that clear how this works so I don't feel able to comment on its usefulness, though it must be linked to the recommendation system. I suspect most people will just get on and use the recipes.
You can also generate a shopping list automatically. Handy for dinner parties.
Unfortunately there is no social media integration here. What I mean is, you can rate a recipe for yourself, but you cannot see other people's ratings or their comments on what worked and what did not, or how they adapted it. This is a missed opportunity and would add considerable value.
Recipe search is reasonable but a bit fiddly, and you can't filter for vegetarian or gluten-free dishes, for example.
What about the cost? Well, the asking price is on the high side for what is a fairly basic tablet, but you are getting a specialised device for kitchen usage and in that context it is not too bad. More seriously, there is further cost involved in getting access to the full range of recipes. You either have to subscribe for $9.99 a month or $99.00 a year, or buy recipes individually using a credit system that works out between 50c and $2.00 per recipe (prices vary). Once purchased, a recipe is yours to keep.
My view is that the subscription is too expensive unless you do a great deal of cooking, maybe on a professional basis or if you have a lifestyle that involves a lot of entertaining. The pay as you go downloads are better value for most of us. But I can also understand why you might feel annoyed, after spending out on a cookery tablet, that you have to spend again to get the recipes.
That said, the recipes are really good and worth the money. Given the choice between QOOQ, and an iPad or Android tablet propped up in the kitchen and searching for recipes on the web, I would go for the QOOQ every time. On the other hand, QOOQ is only useful in the kitchen, and is expensive in comparison.
I want to give this four or five stars for the high quality of the recipes, but the expense and some niggles like the poor English voiceovers pull it down. It is still a great buy for a French cooking enthusiast, with many recipes that you will not find elsewhere.
First, although I have an iPad, laptop, desktop and Kindle...I am not comfortable using any of those in the kitchen. One accidental spill or splash and it would wind up being a very expensive meal. I have tried using some stands to get them out of the way of the countertop but usually just wound up printing our recipes...and having books of recipes that, let's face it, seem so old school in taking up space when everything can be accessed electronically now.
Enter the Qooq. (Pronounced "cook")
The water resistant tablet, made to be used in the kitchen.
With an attached stand, it is the ultimate cookbook.
I must say when I first began playing with it, before I'd set up my account, it was frustrating. You'd click on a video you wanted to see or a recipe you wanted to see and it would tell you you could buy it for X number of credits. Kind of a hot mess of a gadget at that point. But before I get to the subscription service, do know you can use this wonderfully without one. How? It connects to the internet. I use a site called Allrecipes almost daily to look up good ones and to record my own recipes. Because I am a chef but also a vegetarian, I make lots of changes to recipes so any site that had read-only recipes would be of no use to me. That site is only $40 per year and you get more recipes and if you want to subscribe to the site offered with the Qooq it is $10 per month. More than twice the price and fewer recipes. So, my advice would be to get this, but subscribe to Allrecipes and get there through here.
Another reason that's a good idea is that many of these recipes come from their original French site. You'll see fish you won't likely be familiar with and French names for a few ingredients not common here. Like "vegetable milk" in one panna cotta recipe. You may need to do some googling for substitutions or American names sometimes, something that should have been worked out for their US consumers prior.
But if you do choose to get the monthly subscription for their site, (I am on free trial now) it is lots of fun because of the videos and fun facts from which you can learn. Plus each recipe is rated whether it's easy or an expert.
But speaking of rating, my main reason why I feel I'd likely keep my subscription to Allrecipes and not sign up for their service is that none of their recipes are rated by other readers. It makes little sense that they are not because you can rate what you think of the recipe once you make it, and you are hooked up to the internet, but it's just lots of recipes no rating--very not up to par with the free cooking websites out there. (Allrecipes is free unless you want to store your own recipes in it but you can look up any recipe free.)
It really helps me narrow down when I am deciding on what to cook based on what others thought of the recipe after they did cook it, and often even more helpful to read reviews of recipes and hear tweaks others tried to make it better or to fix things that didn't work. None of that is available on the Qooq recipe site you pay for, but if you access the free Allrecipes site through this tablet on the internet, you get more recipes and they are all rated and they are all reviewed. For $10 per month you have access to 4,000 recipes on Qooq, many with ingredients not easily found in the United States. For free, you can access over 50,000 recipes on the Allrecipes site. No brainer if you are trying to decide. Plus for less money than Qooq, you can also get the optional subscription on Allrecipes to record your own recipes, print out shopping lists from your recipes, and organize weekly menus.
But that's not to say I don't like the Qooq recipe site, I just think it should be a couple bucks a month for what you get. I like how they show a photo of each ingredient...this really helps at a glance when I am looking at how much to add and rather than just a name they have a photo cue of where you are in the recipe. I like how they are very professional how to videos.
I like that there are a wealth of every kind of diet--from vegan recipes to vegetarian recipes to paleo diet...I mean, everything. Yes, even gluten-free...Not that other sites don't have this, but for only 4,000 recipes on the Qooq site, it's nice that they considered everyone.
But most of all I like that this is an electronic cookbook that I cannot get stains on and that takes up no room as a cookbook.
And, that's another reason even if I keep my subscription to their cookbook service, that I will likely keep mine with the other cooking website online...it's the largest in the country and, therefor, more likely to stay around. If I am going to plug in all my family recipes and favorite cookbook recipes so that I may toss them to save space (although the attic backup is not a bad idea), I am a bit worried about the Qooq site staying around due to the cost on top of the cost of the tablet as compared to Allrecipes.
But so far I like the tips and recipes on both sites enough (these recipes in Qooq are very gourmet, so I like to use this to find quick really good ones for entertaining that are chef approved so honestly I may likely keep a subscription to both.)
Another bonus is you can program in your local place so that your weather prediction pops up on the screen each day. And you can access social media on it as well.
You can also choose from radio stations all over the country and play tunes while you cook!
At first I thought it was going to be like another cooking tablet with very limited recipes. It's not...this one can be used to access any recipe on the internet and display it on a water resistant tablet that's very sturdy.
The more I dove in, the more I loved. Their cooking site has limitations with no reviews and no ratings so I would not want it exclusively but it's a wealth of info and since I can also use this with any other cooking site out there, even Food Network, I can access cooking videos and recipes anywhere..So I LOVE it.
If their site was lowered to $2 a month I'd consider it perfect for what you get.
Update: I am finding more drawbacks now that I use this often and have been for sometime. First, I will not be subscribing to their recipes. They are not everyday recipes and even when I had a dinner party I wound up finding better recipes on other sites. Most of them are for a limited palette. Plus their recipe site is not user friendly. I wanted to look up a side dish and pushed recipes, then look up recipes, type of dish, still could not find any button that said "side dishes" and the search function works equally as poor. I only use this now to click the browser button and go to the allrecipes site but I have to push most buttons 3 times to get anteing to happen...like I have to push browser a couple times, then it goes to google but no type writer board comes up for me to type so I push the google box 3 times then it does, then when I go to all recipes and try to type in my account I have to push enter 5 times then when I try to scroll down the scroll bar on the right is virtually invisible so it winds up pulling up some ad I didn't mean to click on, then I try to click the recipe I had saved and have to push it 4 times...sometimes a 10 minute deal. Not worth it for that...but the fact that it is a waterproof computer makes me keep it...so big love for waterproof computer and they better update the functionality because as poorly as that part works it should be a far cheaper device. Especially considering there are no family friendly or basic recipes, only gourmet..I like that but these are not ones I'd serve a large group.
Well I just got it and am ohhh so pleased!!! It is so easy to use, I have not tried any of the recipes yet (will be this week) but the tutorials are awesome and extremely helpful. So now there is nothing left for me to do besides try out some of these nifty looking recipes.