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Great cooking results. Design needs some work.
on September 3, 2011
I'm overall very happy with my purchase of the Sous Vide Supreme. It does what it promises -- it silently hits temperatures precisely and holds them there. Other reviewers have already stated the obvious (no vacuum sealer included, etc..) but there are enough niggling problems with the physical design that they're worth calling out for potential buyers to be aware of.
First, the lid design is disappointing. It's a flimsy 1-ply piece of stamped stainless steel. For a tool intended to hold temperatures, it should really be insulated to give the most stable temperature possible while consuming the least energy -- and the SVS folks know this, as they've included an "insulating mat" with the lid. It's essentially a cheap piece of rubber like you'd find in a mousepad from 1995, cut to the shape of the lid. It doesn't sit flat and it looks/feels very cheap for a $400+ appliance.
The lid also is completely flat on the underside. During regular operation, a great deal of condensation collects on the bottom, and there's no place for it to run to. This means when you remove the lid, water splashes all over the place. If the underside of the lid were simply slightly creased to slope towards a point in the middle, all the condensation would collect there, making less mess.
The lid doesn't attach to the base unit in any way. Every time you remove it, you need to carefully try to lift it up with one corner down, pulling it to the center of the basin, to prevent condensation from flying all over, then you need counter space to put it down. Since the top of the lid is unadorned stainless steel, scratches on the top are inevitable.
The basin itself has no means for removing water when you're done cooking. It's fixed into the bottom of the unit, and the only way to get water out is to rig up a siphon of some sort, or to lift the whole thing up and pour (hot) water down the sink. A tank of warm water that sits around for long periods of time and is difficult to empty/clean is a recipe for a very grungy appliance in no time.
The controls on the front are cheap membrane buttons. Think the clicky plastic bubble type buttons on cheap microwaves from the early 90s. It's functional, but it feels very cheap and setting a temperature and timer takes tons of clicks.
The wire racks included for the inside are fairly crooked and wobble on a flat surface. It's not causing me any problems, but it is annoying to get this when you just shelled out $400.
The included power cable is comically short. Fortunately it's a standard AC cable so you can replace it easily.
It sounds like I hate the thing from all of this, but I really do like my SVS a great deal. It performs very, very well. The people behind it just need to increase focus on their industrial design -- if a competitor like Breville swept in with a similar product it would not be hard to outclass the SVS on form factor and look/feel.