Crock-Pots are undeniably one of easiest ways to cook incredible tasting meals without sweating over a stove for hours on end. A little bit of prep work goes a long way with any Crock-Pot meal, and with this new Wi-Fi slow cooker you can set and adjust your timer, cooking temperature, or turn it off completely from your mobile device using Belkin's WeMo app.
The design of this slow cooker isn't much different from a typical one you could find at the store, apart from its ability to connect to your Android 4.0+ or iOS 7+ device. There's a roomy 6-quart stone pot that sits inside and is completely removable and dishwasher safe. The handles at each end do tend to get warm after a few hours of cooking, but are still manageable if you need to pull the pot out for serving purposes. A durable glass lid sits on top with a thick plastic handle that's screwed on next to a single steam hole.
The exterior of the heating base has plastic handles on both sides and an integrated cord storage underneath for keeping things tidy when it's not in use. While cooking, this base gets pretty hot, so it's important to make sure you don't go touching anything other than the stone pot or handle on the glass lid. On the front there's a Wi-Fi indicator that lights up when plugged in, turning green you've properly connected to your mobile device. A single temperature button is right above, allowing you to switch between low, medium, and high heat either manually or using the WeMo app on your device.
To take advantage of the main feature of this slow cooker, you'll need to jump on the Play Store or App Store and download Belkin's free WeMo app. Connecting to the Crock-Pot was a bit tricky, requiring to first go under the Wi-Fi settings and connect to the Crock-Pot itself, then restart the phone — re-opening the WeMo app to properly utilize the slow cooker's remote options. There was also a firmware update that popped up after everything was connected, which downloaded without an issue fairly quickly.
You can name your Crock-Pot if you wish, sign up for email updates, and set the app to remember your Wi-Fi settings — which I'd strongly recommend if you're going to use it regularly. Within the WeMo app you can set your timer and temperature, the only drawback being that you're limited to a selection of low, medium, and high, rather than setting specific temperatures. Still, it does just fine for cooking any kind of meal. Once you're connected you can adjust your timer and temps remotely anywhere you have service or Wi-Fi — which is what makes this slow cooker unique and handy if you're always on the run. If you need to switch it off completely after a full day of cooking, that's also an option.
I put together a pot roast for my first run with this Wi-Fi Crock-Pot, tossing in some basics like carrots, celery, onion, mushrooms, and turnips instead of potatoes. After it was packed, I set it on high for 6 hours and let it work its magic. I'd periodically open the WeMo app to check the timer and make sure the temperature setting was still accurate. Everything worked as it should and once the timer was finished a notification popped up on my device.
Some kitchen-savvy folks might look at this Wi-Fi Crock-Pot as an unnecessary accessory, but it does serve a valid purpose. Those that can't stick around the house all day and still want complete control over their cooker will find this product a breath of fresh air. It goes great with other smart-home accessories and is an easy way to make some delicious meals. You can snag one for yourself straight from Amazon for $126 if you're looking to add a new smart slow cooker to your kitchen.
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