As a geek, techie, nerd — whichever you want to call me, I love smart devices; you know, things that can connect to my wi-fi network and allow me to control them from my laptop or phone. Hell, when my younger daughter was born, I built my own baby monitor out of an old PC, webcam, and Teamspeak. Oh, the memories!
Anyway, with the influx over the last 2-3 years of home automation and mobile app-controlled devices, it was only a matter of time before I stopped dipping my toes and dove head first into the waters of laziness – or as my friend tells me, “You’re going to be one of those fat people in Wall-E.”
For Christmas, I decided to buy myself an Ember Temperature Control Ceramic Mug. As an avid coffee drinker who prefers his coffee at a perfect 130° , I saw the Ember as the perfect addition to my coffee routine. And it was, at first…
The Ember is a good idea gone bad. Within the mug, a microprocessor-controlled heating system gathers information from four separate temperature sensors and activates its adaptive dual heating mechanism. So, once you set the temperature in the app, the mug will keep your coffee at the desired temperature. Now, in theory, this would mean that my coffee will be exactly how I want it every time I pick up the cup. In reality, it only lasts for an hour.
Supposedly, the Ember senses when there is no liquid inside and puts itself into sleep mode and then uses a three-axis accelerometer to recognize movement and wake the mug back up. Unfortunately, more often than not, I’d have half a cup of coffee when Ember would say, “Oh, it’s empty, let’s turn off now.” (Jay’s note, the Ember doesn’t actually talk, I just imagine that’s what it’s saying.)
And, to be honest, the battery life, which Ember CLAIMS is an hour off the charging saucer, they conveniently include the disclaimer, “will vary depending on pour temperature, ambient temperature, and desired temperature”. While it does only take a few minutes to heat your drink back up to the desired temperature, I was constantly having to reheat my coffee. Which lead to me moving the charging saucer from the kitchen next to my coffee pot to the end table next to the couch.
All these complaints aside, my biggest gripe is the damn charging saucer. If you’ve read any of my posts here at TheCli3nt.com, you know that I have hemophilia and degenerative arthritis caused by 45 years of bleeds. Those bleeds have caused a LOT of damage to my hands and fingers. So much so that I have ruined two laptops by spilling coffee when my fingers or wrists didn’t want to work correctly. And now, two weeks into owning an Ember, I have another device that is worthless.
Because the charging saucer has two exposed contacts to charge the cup, you’re supposed to only hand wash the cup. Which is fine, the problem is, at some point during my morning coffee, a drop of coffee either sloshed out (“thank you, Mr. Arthritis!!”) or dribbled down the side while pouring. It wasn’t until I took a drink of ice coffee that I realized that slosh had touched the charging contacts and fried the charger and now I have a paperweight that LOOKS like a coffee cup. Yay!
Ok, I get it, my bad …. or is it? This is a coffee cup after all, obviously it’s going to have liquid in it, so why did Ember leave the charging contacts exposed in such a way that a simple drop of coffee could ruin the device? My Samsung phone, which costs a LOT more than the Ember, is freaking waterproof. I have stood in the Oregon rain waiting for the bus during my commute to work and not a single raindrop has hurt my phone.
When I picked up the Ember, I had hoped that it would be everything the company claims it is, but it’s not. At $80, the Ember is a waste of money and should be avoided at all costs.