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Quirky Egg Minder review:

This egg tracker is underdone

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Does that egg look missing to you? Katie Pilkington/CNET

On November 28, the supposed expiration date, all of the eggs disappeared from the app, though they were still in the Egg Minder in our refrigerator. When I checked the app again on December 2, the eggs were back. Oddly enough, the app still indicated that the front left egg was missing.

In addition to this inconsistency, the app's depiction lacked the red circles promised by both the product page and manual. In order to confirm that they were expired, I had to click on each individual egg to see the "0 days left" message.

Katie Pilkington/CNET

This wasn't difficult, but I wanted that visual indicator that the eggs had expired. If I owned this in real life, I might not always click on each individual egg, especially if I were in a rush. I'd likely look quickly at the app screen, see eleven eggs, and assume I didn't need to buy more. Those red circles would quickly tell me that I needed to dispose of the bad eggs. A week later, they still haven't shown up.

When I asked the Quirky team for more specifics about the sensors, they said, "The Egg Minder gives each egg placed into the tray a time stamp. This time stamp is used to determine the age of the egg. Expiration varies and so in the app itself, you are able to set thresholds on when the eggs should report as 'bad.' We compare the time stamp of when the egg was placed in to today's date to determine the egg's age, and if it's past the fresh threshold it'll be reported as a bad egg."

Colin West McDonald/CNET

That's great, but it's a little short-sighted. What if I remove four eggs for a recipe that, in the end, only requires three? When I put that egg back into the Egg Minder, will it assume that I've put a new, fresh egg in the cup and begin the countdown anew, regardless of how old the egg was to begin with?

On December 4, I removed two eggs and replaced them in their exact, previous spots after a few minutes. The app reflected that I had placed two brand-new eggs in those cups. Granted, the eggs were only two weeks old to begin with and, therefore, didn't provide a health hazard. But what if your default expiration settings were programmed for four-week eggs? What if, after that period, an egg was mistakenly removed and replaced? The Egg Minder would show it as a brand-new egg with a brand-new four-week expiration period, meaning that, by the time the egg "expired" again, it would be more than eight weeks old.

In that case, I'm much more comfortable with the grocery store egg carton and its printed expiration date, which doesn't change based on operator error. If you're ever really in doubt, you can do the water test. Fill a large glass bowl with cool water and gently place an egg in the bowl. A good egg will sink to the bottom. A bad egg will float. If the egg stands on end but stays on the bottom of the bowl, you need to eat it soon. It's a rudimentary test but an effective one, nonetheless.

As it stands, the device only keeps track of an egg's arrival date and compares that to a predetermined expiration period, and not very well. To be truly useful, the Egg Minder needs to serve as a replacement for the water test. The inventory function would make it more valuable if it worked properly. For $69, I want a device that tells me whether or not my eggs are fresh, independent of a preprogrammed expiration date. As it can't do either of those things reliably, however, it's no better than the cardboard carton with printed expiration date.

In its current form, it's hard for me to recommend the Quirky Egg Minder. The glitchy app and the reality of human behavior make the expiration date on your store-bought egg carton more reliable. That said, I think Quirky's onto something with the Egg Minder; it just doesn't do enough well enough to make it worth it. If you're going to pay $69 for an egg holder, it needs to be stellar and without hiccups. In its current state, the Egg Minder falls short of the mark. For now, I'll stick with the carton's expiration date and water test.

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