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The Tim3 Machin3 is a rice maker, a slow cooker and a quick thinker

Fresh from Kickstarter, this small appliance sees set-and-forget simplicity in your future.

Ry Crist Senior Editor / Reviews - Labs
Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a writer, a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. A CNET editor since 2013, Ry's beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, broadband and home networking.
Expertise Smart home technology | Wireless connectivity Credentials
  • 10 years product testing experience with the CNET Home team
Ry Crist
4 min read

Time-saving claims are a time-honored tradition in the world of kitchen gadgetry, and it's in that tradition that 3Squares Appliances hopes you're tempted by its newest creation: the Tim3 Machin3. No, it isn't a DeLorean or a Tardis, but rather, a clever, automated rice maker with built-in sensors designed to save -- you guessed it -- time.

True, the Tim3 Machin3 is far less interesting than an actual time machine -- but it's also a lot more than just a rice maker. Aside from the automated brown and white rice settings, the Tim3 Machin3 features dedicated modes for cooking quinoa, oatmeal, homemade yogurt and even fully functional slow-cooking settings. You can also use it to steam cook meats and vegetables, even while simultaneously making a full-size batch of rice.

The Tim3 Machin3 sees rice in your future (pictures)

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3Squares is crowdfunding the Tim3 Machin3 on Kickstarter, where the product has already surpassed its goal five times over. After the campaign ends, the device will retail for $70 (about £45, or just over AU$80) -- a limited number of early-bird units are still available at a slight discount. Due to global voltage variations, the Tim3 Machin3 is currently a US- and Canada-only product, but its creators tell me that they've seen a good deal of international demand, and are working on finding a way to meet it.

3Squares is promising to deliver units to its Kickstarter backers in time for Christmas, which is a fairly ambitious timetable by crowdfunding standards. This isn't the company's first small appliance, though, and 3Squares claims that it has already completed its initial production run, along with full safety testing for North America. The company was also able to send us a unit to test out, which is always a good sign.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Straight out of the box, the Tim3 Machin3 looks more or less like most other rice makers, albeit with a bit more style. Look closer at those buttons, though, and you'll start to see just how much it's capable of. Below the presets for brown rice and white rice, you'll find a third preset for "Quick Rice." Use it instead, and the Tim3 Machin3 promises to speed the cook time up by 20 percent, though 3Squares admits the rice won't come out quite as perfectly as it will using the normal settings.

Below that is the quinoa preset, which promises to toast the grains prior to cooking them in order to help achieve ideal taste and texture. I'm not much of a quinoa guy myself, but that's definitely a setting we'll be testing out in the days to come -- look forward to a complete quinoa report in my full review.

The Tim3 Machin3 also promises to make perfect oatmeal and homemade yogurt. With the former, you can add the oats before going to bed, then wake up to steamy oatmeal goodness first thing in the morning. With the yogurt-making setting, the Tim3 Machin3 will hold your milk at the proper temperature, tell you when to add the starter, then let you customize a cook time for the desired level of tartness. That sounds a lot easier than using a double boiler.

The Tim3 Machin3 will cycle its lights during the cook time. Once it detects the rice is nearly done, it'll begin counting down from ten minutes. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

For full meals, you can use the Tim3 Machin3 as a slow cooker, or insert the included steaming tray into the top of the pot for meats and veggies. I wanted to try this out, so I cooked two cups of white rice with some roasted garlic mixed in, and steamed a couple of chicken breasts up on top.

The Tim3 Machin3 uses its sensors to calculate an exact cooktime. Just add the ingredients, press start, then let the device do its thing. Once it senses that the rice is 10 minutes away from perfection, it'll start counting down the minutes -- at the end, it'll automatically switch into "Keep Warm" mode.

I knew 2 cups of rice would take roughly as long as the chicken would take to steam cook (about a half hour), so the chicken went in from the start. Once that final countdown began, I added in some spears of asparagus, since they'd take about 10 minutes of steam cooking.

3squares-tim3-machin3-chicken.jpg
Ry Crist/CNET

The results were rather impressive, if I do say so myself. The rice was light, fluffy and perfectly cooked, with no burning on the bottom. The chicken was surprisingly tender and moist, while the asparagus was pleasantly crisp and cooked through. I made enough to share with my coworkers, and everyone agreed that it was a tasty plate of food. That...doesn't always happen when I cook for my friends.

I'll be cooking quite a bit more with the Tim3 Machin3 over the next week or two, but as of now, I'm pretty optimistic. Stay tuned for a full review.