iDevices Kitchen Thermometer Mini review: This small meat thermometer is big on smarts

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The Good The $40 iDevices Kitchen Thermometer Mini uses Bluetooth tech to send real-time status updates straight to your phone.

The Bad You'll need to read the manual to make sense of the thermometer's LED indicator lights. It's powered by a CR2032 coin battery, which isn't exactly a household staple.

The Bottom Line iDevices' Kitchen Thermometer Mini is a solid thermometer that delivers smart functionality and hands-free convenience at an entry-level price.

7.9 Overall
  • Performance 8.5
  • Features 8.5
  • Design 7
  • Usability 7

The $40 iDevices Kitchen Thermometer Mini, which also sells for £35 in the UK and AU$50 in Australia, is a small Bluetooth-enabled meat thermometer. Pair it to your phone, download the Android or iOS app, and receive alerts when your food reaches its target temperature.

There's a limit to your freedom, though -- the Bluetooth range is capped at 150 feet (45 meters). And frequent use and/or forgetting to turn the thermometer off after each use will drain its tiny CR2032 coin battery quickly.

While $40 is a reasonable price for an entry-level smart thermometer, there are plenty of single-probe thermometers without connected capabilities that sell for less. Even so, I'd happily pay $40 for the Kitchen Thermometer Mini -- it delivers excellent results without all the tedious vigilance that's typically required when cooking food to temperature.

First impressions

The Kitchen Thermometer Mini is very similar to iDevices' $40 iGrill Mini that I reviewed last year. It measures 1.75 inches long by 1.75 inches wide by 1.25 inches tall. It has a glossy white plastic finish and weighs a mere 1.4 ounces. This model comes with a single probe and a single probe wrap for no-fuss storage.

A ring of color-changing LEDs alert you to any status changes. A solid green light means that it's just starting the cooking process. The interface turns solid yellow when it's within 15 degrees of its target temp, orange when it's within 5 degrees of its target temp, and red when your food is done. A proximity sensor causes the LED display to "wake up" when you're nearby and "sleep" when you're away from the kitchen.

If the thermometer is turned on but not connected to a probe or paired to your phone, it will automatically turn off after five minutes. If it's turned on and connected to a probe, but isn't paired to your phone, it will automatically turn off after eight hours. But, if it's turned on, connected to a probe, and paired to your phone, it will stay on until it runs out of juice.

This model relies on a CR2032 coin cell battery for operation. This type of battery isn't hard to find in stores, but it also isn't a particularly common one to keep on hand at home. iDevices claims that each CR2032 battery lasts for up to 150 hours -- but that's only if you remember to switch it off after each use. Since this device doesn't have an overt digital display, it might be easy to forget to turn it off, causing it to kill the battery much more quickly.

The Kitchen Thermometer and Kitchen Thermometer Mini side-by-side. Colin West McDonald/CNET

Aside from the unique features outlined above, the device's functionality is identical to that of the brand's $80 Kitchen Thermometer . It has the same 48-inch-long thermometer probe and is compatible with the same Android or iOS iDevices apps.

The app works with Android phones running 4.3 or later and iOS devices running iOS 7 or later. The specific iOS devices include: iPad Mini, iPad 3 and newer, iPhone 4s and newer, and fifth generation iPod Touch and newer. Bluetooth must be enabled on your connected device for the app and thermometer to communicate.

Taking a closer look

The setup was very quick and straightforward. I made sure Bluetooth was enabled on my iPhone 5 and opened the app. (I had originally downloaded it last year to test the iGrill Mini.) From there, I turned the thermometer on, and it immediately connected to the app. Just connect the probe and you can begin taking temperature readings. You can pair up to four probes simultaneously, meaning four separate Kitchen Thermometer Minis or any four-probe combination of iDevices' product line.

While the setup took roughly 2 minutes, I don't find the app to be particularly well designed. It provides all of the information you need to track your food from your phone, but it doesn't have an intuitive flow.

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