EDITOR'S NOTE, 11/7/2016, 11:15 AM: 3 Squares has issued a recall for Tim3 Machin3 models with non-detachable power cables due to a potential electrical hazard. For more information, click here.
Time machines are all well and good, but when's the last time one cooked you dinner? For me, it was back in January, when I reviewed the original,. Essentially a souped-up rice maker, the Kickstarter-backed Tim3 Machin3 comes packed with various extra settings for making things like yogurt, quinoa, and oatmeal, along with dedicated steam- and slow-cooking capabilities. And I found the thing delivered satisfying results almost across the board.
Back to the present (and back to Kickstarter), where 3 Squares has returned with the Mini Tim3 Machin3, a smaller device making the same big promises. Note that it only ships in the US, for now.
With its capacity scaled down from 20 cups to 8 cups, the Mini Tim3 Machin3 is pitched as an easy way to cook quick meals for one to three people. Though it'll ultimately retail for $60, Kickstarter backers can snag one for $50 (which would be a little over £30 in the UK, a little less than AU$70 in Australia, but the Kickstarter only ships within the US).
$50 isn't inexpensive for an 8-cup rice cooker -- simple models from established brands like Aroma sell for closer to $30. 3 Squares tries to justify the price by pointing out the extra settings that make the Mini Tim3 Machin3 more of a multicooker, and also the extra accessories that come with it. Along with a dedicated silicone serving spoon (the "Paddl3"), the Mini Tim3 Machin3 comes with the "Rins3" rinsing basket and the "S3al" silicone lid that fits over the cooking pot, letting you relocate any leftovers directly into the fridge. No shortage of threes in the 3 Squares marketing department, apparently.
The Mini Tim3 Machin3's true secret weapon is the Fuzzy Logic 2.0 sensor that sits underneath the pot. Capable of sensing how much food you're trying to cook, it allows the Tim3 Machin3 to automatically calculate cooking times and offer true one-button meal prep. I was impressed with how well it worked when I tested the original out, even when I tried making more complicated, multi-ingredient dishes, like black beans and rice. It's also worth noting that you'll find that same Fuzzy Logic sensor in higher-end rice makers from brands like Zojirushi, including models that sell for well over $100.
Like the full-size version, the Mini Tim3 Machin3 also comes with a steaming tray insert. Place it over your pot, and you'll be able to steam-cook meat and veggies up above whatever grain you're cooking. Back in January, I used the larger version to steam-cook chicken and asparagus over white rice, and all three came out cooked pretty well.
3 Squares estimates that it'll start shipping Mini Tim3 Machin3s out to Kickstarter backers in December, around the same time thatwill begin selling online at Target. Its other project in the works, , is expected to launch later next year, as 3 Squares tells me they're retooling it with new smart capabilities.
No word yet on where or when the Mini Tim3 Machin3 will arrive at retail outlets, but for the near future, 3 Squares only plans on selling it in the US. A company representative tells me that 3 Squares is interested in expanding to other regions, but that varying electrical restrictions make international expansion a slow, difficult process for a small brand. We'll keep an eye on it, and let you know if it cooks as well as the original as soon as we get the chance to test one out.