"The Internet of Things" is an admittedly broad term, so I suppose we shouldn't be too surprised to see a connected piggy bank. That's exactly the "Thing" that Quirky's offering with the Porkfolio: a smart, Wi-Fi-enabled coin collector capable of tracking your savings on your phone. It even has its own channel on IFTTT.
If you just rolled your eyes or breathed a heavy sigh, I hear you. The $50 Porkfolio certainly seems less like a smart home necessity than a solution in search of a problem. And yet, unlike the equally unnecessary, the Porkfolio takes its frivolity in stride. There's just enough charm and basic usefulness packed into this pig to keep you more or less happy with it -- and it carries some unique, kid-friendly appeal, too. If you're looking for a lighthearted smart-home novelty for your 7-year-old nephew (or perhaps your inner 7-year-old), I think you could honestly do a whole lot worse than this.
If the Porkfolio's cute design doesn't immediately win you over, give it some time. The blunt-nosed guy has been sitting on my desk at work for about a week now, staring at me with dimpled eyes even as I type this sentence, and I have to admit: I've grown a little fond of the thing. I know, I know. A year spent critiquing repetitive stainless steel designs and boring, white-plastic-bodied gadgets has made me particularly susceptible to a little pink porker with a few ounces' worth of personality.
If pink isn't to your tastes, the Porkfolio also comes in white or black. All three versions are made from thick, rubbery plastic, making it feel very much like a toy. As a smart-home gadget geared towards kids, that's a design choice that makes plenty of sense. To this end, you can even rotate the head and the limbs, which switches the pig between lying on its back and sprawling out on its belly.
To get started with the Porkfolio, you'll need to download the free Wink app to your Android or iOS device, then follow the onscreen instructions. If you don't have a, don't worry -- you don't need one in order to use the Porkfolio.
You'll pull a tab inside the Porkfolio's belly to activate a built-in battery. The pig's nose will begin to flash (it also lights up for every coin you deposit). When prompted in the app, you'll touch the nose to your phone's screen. The screen will flash a code at the Porkfolio, telling it your Wi-Fi information, and voila, you'll have connected your piggy bank to the cloud.
That's the same connection trick that Quirky uses for other Wink-powered products, including the, the , and the . For the most part, it's a pretty easy way of getting things synced up, although on occasion, I've needed to flash my phone at my device more than once to get it to work.
From there, this smart piggy bank works more or less like any other piggy bank -- you put coins in the slot, and it hangs onto them until you're ready to take them out and dash off to the nearest bank or Coinstar machine. The difference, of course, is that you'll be able to track just how much coin you've collected in the Wink app.
As we've noted in earlier reviews, Wink has one of the better-looking smart home apps we've come across. The design is fun, playful, and befitting a product like the Porkfolio. Front and center is the piggy's face (he'll wiggle his nose a bit and blink at you, which is a nice little touch). Tap his nose, and you'll be able to change the colors that shine whenever you deposit a coin.
Above the image of the pig's face, you'll see how your stash totals up. Below, you'll be able to set a savings goal and graph your progress. You'll also be able to tell the Porkfolio how much you're taking out whenever you make a withdrawal, which you'll need to do if you want to keep the total accurate.
The Porkfolio tracks your savings using a clever, spring-loaded mechanism in the top slot. Push a coin through, and it'll push the spring out of the way. This lets the Porkfolio know how big the coin is, which is how it figures out what sort of coin you're putting in.
For the most part, this works perfectly well. In my tests, there was never more than a second or so between putting a coin in and seeing the total go up in the app. Still, it isn't foolproof. Put a coin in at an angle, or push it a few extra millimeters against the spring by mistake, and you might fool the Porkfolio into thinking it's bigger than it actually is. I was repeatedly able to trick it into thinking a penny was a nickel, for instance, although I needed to make a conscious effort to do so.