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Quirky Porkfolio review: Quirky packed its piggy bank with plenty of charm

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A spring mechanism in the Porkfolio's slot tells it what kind of coin you're putting into it. Colin West McDonald/CNET

Another problem with this design is that the Porkfolio can only handle one coin at a time. Slide two coins in side-by-side, and the spring mechanism will only read it as a single coin. This gets tedious if you're transferring an entire jar's worth of quarters into the thing, but for the most part, it's a small quibble.

To get to your loot, you'll remove a plug on the bottom of the bank. Inside, there's an annoyingly inclined ridge around the rim of the opening that keeps the coins from falling out naturally, so you'll need to do a fair deal of shaking to get them out, and probably fish around with your finger for those last few pennies.

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You can set the Porkfolio to alert you if someone flips it over to get at your loot. Colin West McDonald/CNET

Smart features

Aside from tracking how much money you're putting into it, the Porkfolio will alert you when it's running low on batteries. You can also set it to alert you if someone moves the bank, or if it gets flipped upside down. I couldn't get the movement alerts to work at all, but the upside down alerts came through like clockwork each and every time.

Upside-down alerts might sound like a rather pointless feature, but I could see it coming in handy as a sneaky way for parents to know if their kid is jumping the gun on their nest egg, or perhaps as a means for the kid in question to catch a thieving sibling red-handed.

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Tap the pig's nose, and you'll be able to change the color of the Porkfolio's LEDs. You'll find additional settings beyond the main screen. Screenshots by Ry Crist/CNET

I also enjoyed the way the nose lit up whenever I put a coin in, and appreciated that I could customize the color of the light in the app. You can't program the lights in any other way, though, and that seems like a wasted opportunity. For instance, why not have the lights change to green after surpassing a savings goal? To red when the battery is low?

Another strange omission is that the Wink app won't notify you when you've hit your savings goal. An automatic congratulatory alert seems like a no-brainer, but you won't get anything of the sort. Instead, you're forced to turn to the Porkfolio's IFTTT channel, and while it's easy to enough to program an IFTTT alert on your phone or elsewhere whenever your balance rises above a certain point, this still feels like a feature that belongs in the Wink app itself.

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It was difficult to come up with a useful IFTTT recipe with the Porkfolio. Screenshots by Ry Crist/CNET

Speaking of that IFTTT channel, it's a little bit sparse, which isn't surprising considering that we're talking about a piggy bank. You'll have access to two "If This" triggers: "money added" and "balance rises above." Both of these are just what they sound like -- the first triggers your action of choice whenever you deposit a coin, the second triggers an action once you've cleared a certain balance.

The balance trigger makes sense for the aforementioned time-to-raid-the-piggy-bank-and-go-buy-a-video-game alert, but the money added trigger seems less useful. I suppose you could set up a recipe to let you know how high your balance has risen whenever you deposit coins, but the constant stream of updates seems like it would get old fast -- and besides, isn't that what the app is for?

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Ry Crist/CNET

The bottom line

Frivolity is forgivable if the product in question doesn't take itself too seriously, and that's probably the most important thing the Porkfolio gets right. It isn't trying to be a smart-home game changer. It's just a place to put your coins that's slightly more functional -- and slightly more fun -- than that old mason jar you keep on top of your dresser.

Absolutely no one needs a Porkfolio -- but I couldn't blame you for being charmed into wanting one. At $50 (or less if you can catch it on sale, which doesn't seem particularly difficult to do), it isn't a purchase that'll sting too badly at checkout. Most importantly, it's just fun enough to warrant regular use, which might make it a good way to teach an app-savvy kid about budgeting and saving -- or a good way to keep you collecting loose change until you can afford to splurge on some other silly gadget.

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