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WIRED: Small offices that make use of commercial Nespresso machines in the pantry might want to look at the Prodigio to better monitor its use among staff.

About time for a java

Nespresso's Prodigio is Bluetooth-enabled and lets you programme a brewing time via your smartphone.
02/07/2016 - 05:50

Price: S$398


Descaling alarm, removable water tank, empty water tank detection, automatic capsule ejection

NESPRESSO'S latest capsule coffee machine is Bluetooth enabled, so it will let you schedule a fresh cup of joe to be made in the morning without you having to stand in front of the machine when it does so.

Now, this is not quite the smart TV equivalent or Internet Of Things-related - it is but the combined use of a mobile app pairing the Prodigio to a smartphone. This connectivity allows owners to monitor the water level on their machines and the number of remaining capsules at home. Ditto for scheduling a descaling of the machine.

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The catch is that someone still has to do the behind-the-scenes work, such as removing spent capsules and inserting new ones into the chamber after each use.

The cup also has to be left under the spout, ready to collect the hot coffee, because no amount of software upgrades can move a cup. And water in the rear tank still needs to be topped up manually.

Once everything is in place, you can then schedule the time that you want coffee. Right after a shower maybe? Or just as one returns from work? Just program it in.

Things get more complicated though if the machine is used by the family. A manual use of the machine supersedes any preset, so if you set the machine to make a cuppa in the morning, but someone else uses it just before, your request is negated.

This makes sense, because the Prodigio would not know if there is a new capsule or clean cup in place.

What does not make much sense however is how Bluetooth connectivity merely replaces the need to press the button on the machine, since users still need to do much of everything else.

The app itself is far more interesting. Older machines can also be linked to the app, but the Bluetooth connection will not be available.

Users manually key in the number of capsules remaining and once a level has been reached, the app will sound. If you buy capsules from the store, remember to log it in with the app. If you order capsules via Nespresso's online store on the app, all purchases will be logged in automatically.

And by that, it merely means logging the total number of capsules purchased. The machine and the app are not that smart and will not know if you finished your stash of Caramelito, or are running low on Roma and not Dharkan.

Instead of a giant or mechanised lever to open the capsule slot, the Prodigio uses a smaller shifter knob. Opening it to slot in a capsule turns the machine on automatically, and there are three coffee selection buttons available, namely ristretto (25ml), espresso (40ml) and lungo (110ml).

Once coffee has been dispensed, the capsule is automatically ejected into the holding tray below.

Small offices that make use of commercial Nespresso machines in the pantry might want to look at the Prodigio to better monitor its use among staff.

But unless you have a good reason for not wanting to wait 10 seconds to stand and make a cup of Nespresso coffee yourself or prefer to automate it from the living room, the Prodigio seems a bit much. After all, all Nespresso capsules produce the same coffee, no matter how fancy the machine used in making it is.