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Review of the Demy Recipe Reader

A good idea that could use some tweaking

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Review of the Demy Recipe Reader
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I was truly excited when I first saw the Demy Recipe Reader at a housewares trade show. As someone who mostly gets her recipes from various Web sites and whose kitchen is often littered with smudged printouts of said recipes, this seemed like the perfect device for me, a sturdy, easy-to-view gadget much like an iPod or a Kindle, that could house my growing collection of Internet-sourced recipes. But early adapters be warned: This is a great idea, but could definitely use some improvement.

Demy Recipe Reader - How It Works

The Demy Recipe Reader's main purpose is for storing and viewing your recipe collection. The device has a companion Web site, Key Ingredient where members can share and save recipes (It's free to join). There are thousands of recipes on the site, many of which seem to be from bloggers around the world, and you can add your own recipes, which can be shared with others or kept private. Recipes must be added to Key Ingredient in order to be downloaded onto your Demy (Read on for more information about downloading the recipes).

On the Demy, recipes are organized alphabetically or sorted into "cookbooks." Each recipe has three tabs: the recipe itself, an "about" section with a descriptions, yield, nutritional estimates and source; and even a photo, where available.

Demy Recipe Reader – Uploading the Recipes

The process of uploading recipes onto the device is a bit frustrating. Once you find a recipe you like on, say, another Web site, you need to copy and paste it into the fields on the Key Ingredient site, and clean up the messed-up formatting, which can be time consuming. Although there is a box for nutritional information, there doesn't seem to be a place to add it on the recipe upload form. If you have recipes on paper, such as newspaper clippings, you can send them in to Key Ingredient and, for a fee, they'll scan them onto the site.

To get the recipes from the Web site onto the Demy requires downloading a simple piece of software onto your computer. Early owners of the Demy might have encountered the same frustration that I experienced: When I got my Demy, the company was in the process of updating the software and it wasn't available to download. Although the customer service person I complained to was apologetic, it was well over a month before the software was actually available to download – a frustratingly long wait for someone who's eager to play with a new toy!

I'm still not sure what the hold-up was, because the software seems pretty simple; it's basically just a synch button. There doesn't seem to be a way to remove the recipes that came preloaded onto the device (most of which I probably won't use), or a way to delete even the recipes you've uploaded yourself. Hopefully this will be corrected in future software versions (But I hope that next time, new users won't have to wait weeks to download it!).

Demy Recipe Reader - The Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The Demy has a rugged build; the color screen is a touchscreen so there are no buttons to gunk up, and the case is sturdy and rubbery. It's splashproof, and you can wipe it clean with a damp cloth.
  • The device can be viewed either upright or at a lower-angled tilt; the screen flips around automatically when turned.
  • You can choose from three font sizes.
  • The "Short List" is a temporary "library" of recipes that make it easy to reference several recipes at the same time
  • There's also a conversion calculator, three timers and a list of ingredient substitutions.
  • The Demy comes with a charger and a cable that connects the device to your computer 's USB port for synching.
  • The Demy can hold up to 2,500 recipes.

Cons

  • I find my device is constantly freezing, which disables the touchscreen. This requires turning it back on, waiting for the slow startup, and again locating the recipe I was using.
  • The software has many limitations: You can't remove the recipes that were preloaded or remove recipes that you've uploaded. (The company says that future software upgrades may fix that).
  • The "search" function only allows you to search by the first letter of the recipe, rather than by keyword. In other words, you can't search for recipes that include turkey or lemons, unless those words happen to be the first in the recipe's title.
  • The Demy will go to "sleep" eventually but even though it appears the device is off, since the screen is dark, this will run down the batteries. Actually turning off the Demy requires holding the on-off button down until it beeps.

Demy Recipe Reader - The Bottom Line

The Demy Recipe Reader is $299, a price that seems steep considering the flaws and limitations of this device. Consider that a similar product, the Kindle, is only $60 more than the Demy, and is better-designed and has far more features.

Hopefully in the future either the price will come down or the company will work out some of the kinks, because it truly is a good idea.

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