The new Nespresso Prodigio connected coffee machine has just been released, and marks a bit of a sign of the times as far as home appliances are concerned. While the internet of things and more appliances at home being automated has become ‘headline news’ for the last few years now, the newest line of coffee machines from Nespresso allows us to pre-program our morning coffee for whenever we choose to wake up!
The Nespresso Prodigio is controlled using the My Prodigio app, which you should check to make sure is compatible with your smartphone. Not all smartphones work with Nespresso’s Prodigio (although the vast majority will), but given the entire point of this particular Nespresso machine is to use your phone, you really want to ensure compatibility first!
You’ll see the home screen looking a bit like this – very minimalist but also great and not complicated.
An internal diagnostic tool allows you to glance at whether there’s any internal issue with the machine, if you need to order more capsules and whether the water levels are okay to make a coffee. For example, the Prodigio will tell you if your machine needs de-scaling.
After this, you can move into the “Set schedule” screen to plan your morning coffee for the next day, or perhaps one when you come back home from work or similar.
You can use a Ristretto (25ml of water), Espresso (40ml of water) or Lungo (110ml of water) for cup size, and the scroll wheel allows you to choose a time to schedule your coffee. The scroll wheel is intuitive to use and is a simple circular design representing the hours in a day – simply set your timer for whenever suits you and press the “Schedule brew” button.
The process is semi-automatic at best though, because ultimately you still need to make sure a cup is underneath the machine and that there’s a Nespresso coffee capsule inserted in the top of it – but this bit of forward planning is relatively minimal.
The Prodigio initially comes in two colours: Silver and Titan, designed to suit the environment the machine is sat in whether it’s light or dark (or whether you want your machine to blend in or stand out).
There are also two styles of machine, the normal Prodigio and the Prodigio & Milk, which comes with an Aeroccino system to help you froth the perfect cup of milk to complement your coffee. However, please note that making the milk for your coffee has to be done manually and this part cannot yet be automated with the Prodigio’s automated brewing system.
One useful aspect of the app is being able to see how many coffee capsules you have left, so you don’t run out accidentally. If you click into the “Capsules” screen you’ll see an estimate (usually correct since it goes off of how many times you make a coffee, so you assume you put a capsule in each time) of how many capsules you have remaining.
From this screen in the app you can directly order new capsules from Nespresso, which is handy when you know your stock / supply is getting low. However, note that the number displayed is based on your orders via Nespresso directly. If you order Nespresso coffee capsules from Amazon, a third party capsule provider or just buy them directly from a shop, the app cannot automatically update your stock level.
That’s why there’s a plus and minus button either side of your estimated number of capsules left – so that you can add any other capsules you buy elsewhere to your total in the app.
One unfortunate side-effect of having a simplified number of capsules left is that you can’t really split it out. For example, if you have 10 of one Nespresso capsule and 10 of another, there’s no way of knowing how many of each flavour you have left, of course – just the total number.
The Nespresso Prodigio coffee machine is an excellent example of how increasing connectivity in our home appliances is designed to make our lives easier. It will attract lots of people who enjoy being early adopters of technology, and for people who are more night owls than early morning risers the automatic coffee in the morning will be a welcome way to start their day.
On the flip side, however, the process is far from fully automated still – cups, water, milk etc. still have to be done manually the night before, so to some that don’t mind actually pressing the button and getting their accessories ready in the morning, the ability to schedule a brew can be seen as a bit of a gimmick. It also depends highly on your schedule, and whether or not for example you can commit to having a coffee while it’s hot if you set it for a particular time. Otherwise, hitting the snooze button on your alarm clock could mean a cold Nespresso!
Finally, not all smartphones are supported (although most tech savvy people will have a smartphone that’s compatible we’re sure) – so it will definitely pay to do your homework and ensure the Prodigio is the right machine for you and your phone before making a purchase.
Ultimately, the Nespresso Prodigio is a great option for “non-morning people” to schedule their coffee, or for someone to save a bit of time when coming back from a lunch break or from work to a welcome brew. It’s a step in the right direction for the Internet of Things and home appliances in general, and soon we’ll be able to do a lot more with these machines as well.
For those with less-set lifestyles and schedules, or those who don’t mind the extra time / effort to make a brew themselves, most of what sells the Prodigio could be seen as a bit of a gimmick. However, for the equivalent price there are plenty of other Nespresso machines to consider if automating your morning coffee isn’t high up on your priority list.
In short, the Prodigio does admittedly cater to a very niche audience – but if you’re part of this niche audience, we have no doubt you’ll love it to bits.