Published on July 13th, 2013 | by Greg0
Sungale Netchef G2: A Cute, Slightly Awkward, Kitchen Companion
Have you ever been cooking and needed a recipe that you didn’t have? Tired of browsing through books with messy pages? And want a way to get internet radio in a convenient unit with a touchscreen and a fairly stable body that looks good on a counter?
Consider the Sungale Netchef G2- it’s the upgraded edition of this kitchen helper, which is basically an Android tablet that is shaped like a recipe box and features some cute chef-friendly features. An 8-inch screen is bright enough for indoors daytime use and the resolution (improved over the first model) is a reasonably good 1024×768, so you’ll be able to read the text from a bit away. The wireless connection has also been updated and includes support for 802.11b/g and now n.
The touchscreen is fairly responsive, which is perhaps the most important upgrade over the original version, using capacitive touch instead of TFT. That said, we did still face some sluggish moments, primarily when trying to do things like stream video. Generally, the menus and user interface make sense, but there are still a few head-scratchers where you realize that this is a Chinese product. There’s no “brunch” option in the meal times, and the instructions can be a bit confusing. But most of major cooking sites are included in easy one-touch buttons, and there’s a browser for those times where you want to check your email. You can save recipes to a “Personal” section for later use. And the music player is handy, with two stereo speakers that mean you won’t have to worry about ruining your other players.
A kitchen timer makes sense of course, but built-in camera and Bluetooth features aren’t quite as helpful and feel a bit out of place. Ultimately, though, the Netchef V2 has to be judged against an iPad tablet with a stand of some sort. The Netchef wins on price, especially since you don’t need to buy anything else. But on most other factors, a tablet like the iPad nudges ahead. For instance, it’s hard to beat the huge variety of free recipe and kitchen apps- especially the lovely presentation from Epicurious for example. And the build quality of the Netchef feels a little kitschy- it’s certainly clean, but isn’t attractive.
With a killer app specially made for the unit, it might stand apart from the competition a bit more. But despite Sungale’s attempts, the Netchef G2 can’t help but feel a little awkward by comparison, and at $300 or so, is extravagant for a single-room piece of gear. It works fairly well, but ultimately we’re not sure it’s necessary.