Ease of use
Out of the box, the similarity of the PowerChef Connect from Schneider and the i-GeniMix from Thomson is remarkable. There is no doubt that the two multifunction cookers are both from the same factories in China. In addition to the hull color choice, the PowerChef engine block is similar in all respects to the i -GeniMix: its narrow dimensions – especially the width – allow it to easily nest on the surface of the workplace. This engine block is able to accommodate a bowl with a total capacity of 4.5 liters and 3.5 liters which is useful, considered enough to cook for a maximum of 8 people according to the manufacturer. The good eaters we have instead estimate the capacity of the device to treat 6 small eaters.
The PowerChef bowl is intelligently equipped with a central handle -without i -GeniMix subscribers -, which makes it easier to pour food into a serving dish when the bowl is hotter than the two -sided handle.
The bowl shows only 1.5 kg on the scales. The engine block weighs 4.8 kg. And if this weight is too light to support the robot’s vibrations during mixing, for example, the suction cups installed under the engine block still ensure good stability.
The lid of the bowl is also the same as the Thomson food processor. It is transparent-it is appreciable to follow the evolution of the preparation-, light and slides very easily on its hinge. It provides a small hole to insert the ingredients during cooking.
The most impressive feature of the PowerChef Connect is the large 7-inch touchscreen, which angles the user slightly to provide good readability. The interface is similar to Thomson’s i-GeniMix; only the color of the menus will change.
For others, this interface provides access to 500 recipes, organized in alphabetical order or by type of dish (accompaniments, appetizers and spreads, drinks, desserts, fish/meat/vegetarian starters, ice cream and sorbets, a pot, pasta/fish./meat/vegetarian dishes, sauces, soups and stews, pies, quiche and salads). A search bar is also included.
So the interface provides the same information as an i-GeniMix: preparation time, cooking time, number of guests, list of ingredients, recipe order, and so on. If the set seems complete, we’re still a bit confused about the number of actions to do in one step. We prefer the sequential approach to Vorwerk’s Thermomix and Bosch’s Cookit: one step, one action! It’s more readable and more intuitive for the cook.
We find in this robot-cooker a series of automatic programs (knead, steam, simmer, grate/cut, cleaning). These modes automatically adjust the program duration and the cooking or mixing temperature as needed.
Inevitably, a manual mode is also part of it that allows you to define the duration (from 1 s to 90 min), the rotation speed of the blades (up to 12+ a turbo speed) as well the temperature (between 37 and 130 ° C in steps of 1 ° C). At this point the PowerChef Connect is different from the i-GeniMix, where temperature adjustment is done in steps of 5 ° C. Schneider’s robot cooker is more precise.
This is also true of scales that are accurate to the nearest gram – the Thomson robot’s scale is accurate to 5 g. This effort of precision and accuracy is very gratifying; Amateur pastry chefs should be thankful. However they have to be wary of light the G on display. The scale has difficulty stabilizing the weighing display, which can compromise a recipe if the sugar is poured immediately into the bowl. However, the reliability of the scale was perfect: we compared the results shown with the obtained on our accurate scales and the difference never exceeded 0.2 g.
As you can understand, the overall interface of this PowerChef Connect does not cause any major problems. If we put aside some translation errors, the breakdown of steps and the slight delay in displaying the evaluation, the screen will respond, the menus are clear, the information and recipes are plentiful. .
Don’t be fooled, though, the overall finish of the device leaves something to be desired. The wheel officiating under the screen has little play and seems to be a bad fit. The plastics used in the accessories feel small for us and we can expect them to wear out quickly. And precisely, the accessories provided are almost identical to those discovered on the Thomson robot. So we found the inside steam basket, an XXL steam tray, a whisk, a 4-blade knife and a vegetable grater. Once again, it is very wise on the part of the manufacturer to give this accessory missing from many food processors, including the Thermomix.
In cooking, the PowerChef Connect is more similar to the i-GeniMix from Thomson, which is even faster than the Monsieur Cuisine Smart from Lidl. Both devices require a long heating time. The Schneider takes about 15 minutes to go from 20 to 40 ° C (5 min less than the Lidl robot), 11 minutes from 40 to 55 ° C and 26 minutes from 55 to 95 ° C . These durations seem endless, but it is especially important to see that when simmering the robot will operate without exceeding the low temperature, like most robot cookers in our comparison. In fact it is usually between 1 and 4 ° C below the expected temperature (36 ° C instead of 40 ° C; 54 ° C instead of 55 ° C; 91 ° C instead of 95 ° C). The i-GeniMix is more accurate at oscillations of only 0.2 ° C.
Browning’s behavior is very different: the robot rises very quickly at high temperatures. When asked at 130 ° C, its temperature reached almost 200 ° C in less than 2 minutes. Because it wants to speed up very much, the robot is very hot. But as happened with the Thomson robot, the temperature drops very slowly. This drop was observed after 8 min of heating.
Overall, our analyzes revealed significant browning differences: between 103 and 150 ° C at different points in the bowl. But once the temperature drops too much, the PowerChef Connect pulls up again and rises again to around 190 ° C, and then drops. And more …
So in reality, the Lidl robot is slower, but the temperature differences seen in simmering and browning are lower. Monsieur Cuisine Smart is more precise and more homogeneous.
Capacity of bowl and central handle.
Combined scale is accurate to the nearest gram.
Guided recipes and general interface.
Temperature lacking homogeneity on browning and too hot.
The sound level when boiling.
How does grading work?
With its PowerChef Connect, Schneider is making a successful entry into the food processor sector. This food processor, similar to Thomson’s i-GeniMix, has some nice points (clean robot design, working interface, finished bowl). All this helps to provide a decent user experience. But not everything is perfect: the materials leave something to be desired, the cooking temperature lacks precision and the heat is not the same when browning. Of these, it is just a simple alternative to Lidl’s Monsieur Cuisine Smart, which is difficult to access outside of distributor operations.