Drop Scale Review: no need to weigh your options

Nate Swanner - Dec 21, 2014
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Drop Scale Review: no need to weigh your options

Cooking can be confusing and difficult for some, as can technology. So what happens when you merge the two? Will it become a disaster of epic proportions, or do cooking and technology make an odd couple who end up balancing each other out. Drop, a connected kitchen scale that links directly to your iPad, wants answers to those questions. So do we. In our review of Drop, we’re going to run it through its paces, as well as enjoy delicious (or possibly terrible) things we make along the way.

Hardware

Drop is a scale as you might expect one to be, save for a few tweaks and omissions. It’s not large, measuring at about 6-inches in diameter and two inches tall. A small triangular lip sticks off the front, and is your only real contact point with the scale.

The top is a silicon, which is nice should you have items that are warm (silicon diffuses heat famously). It also makes Drop as much a temporary trivet as it is a scale.

A small light on the corner lip is all the visual impact you get. There’s also a plastic cover so you don’t damage the top while it’s on a shelf or stored on the countertop.

dropScale

Software

Drop’s app is iOS only — and iPad only. They are planning an iPhone app as well as Android, but currently offer no timetable for when either will roll out. The app also requires a newer iPad (3rd generation or better, though all iPad mini variants work fine).

When you start the app, a quick walk-through gets you started on how to use Drop and the app. It’s a touch tedious, but probably necessary, considering Drop is a fresh concept that takes a slight learning curve.

After that, it’s smooth sailing. Recipes are fed to you in a card-based format, and opening one up gives you an upfront idea of what ingredients and equipment you’ll need. Don’t have a rolling pin? At least you knew straight away instead of at step 7.

The app is gorgeous, useful, and friendly — but not perfect. There is currently no way to save favorite recipes, and you’re tethered to those recipes Drop has in their app. We’d love to see them working with a website like AllRecipes.com to bring in a better variety of recipes.

You can use Drop as a standalone scale, though, so if you find a recipe you like, Drop is still handy. Drop also tells us they want to add recipe uploads, so you’ll be able to save your creations or favorites to their app at some point.

Use

Fun fact: before I was the preeminent reviewer of connected kitchen technology (does such a thing even exist?!), I was a (cough excellent cough) professional chef. I spent years navigating my way around all kinds of scales in top-tier kitchens, so Drop isn’t getting anything past me.

The funny thing is, as a classically trained chef with a pretty good pedigree, I should want to find a ton of fault with Drop. There’s no display, and you need a tablet to make it useful. It’s not made of metal, and dropping Drop would probably be disastrous. The pro in me says “no”, but the tech-reviewer/not-crazy-chef says “absolutely” to Drop.

In a messy kitchen, tablets don’t find a good home. Though I’ve used tablets to display recipes before, I almost always covered them in plastic wrap to protect my investment. I did here, too, which is where Drop actually came in really handy.

You can shuffle through recipe steps using the lone button on the scale. Navigating through a Drop recipe left me going hands-off with the tablet.

Drop also doesn’t have a set of preferred bowls or other gadgets, which means I can use my own equipment with Drop. The app even tells you how much battery life Drop has left, and lets you substitute ingredients by tapping them on-screen.

Drop links via Bluetooth, too, so should you have a magnetic tablet mount, it’s possible to put your tablet on a fridge or other big metal object that isn’t a hot oven.

dropScale2

Drop v other scales

Drop’s use of your tablet is actually refreshing. As stressful as that can be to mildly compromise your tech in a kitchen full of dusty flour and water, it’s also handy to not have to bend over sideways to read your measurement. If you’re working with big bowls and lengthy recipes, that’s something you’re really going to like.

Step by step, Drop keeps you in check and on point. Bowls for wet ingredients are kept separate from dry, and Drop knows when you’ve got too much or too little added.

Drop also does all the things a normal scale does. You can tare your scale with new bowls, and it supports up to 6kg, making it ideal for home use.

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Drop goes next-level on existing scales, though. Scaling recipes is hard work, and Drop does the heavy lifting for you. Those sugar cookies in the Drop app are tasty, but I only had about 3/4 the flour my recipe called for. Before you being a recipe, drop tells you how many it serves. You can tone that down — or up — depending on your needs. Just adjust the serving count, and Drop takes care of the rest.

You’ll also get a really good visual on how much more of an ingredient you need to add. Drop doesn’t just give you a number, there are goal lines for fulfilling your recipe step. It actually makes cooking a lot more fun; almost like a game.

 

 

Verdict

Now that I’m full of delicious things, I’m supposed to tell you whether or not you should by Drop.

If you need a scale, and don’t mind spending $99.95 for the coolest one around, then yes. Drop is entirely more useful than a regular scale, often serving as the second set of yes you need when measuring things out.

If you don’t have an iPad, then no, Drop isn’t for you yet. Happily, they’re bringing the app to more platforms and devices, so I won’t rule it out entirely.

Drop is small, stylish, easy to use, and best of all — it’s incredibly useful. Though the lack of a display means you’ll need a device to tether Drop to, that’s actually something I found to be beneficial. Integrated displays are often clumsy and plain, but Drop uses an app, which can be upgraded and added to.

I like Drop a lot. Truth be told, I didn’t think the professional chef in me would allow me to like it. For $99.95, you’re not going to find a cooler scale, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a better one at any price.

Drop can be found via its own website, which also lists a variety of retailers (including the Apple Store) that currently carry drop.


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