Convenience of use
Out of the box, the similarity between PowerChef Connect from Schneider and i-GeniMix from Thomson is striking. There is no doubt that the two multifunction stoves are both from the same Chinese production facilities. In addition to the choice of color on the hull, the engine block in PowerChef is similar in all respects to the i-GeniMix: its narrow dimensions – especially in width – make it easy to embed on a work surface. This engine block is able to accommodate a bowl with a total capacity of 4.5 liters and 3.5 liters useful, which is considered sufficient to cook for a maximum of 8 people according to the manufacturer. The good eaters that we are, rather assess the capacity of the appliance to process 6 small eaters.
The PowerChef bowl is sensibly equipped with a central handle – absent subscribers to i-GeniMix – which makes it easier to pour food into a serving dish when the bowl is hot, than with two side handles.
The bowl shows only 1.5 kg in weight. The engine block weighs only 4.8 kg. And if this weight seems too light to support the vibrations of the robot during the mixing phase, for example, the suction cups installed under the engine block still ensure good stability.
The bowl lid is also identical to the Thomson food processor’s. It is transparent – it is worth following the development of the preparation -, light and slides very easily in the hinges. It provides a small hole to insert ingredients during cooking.
What impresses most about PowerChef Connect is its large 7-inch touch screen, which is angled slightly towards the user to provide good readability. The interface is identical to Thomson’s i-GeniMix; only the color of the menus changes.
By the way, this interface gives access to 500 recipes, organized in alphabetical order or by type of dish (accessories, appetizers and spreads, drinks, desserts, fish / meat / vegetarian starters, ice cream and sorbets, a casserole, pasta / fish / meat / vegetarian dishes , sauces, soups and soups, pies, quiches and salads). A search bar is also included.
The interface therefore provides the same information as an i-GeniMix: preparation time, preparation time, number of guests, ingredient list, recipe order, etc. If the set seems complete, we’re still a little confused about the number of actions to perform in a single step. We greatly prefer the step-by-step approach to Vorwerk’s Thermomix and Bosch’s Cookit: one step, one action! It is much more readable and more intuitive for the chef.
We find on this robot stove a number of automatic programs (kneading, steaming, simmering, tearing / slicing, cleaning). These modes automatically adjust the duration of the program and the cooking or mixing temperature when 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 as the temperature (between 37 and 130 ° C in steps of 1 ° C). It is partly at this point that PowerChef Connect differs from i-GeniMix, where the temperature adjustment is made in steps of 5 ° C. Schneider’s robotic stove is more accurate.
This also applies to the scale exactly to the nearest gram – the one for the Thomson robot is accurate to 5 g. This effort for accuracy and precision is very pleasant; amateur confectioners should appreciate. They must nevertheless be on guard in the light the G exhibited. The weight has difficulty stabilizing the weighing display, which can compromise a recipe if the sugar is poured too quickly into the bowl. Still, the reliability of the scale is perfect: we compared the results shown with those obtained with our precision scales, and the difference never exceeded 0.2 g.
As you will understand, the overall interface of this PowerChef Connect does not pose a major problem. If we put aside the few translation errors, confusion of steps and the slight delay in the display of the weighing, the screen is responsive, the menus are clear, the information and recipes are numerous. .
Do not be fooled, but the overall finish of the device leaves something to be desired. The wheel that works under the screen has a bit of a blur and appears to be poorly mounted. The plastic used on the accessories feels a bit flimsy to us and we can expect them to wear out quickly. And just the included accessories are almost identical to those discovered on the Thomson robot. We therefore find an inside steam basket, an XXL steam tray, a whisk, a 4-blade knife and a vegetable grater. It is once again very smart on the part of the manufacturer to supply this accessory, which is lacking from many food processors, including Thermomix.
In cooking, PowerChef Connect is as long as i-GeniMix from Thomson, which is still faster than Monsieur Cuisine Smart from Lidl. Both units take a long time to heat up. Schneider takes about 15 minutes to walk from 20 to 40 ° C (5 minutes less than the Lidl robot), 11 minutes to walk from 40 to 55 ° C and 26 minutes to walk from 55 to 95 ° C. These durations may seem endless, but it is especially important to see that the robot during simmering works so as not to exceed low temperatures, like most of the robot cookers in our comparison. It even tends to be generally 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). i-GeniMix was more accurate with fluctuations of only 0.2 ° C.
Browning behaves completely differently: The robot tends to rise very quickly in high temperatures. When asked at 130 ° C, its temperature reached almost 200 ° C in less than 2 minutes. If the robot wants to go too fast, it heats up too much. But as was already the case on the Thomson robot, the temperature ends up falling very slowly. This decrease is observed after 8 minutes of heating.
In general, our probes revealed quite significant differences in browning: between 103 and 150 ° C at different points in the dish. But once the temperature has dropped too much, PowerChef Connect picks up again and climbs again around 190 ° C and then drops. Etc…
Certainly, the Lidl robot is much slower, but the temperature differences observed during simmering and browning are much lower. Monsieur Cuisine Smart is more precise and more homogeneous.
The capacity of the bowl and the central handle.
Integrated scale exactly to the nearest gram.
Guided recipes and general interface.
Temperature that lacks homogeneity in the browning and heats up way too much.
Sound level when simmering.
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 a few good points (clean design of the robot, machined interface, bowl finish). All of this helps to provide a decent user experience. But not everything is perfect: the materials leave something to be desired, the boiling temperatures lack precision, and the heat is not uniform when browning. In this it is only a simple alternative to Lidl’s Monsieur Cuisine Smart, which is difficult to access outside the distributor’s operation.