Review: QOOQ Culinary Tablet

QOOQ Tablet in the Kitchen

The QOOQ a simple idea – a tablet designed for the kitchen packed with recipes and videos of how to cook. A simple idea, but one I questioned the need for. I often use my iPad in the kitchen; albeit very carefully, in its case, sitting on the table. Along with some other bloggers we set off to Paris for the day to visit QOOQ HQ to test it out.

The QOOQ (pronounced cook) sits in a rugged coloured plastic case, red is the most popular, but aubergine and green are also available. It has a stand to prop it up. It is about the same size and shape as an iPad, with a slightly wider screen which, also, is 60% thicker than the iPad.

Interestingly the QOOQ was manufactured before the iPad, and also is made in France, a matter of great pride, and probably contributes to its popularity in France – debunking the myth that affordable electronics can only be made in the far East.

The French version has been on sale since 2009, with around 4,000 multimedia recipes. The new English version has fewer recipes in the catalogue about 3,700 – still a sizable collection, and a new QOOQ will come with 1,000 ready installed. You can buy new content via subscription, or on a piece by piece basis.

QOOQ Beetroot and goats cheese

Beetroot Gazpacho with Goats’ Cheese and Smoked Salmon. Give 4 pairs of bloggers the same recipe and they all come up with something very different.

The selling point of the QOOQ is firstly its durability, rugged, tougher and more spill proof then an iPad, and secondly, the huge amount of content and interface. I liked that it would learn from your taste – you can tell it ingredients you dislike (fennel for me, rabbit for Ed), rate recipes and after a time it will learn enough to suggest recipes you should enjoy.

A number of chefs have filmed the videos, which accompany many of the recipes,demonstrate techniques and tips, many in real time – you can literally cook along with them, and this is the main selling point of the QOOQ, making it popular with less confident cooks and in cookery schools.

The interface is intuitive (although I found myself trying to use iPad gestures to control it), it is easy to find recipes, watch the videos, search for ingredients and browse the magazine content. Ingredients for recipes can be scaled up and down easily, shopping lists can be sent to your smart phone. The QOOQ contains an internet browser, video & music software and can also be used as a digital photo frame.

QOOQ Mango Puddings

4 interpretations of the same recipe of a mango tartare with gingerbread topping.

However the current English version is actually an American version, with the associated ingredient names and measures, because of the ability to scale quantities we saw some odd amounts (measuring in quantities of eighths of a tablespoons of cream?) Videos have also been dubbed with an American voice, and the style has a distinctly transatlantic feel.

There are a few technical mistakes – equipment listed that is not used, mixups over ingredient names. As mistakes like this are found they can be corrected and updated data sent to each QOOQ, so they will disappear (apparently the French users are proactive with submitting errata).

We also felt a few features were missing from the software – too many gestures to navigate to recipes and no way to quickly switch from recipe to recipe. I’d also like to be able to add my cookbooks to the database, and a collaboration between major publishers and QOOQ could be very interesting and beneficial for all, maybe the authors could film some videos?

The QOOQ runs on a Linux platform, currently there is no ability to add extra software and add ons, I think a shame as it is an excellent tablet for a child.

Overall I think the QOOQ is an excellent idea, and I am very interested to see how the English version develops, but currently I do not think it is quite polished enough for the market.

The QOOQ is £289, subscription to the entire recipe database £7.90 a month.

Fuss Free Flavours was the guest of QOOQ on my day in Paris.

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  1. says

    Interesting… I often take my laptop into the kitchen and have to balance it precariously on top of the microwave so I can see it while I cook, so something like this would be very useful for me! But can you only use recipes already in its database, so you couldn’t find one on the internet and have that in your kitchen while you cook? And can you properly get on the internet as you would with a tablet or is it only recipes that you can access? Ideally what I would like is an iPad that is suitable for the kitchen! It’s quite expensive too, especially if it is only recipes you can access and not the internet as a whole. I’ve never heard of it before anyway so it’s certainly interesting to write about!

    • says

      You can access anything on the internet, and add your own content to it.

      I think that it is a very good idea, but the UK version is not really ready yet. One to keep an eye on for the future.

  2. says

    Interesting, I’ve been asked to review this too (though I wasn’t offered a day in Paris!) but like Sarah, I see absolutely no need for it if I have an iPad and/ or laptop. Another gadget, I do not need! That said, I can see the value in it if you don’t have any other tablet but like Nic, I am just not sure it will take off with the market so saturated. Thanks for the thorough review Helen!

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