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Mr. Coffee gets smart but in a goofy way

A coffeemaker you can program from your phone but not the machine

Published: January 23, 2015 04:30 PM

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The very notion of the connected home implies a bevy of devices, fixtures, and appliances that you can control remotely to improve your life in some meaningful way. But as many of us warm to the idea of how convenient some of these products may be, products like the Mr. Coffee Smart Optimal Brew BVMC-PSTX91WE, $150, remind us that some smart technology can be a little goofy.

The Mr. Coffee Smart Optimal Brew is one of a line of products resulting from a partnership between Jarden Consumer Solutions and Belkin, whose WeMo smart home platform added several new products at this year’s CES, including the Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker, which Consumer Reports has tested.

As a coffeemaker, the Mr. Coffee Smart Optimal Brew BVMC-PSTX91WE is no slouch. It made our list of picks for drip coffeemakers by brewing at industry-accepted guidelines for temperature and speed, and we like its operation and features, which include a water filter, a removable reservoir, and an indicator that tells you when cleaning is needed. It lost points for an especially heavy carafe that needs to be held completely upside down to empty.

But here's the catch. While the 10-cup coffeemaker can be programmed, unlike most of the drip coffeemakers in our tests, it can only be programmed from your smart device and not from the machine itself. And, if you forgot to charge your phone or left it at work, there’s no way to manually program the machine. So you're back to pressing the “brew” button.

For the smart functionality, the Mr. Coffee Smart Optimal Brew BVMC-PSTX91WE costs $50 more than its brandmate, the Mr. Coffee Optimal Brew BVMC-PSTX95GTF, which is exactly the same except for the wireless connectivity. Oh, and one other difference: You can program that machine anytime within a 24-hour period using the settings on the coffeemaker. The two machines scored roughly the same in our coffeemaker tests and both made our list of top coffeemaker picks.

In our coffeemaker tests of more than 125 models, top-notch brewing from a drip coffeemaker costs as little as $30. For more choices, see our coffeemaker Ratings of more than 40 single-serve, “pod” machines, and check out our buying guide.

—Ed Perratore (@EdPerratore on Twitter)

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