The basic operations of the SideKIC are really simple. You configure the SideKIC using the click wheel and the GUI. Set your temperature and then click start. The heater will activate and you will see and hear the pump circulating water. The controller will display the target temperature, along with the current temperature.
|SideKIC Immersion Circulator Usage|
The positive side of the water pump that is used by the SideKIC is that it is really quiet. Other immersion circulators I have used make a fair amount of noise. This is pretty important for a home kitchen.
The design of the SideKIC does have some builtin limitations and challenges. Since the heater is not designed to be fully submerged, you need to be somewhat precise about the amount of water you put into the vessel. The documentation says that the correct water level is between the two "windows" on the heater.
I think it would be awesome if a future model had a clamp to keep the heater in place and level. Another option would be to put something against the back of the heater (by back, I mean the side of the heater that faces the inside of the bowl) that can help keep the device level.
Another limitation to be aware of is that it has a maximum temperature of 185ºF. This won't have much of an impact on meat cookery, but there are places (e.g. some veg, fruit and dessert-y applications) where this could get in the way.
All in all, these are incredibly minor issues, and it is important to remember that the SideKIC isn't going to be pin compatible with appliances that are two to four times more expensive. The SideKIC is easy to use and has produced the same quality food that I've gotten when I have used or reviewed other sous vide cooking devices. I have already recommended it to one of my friends who wants to experiment with sous vide but has some incredible space constraints (*) in his kitchen, but doesn't want to commit to a Polyscience Sous Vide Professional.
Next up will be some stats on my experiences with initial heat up and stabilization after dropping the water temperature using a frozen block of beef.
Previous: SideKIC Sous Vide Review: Initial Thoughts
Next: SideKIC: Sous Vide Review (Accuracy/Stability)
Product: SideKIC Immersion Circulator
Manufacturer: ICA Kitchen, LLC
Available at Amazon.com
(*) If I ever start a band, it shall be called "The Incredible Space Constraints"