Many times I’ve wondered about ways to keep a centrally located, well organized grocery and errand list. Members of my family have a tendency to “borrow” the list to add something, only to forget to put the list back. Though a pen and paper are often the best and most efficient way to keep track of a to-do list, some families might need something a bit more creative.
When I was handed the Grocery List Organizer to review, I was a bit apprehensive as to how well the device would actually function. Fortunately, I have been pleasantly surprised.
The Organizer is an oblong-shaped device with a small screen located at the top, a large “Record” button in the middle and a few navigational buttons located near the side. The “Record” button allows the user to press and record a desired item into the speaker on the device. It then brings up several likely results from the library, or precisely the item the user spoke. In the past, I have been a bit disappointed with many types of voice recognition software. In this case, most of the time the first result was what I had wanted the device to retrieve. The device also has a built-in printer and a handy “Print” button on the front just below the “Record” button. And as for having a centrally located list, the device can be stuck to the refrigerator or any other surface that works with the convenient magnets on the back if the Organizer.
Interface and Voice Recognition
Most of the things I thought up and that are regular purchases for me were already in the library. However, the device does allow for the addition of new items to the library. A couple of items I expected to be in the library were not. However, as I said, the device library can be edited to accommodate this need.
Navigating through the menus is a fairly simple and straightforward process. The instructions that come inside the box are accurate and it is worth your time to read them, as it doesn’t take long to figure out how everything works.
The neatest thing about the device, for me, is that it doesn’t require an ink cartridge to print the list of items. Ink cartridges, as a rule, are fairly expensive and can be a hassle to replace. However, the miniature printer for the SmartShopper gadget takes a simpler route. It comes with two replacement paper rolls and runs off 4 AA batteries, which most households already use on a consistent basis.
When the user selects “Print,” the list comes with items organized into categories such as “Dairy” and so on. This makes a trip around the supermarket potentially more efficient.
For someone that does a whole lot of grocery shopping and errands, the Grocery List Organizer could be a worthwhile investment. It is a bit pricey (around $100), so for the college student living off Ramen Noodles and Mac n’ Cheese, it probably wouldn’t be quite so useful. However, for families that want a way to make grocery shopping a bit easier on the one responsible, the product might save some time and effort looking for lost lists.
Anna did a good job of covering the basic usage of the SmartShopper, but I wanted to add a few of my impressions as well. The device gives you a glimpse of the future when voice recognition is embeded into all kinds of things. While it seems a bit overkill as device that replaces a piece of paper and pencil I think it has some promise–particularly if you are dealing with very large lists.
One of the big advantages is that it orders the list by the type of product. So all the bread products are together all the paper products are together, etc. If you are like me and have no idea where anything is, it can save you a lot of wasted steps. The ideal device would print out the products based on where they are found in your store and give you a map to follow. Maybe that is just a guy thing though. My wife has no problem quickly locating items that take me a good 10 minutes.
The voice recognition is surprisingly accurate and the database has a lot of things you wouldn’t expect. My brother spent some time trying to stump it with all kinds of odd things. The SmartShopper fared better than I expected. For example, it has calamine lotion and worcester sauce. We discovered this can be a pretty entertaining game–pass the device between players seeing who can stump it with a grocery item that it doesn’t recognize.
My two year old saw what we were doing and wanted to try. She sat down on the floor in front of it, pushed the button and said “deggs!” over and over again. It never did figure out that she wanted eggs, but then the device isn’t really designed for little people still in the language acquisition stage of life.