The Breville PolyScience Control Freak is a commercial induction cooker with a through-the-glass temperature sensor that allows the cook to precisely control the temperature of a pan; it also comes with a detachable probe that can be used to control the temperature of the pan’s contents.
At $1500, it’s an expensive toy, but there’s a lot of value with that price tag. The induction unit is flexible and has the ability to perform the most exacting of kitchen tasks (e.g. hollandaise sauce that doesn’t need to be constantly monitored or easy stovetop deep frying). The Control Freak is the first thing I would grab from the kitchen if my house was on fire and it’s the last kitchen toy I would give up. If I ever had to replace one of my units, I would do it in a heartbeat, despite its high price.
There are alternatives; such as the Tasty One Top (not recommended due to inaccurate temperatures and finicky app) and the Hestan Cue (downside: it requires special Hestan-branded battery powered cookware). I’ve tested both of them, but neither comes close to ease-of-use, durability, and accuracy of the Breville PolyScience Control Freak.
That’s why I was excited when I heard about the Njori Tempo. At first glance the Njori Tempo has a lot of similarities with my favourite precision cooker, plus it has a lot of added bonus features (detailed below); but could it really be an alternative to the Breville PolyScience Control Freak? And will it be more affordable than the Control Freak? I won’t really know until I can get my hands on a unit and give a proper review of the Njori Tempo (it hasn’t hit store shelves yet), but I can compare the features advertised by Njori with my experience using the Breville PolyScience Control Freak.
Njori Tempo vs. Breville PolyScience Control Freak: The Similarities
The Njori Tempo, like the Breville PolyScience Control Freak, has a through-the-glass sensor that measures the temperature of the bottom of the cooking vessel.
Pricing last updated on June 21, 2022 - 23:00 MDT / Pricing and images from Amazon Product Advertising API
The Njori Tempo also has a probe that can be plugged in that monitors and controls the temperature of the pan’s contents. The probe is attached to the pan using a small round holder that looks very similar to the Control Freak’s temperature probe holder.
Njori Tempo vs. Breville PolyScience Control Freak: The Differences
Built-in Scale and Reduce by Weight
One of the features I’m most looking forward to with the Njori is the built-in-scale; something that the Breville PolyScience Control Freak lacks. Not only does this scale promise to allow you to measure ingredients by weight while cooking, it also monitors the reduction of weight through evaporation. So if you are making a sticky barbeque sauce that calls for a 50% reduction, rather than eyeballing it, you can actually have the Njori Tempo inform you when sauce has been reduced by exactly 50%. If this reduce-by-weight feature works as advertised, it will certainly streamline and bring consistency to many of my kitchen applications. The scale also allows you to manage your portions as you plate your meal.
The design of the Breville PolyScience Control Freak is massive and allows for excellent cooling using two fans (one to cool the electronic interface and the other to cool the induction coil). For some, the design of the Control Freak may be too wielding; however, it gives me confidence that the machine will last for years to come. The Njori Tempo takes a different approach and has a slimmer form factor. I could not determine the exact configuration of the fans. All the accessories and the unit itself fit nicely into a cork box, and it’s all held together using magnets. In promotional photos, the Njori Tempo is shown to slide discreetly into a bookcase.
Innovative Detachable Knob
One of the things I love about the Breville PolyScience Control Freak, and dislike about the Tasty One Top and Hestan Cue, is its knobs; instead of using a mobile phone app to control the device, the cook controls the entire unit on site. To some this may be seen as a downside, but to me it’s a huge plus. It doesn’t require fiddling with a phone, finding an app, and ensuring a good connection. The interface is simplified but allows for a great degree of control. The knobs and on-board interface means you can just wander into the kitchen, start the unit up, and get cooking without any trouble at all. You can even program your favourite recipes to be remembered for future use!
The Njori Tempo also comes with a knob, and it looks like all features can be controlled from the unit itself! This is great news for those who understand the awkwardness of using phones in the kitchen. The defining feature of Njori’s knob though is that it’s detachable and held onto the unit with magnets. This approach seems interesting and may make things easier to cleanup; however, I do worry about losing the knob.
Mini Circulator that Attaches to the Probe for Sous Vide Cooking
While you can technically sous vide using the Breville Polyscience Control Freak, it is less than ideal for long cooks due to the lack of circulation. The Njori Tempo has addressed this by building a miniature circulation accessory that the temperature probe just slides into. This accessory also fits inside the cork box for easy storage. If the mini circulator works well, this could save a lot of valuable counter space and hassle that a dedicated immersion circulator entails.
Magnetic Connectors for Increased Safety
The Njori Tempo also comes with magnetic connectors that help improve safety in the kitchen by eliminating tripping hazards.
Final Notes on the Njori Tempo
Njori expects to make the Tempo publicly available in early 2022.
I hope you enjoyed this rundown of this innovative induction unit and the comparison with the Breville PolyScience Control Freak; I’m hoping I get my hands on a unit soon in order to provide a proper review of the Njori Tempo. Stay tuned.