Every brand feels it has to have some skin in the smart home game, but few have the capacity, technology, or guts to pull off an audacious winner. So rather than revolution, we're seeing iteration. That's fine. The doors don't need to get blown off the hinges every single time. Iteration brings us a steady trickle of little ideas and gives marketers something to hang their hat on.
The Miele EditionConn@ct Dishwasher is decidedly iterative. It contains a single new idea: to track the usage of consumables (i.e. detergent, rinse aid, and water softener) and help people re-order them. It's clearly a first-gen attempt. But however middling this new feature may be, it's tucked into one of the most gorgeous and functional dishwashers we've ever reviewed. So while the smart home elements may or may not fall by the wayside during the course of ownership, it's unlikely you'll be disappointed with your purchase.
EditionConn@ct refers to a new series of smart appliances that all tie into a smartphone app of the same name. In addition to the dishwasher, there's a washing machine featuring a similar implementation of the auto-renewing consumables functionality.
The EditionConn@ct washing machine has a cavity in the bottom that stores two large containers: one for detergent and the other for whitener. The containers are big enough, and have to be changed infrequently enough, that they inspire a set-it-and-forget-it mentality. You can run dozens of loads of clothing before the app prompts you to order more detergent or whitener. Great idea, right?
The problem with porting this idea to dishwashers is that there's no easy way to keep track of the primary consumable: dishwasher tablets. While you can load in large amounts of salt (for water softening) and rinse aid, detergent tabs can only be placed in the machine one at a time. Miele may be working on a method of telling the dishwasher when you've purchased a new box of tabs, but the details aren't solid yet. At best, the dishwasher can keep track of how many loads you've run and alert you when you might be approaching the bottom of the tablet barrel.
Shy of expanding the door in order to hold 40 dishwasher tablets, I'm not sure how Miele can resolve this issue. I do know, however, that without some kind of solution it's about as useful as a printer that tracks ink usage but has no idea if there's paper in the tray.
There's one more minor quibble: Though the dishwasher is agnostic when it comes to the brand of detergent, rinse aid, and salt, the EditionConn@ct app only allows you to order the Miele-brand versions. While Miele dishwasher owners are less likely to gripe about such bargain blocking, an open-market approach would have been more user-friendly.
Whatever the shortcomings in its smart home implementation, the EditionConn@ct dishwasher is a stunner. It appears to be based on the Futura Dimension we tested earlier this year, which topped our rankings in luxury dish. Oh yes, this is certainly a luxury product. Miele declined to comment on the price, but the Futura Dimension sold for around $1,699.
The luxury experience starts with the feel of the door, as it unlatches with a satisfying click. Hidden LED lights in the upper cavity illuminate the inside. The three-tiered rack system is genius in its design, like something Michelangelo might have whipped up if he'd had a penchant for large appliances.
Everything yellow on the racks indicates some area that can be customized. Flip the tines up or down, raise or lower shelves, hide or reveal cutlery trays: the dishwasher will help you fit just about any pot, pan, or glass you need cleaned. As we said in the review of the Futura Dimension, this "isn't just one of the best dishwashers we've ever tested. It's one of the best industrial designs we've ever encountered."
The EditionConn@ct dishwasher is more demo than finished concept, and Miele was up-front about that. It plans to roll the product out in limited numbers in Germany, where it has a home-field advantage. There is no indication at this time that it's coming to the U.S.
That's fine by me. We have the gorgeous Futura Dimension here already, and an underdone smart home feature would hardly make it more compelling. But I do hope that Miele continues to flesh this idea out, because the underlying intent is brilliant.
Smart home technology should make menial tasks easier and improve the overall experience of owning an appliance. Anticipating when you're about to run out of detergent is one of the stronger ideas announced at IFA. If the interior design is any indication, Miele understands how to build a winning system.
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