Review: The Self
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Review: The Self

Sep 25, 2023

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Lunchtime is a meal of variation, filled with diverse experiences for diners of all backgrounds. Many of us recall our school days, carrying lunch bags packed with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a bag of chips, and maybe an apple. Others reminisce about standing in line for cafeteria food served by our friendly lunchtime staff. There's also a significant segment of the population who, lacking access to a microwave during their lunch break, are more likely to turn to local bakeries, food carts, or snack machines to cobble together a midday meal.

Regardless of your routine, you've likely encountered a situation that left you yearning for an adult lunch box. Perhaps you've found yourself in a place where a microwave or refrigerator wasn't accessible. But how long can a lunchbox keep food fresh? Should you look into an electric lunch box, or is that too complicated?

Such are the questions behind the intriguing concept known as the Steambox. This unique lunch box aims to solve the common problem of cold lunches by providing a portable, self-heating solution. A lunch box that doesn't just store food but also heats it up? We gave it a shot — read on for the results.

At its core, the Steambox is a self-heating lunchbox that takes the idea of traditional portable lunch storage and adds a layer of cool tech and convenience. Designed in the Netherlands, it targets food enthusiasts worldwide who crave the comfort of a hot meal, no matter where they are or what time they are eating it. The device operates on a rechargeable battery. Using a heating element and water added by the user, it efficiently warms up the food container placed within.

Traditional lunchboxes generally serve a single purpose: They keep your food cold, acting as temporary storage until you're ready to eat. These lunchboxes typically require you to pack items that can be enjoyed cold or, alternatively, fill them with containers that you'll need to heat up later in a microwave. This method, although functional, has its limitations. It either restricts you to cold meals or requires the availability of a microwave to warm up your food.

The Steambox creates a more malleable lunch experience by removing the need for an external heating source. Its lunchbox steaming technology can heat food in minutes, making it ready to eat whenever, wherever you are. With a fully-charged Steambox, you can warm up to three meals.

The Steambox comes with a rather hefty price tag of roughly $276 USD (€249.00). While this might seem exorbitant for a lunchbox, the unique features of a Steambox take it far beyond what you carried to school in the first grade.

The Steambox heats your meals efficiently — and warming three meals on a single charge is awfully impressive. Overall, it's a level of convenience that traditional lunchboxes simply can't match. Beyond that, the sturdy and attractive design of the Steambox also contributes to its price. It's not just a utilitarian device but also a stylish accessory that complements a modern, on-the-go lifestyle.

Included in the price is access to the Steambox app, which enhances the overall functionality of the lunchbox. The app offers live notifications while your food is steaming, allowing you to monitor your meal. It also gives you access to special recipes, bringing an added dimension to culinary exploration. This combination of hardware and software creates a comprehensive food experience that extends well beyond the basic function of a lunchbox. It also comes with several plug options for charging, including an American outlet adapter.

The Steambox is readily available for purchase on the company's official website and can also be found on popular e-commerce platforms like Amazon. In the early stages of the product's life, the Steambox was made available on crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to help fund its development. Back then, early backers had the opportunity to secure a Steambox for as low as $130 USD (€119).

While browsing for a Steambox online, you can also explore various accessories that enhance your use of the product. For instance, the company offers a collection of extra food storage containers. Purchasing additional containers allows you to have multiple pre-prepared meals ready to be heated in the Steambox whenever you need them. This can be particularly useful if you have leftovers or like to meal prep, ensuring that you always have a hot meal at your fingertips.

One point worth noting is that pricing may vary across different platforms. For instance, the price on Amazon might be slightly higher than that on the official website. If you're considering a Steambox, it might be a good idea to follow the company's official Facebook page or other social media platforms. Steambox occasionally offers promotional savings, allowing purchases of the lunchbox at a discounted price.

The Steambox does much more than merely contain and heat your food. It offers advanced technology and a well-thought-out design that serves multiple purposes, making it a versatile companion for various lifestyles and needs. At its core, the Steambox uses steam to heat your food, effectively acting as a portable microwave.

The Steambox's leak-proof design allows you to carry your meals without worrying about spills or messes. It's also designed with food-grade materials and is BPA-free, ensuring that it's safe for food storage and reheating. Moreover, the food containers used with Steambox are dishwasher-proof, making them easy to clean and maintain.

As mentioned earlier, the device stands out because of its elegant, sleek design. It's visually appealing enough to be left out on a counter, adding a touch of modernity to your kitchen or workspace. Its design is not just about aesthetics, however. The attention to detail ensures that it's also practical, portable, and easy to use, making it suitable for various scenarios, from dorm rooms to office spaces and your kitchen counter.

For responsible children, the Steambox could also serve as a lunchbox solution, allowing them to heat up food during lunch at school. Of course, given its price, it might be best suited for kids who can handle the commitment of caring properly for an expensive product.

Despite its advanced features and functionalities, the Steambox is designed with user-friendliness in mind. There are several elements that you need to familiarize yourself with at first, but the learning curve is not steep, and the instructions provided are clear and straightforward.

It with a user manual providing step-by-step instructions on how to use it. For visual learners or those who prefer interactive guides, QR codes are included that lead to instructional videos. These videos offer a hands-on view of the setup process and usage. One of the key features of the Steambox is its steaming technology, which requires a small amount of water. The product includes a water container designed to hold the exact amount required to heat your meal. It does a good job of minimizing guesswork and ensuring consistent performance every time.

Thankfully, the Steambox doesn't involve complex settings. The interface is intuitive, and starting the process or setting the appropriate cooking time is straightforward. This simplicity extends to the Steambox app, which is designed to provide live notifications and control over the heating. The product also comes with a booklet that provides additional tips and promises future updates to the app with more helpful content.

The Steambox prides itself on portability, promising hot food wherever its user might go. It's important to know what this actually means. One feature that enhances said portability is its battery life. It can provide up to 45 minutes of steaming time on a single charge, which translates to two or three meals, depending on the nature of the food you're heating. This means that you can leave home with a fully-charged Steambox and enjoy hot meals throughout your day without needing to hunt for a power source. In this regard, the Steambox shines as a portable device.

When it comes to size, the Steambox, while larger than a traditional lunchbox, is still compact enough to fit in a backpack or large bag. Weighing in at 4.4 pounds, it's certainly heavier than your typical lunchbox. While this weight might not seem substantial, it is noticeable when added to a backpack or a bag, especially if you're carrying it around for extended periods of time. This is a factor to consider when assessing the portability of the Steambox.

Does the Steambox work? It does, provided you adhere to the instructions and guidelines provided by the manufacturer. The device effectively heats up your food, achieving a quality similar to what you'd expect from a microwave. Whether you're heating up leftovers from last night's dinner or a freshly cooked meal, the Steambox performs its job admirably and efficiently.

However, it's important to note that it isn't a plug-and-play device right out of the box. To ensure optimal performance and prevent potential hiccups, it's recommended to charge the Steambox battery fully before its first use. In other words, don't make the same mistake we did. A full charge takes around three hours, and, as noted, this will provide you with roughly 45 minutes of steaming time. And don't forget the water — although that will be hard to do with the pre-measured container the Steambox comes with. It's a simple process, but one that's crucial for the Steambox to function correctly.

The question of whether the Steambox is worth its price is ultimately a subjective one, as it heavily depends on your personal needs, lifestyle, and budget. However, it's clear that the Steambox is more than just a lunch box. It's a sophisticated piece of technology designed to offer you the convenience and freedom of enjoying your preferred warm meal wherever you are, whenever you want. And it works.

For some people, such convenience can be a game-changer. For instance, if you frequently find yourself without access to a microwave — perhaps because you're often on the go, traveling, or working in locations without one — then the Steambox could be a valuable investment. It allows you to enjoy hot meals that would otherwise be difficult to have in such situations. This device might be especially appealing to people who have specific dietary needs or preferences, as it gives you full control over your meals, irrespective of your location.

Moreover, Steambox isn't just about convenience; it's also about promoting healthier eating habits. The device encourages you to bring healthy lunches to supercharge your midway, which are often cheaper than dining out or buying prepackaged meals. In the long run, this could result in considerable financial savings and more nutritious meals, potentially offsetting the initial cost of the lunchbox. Not to mention, college students living in dorms with limited kitchen facilities or new teachers who may not have consistent access to a staff room with a microwave could find the Steambox particularly useful.