Kinsa Stick Smart Thermometer Review

I hate being sick. Sometimes I miss work because of it, but it almost always means I don’t know when I’ll feel better or what to expect. This is largely because I’m horrible at self-diagnosing. As I write this, I find myself at what I’m hoping is the tail end of a bad cold. What better way to review a smart thermometer like the Smart Stick Thermometer from Kinsa.

First Impressions
When I first heard about this thermometer, I took note of all the marketing materials and how they seemed to be geared towards parents. To be honest, I have a digital thermometer that works just fine, so having no children, I’d probably glance at this and forget all about it. Regardless, it did strike me as a great idea for parents and having a way for someone like me to track my symptoms seems like a big plus. The thing that really stood out, however, was the price. At $24.99, the stick falls right into the middle of the pricing range for digital thermometers I’ve seen in the past, but for its feature set, it’s priced very well.

Out of the Box
When my Kinsa Stick arrived, I liked the case that it comes in. My old thermometer is a single piece that has a plastic cap that covers the part meant to go into my mouth. This one has an extension cable, a setup adapter, instructions, and the Kinsa Stick, itself. The extension cord is meant to wrap around the case and the clear platic top keeps it in place. Flipping over the case, I found that the bottom comes off to reveal the setup adapter and instruction booklet. This is well-designed over all, but the cable can be problematic if not wrapped back in place just right.

Using the Kinsa Stick
A couple minutes after heading to the Android App store and searching for Kinsa, I had the app installed and guiding me through the setup process. This consisted of plugging in and unplugging the Stick with and without the setup adapter until finally plugging the Kinsa back in on its own for use. The whole process took just over a minute on my Nexus 6. For those curious about compatibility, the Kinsa Stick will work with quite a few smartphones when running iOS 8.0 or Jelly Bean (v 4.1) and later on Android.

I’m not sure what the setup adapter does, but it seems to be necessary as part of the process getting started. In fact, I had to use it twice on my phone for some reason. Other than that, everything went pretty smoothly. I tried the Stick orally and it read my temperature without having to keep the thing in my mouth for 3 minutes. I decided to also try taking my temperature in my armpit. The first time, I did it through a thin t-shirt just to see what would happen and it was off by 4 degrees. When I tried again under the shirt, it read just about the same as the oral reading, which is what I would expect. Throughout the process, I was guided with video and prompts, which helped everything run smoothly.

For adults, this thermometer adds the ability to set up profiles and keep track of symptoms and readings for each person. While this is handy, the real value seems to be for parents. These same features are useful for the whole family, but there’s also the ability to keep a child entertained by popping bubbles, for example, while the temperature is being read. Being able to read a temperature via the armpit could also be an advantage to parents. The app also offers the option to read a temperature by ear or rectally, though I did not try those features.

Conclusions
As a non-parent, the Kinsa Stick is a convenience, to be sure, but not a necessity. That said, the price point of $24.99 could easily sway a non-parent. For parents, this could be a great device to help make unpleasant times a little easier to deal with. I would imagine this being well worth the small cost for most parents, more so when there are multiple younger children in the house.

Author: Joe Colburn

Joe Colburn is a software engineer specializing in PHP and a technology enthusiast. Always eager to dive into new and exciting things, Joe writes about anything technology related news and products that he thinks you will also be excited about. Find Joe Colburn on Google+ or by any of the links below.

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