Memory slots for 99 custom items, a variety of nice design features and a nice price make up for some minor annoyances.
The most visually striking feature of the Kitrics Digital Nutrition scale is the layout of the scale's display which mirrors the style of a Nutrition Facts label. It is a nice touch for those who are used to scanning nutrition labels on packages.
But the most valuable feature of the Kitrics Model 120 is the 99-item memory for custom nutrition information. Nutrition labels from packaged foods can be entered into the scale's memory and associated with a two-digit number from 01 to 99. To find the nutrients of a sample of that food in the future, the user merely has to turn on the scale, press [SET] and input the two-digit code, which requires no more button pushing than entering the three-digit code required for a food in the scale's permanent database.
One minor hiccup in the entry of custom food list items from standard Nutrition Facts labels is the lack of a decimal key. This makes it impossible to enter that a food has, for example, 2.5 grams of fat per 28-gram serving. A workaround for this shortcoming is to multiply all nutrient values and
the serving size by 10, which would mean entering 25 grams of fat for a 280-gram serving size. This is a bit clumsy, but it does give more accurate results than, say, rounding off all nutrient values.
Another annoyance is the beeping. The Kitrics Digital Nutrition scale gives off a high pitched beep for every button press. To retrieve the nutrition for a single item, the scale will produce a minimum of four beeps. In programming a custom database item, around 30 to 40 beeps can be expected. And there is no apparent way to turn off the sound.
The Food List book is nice in that it is printed on water-resistant paper, but it does have quality-control issues. “French fries” are not listed, but three forms of emu flesh are. There are listings in the Cheese section for both “Pasturized Process, American, without Disodium Phosphate” and “Pasturized Process, American, without Di-sodium Phosphate” (which seems a bit redundant). Oils have been accidentally listed under “Frozen Entrée's.” And the Miscellaneous section lists the mysterious “Chess, Swiss - Low Fat.” All-in-all it smacks of careless editing and odd choices in what foods to include.
But don't lose that Food List. Flawed though it may be, it is not available for download from kitrics.com. An unofficial scan of the Food List is available here
. (And what the heck, here's the Instruction Manual
So to sum up, the Kitrics Digital Nutrition Scale - Model 120 does have some definite shortcomings, but those shortcomings are more than redeemed by the scale's ability to accept custom food items.
Kitrics also makes the Model 121 (unreviewed here), which appears identical to the Model 120 but features an “easy-to-read, high contrast display” and a “removable, washable stainless steel platform.” The Model 120 is $10-$15 cheaper, but the display is a standard black-on-gray liquid-crystal display, and the platform is a metalized plastic.