Pros: Accurate and easy to use
Cons: Test your unit and confirm it's accuracy, wifi connection can be buggy.
I picked up one of these on sale with the intention of storing until Christmas. But that's a ways off, and I needed to verify it worked in case I needed to return it with in the warranty period.
The unit comes nicely packaged and is easy to figure out it's basic functions. Good thing too, because the supplied paperwork and documentation is pretty sparse.
I tested it with some chicken breast at 140 for about an hour and twenty minutes. I preheated the water on my induction cooker and then let the Anova take over. Turns out this first unit was faulty. I had to set the unit to 178 for it to heat and maintain the water at 140. The temperature gauge similarly thought the water was at 178 even though my calibrated instant read thermometer read only 140. Glad I tested it. The return (Amazon) was trouble free and the replacement quickly arrived. And the replacement passed my testing for heating and maintaining the target temperatures.
Even with the problems with the first unit, the chicken was excellent. I was very impressed with the results. I was able to hit my target temps manually and verify it manually, but the product it produced was well beyond my expectations. I picked chicken breast because I often find it underwhelming and boring. And dry. This article on sous vide chicken breast was quite in depth on the effects of time and temperature and gave me confidence that I could make good chicken breast with this technique. I tried two different approaches. One with zaatar and sumac, the other with fresh garlic, rosemary and lemon slices.
I've never had chicken breast like it anywhere. Firm, juicy, not stringy, evenly flavored. And so easy to make. Not fast, but you're involved with the actual cooking only a small bit.
The controls on the unit are very basic. The screen comes on when you plug it in. You have a flywheel for setting temperatures in .5 F increments. There's a "play" button on the screen to activate it. There's a wifi/bluetooth button/indicator. And a temperature display.
The better controls are in the app. The app gives you easy temperature and time controls as well as offering a lot recipes. There's much more information in the app than in the documentation.
But you have to connect your phone/tablet to the Precision Cooker for these features to work. The Bluetooth connection sets up easily, the app takes care of most of it. However, the wifi connection was problematic on both of these cookers. Lots of people have this problem https://support.anovaculinary.com/hc/en-us/articles/205924616-Precision-Cooker-WI-FI-Connectivity-Troubleshooting
There are other things that could solve this and I've not done deep troubleshooting yet.
Edited to add, I did successfully connect the wifi. My home wifi uses a long and complex hexadecimal key. I've had other home automation products not support this type of key as well. But they will connect to my guest wifi that uses a simple and shorter key. And the Anova does connect with a simpler key code. End edit.
But the Bluetooth connection is enough for my purposes for now and that one is very easy to establish.
The wifi could be useful. One scenario I read about people using with this cooker is to have the vacuum food already seasoned, bagged and frozen/refrigerated. The bag is then placed in a small cooler or pot with water and ice, and the cooker set up With a quick cooking meat like chicken breast, they can turn the cooker on remotely, The cooker then heats the water, thaws the meat, and cooks it for the set time when it hits the set temperature. These sorts of cooks talk about the cooker thawing and hitting cooking temps in about an hour after starting it. Then it's ready to sear when you get home.
Sous Vide circulators are not inexpensive. But for the price of the unit, it opens up a whole new world of cooking that is very hands off. Sous vide is surprisingly compelling once you try it.
I'd like to see some standards come forth for wifi involved cooking. You could easily overload your phone with apps for all the devices in your kitchen that now come with wifi or bluetooth. One interface to rule them and bind them, that's what we will need.
It comes with a clamp for attaching to your pot, or plastic tub, or ice chest or whatever. The clamp has wide adjust-ability and works easily and securely. It's rated for 19 liters of water. If you set up an insulated system and preheat your water, people do report using it larger volumes. For my purposes, I use it in 1.5-2 gallons of water and it handles that easily.
With some better quality control and more thought in connecting the wifi, this would easily be a 5 star appliance.