Well, this is the aftermath of my teapot tragedy the other night. One important lesson is to never handle teaware before you've had enough time to wake up. I've glued it back together, but it will only sit on a shelf now. I won't be drinking from it anymore. This means I'm teapot shopping. Hibiki-an, Tokoname, Ebay... there's also a nice little Asian grocer not too far from where I live. This will be an urgent purchase, because I need something to brew greens in. Anyhow, with the bad always comes the good.
In this case, I've had a few more days to play with my utiliTEA. I was impressed by how slick it looks right out of the box. Being my first electric kettle, I really don't have anything to compare it to other than a traditional teapot, or my Sunbeam Hot Shot. First, I must say that it heats water to a rolling boil in less than four minutes. There's a window where you can watch the water boil...and who says a watched pot never boils? ^__^
The pot has a variable temperature dial on it, and quite honestly, I've only had it ramped up to the highest setting. The other settings don't have the temp listed, so it's best to use a thermometer to find the sweet spot for whatever tea you're brewing and just remember that position. For what I drink, that's occasionally 157F, 178F, and 212F. Easy!
As for the design, it balances really well in the hand. Nothing about it feels awkward. It retains heat very well too! I was mostly concerned with the pour, but that was quickly squashed too. Thankfully, it pours just as clean as I would expect from something with a much longer spout.
It cleans up pretty well, although the opening in the top is impossible to get your hand into. Whenever I'm done with it, I stuff a flour sack towel inside of it and turn it upside down. It balances really well on the edge of my sink and somehow my cat hasn't made it her new toy yet. My only concern about it is the mild discolouration on the bottom of the inside of the pot. I believe it's made of nickel, but I'm not completely sure. Anyhow, it has a few little spots where the bottom has changed colour due to the heat and water. A very small gripe, and I highly doubt it affects the flavour in any way, so I'm not going to concern myself with that detail.
Regardless, for $50, I don't think there is a better electric kettle out there. I highly recommend this.