Ok, in today’s review, were going to be taking a close up look at the Nutri Ninja Auto iQ. Is it all it claims to be? Can it really tackle the tough stuff such as ice, nuts and frozen berries? Dose it lives up to all the hype generated by the bloke on the infomercial’s – has it earnt its place in the halls of fame or is it another dud, designed to strip you of your hard earnt money, destined to sit unused while you find a better model..
Read on, I’ll let you be the judge..
There is a lot of good that can be said about the Nutri Ninja Auto IQ in terms of its entry level price and smoothie performance tests.
To use the blender, one simply fills one of the provided cups with ingredients being careful not to over fill. The Auto-IQ comes with 30 recipes you can use – or you can be inventive and create your own master piece.
Screw the pro extractor blades on to the cup nice and tight. You then line up the plastic tabs on the cup with those on the blenders base and lock into place. The unit will come to life and display a ‘0’ on the digital interface – signalling its ready to go.
To automate the blend, you can select form the Auto-IQ Blend or Auto-IQ Ultra Blend setting. For softer ingredients, you are good to go with the Auto-IQ Blend feature. For tougher blends, such as ice, nuts and frozen berries – the Ultra Blend is the way to go.
Assuming you’ve added ice and selected the Ultra Blend setting, the blender will go to work over the next 60 seconds blending, pulsing and pausing. The brief pause allows for heavier objects to make their way down to the extractor blades before repeating the process ensuring a smooth consistency.
Remove the cup form the blenders base by twisting in the opposite direction you used when securing it. Remove the pro extractor blades from the cup and secure the provided sip lid for portability or drinking.
The blender dose a good job at liquefying frozen berries and ice. It also breaks down seeds such as flax and super food additives such as goji berries.
The Start / Stop button is perfect for a manual blend in that you have full control. The Pulse feature comes in handy in you like to create salsa or sauce’s such as bolognese that require a little texture.
I’ve always been a firm believer of you get what you pay in life and the same is to be said in the blending world. While the IQ is far cheaper than its rivals – the cheaper cost lends the blender to a host of potential issue you don’t get with the traditional – more expensive brands.
The down side to the price is the overall build quality. Ninja use plastic gears that connect the drive socket to the blade housing. Given the extra powerful motor, the plastic is not as durable, leading to issues if used constantly.
While there are suction cups on bottom of the blender to hold it in place, this tends to cause a fair amount of vibration while in use. I cant help but wonder why they didn’t use traditional rubber feet as it makes the unit more portable and they act as an insulator against the friction.
If you are not a fan of using ice in you smoothies or have none at hand, you won’t want to use the Auto-IQ Ultra Blend setting. The heat generated by the powerful motor will leave you with a warm smoothie – yuck! At times when using this feature, the blade housing can be difficult to remove from the cup.
One other small draw back worth noting is the cups. More and more, I’m starting to see double walled cups (or insulated) come standard with blenders – or at least they did with my Vitamix. Double walled cups are great as they keep their temperature for longer if used for portability – like mine. This would have been a nice touch by Ninja.
And The Ugly
There is are two major design faults with this unit. After scouring though countless reviews and customer feedbacks, these are the 2 biggies that you need to be aware of. These are the Gasket Ring (round plastic seal) and the Plastic Tabs on the cups that lock the container on to the base – signalling the device ready for use.
The biggest issue with the Nutri Ninja Auto IQ is the Gasket Ring. It’s not clearly visible, nor is it mentioned in the instruction manual that this needs to be cleaned – regularly. People first notice this as a foul odour emanating from the blender. After searching, most don’t find it and search online for the possible cause. Ninja are aware but there’s nothing they can do.
The issue is that it’s impossible to get at without the aid of a paper clip or homemade tool you can jimmy up. The ring is located in the blade housing where you screw on the cup. Its job is to prevent leaks during operation. You need to be careful with it as there are no official replacement parts should you break it – the base would need to be sent in under warranty.
It’s important to keep this area clean or it can lead to food poisoning or god know what!
The next common issue that people face with the blender are the Plastic Tabs that lock the cup securely into place. These often wear down over with constant repetitive use and can wear so thin they either don’t lock in properly or snap off all together.
The tabs act firstly as a safety meconium securing the cup to the base for the wild ride ahead. Secondly they signal to the blender the cups in place so the unit can turn on. People don’t realise this and think its stopped working and send it in for a replacement. The good new here is that Ninja sell the cups through Amazon should you need replacements.
When all’s said and done, the Nutri Ninja Auto IQ isn’t a bad machine – in my personal opinion. Now that I have armed you with the positives and pitfalls of the machine, you should have a firm idea if the machine is for you.
If you don’t mind pulling out the gasket ring every now and again and are happy to replace the cups should the tabs wear thin, the Nutri Ninja Auto IQ is defiantly worth consideration. The result you achieve blender are great for what you pay.
For those not quite sold on the Ninja I can highly recommend the Vitamix S30. Its my favourite blender and the one I have been using for the past year. It’s never let me down and creates anything I place before it – be it smoothies, hot soups, crushed ice for cocktails or salsa.