Most helpful positive review
178 of 184 people found the following review helpful
Worried by some previous reviews but very happy with this product
on 12 February 2012
I thought I should write a quick review of this product because when I was reading previous reviews to help me decide whether to buy it, there were clearly several controversial issues. Does it have a grill? Will it burn you if you touch the handle? Will it burn your food or leave it cold? Will it ever arrive in the first place if it's being delivered by Yodel? Well, here's my experience and some answers to those questions.
Delivery: Ordered it from Amazon on Wednesday 8th February. Free super-saver delivery. Delivery (by Yodel) estimated Monday 13th. I was worried because online reviewers suggested Yodel were rubbish and wouldn't even knock the door. In fact the Yodel chap knocked the door very adequately and delivered the item with a smile about 5pm on Friday 10th Feb. Everything was present as expected and undamaged in the box, including a user's manual (which some reviewers said wasn't provided).
So is there a user's handbook? Yes. The user's manual is clearly written and helpful. For example, it explains that the heating element at the top of the inside of the oven works as a grill, but that to use it effectively you should leave the oven door open so that the oven thermostat doesn't kick in and turn the grill off while you are grilling. The manual also explains the short "before use" sequence that you should go through before you first cook, to get rid of any smelly fumes from the components.
Is there a grill? Yes. See above, or read the instructions in your user's handbook! I am completely confident that I will be able to make my cheese on toast. The grill doubles as the top heater element for the oven, if you choose to have both top and bottom elements on. It's worth experimenting with that depending on what you're cooking.
Does the oven actually cook anything? I have just roasted a tray of vegetables to perfection. Set the oven to 200 degrees, leave parboiled veggies in tray of oil in oven for one hour, basting half way through, and voila! If I am able, I will put up a photo to show that they cooked brilliantly: I like them crispy and brown so I left them in for an hour. That's exactly the same time as I used to leave them in the full-size gas cooker that this mini-oven is replacing! I warmed the oven to temperature with both the upper and lower elements on, but left the veggies to roast with just the lower element (and its fan) on, which kept the oven happily at the 200 degree setting without "toasting" things on the top shelf!
Does the handle get so hot that you can't touch it without an oven glove, as some reviewers say? No. Not for me. After my 1-hour roasting experiment the handle was cool to the touch. The glass door was hot, and the top of the oven around the hot-plates was hot, but the handle was cool. The user's manual does warn you very clearly that the outside of the oven (including the handle) could get hot, but for me the handle stayed cool.
Do the hot-plate rings work OK? Yes. This is an electric cooker, obviously, so they work like electric cooker rings, not gas, which is not to everybody's taste (slow to warm, slow to cool), but they were as good as any other electric hotplates in my limited experience, and certainly adequate.
Is this the best oven in the world, without peer? Obviously not. I paid about 70 quid for it, and I am not a haut quisine establishment, so I'm not reviewing it as though I am the Queen's banquet chef. Some reviewers were perhaps expecting too much? It's cheapish and cheerful and it seems so far to be doing exactly what it says it will do. It is not a £900 super deluxe item, and it is not designed to satisfy a top chef catering for a party of twenty, but for an oven with a couple of hot plates for less than £100 (reduced price sale, admittedly, when I got it) I'm a perfectly satisfied customer, full of perfectly roasted vegetables and looking forward to my pizza and garlic bread for tea!