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Customer Review

57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Retro fan heater..., 15 Oct. 2011
This review is from: Dimplex 1.5 KW Optiflame Electric Micro Fire in High Gloss - Red (Kitchen & Home)
UPDATE - I've seen this 'in the flesh' today and it's a cherry red / crimson - better, to my eyes, than a standard bright red as in most pictures. If I'd known that, I would have got the red one and not the black one.

No reviews of the red one as yet, so here's my overlong review of the black version if you need an opinion...

I like jokey gadgets, and this certainly fits the bill. A fake fire in a round-edged, retro cube. (Well, almost a cube.) The fan heater is only 1.5kw max (most are 2kw), so not particularly quick to heat a room, but ours was for a small summerhouse anyway, so fine. So that we could use the summerhouse in winter, if you see what I mean.

INFO - 3 settings, via the 3 rocker switches located at the BACK, near the top, so you need to be able to get your hand behind it: flame effect only / 1kW+flame / 1.5kW+flame. However, there must be a couple of bulbs inside (replaceable, says the handbook, but a bit fiddly) as the fire casing / front glass is rather warm even with the fan heater turned off. The fan is slightly noisy, as you'd expect, and the same whether set to low or high. 1 year guarantee.

The glowing coals effect is great, but let down by the cheapish flame effect on an unrealistic WHITE ! background. However, that's part of its retro, camp, kitschy charm. Surprisingly, my wife really likes this - the flame effect and the whole concept - and it gives us something to look into, apart from each other's eyes, when we're in our Friday night summerhouse garden love nest, which also doubles as a chill-out bar. (Don't take the love nest bit too literally. We DO have certain standards.)

There are on-line videos of the flame effect, but make sure you watch the right one - the bigger effects from the same manufacturer look better and more realistic (and the expensive ones even now have 'smoke', which I think is actually real steam), but this fire has a basic effect. I'd personally be happier with glowing coals and no flames.

We've stuck ours under a sea grass cube-shaped coffee table, which makes it look like a mini fire surround, for extra humour. But don't worry, Health & Safetyers, we won't be balancing drinks on it. We have a separate retro smoked glass-topped low-level natural coloured fake rattan table for that. With integral magazine rack.

We bought the black, as at the time it was 20% cheaper than the red version. The red one's even more Austin Powers. The fire is just about worth it with the 20% off.

It's zany, zappy, hippie, happy, wicky and wacky all rolled into one. And that's why I've called it a camp....fire.

To accompany this fire, I recommed Amazon's fantastic Philips Imageo induction-rechargeable frosted glass fake LED tea lights. They really are good and last for 10 hours or more on one overnight charge. The white ones (a candle white 'flame', kind of pale peachy colour; not a dazzling LED white) are the best colour to get. And they won't set fire to anything or burn you, so good for kids or people prone to falling asleep.

Hope all that nonsense helps.

Someone asked a question, so I'm copying part of the reply here in case it helps:
It's not a great heater, being more for show than being a decent fan heater. Other possible drawbacks are: has no thermostat so it's up to you to keep turning it on or off when it reaches your ideal temperature; can't be used in summer as a cool fan. Heat only. The 3 settings are: switch 1 flames/embers only (gives off a tiny amount of heat from the flame effect bulbs); switches 1+2 flames/embers with 1kW of heat; switchs1+2+3 flames/embers with 1.5kW of heat. You can't 'cheat' and have just half a kW of heat with switch 3 only.

UPDATE Sprint 2014 - Hmmmm, someone's copied across my review of the other colour option - but it wasn't me! Amazon? So now there are 2 very similar reviews on the same page. I'm not vote-hunting or glory-seeking!

UPDATE Spring 2014 - it came through the winter OK - still works OK after a couple of years. Only used, say, once a week in autumn / winter, though.
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Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 29 Nov 2011, 18:57:00 GMT
I. Lenoir says:
Great review - have you seen the Red Imageo LED candles, they'd go lovely with the flame effect on the heater :)

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Nov 2011, 09:23:08 GMT
Yes I have. I have blue and white already. So red might starting looking like a bit too much like a patriotic convention. And my wife won't allow any more, so that's the end of that.

Posted on 1 Dec 2011, 20:24:27 GMT
crumble says:
Great review - made me chuckle; re the love nest bit ;-)

How long would you say it takes to heat the area the heater is in? Just that I'm not quite sure whether it's big enough for my living room... which isn't all that bit tbh...

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Dec 2011, 08:42:59 GMT
Last edited by the author on 13 Apr 2014, 11:26:00 BST
Hi Crumble. It's not brilliant to be used as a heater. Only 1.5w instead of the usual 2. It takes 20 mins to 'take the chill off' our, er, chill-out shed, and it was a cold night last night. (About 5 degrees C?). So I think you may well need a more conventional heater, perhaps with a thermostat. Last night, we used the microfire in our 9ft x 9ft insulated shed for 4 hours, turning it off from time to time when we got too warm, so it's not a cheap heating option.
Other drawbacks are: has no thermostat so it's up to you to keep turning it on or off when it reaches your ideal temperature; can't be used in summer as a cool fan. Heat only. The 3 settings are: switch 1 flames/embers only (gives off a tiny amount of heat from the flame effect bulbs); switches 1+2 flames/embers with 1kW of heat; switches 1+2+3 flames/embers with 1.5kW of heat. You can't 'cheat' and have just half a kW of heat with switch 3 only.
(Most fan heaters are ugly, aren't they? For a smaller but more powerful, silver solid aluminium and black Adax 1200-watt retro fan heater with anti-tilt safety device, try that place with a Scandinavian type name - NOT the one with 4 letters. It's something like Klaus Olsen or Clas Olsen. Online or several big shops. Not Fred Olsen - that's cruises. And not Jimmy Olsen - that's Superman's friend, isn't it?) I've got one of those, too. Pretty good. Hope you get there in the end.

UPDATE LATE DECEMBER - Which? Magazine Best Buy for December 2012 is the De'Longhi HVR9033 (score 74%) which heats, cools, and frost-ptotects. Sounds good, and is chrome and black retro, but nothing like the shape of the Dimplex. Only 1 review on Amazon, and it's lukewarm. (No pun intended.)

Posted on 7 Jan 2012, 16:24:58 GMT
Touring TA says:
Love this review - made me laugh :O)

Posted on 19 Nov 2012, 23:42:46 GMT
Claire says:
Really appreciated the review, made me giggle (in an appreciative way).

Posted on 6 Sep 2013, 19:58:33 BST
Sounds just what I want but THERE ARE NO DIMENSIONS! I need to know it will fit in the space available please!

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Sep 2013, 09:13:32 BST
Not checked with my real fire, but from Amazon product page...
Product details

Product Dimensions: 20.5 x 33 x 37 cm
Boxed-product Weight: 7 Kg

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Sep 2013, 21:39:26 BST
Thanks very much, I looked for dimensions but couldn't find them.

Posted on 14 Jan 2014, 11:52:30 GMT
Peter Dinan says:
thanks for a good laugh, will buy one immediately as have decided "you cant take it with you" (besides which arriving at the gates with a red box with flames inside might be seen as taking the proverbial.)
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