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*~*Introduction and reason for purchase*~*
Last year I helped my best friend out with child care as her child minder let her down last minute. I didn't mind in the least as I've known my friend's little girl since she was born and was happy to help but my friend was adamant on trying to pay me. When I kept declining she 'threatened' she would get me something in return. Around a week before my birthday in November my microwave decided to blow up (well not literally but near enough) and in conversation with my friend I mentioned I was going to look for a red coloured one to match the majority of my kitchen decor. On my birthday my friend turned up with a huge box and no prizes for guessing what was inside - a red microwave! To be specific a Morphy Richards EM820CPTF-PM Solo Touch microwave.
The microwave is actually predominantly black in colour with just a hint of red in the form of two strips across the front of the door and the side panelling. The black parts of the microwave are all in a matte finish whereas the red strips on the front are made from a shiny material and whilst the red isn't a bright red, it stands out due to the sheen making the whole appearance of this machine very eye catching and attractive.
Down the right hand side adjacent to the door is the 'control panel' which features the settings and a large digital 24 hr clock right at the top.
Underneath this are the various setting buttons in rows of 3 which are:
Directly underneath is a manual press button to release the door to open.
*~*Specifications & Settings*~*
*Whilst this review is written by me the specifications are courtesy of the instruction manual which came enclosed and similarly they can also be found on the Argos website*
The microwave measures:
Height: 26 cm Width: 43
cm Depth: 33 cm Weight: 11.5 kg
The microwave has a power input of 800 watts and has a capacity of 20 litres.
Other features include:
*10 power levels *6 programmes *99 minute timer *Touch control *Child safety lock *24.5 cm rotating glass turntable
*~*Price, packaging & availability*~*
As this was a gift I was still aware of the price as my friend gave me the receipt in case I needed to return it if faulty and at the time of her purchasing it in late November 2011 it cost £69.99. A recent search tells me that this can now be picked up for £72.99 and is available seemingly only from Argos as I can't seem to find it anywhere else so is probably just an exclusive line to them (though I'm only hazarding a guess there).
This microwave came in a reasonably sturdy cardboard box though not as thick as I would have expected. Although the microwave itself seemed adequately packaged within in a thick wedge of polystyrene I don't think it would have sufficed enough had the box been dropped or even knocked. Luckily everything was in good condition and the glass turntable plate comes packaged separately to the microwave and both were thickly encased in a combination of polystyrene and thick card.
*~*Setting the microwave up*~*
There isn't much physical setting up required as there is only the turntable to install, which as with the majority (though not all) of microwaves is easily removable to clean as well as to 'install' by placing in the centre of the designated ridges normally accompanying the circular disc underneath.
Although I didn't set the clock up myself - leaving it for my husband as he likes 'tampering' and setting new appliances up - I have had to reset it recently when a power cut called for this. A very simple procedure of simply pressing the hour button to the correct time along with then the minutes - voila.
*~*My experience of using the microwave and my own thoughts on the appliance*~*
I'd had a few microwaves in mind as I knew that my old was on it's last legs before it's demise. Having seen a nice looking red one online I was less than enthused when I saw it up close in store as it looked far too bright and slightly cheap despite the hefty price tag. I was looking for something simple - I didn't need one with a built in convection oven or grill and wasn't interested in something that was all singing and dancing just a plain and simple to work microwave that looked pretty as shallow as that sounds.
My kitchen is predominantly painted white, with a large wall with white tiles but with red grout so I knew that I could get away with either a microwave in white, red or even black as some of my appliances are this colour. When I opened this box on my birthday I was not only surprised at how thoughtful and kind she was but extremely pleased with her choice as it really is a stylish looking piece of equipment.
The microwave manual that was enclosed was easy to read though as with the clock I left this to my husband though I did flick through it myself and found the instructions to be clear, precise and easy to understand.
On first using this I was surprised at how small the capacity actually was as I've always had 'regular family size' microwaves in the past so found that certain pyrex dishes I used in older machines simply wouldn't fit in this new machine. Although it was a pain at having to buy some new dishes that could accommodate this smaller sized microwave it certainly wasn't the end of the world and I have since got used to using smaller sized dishes when cooking. I rely on my microwave more than I thought as I went a whole week when my old one broke to getting this new one from my friend so I was eager to take the best possible care of it by making sure I wipe it down inside after each 'messy' use and 5 months later it is still in fine working condition.
*~*Would I recommend this to others?*~*
Aesthetically this is wonderful - it's sleek and sexy in bold black and shiny red veneer and is the focal point in my kitchen. If I hadn't have been given this as a gift then I probably would have considered this though it wouldn't have necessarily have been my number one choice for the following reasons:
All the buttons here are touch sensitive and whilst they look attractive they are not really very practical as I have pressed a particular setting on many occasion only to find that it hasn't activated so I've had to do it again which may not sound much but can get annoying. I'm not a great fan of anything touch screen/ buttons related anyway so had this been a choice if I was choosing this it would have been heavily against it.
Another is the capacity, I know I've mentioned it previously but this really is quite small inside and as a family of 4 isn't really ideal but that's just personal opinion as for a couple, a single person or even a family that only occasionally uses a microwave then there is no reason why it wouldn't suffice, but as a home that uses ours several times a day then it is on the small side for us.
On it's plus side the settings are very easy to use, though I will admit to only using the basic ones - I don't tend to use specific settings for potatoes and don't cook pizzas in the microwave so cannot comment on each individual settings capabilities but the ones I have used have all delivered the goods so to speak as it heats sood through thoroughly. The most commonly used button in our home is the 'Start' button as when pressed it gives an automatic 30 seconds of cooking time and I simply keep pressing to the required time.
The button for the door is quite large and slightly cumbersome though I have not encountered any problems to speak of so far and when pressed it has opened with ease by 'springing' the door into action though it does need to be pressed quite firmly.
The clock is bold and bright and as our kitchen is next to our bathroom (we live in a tiny cottage) I often nip in for a drink of water if I've had to go to the bathroom and the clock is bright enough to emit a subtle glow in my kitchen and even without my glasses on I'm able to see the time quite clearly and as our last microwave had no digital clock (shock horror) I found this to be a welcoming feature especially on a night.
So all in all this microwave is recommended by me if as mentioned above you are single/ a couple or just use it now and again but not if you are a larger family as I don't think it's adequate enough in size despite it being a powerful 800 watts. It looks stylish and complements my kitchen decor and is easy to clean both inside and out and because of this I am awarding it 4/5 stars.
(This model is also available in purple and white though I think the black/ red combo looks the most stylish).