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This chrome handmixer was bought as a replacement for a cheap one that I had been using for 10 years before it finally gave up the ghost. When making cakes, I like to be able to feel the consistency of the mixtures, so I find a hand mixer gives more feedback than a food processor.
PRICE This model was not cheap, coming in at £24.99 from Argos. The chrome modelling was very "in" at the time, and accounted for about £5 of the extra price compared to similar models.
FEATURES There was a pair of cake mixer blades and a pair of dough hooks. The dough hooks have turned out to be thoroughly useless. When mixing heavy dough, it just creeps up the blades and covers the hand mixer. However, this is a common fault with this type of mixer. I leave the doughs to my breadmaker now :-)
There are 5 speed settings, but there does not seem to be much difference between them. The main problem is on first switching on. The massive torque threatens to pull the machine out of your hand. If, like me, your hands are small, this can be a bit of a problem. I certainly wouldn't recommend this machine for use by children or beginners. The fastest setting copes quite well with heavy mixing, but as with the dough hooks, mixture creeps up the mixing blades and into the machine.
EASE OF USE Like most hand mixers, this one is easy to use. You just plug in the mixer blades underneath and switch the button on top to start. The button is thumb operated so is easy to use, and it's fairly easy to change speeds by just sliding the button with your thumb. To release the blades, a separate button is pressed.
CLEANING A bit of a pain, especially with the chrome finish, which is cheap and tacky and not really suitable for this item (next time I'll just get a plain white one!). The smears show badly, and if you leave it in a damp cuboard, the cold metal encourages mould growth.
RELIABILITY You expect to get a reliable machine when buying brand-named products, and I have owned this particular model for about 4 years without a problem. I have to admit that I don't use it that much though.
USER'S MANUAL There is little in the way of recipe information, just some basic operating instructions in various languages.
RECOMMENDATION For light, household use I would recommend that you buy the cheapest handmixer around. You can normally pick one up for under a tenner, and spending double that doesn't really get you anything extra for your money.