Product Type: Bosch Hotpoint Dishwasher
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A Fair First Timer's Bosch Dishwasher?
Bosch SMS40C02GB Freestanding Dishwasher Classixx
Member Name: Nar2
Bosch SMS40C02GB Freestanding Dishwasher Classixx
Date: 25/12/11, updated on 25/12/11 (281 review reads)
Advantages: Some parts are well made, quiet but not the quietest, easy to use.
Disadvantages: A few design problems, limiting wash programs & questionable Eco beliefs.
First impressions are good from the all-plastic, smooth and flush design with the control panel and a large grab handle at the front of the lightweight, easy to pull down door. The Bosch is fairly compact and a few inches off our old Zanussi, measuring 84.5cm height by 60cm width and 60cm diameter. Unlike our Zanussi and old Bosch before it, the SMS40C02GB has a single twist control dial and few buttons that are clearly labelled. I actually prefer the main control dial, as it seems to repel dirt better than push button controls and for simplicity, the dial rotates either clockwise or anticlockwise with a 360° turn, and a black stripe that sits precisely at line diagrams linking to clearly written wash programs. Once you've selected the right program, push the inner button and the Bosch starts up. In all there are 4 programs and a half load option. Like our old Bosch, there's a digital panel to the right hand side of the door but unlike the last, Bosch have incorporate the "Salt," "Rinse Air," and "3 in 1 tab," indicators in the same panel, presumably to keep all warnings in one place. Above that you get a digital read out, matching the indicators in red, which isn't too dazzling to the eye and can be read from a distance without having to peer closely at the panel. There's even a delay timer with corresponding buttons to bring your Bosch on if you have an Eco or cheaper electricity meter run and as for hot/cold fill, this Bosch can do either - the machine cools down hot water intake so that the enzymes in the detergents can break down with tepid, lukewarm water rather than boiling tap water - so it's good that Bosch can offer both options here.
Inside the story has changed - and drastically - compared to our middle of the range priced Bosch from the past and it's glinting stainless steel interior - or lack of bright colours inside the SMS40C02GB. This Bosch couldn't look any more basic and cheap if it tried, and as this is the basic starter of Bosch's simple range, "Classixx," it currently retails between £299 and £305 and comes with a standard 2-year guarantee, or £80 for 5 years. Instead of a shiny stainless steel interior, you'll find deep and depressing dark grey plastic that seems to match well with the equally depressing dark grey black metal racks, top and bottom. Bosch describes the racks as being "silver," but it's the darkest shade of silver I've ever seen and much light is needed if you have a dark kitchen. If that wasn't bad enough, there's a clear circular panel pressing to the right hand wall of the dishwasher where it is obvious Bosch have used the same panels as they would with higher priced models in their dishwasher range - and where sadly you won't find an interior light - as is the standard fit that most higher priced dishwashers come with. The omission of an interior light means that the equally dark walls and dark racks create a dark and dingy interior, always impelling the owner to pull the racks all the way out to actually see what they are doing and loading dishes/cutlery in safely. At the rear and top of the inner cavity, you'll find stainless steel, but it has a dull colour to it and doesn't inspire the kind of quality I expected from Bosch.
Knowingly you may well coo over the fact that the Bosch SMS40C02GB has 12 place settings, but surprisingly, we've found we can accommodate a lot more than the Bosch would have you believe by statistic. This is because Bosch have retained two adjustable prong strips on the bottom rack that can accommodate bowls when placed behind each other, or side plates and/or saucers if they aren't placed on the top rack. Unlike our Zanussi, at long last coffee and tea mugs can be stored easily without fear of falling over and there are the obligatory swing up/swing down wings on the right hand side of the top rack that allow you to put long stem kitchen implements with right angle corners for resting the stem bases of wine glasses and such like; saucers can be locked in at the top through well spaced prongs and on the bottom rack, dishes can be placed with ease, with a good sense of spacing in between each cutlery piece without getting stuck. So it is a pity that where breakfast bowls are supposed to lie down, Bosch have been cost cutting again in not supplying an extra rod at the back that would allow bowls to rest safely - without being bumped when placed centre or resting between the two rods on the bottom rack. The optional folding plate racks means one or two of them have to be folded down in order to avoid bowls being hit by the bottom of the dishwasher door when the rack is being slid in and whilst this is an option, I do like the fact that the folding down racks each have a three height setting allowing you to place any manner of awkward shaped bowls, plates, hob wear or otherwise for bottom rack cleaning - but it is a pity all the same that you have to choose to swing one of the prong racks down in order to create a flatter, more protected surface.
At the time of purchase however, I was not swayed by the great and dark design of the Bosch's interior, but of the eco-energy savings when comparing the dishwasher in the shop side by side, with a Beko dishwasher at the same price. Though losing two extra place settings that the Beko sported, the energy savings from the Bosch made a lot more sense, having a 14 litre water capacity compared to the 16 litres that the Beko would need in water consumption on the longest and highest temperature wash programme and an "A+" on energy savings outright with "A" for drying performance. Although I can't personally measure the water that the dishwasher has used, the power bills haven't shown an increase in power usage since we bought the Bosch less than 3 months ago. Infact, when it comes to our more recent electricity bill over a 4-month period, in which the dishwasher is working every two days, we've managed to cut £300 off our bill!
Performance wise, the Bosch isn't all that it makes out to be though and I found this aspect to be the greatest disappointing factor, because if you want the quickest wash setting you'll have to select the 33-minute "Quick Wash" function out of the three remaining programs and not all kinds of food ware get clean properly. For a start, plastics don't get a chance to dry despite the low energy "Eco-saving" 45 °C temperature. Dishes and cutlery come out touch dry but cookware such as Teflon non-stick pans are damp to the touch and I was surprised to find on some pans, grease had not been cleaned off properly. Glassware on the quick programme however, comes out glinting and clear, and apart from grease, other food stains vanish, leaving cutlery and dishes with a sparkling and clean finish. Aside from the 33-minute Quick Wash function, the latter programs are disappointing in their time duration and strangely less-thought out - for example:
"Normal 65 °C," lasts a total of 2 hr, 15 minutes, or 2 hr and 5 minutes with the half load additional program selected.
"Economy 50 °C," takes a shockingly long 3 hr and 34 minutes or 2 hours 34 minutes with the half load additional program selected. Brands these days argue that because the longer a lower temperature wash takes these days, the appliance saves the energy for a longer wash.
"Pre-Rinse" can take up to 15 minutes alone with no option for half load facility.
"Quick Wash," takes 33 minutes with no option for half load facility.
For all that Bosch has given the "Classixx," model a basic run of programs, through use the "Eco-friendly," claims can be fully tested. Despite the small amount of water this machine uses in general, why is there no half-load option on a quick wash cycle or pre-rinse time duration options? There was on our old Zanussi! Bosch go to great strengths though of pointing out that their dishwasher has a self protection cleaning filter, but you still have to reach for the main filter to clean it out and luckily it is easy to unlock and lift. Then there's the auto water dosage limiter that never allows the machine to leak and an active water system that allows the right amount of water to be used, again nodding to the "Eco" friendliness - but Bosch aren't the only brands that offer this and the "Active" water intake only occurs on the Eco 50°C long duration wash.
Outside of the realm of so many safety factors built in, it is disappointing to find Bosch have missed other important areas, such as the fact that that there are no child locks on this model and that Bosch have only limited child safety to a fool proof lock. Then there's the noise - or lack of sound insulation. In general use once the main program kicks in, the Bosch SMS40C02GB gurgles and grunts all too easily, with more evidence of noise from its rotary spin arm under the top rack. Although not disconcerting, you can certainly tell the dishwasher is on and owners in some corners may welcome the light action of the door, but it is clear Bosch have cut corners with the thin panel door against other models in their range that feel far more substantial. This model has a rating of 50 decibels, with the £30 or more model upwards in the Bosch Classixx range having a rating of 48 decibels.
Where interior design is concerned however, the Bosch fights its corner with a winning, stronger hand with its adjustable height rack and adjustable prongs on the bottom rack. Thanks to its pricing though, it loses out on the "RackMatic," system that allows owners to lift the top rack to 3 different height settings - and can be done when fully loaded. In this Bosch, you have to adjust the top rack to only one height setting and can only be adjusted when empty. The cutlery basket also feels substantial and I rather like the fact that the individual cutlery grids can be folded over to fit flush with the outer sides of the basket, if you want to store bulkier implements whilst the knife tray on the top left hand part of the rack is also a good idea, even if the strip grids don't always lock in place dependent on the thickness of the knife blades. The Bosch doesn't however better the style offered by Zanussi where its basket can be split into two, giving more space on the bottom rack and only cleaning the number of cutlery items you need washed - but it is good that you can take off either top trays on the left and right hand side of the top rack to create a more, open and accessible space.
It is clear that Bosch have built this dishwasher to a strict budget from the its dark and dingy interior to its limiting wash programs, and if you must buy a Bosch dishwasher, the German company would probably like you to think this is the ideal, first model to consider. However, for the price of £299-99, other rivals are beginning to encroach upon Bosch, giving a better and brighter design with plenty more wash programs and not so limiting on the controls or perceived quality. In terms of reliability Bosch beat Miele in 2011 and hold number 1 spot for larger appliances according to "Which UK 2011" and certainly our own experiences of a past Bosch dishwasher can attest to this, lasting a lot longer than just 3 years with the Zanussi. If I wasn't a previous Bosch dishwasher owner, I'd probably award 5 stars for a superb effort. In terms of performance alone, the wash programs will suit many on a strict, Eco-intended effort and bar plastics on the quick wash program and longer hours with other programs, the Bosch is a well-made dishwasher with only a few limiting features. It just about makes 4 stars in my eyes, but to those after a more versatile wash performance and a brighter interior, you may well find other brands offer a bit more for the price. Thanks for reading! ©Nar2 2011
Summary: Basic Bosch dishwasher with just enough programs, but could be better.
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