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Argos Value Food Processor
Member Name: Nar2
Argos Value Food Processor
Date: 16/03/10, updated on 16/03/10 (801 review reads)
Advantages: Cheap price, large capacity jug, simple to operate.
Disadvantages: A few things
When it was proudly announced at the end of the month in our office who was to bake the cakes for our charity Fridays, I looked around the office walls and carpets pretending not to notice. I did notice the bit of tablet that someone had crushed into the floor and wondered for all the world how the cleaner would cope with a suction only vacuum cleaner to get rid of the sugar trails scrawled into the carpet treads. When I heard my colleague gasp in horror, I tried to fain ignorance and pretended not to listen. But it was too late! My moves were far too obvious as I shifted nervously towards the door signalling my hasty retreat! Now, all my colleague has in her large open planned kitchen is a couple of useful household gadgets that I would never dream of owning; doughnut maker, popcorn maker, candyfloss maker - the kinds of things designed to put more inches on your waistline thicker than bread crust! Between the pair of us with her passed down 20 year old kitchen hand mixer and my tiny little Argos Value Food chopper, we had got the vote to make cakes, all 70 of them, not just for sale in our staff room for all of our colleagues but also to sell on for office funds...I had to borrow or find a food processor in a jiffy. My visit to the Home Economics department meant that I could only come away with a hand blender, but alas no food processor they would let me borrow.
Scouring the pages of Argos for a cheap and cheerful food processor led me to several options since we had decided to make sponges, scones, fairy cakes and fruit loaf within the 24 hours needed before the cakes could be made up. I've had long and loud years with Kenwood products, from their noisy Chef kitchen mixer (up to the job of mixing, but shredding and slicing, forget it) to compact kitchen food processors that don't take up too much work space yet remain noisy and have a small capacity jug. Then my eyes were drawn to the Argos Value Food Processor.
For a start this is unlike any food processor I've clapped eyes on. Whoever makes it is keeping quiet because it also happens to be on sale in Currys and Comet under their exclusive brands and if you're thinking it's a compact food processor, think again. When I took it out of the box I was absolutely shocked when I saw the size. This food processor is simply twice as big as Kenwood's little compact food processor, yet with 450 watts on board and a 1.7 capacity litre jug, (Kenwood's FP120 has 400 watts and a 1.4 litre jug) I reckoned I was onto a good thing with the Argos Value food processor at £24-99 even though for sizing, it is about the same size as Tefal's single slot Avante toaster, which is a rather bulky looking toaster on its own accord. Certainly if like me where you have limited space in a kitchen, be prepared to sacrifice one half of your cooker / hob if it has a drop down lid where this food processor can go. Just make sure the lid however is strengthened, as this is one heavy beast! Although I lifted it successfully out of the box, it's not a repeat procedure I want to do all of the time when it comes to storing away (and hand on heart there isn't anywhere else I can put it in my tiny kitchen other than where it is at present.) and there are a few surprising elements about this food processor against the more professional design of Kenwood's £3 extra more expensive, smaller white FP120 model.
The design of this food processor has actually been made with some thought even though it is obvious from the plastic jug and lid that the plastic used doesn't feel like it will last. Unlike the Kenwood FP120, the base of the jug locks into the left hand side of the model, so those who are left handed may well appreciate the design. More thoughtfully the base has smooth and easy to clean plastic catches where the bowl locks in before the lid can be locked in at the top, signalling the safety catch system where the food processor can't be started without the lid being locked in. Black alignment arrows have also been place on both the top lid and bottom plastic jug whilst a base arrow shows you just exactly how to lock everything down if ingenuity and logic of the bowl clicking into place doesn't alert you. Nothing new here, but it's good to see that Argos Value have stuck to their guns in remembering safety first. For cleaning, the jug and lid is extremely easier than Kenwood, with no awkward corners where food stains can lurk or get a chance to get stuck. Therefore when hand washing for example everything can be washed down using a dish brush easily or plop the whole lid, pusher and jug into the dishwasher; even the tools are dishwasher safe apart from the main spindle that holds the discs in.
Like Kenwood, the stainless steel chopping and mixing blade is stainless steel. There is no chrome painted metal wings here to worry about and whilst there is a lack of whisk, of which the stainless steel chopping blade covers that eventuality you also get one complete round slicing disk and a spindle. All of these tools simply drop into the neck of the jug with ease and they are just as quick to remove when you're finished. What a pity Argos never took advantaged of creating a space for the tools to go for all that this mammoth food processor takes up on space. Reverse the disc over and you get shredder grills. It isn't quite how Argos advertises it as having 2 shredder plates, because in reality you only get one disc with a reverse design function. It is a very simple idea but one that works slightly better than Kenwood when it comes to function, who still persist in fitting tight to release blade parts into a plastic holder before it can be inserted into the bowl. This is the nonsense my mum has to go through to use her Kenwood food processor and removing the plates can be difficult with her arthritic hands.
For the price though it is easy to spot where Argos Value have made other sacrifices. When it came to chopping nuts for example, the stainless steel blade does a wonderful job even though the thin plastic jug doesn't absorb the sound of sliced and chopped "hard" food products like nuts terribly well. Pinging here and there, chopping nuts was done very quickly and with a lot of ease helped by two speeds on offer: permanent low speed and a permanent high speed. There is also a pulse function, which means I can literally keep my finger on the button to how small or large I want my nut chunks to be. Part of the speed isn't down to the motor, which is pretty noisy on the high speed but the thinness of the plastic jug, which could be better made here. The steel blade however has handy serrated edges to improve cutting, slicing and whisking times but they are extremely sharp and out of the box you do get flimsy plastic wings you can fit over the blade when not in use. Despite their sharpness and general ability they are thin metal knife blades set into plastic, and like almost all food processors on the market including this appliance, this will not crush ice for smoothies. For ice crushing always look for a glass blender or a reasonable blender that can do this successfully.
When it came to shredding carrots and cheese (I love making cheesy scones), the Argos Value food processor does a fine job but like most food processors on the market when it comes down to the last stump of food product, it always gets stuck between the lid and the blade. This happened quite a lot with this product. In defence of the actual food pusher, I like the food pusher even though it lacks actual gradients as a measure - it lacks the clear aspect from Kenwood but it does feel a bit better made possibly down to the fact that it's made of thicker white plastic that has proved easier to keep clean and if anything gets stuck you can gently tap the pusher until the last stump gets properly whizzed up. When it came to slicing, I was slicing apples and found that the slices are very thin.
Whilst our cakes and scones were gobbled with ease and the money we earned was relatively successful I have to praise Argos here for the effort in which this machine has coped. Although it may be cheap, the consistency and precision to which the Argos Value food processor has cut general food prep has been quite exacting. It isn't the most perfect food processor however even though their mini chopper has been a boon to have and is five times smaller and a lot more space efficient. Argos state that the machine has non-slip feet, of which it does but it lacks the suction cups on Kenwood machines that plant the machine on level surfaces with better certainty.
The capacity of the Argos Value food processor has a 1.7 litre fill but this is only and purely restricted to large quantity baking prep and not liquids on their own. Although it has a lower liquid capacity than Kenwood's FP120 (0.6 litres against 0.8 litres and double that if you take advantage of Kenwood's handy canopy disc which doubles the volume of liquids alone) I dangerously found out the wrong way by over filling the Argos Value food processor with too much liquid only for it to come out squirting out the sides at the top of the lid!
When it came to dealing with heavy cake mixture, the stainless steel blade comes to the rescue and whilst the buttons on the food processor are large and easy to use with a preset push in action, the labelling on the buttons are written in large black capitals and does look a little clinical. However, even if the machine is left on for no less than five minutes, the Argos Value food processor becomes very hot which I find disconcerting. Another downside is that unlike the Kenwood FP120, there is no cable storage and although the cord length is average, there is no space either on the underside or to the side of the food processor where excess cable can be stored. I guess the old adage, "you get what you pay for," may well spring to mind faster from the moment you lift the machine out of the box and discover these things, particularly if you have had a more professionally designed food processor with a mass brand, in the past.
All in all Argos Value Food processor is worth the price it is selling at, but it could be better made in terms of plastics, noise absorption, storing the cable and somewhere to put the spare disc, blade and spindle. Whilst the capacity is fantastic for shredding and slicing food prep, it lacks proper seals for liquid to be blended successfully, always keeping in your mind that the capacity has to be no more than 0.8 litres. There are markings on the actual bowl/jug but they are not very helpful as they lack litres and other gradient measures, only giving you two maximum "fill line," marks and all of that marks it down. As such this could well be an ideal food processor for first time buyers, or for those in the market who only ever shred or slice vegetables or salad prep. You can't do that with a mini-chopper! Thanks for reading. İNar2 2010
Product code: 422/7944
Summary: A good first time buyer's food processor but it could be better.
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