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My freezer was starting to need defrosting every few weeks so I decided that the time had come to find a replacement. Due to a re-arrangement of appliances I decided to get a small, under-counter freezer instead of the large one I used to have.
I hadn't realised how little choice I would have in trying to buy a smaller freezer. I needed one that would fit under a worktop and would be less than 55cm wide and I really wanted white to fit in with my other appliances. I ended up finding the Beko one in Argos at £150 so decided that it would do. I knew that there had been a recall problem with Beko fridge freezers lately but I also knew that I had been happy with their products in the past so thought I would try it. This product had an energy efficiency rating of A which seems quite good for a freezer and it has a 4 star freezer rating.
Argos delivered the product very quickly and it was a simple case of plugging it in having left it for several hours after arrival as instructed in the enclosed leaflet. There were spacers to fit to the back so that it would stand far enough away from the wall to allow adequate air circulation and there were also adjustable feet so we were able to get it completely flat.
There is nothing very exciting to say about the appearance of this model. It is very much a standard white freezer (Dooyoo show the ZA630S mine is ZA630W) with BEKO in large silver letters on the front. The handle is formed by a curved indent on the top of the door. I like this design as it means there is nothing sticking out, I used to have a fridge in the same place and I caught my leg on the handle countless times. The handle also means that the door can be opened either way as you can swing the door from either side.
Three lights can be seen from the front of the freezer, these are actually magnifying viewing windows for lights that are on inside the body of the appliance. They are red, amber and green and obviously when the unit is running you want it on green. I think the fact that these warning lights are easy to see is a useful feature. The amber light glows when you are running the Fast freeze setting.
The inside of the freezer is stated to be 3.6cu ft. but I think the actual food storage area is about 3 cu ft.
The top of the freezer consists of a large, pull-out ice tray with ice cube containers. I don't need to use this for making ice so I find that it is the perfect size to put flat packets like salmon and bacon for freezing. I also use this tray for open freezing of things like blackberries; I simply put a sheet of baking parchment in the tray and then spread the fruit on it until solid before packing into boxes. Besides the ice-cube tray the other compartments all have clear plastic fronts to make it easier to see what you are looking for.
The next compartment is accessed by a large flap. This area is ideal for storing larger packets of frozen meat, chicken etc. and is deep enough to hold a large size chicken amongst other items. The flap is quite sturdy but I do always worry that flaps on freezers are a little vulnerable to breaking and I would prefer all drawers if I could have found it. Because this compartment has a base that is connected to the freezer motor it is classified as the hast-freeze compartment and it is best to put non-frozen products directly onto the shelf to make them freeze quicker.
The middle compartment is a large drawer that reaches to the back of the freezer. I find drawers are useful for all of the products that come in bags and for all the home-made products that I freeze myself. The drawer pulls out smoothly but does not come out accidentally; it requires a lifting motion to release the drawer from its runner.
The bottom compartment consists of another drawer which is the same height as the other two compartments but it is not as deep due to the workings of the freezer. This surprised me at first as I hadn't realised this but I have got used to storing smaller items in the bottom drawer now. I think the smaller size makes this drawer a little more awkward and it does seem to have habit of dropping a bit as it is opened and you have to lift it slightly to push it back into place.
Inside the freezer at the top are the lights that can be seen from the outside. Next to them is the thermostat switch which you can adjust using a sharp instrument in the slot. I like the fact that you can't alter the thermostat by accidentally knocking it. There are four settings, the manufacturers suggest starting with number 3 and then adjusting as necessary, mine usually runs at about 2.5 now as that seem to be fine. On the other side of the lights is the Fast freeze button. This should be used when first filling the freezer or when putting a lot of non-frozen items in at one time. I have only used this when I first used the freezer and it runs the motor continually.
The manufacturers suggest defrosting this product twice a year. I have had this over six months now and haven't got round to defrosting it yet and I haven't noticed any build-up of ice so I am really pleased. This freezer does have to be manually defrosted by turning the appliance off and then afterwards repacking and using fast-freeze for a while to bring it back to the required temperature.
There is nothing very exciting to say about this appliance. It is a clean looking product that sits neatly in my kitchen and doesn't look cheap. It is the perfect size for what I wanted and the use of space inside means that I am able to store a little more than I expected to. Although mine sits in the kitchen it is useful to know that this is one of the few freezers that are suitable for running in a garage or outhouse as it can run at external temperature down to -15 which might be useful for some. The door is reversible and although we haven't done this it did look quite straightforward.
I think that this freezer runs fairly quietly, it is shut away in my kitchen but I never notice the noise from it when I am in there.
Basically it does a good job and didn't cost too much so I hope it is as reliable as my last Beko appliance and will last me for year.
Manufacturer / Short name: Beko ZA630