When I return to my summer jobs, one of them is usually an office accountant for a small firm of couriers, and apart from the odd stint of managing the phones as opposed to paper work which is often passed to me, I'm often alone or have a small team of people working with me and I'm forever making mugs of tea to get by on.
The old Haden "country" kettle has been going for some time in the office, infact it had been bought well over something like 10 years ago, a fact that was shown by the Jug's faded plastic and the original lid which had been lost and had been replaced with an old Dimplex kettle lid "someone" had nicked from a hotel room. Whilst being a little safe, this old Haden kettle refused to die but its button never flicked up which meant you had to stand and wait for the water to spurt into life and cease boiling the moment you activated the on switch off manually. Well, all was going well until I put the on button down and waited.
I waited and I waited but the machine refused to work. The boss changed the fuse on Monday morning and the kettle still didn't work. So when I mentioned I was going to Argos to get some tape cassettes for school, the boss uttered could I get a kettle to replace the one in the office?
** Pricing, Stockists and Rivals **
At first my eyes were deceiving me when my eyes hit the catalogue pages of Argos. There are literally hundreds of kettles now on sale, but the only kettle under £13-00 was this only "basic" looking Jug kettle that had an extra 1kw of power. It would make sense then to buy the cheapest kettle in an office that is home to couriers and drivers when they need a quick coffee instead of waiting 5 minutes for the old Haden jug to warm up - and this model made more sense given that it had a rapid boil element compared to all the other kettles on sale. Dooyoo lists it as having a 2200 watt but it actually has a 3100 watt element. Although Dooyoo aren't wrong, the 2.2kilowatt element refers to coloured versions of the Ovea, not the white model which has been purchased. You've got to know the colours of this kettle to get the best deal around!
So I paid the £12-99 retail price and got the Moulinex Ovea home with me.
** Features/Using It**
The white model for example from Argos shows in small grey capital lettering under the Ovea emblem located at the bottom of the kettle before the base, "Rapid Boil," which states that this model at least is quicker than the coloured versions.
Now the old Haden jug was a corded affair with a short cord. Here the Ovea is cordless via the 360° multidirectional base unit which also allows excess power cord to be wrapped around the base. I'd say there's about 1.5 metres of cord which is a lot of cord anyway. Nothing new here but I admire the fact that at the bottom of the kettle, Moulinex have added a white rubber ring to ensure that any drops of water don't touch the base whilst in the use.
Once the kettle has been put on a level surface, you can fill the kettle straight down the spout from any water tap, but there is an anti-calcium water filter fitted at the top of the spout. The manual suggests to fill the water by lifting off the top of the kettle unless the filter is NOT fitted at first.
A handy design is the water gauge itself. It extends under the handle on the side of the kettle and actually goes half way around the kettle which means it can be used by left or right handed users.
The lid is hinged, helped by a lock system via a push down button located on the semi circle lock mechanism on top of the main kettle lid. By pushing down the lid button, the lid springs up and you lift the top to pour the water in. Once done, the water can be seen clearly on a wide gauge - there are no silly internal balls to show the water level - just a wide window which is handy for people who have poor eyesight.
Once the on switch is activated (just at the top of the handle by the lid) a red LED light comes on to show that the kettle is on. Even now as I used it this evening it is still heating up very quickly, a lot quicker than the Haden jug ever did and it is aided by a low noise which may have something to do with the way it looks. Infact many people in the office often ask "is it on?"
** The Looks & General Quality **
One of the aspects I don't like about this kettle is the fact that it looks like an overweight egg with a curved handle down one side! Granted it's not the best looking kettle in the world but if it's quick at boiling, cordless and has a large capacity who cares? For the lads and lassies who are drivers they're not going to want the next best fashion statement looking down at them as they count their pennies.
Likewise, that egg shape has something to do with the fact that the kettle has a concealed element which means that the kettle will be easier to clean. A concealed element is supposed to keep the nasties away from the bare element - a problem found in earlier kettles before concealed elements were set into designs of jug kettles - but I have to say speaking from personal experience, a concealed element may hide the nasties at first but later in life, the base can get stained - but can be cleaned with vinegar and bicarbonate of soda. The Ovea comes with a stainless steel concealed element which raises the evidence of providing a more suitable substance that can withstand general impurities in water including lime scale.
It's a pity that for all that egg shape allows the element to be concealed, it is somewhat bulkier than our own Morphy Richards Opera jug at home.
The quality of plastic is shiny on the body and doesn't look like it will wear up to general wear and tear but the feeling of the plastic is soft to the touch which is surprising for a kettle this cheap. The on switch snaps down with a general good feeling whilst the auto stop once the kettle boils clicks up with a "thunk" rather than a cheap ill-fitting click that so many cheap kettles generally tend to give off.
The model name, "Moulinex," is quite clear to see at the base of the kettle in red lettering whilst the water gauge has been fitted with white numerals which show easily whenever the water is above or below these sets.
** Cleaning The Kettle **
A damp cloth with no detergent is all that is needed from keeping this kettle from getting grubby. However, because the office is next to a garage, the kettle has already been well thumbed and carried by grubby hands. I've used an antibacterial agent which has not removed any of the transfers on the kettle itself which keeps the plastic sterile at least.
For lime scale deposits the filter can be picked out and left in a container with warm water and vinegar. Once the tartar starts to dissolve, the filter can be washed and pushed back into the sides at the top of inner spout.
Similarly, using water and vinegar is the most ideal way of getting rid of lime scale deposits that linger at the base of the jug kettle. In Scotland, lime scale in our region is severely limited but at least the manual that comes supplied with the machine is regimental in the tips of prolonging the kettle's general life.
** The Manual **
The manual that comes supplied is a 13 page booklet in black and white that has drawn on diagrams of the kettle. Letters such as A to E show parts of the kettle and numbers have also been used as to how to fill and use the kettle - though it's not as if you need a degree to work out how to use the kettle - it is very easy. The manual has also been written in English primarily, with French and Spanish also included. It is a plain booklet but all the info in how to use the kettle and troubleshooting problems are all listed.
** Pouring With The Ovea **
The spout is quite a stubby piece of design and it doesn't look like it will pour well. However I was surprised that it didn't splash water everywhere as often narrow spouts can do this if the top lip has an extension on it, but I had no problems pouring water whilst the weight of the Ovea is quite light in general.
** Conclusion **
My boss is happy, everyone is happy and I'm surprised that something this cheap works so well! I would never have considered a Moulinex kettle myself, so it does go to show that not everything cheap won't work. Time will only tell, and for a further £9-99 I took out an extended Argos cover incase anything goes wrong with the Ovea. The Moulinex Ovea does nothing new for a rapid boil jug kettle, but for the price of £12-99 it has a larger water capacity, a powerful element which heats up water fast and its general ease of use impresses. Quite a bargain if you are looking for kettle that heats up water fast but you don't mind the overall look. Overall its thumbs up for the Ovea; a bargain basement kettle that does what it says. Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2007.
Original review appeared on Ciao 2005.
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