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** Background **
As mentioned on other reviews we recently married and moved into our new house, and as such received a large amount of gifts. The benefit of this was that you can put gifts down that you might not normally treat yourself to. This kettle, as soon as I saw it, caught my eye and appealed to the gadget lover in me. As it turned out it is also very good at boiling filtered water! Unfortunately I can't remember the exact cost, but I believe it was around 50 GBP in October 2010, from John Lewis.
** BRITA Filter **
One of the key selling points of this kettle is the built in BRITA filter, which is good for us as we live in a hard water area. It means that those cloudy cups of tea ruined by hard water are a thing of the past, along with the insides of the kettle getting bunged up with lime-scale. There is a handy BRITA memo display built into the top of the lid, which you reset when you enter a new filter and counts down before flashing when you should ideally replace your filter (around 4 weeks).
** Kettle Looks **
If James Bond had a house (I like to think he does somewhere) then he would have this kettle in his kitchen. When plugged in it changes through a spectrum of colours, lighting up the kitchen. I can navigate in my kitchen using only the light given off from the kettle, and it changes through the spectrum of colours! When you boil water though it starts blue and changes through to red once it is finished, and because it is clear you can see your water boiling away ready to make you a brew! The handle is ergonomic and solid, and the base is made from stainless steel which is easily cleaned with a wipe of a damp cloth.
** Functionality **
Onto the nitty gritty and this kettle not only looks good but performs well too. I timed it from almost full and it took 1:50min to boil completely and I measured this as 1 1/4 pints of water. To fill the kettle hit the button and the lid springs up and then fill the upper water chamber. Water then passes through the filter and into the main kettle. It uses a 3000W fast boil element and it certainly does boil quite quickly, but also keeps water hot for about 5 minutes after it has boiled. There is a built in fail safe to prevent the kettle boiling dry (which we have proven to work after accidentally turning it on empty).
** Drawbacks **
As ever there is always room for improvement and this kettle is no different. Although I believe the initial cost is reasonable you will soon find the cost of replacement filters adds up, to reduce this try to buy them when on offer or in larger packs. Also a last, little niggle is that the power cord is quite short, so you need a plug socket within reach of where you want to site the kettle.
** Summary **
I love this kettle, it is one of my favourite wedding gifts and I still make sure people come into the kitchen just to see it; everyone who has seen it loves it as well. The filtered water does taste better and is visibly better, the only drawback is the cost of the filters. This is a stylish and functional kettle that people will take interest in, I would certainly recommend it as long as you are aware of the need to replace the filters.
** Background **
As mentiond on my other reviews after being married we have moved into our own place and needed to buy *everything*. In October 2010 we paid £449.99 including delivery from Comet, we didn't bother with the additional £5 installation fee, just to plug it in!
** Setting up **
The fridge freezer was packed well for transit, thankfully all external packaging was taken with the delivery men. All interal shelves and bits and bobs were very secure. The instructions say to wait 3 hours before turning on though to let everything inside settle. It is worth noting just how big this fridge freezer is, I'm 6ft 4 and it is a fair bit taller than me! It is rather plain from the front with only the brand printed on the outside and no handle sticking out (to open grip the door in the middle between the fridge and freezer).
** Operating the Fridge Freezer **
Once it is up and running it basically runs itself without any hassle, which is what you want! It has an open door alarm, however we have noticed it will only sound if the door is more than a few cm open. Therefore if it is literally open ajar the alarm will not sound. Not perfect really so room for improvement there. Two good features which we use are 'Super Cool' and 'Super Freeze' which rapidly cool the fridge and freezer respectively. Ideal if you have just filled it with shopping. I'm not sure if this is supposed to turn itself off automatically after a while or not, either the wife is playing mind games with me or sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't (the manual doesn't make this clear either). There are also two knobs for adjusting the temperature in both the fridge and freezer, with a marker for 'i care' (optimal setting) and a holiday setting.
** Inside the Fridge & Freezer (Not literally mind you...) **
It's huge, and I love the warm light it exudes! Inside the door is large enough for a few cartons of milk and our water filter. Above this there are two compartments we use for various sauces and condiments. At the top is a closed section where we keep the cheeses, one thing with this is that sometimes we try to close the door with this compartment still open... oops. The shelves are solid and relatively adjustable and as such the height of each shelf varies. At the bottom of the fridge are two salad drawers, which are easily opened and closed and quite large. Ours also has the wine rack which we have left in for now, and use regularly.
The freezer has 4 drawers of differing sizes. The bottom one is a little smaller, possibly as the motor sits behind it. The one above this is huge though, and the other two are generous as well. It certainly is more than adequate for our needs. Another feature is that two of the drawers have a removable ice tray built into the handle. It is a bit of a gimmick, but does work if you fill it correctly. Getting ice from it can be more hassle than it is worth and because of the size we use normal ice trays instead / as well.
** Cleaning **
As I said it is easy enough to remove the shelves to clean but also has a no frost cooling system which circulates cold air continiously to prevent ice and frost forming. So far it has worked a treat. Inside really is easy to keep clean, a quick wipe with a damp cloth and any spillage comes right off.
** Summary **
As I said this thing is huge compared to our previous units and has to be seen to be believed. The colour and finish is good and best of all it is functional. So far it has proven to be very reliable and delivered all we have asked. If this meets your needs then I think you will be happy with it, we certainly are! I'm not giving it 5* though as I think there are better units available, but for the price this size and spec is very good.
After moving into our new place we had a lot of appliances to buy on a budget, so we sourced this washer dryer from Comet for 430 GBP in October 2010 and have been using it trouble free for the last six months. We decided upon it because it had all the features we needed, was able to fit in the space we have and had a good energy efficiency rating.
We did the install ourselves and that was very straightforward, although ensure you take time on balancing the feet as this will prevent the machine from rattling or moving around when on the spin cycle. The machine only needs a cold water feed which is a bonus, although fairly common now.
One of the main reasons we bought this was the large washing capability, 7Kg. This means we can do more washing in less loads (thus saving money on bills etc!!). The wife is happy as it has a special wash for wool clothes which doesn't damage them. I'm happy as I can fit all my work clothes and sports kit in the one load.
Having no previous bills to compare to I can't say for sure if the energy efficiency is saving us money, but here's hoping. We have only used the drying feature a few times (prefer to hang on a clothes horse) and it was OK (for bed sheets). It took a while and obviously was not as good as a standalone dryer, but for a combi we were pleased enough.
I mentioned getting the feet balance right as although this is claimed to be a quiet machine when it is on spin dry at 1600 rpm it can be heard in the lounge from the kitchen. That said the spin speed does a great job of getting the clothes dry.
We took out the extended warranty after reading a few reviews of problems years into ownership but after 6 months have nothing to report but good, reliable washing and drying. The display is clear and easy to read, and although you can customise the loads as you can in some other machines there is a good variety of cycles available.
We would recommend it, and I will update here if I ever have any problems (after I've sent a letter off to Hotpoint, I'm like that!) but we've been happy so far.
** Background & Purchase **
We recently moved into our own place and had to go out and purchase a dishwasher, as well as other household appliances. We spent a long time looking various models and brands of dishwasher and finally decided upon the Beko 1530. In October 2010 it cost us 260 GBP from Comet, which was the top end of our budget.
** The Install **
We did the install and set up ourselves, and thankfully it was very easy! The only problem we had was that initially we didn't turn the cold water feed on... Anyway this machine only needs a cold water feed, and has the usual waste pipe. The instructions were straight forward enough for a first time house owner to be able to set up and install!
** The Options **
There are three buttons built into the top of the door, a large power button to the right and two smaller buttons, one for changing the programme the other for selecting half load. It has a variety of options that can be chosen but we mostly use ours on the 1 hour quick wash at 60 degrees Celsius. Other options include Pre Wash (No Heat), Rapid (35 deg), Economy (50 deg), Quick & Clean (60 Deg) and Intensive (70 deg). We use the Finish 3in1 tablets (with Lemon) and have found these to be satisfactory.
** Loading **
It is very roomy inside and has good options for loading, with three separate baskets of different spaced racks. There is a good illustrated guide in the manual with more detail on this topic. Even when fully loaded it cleans to a good standard. However on the 'normal' wash it will struggle with caked on food substances and heavily greased pots and pans. To be fair to it though we should have put it on the higher temperature 'Intensive' setting to begin with.
** Daily Usage **
It is quiet in use, not silent however with the kitchen door closed it can barely be heard in our lounge. It's drying capability is good, and it is wise to follow the advice and leave the door open for 10-15 minutes once the dry cycle has finished, to aid the process. As we live in a hard water area we put salt into the machine, we've had it 6 months and only recently put our second (2Kg) bag in, which I think is reasonable.
** Summary **
It is hard to judge the performance of a dishwasher without seeing it yourself, but in summary this one cleans everything we have given it with the exception of the dirtiest and greasiest pots and pans and when I open the door it smells clean and fresh. I would recommend it to others looking for a budget yet reliable dishwasher.
We bought this camera in October 2010 to replace an old Olympus as we were off on our honeymoon to Mauritius and wanted something to catch the amazing scenery. We looked at various models, including the Canon and Sony competitors but decided with this.
The optical zoom is amazing for a digital camera, and makes taking amazing photos simple. Another top feature is the HD video recording, in which you can adjust zoom whilst recording. We thought the GPS tag was a bit useless but has since proved very clever, with pins placed over a map showing where the photos were taken. Also the camera is packed with useful scenes if you want a quick solution, but you can also get right into the settings if that is what you would rather do.
We found the battery to be good, but clearly the GPS can drain it if left on. We've been delighted with the photos it has taken, and videos. I've used it to capture some great footage of fireworks which we then played on a 42 inch LCD TV, looking good!
One thing I think could be improved is the shape and feel of the camera when you hold it and also possibly the layout of the menus.
However overall we have been very happy with this camera and would certain recommend it to friends and others.
The Civic Type R - you either love it or you hate it! I love it, although it is not without faults.
I love the look of it, even five years after release the styling can still turn heads. Get behind the wheel and it is like taking control of a space craft, the dash lights up when you insert the key and the engine roars awake when you push the red start button. Start driving it and you can tell this car has a sporting heritage and purpose behind it. Once the engine is warm plant your foot and hold on, the car keeps accelerating upwards of 8000 RPM before you need to change gear. Above 5500 RPM the Honda VTEC takes over and you get a further surge of power. Exhilarating and addictive! As discussed later though this has a drastic effect on your fuel economy!!
It has niggles though, the suspension is firm as you would expect but crashing as low speeds, which in this country is not ideal! Also it doesn't seem to be as well put together as previous Honda efforts, the dash creaks, the suspension rattles, the brakes groan in the morning.
To give you an idea of running costs associated with this car I'm currently averaging around 25mpg. On the motorway it can return over 30mpg (at legal speeds) and when driven hard with return just over 20mpg. The current road tax is 210 a year. Servicing will depend on your local dealer but I took out a 4 year servicing pack for 500 GBP. After 15000 miles all consumables (tyres, brakes) are still original, although my tyres are down to around 4mm.
The car only has 4 seats, but this does mean that there is plenty of space for passengers in the rear. Indeed with the rear seats folded (completely) flat you would be hard pressed to find a sports hatchback that has more space. I have been able to fit a dining table measuring 176cm in the back, as well as a assembled computer desk! My niggle with the interior is that the driving position is a little high, and for someone my height can prevent me from seeing the full dash display (blocked by the steering wheel).
I've had no major faults with the car in 18 months, people love the looks of it but not always the firm ride and the fact that in order to get the performance you need to floor it.