I bought this microwave from Argos almost a year ago to replace our old microwave at work that had started to behave erratically:
*A microwave that was small and compact
*Easy to use
*Easy to clean
A few of us perused on-line and I was allocated the task of collecting the money and going to our local Argos store to purchase the microwave. We were undecided as to colour, but chose green in the end as it would match our department's carpet!
In The Box/Unpacking:
Presented in a nice shiny box the microwave was well packaged in polystyrene using minimum packaging. In the box was the following:
*Microwave *Turntable Ring Assembly *Glass tray *Instruction booklet **Basically, all we needed.
The packaging removed and the simple turntable ring and glass tray put into place, all that was required now was a PAT test and then we'd be ready to go.
The Colourmatch Microwave from Argos is a low priced basic microwave. Sold as part of a range of yes you've guessed it colour matched items for the kitchen, the marketing is baised towards the colour match aspect of the machine rather than the usability and product features. However, the microwave does exactly as required, that is to simply heat up and cook items simply and without fuss. The three of us present when we unwrapped the machine were confident that it would do just that.
The specifications are:
*700 Watt Motor
*17 litre Capacity
*Easy Use Timer Dial
Height 25cm Width 44 cm and Depth 36 cm
We placed the turntable ring and plate inside and the machine was ready to plug in and use.
The Apple Green Microwave Outer is entirely green and it is indeed similar to the colour of a Granny Smith Apple. The air vents are at the bottom right. The plastic door has a slightly odd appearance, not beng entirely clear for viewing but incorporating a type of black semi matt shimmery material - a bit like window tint, but partially dotted. The controls are situated on the front right hand side and have a nice easy clean plastic facia. The simple controls comprise of a wattage dial offering 120w (defrost), 230w, 385w, 540w and 700w. The other dial been the easy to follow timer which goes up to 35 minutes. The door is opened by a simple colour matched button positioned below the timer on the control panel. The electric cable is fairly short at around 45cm (guestimate as I have not taken it down to check).
"This is a small yet powerful microwave that is well designed and quite easy to use. We are using it at eye level making it easy to see what's happening as well as putting things in and taking them out. It won't take big containers but it is ideal for a couple or single person. The colour trim is gimmicky and cosmetic - the main thing is the microwave oven and this seems to work very well."
Using the Microwave:
When positioning the Microwave it is essential to ensure there is a gap around it and the leaflet specifies 30 cm gap above and a minimum of 9 cm either side. We tried it with a cup of milk and filled the cup to ¾ position placed it in the middle of the microwave, set the dial to full (700w) and the timer to 1 minute and watched. The milk and cup came out very hot, so we soon learnt that even for a cup of milk a minute was too long. Personally I use it for heating milk to make Slim Fast hot chocolate and for milky coffee as well as for porridge and heating up home-made soup. All of which it does admirably. Other colleagues have used it for ready meals and shop bought soup as well as re-heating cups of coffee. We have had the microwave for about 4 months now and it works well, is easy to use, easy to clean. The microwave heats the foods to the instructions on the packets and does not seem to suffer with any malfunctions or problems at all.
Everything works as it should, the dial for changing the temperature is a little clunky, but that may be due to lack of use - due to it only being 700W we tend to leave it on that setting most of the time. The dials are nice to handle, the door easy to open and shut and the glass plate removes easily for cleaning.
To clean we just wipe up any spills immediately with absorbent paper and wipe it over now and again with multi-purpose cleaner.
The microwave is not too loud, but does make a reassuring humming noise when in use.
Price and Availability:
Only from Argos (stores and on-line) we paid £49.99 in 2013.
We are very happy with our little green machine, at under £50.00 it does exactly what it should, looks so nice that other people comment on it. Indeed, another department have bought a red one!
We are delighted with our lunch time helper.
Thank you for reading and I hope you found it useful.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ Introduction ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
Sadly my old Russell Hobbs microwave decided to give up the ghost (ok I blew him up, but if you read my other reviews of electrical items you will see im not very good with them). I used my old microwave for warming up my 2 year old milk and my fiancé would use it for warming up milk for his coffee, both of which could be easily done with a saucepan so when my Russell Hobbs blew up I decided against buying another one, but for some stupid reason my fiancé told my dad I wanted a new one, so Christmas arrives and guess what's under my parents Christmas tree from my dad........this microwave, im not ungrateful, but as already mentioned we don't really have the need for one, so didn't want him wasting his money. Anyway we have it now, I was very sceptical when I saw the box because we also own the bathroom rug, kitchen sugar, tea and coffee jars from the colour match range and wasn't exactly thrilled so didn't have high hopes for this.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ Whats In The Box? ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * *
*Turntable ring assembly
As you have probably already gathered, no accessories, the no accessories means I cook less food in it.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ The Microwave ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
The microwave is from the 'Colour Match' range which is sold at Argos stores. My dad brought me the jet black to go with my other black kitchen appliances, but its also available in cream, poppy red and apple green. As with other items from the Colour Match range Its very much a no thrills microwave that simply does the job....warming things up. Its few features are:
*Capacity of 17 litres
*35 minutes on the timer
Size, H25, W44, D36 cm.
The microwave arrived in a very basic white box, with minimal detailing, it was secured and packed well with polystyrene sheets. The microwave itself is completely black, the sides and top are metal and feel very strong, there are vents at the bottom of the right hand side. The door is plastic and has a (poor) mirrored effect. On the right hand side is the control panel, it is also plastic but has a different feel to the door, it has a polished feel to it so is easier at hiding finger prints, there are 2 dials on the control panel, the top dial has 5 programmes '120w, 230w, 385w, 540w, 700w'. The 120w is classed as low power, the 230 is classed as medium (defrost), 385w is also medium power with both the 540w and 700w being high power.
The open door button is a large black button under the timer dial on the control panel. At the very back of the microwave is a plug.
The bottom dial is the timer from 0-35mins. The inside is grey and has more vents on both sides. The turntable is 25.5 in diameter.
The microwave being a 17L is on the smaller side. The maximum watts being 700 is also very minimal, my older microwave was might higher at 1000W and so cooked food quicker,
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ Setting up ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
The microwave like any other microwave is very easy to set up, and took less than a minute. You need to place the turntable ring in the centre of the microwave, this is to support the glass plate, the plate has 3 indents on the bottom of it, this needs to be placed onto the turn table ring so that the hub on the bottom of the microwave slots into the bottom of the glass plate holding it in place, then simply plug it into the wall and the microwave will automatically turn on, when doing this you need to ensure there is enough open space at the top and at the sides for the vents. You will require 12inches above the microwave and 3 inches either side of the oven, 1 side must be completely clear.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ In Use ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
When first using the microwave it was very easy, as soon as the microwave was plugged into the wall and turned on at the socket the light inside the microwave came on and the machine was ready to use, this microwave was pretty basic compared to what I was used to using so the instruction booklet came in very handy as this gave specific details on what power to use depending on what I needed it for, for my sons warm milk before bed time I turned the dial to low power (120w) and put it on for 30 seconds, the milk wasn't still pretty cold after the 30 seconds was up so I put it back in for another 30 seconds, once finished I shook the bottle in case their was any heat spots and tested it on the back of my wrist, perfect temperate for him to drink.
I have occasionally used the microwave for things such as microwavable curry's, sticking to the guide lines on the box of the curry, for things like this I used the full 700w, and always selected the correct time according to the box, but the chicken in the curry would always feel a little hard, so ended up putting it back in for another 2-3 minutes. Occasionally I used the microwave for vegetables although I do normally try to use my steamer for these but found the microwave did a good enough job without drying them out.
As soon as the timer and power level is set the microwave will start, and will 'ding' to stop as soon as the time is up, the light will then turn off and the plate stops turning. Half way through the cooking time the microwave will stop and turn the other way.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ Cleaning And Maintenance ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
The microwave should be cleaned regularly, especially if using messy foods or foods that have a strong smell (curry), it also important because the food build up and grease can cause a fire hazard. Personally I clean my microwave after each use to make life a little easier for myself. To clean the inside of the microwave you can use a mild cleaning solution such as washing up liquid and warm water, I rub fairy onto a cloth and wipe it around the inside of the microwave if any curry has splattered inside, to remove any stubborn grease you can use a lemon inside the oven on full power for 10 minutes. For the outside I use the same damp cloth, and vinegar on the door to remove fingerprints.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ My Thoughts? ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
I have now owned this microwave for just over 4 weeks and use it daily for my sons bedtime milk, my fiancé also uses it daily for his caramel coffee drink and we have not yet had any problems with it. Its very different from my old microwave and I certainly wouldn't have purchased this myself. I just don't find the performance all that fantastic, I appreciate it is one of the cheaper microwaves on the market, but I still expected it to perform to a decent-ish level. While its fab for heating our milk I would rather take even longer and use the oven to heat other things. The microwave is designed to heat things quickly so is ideal for people in a rush, and this really doesn't help us in that sense.
The microwave is very easy to use, and was made even easier with the very handy instruction booklet advising on what to be cooked/warmed up on what power, it even gives examples on things I didn't even know a microwave could be used for such as cakes, rice etc, because we only use the microwave for heating milk and the odd microwavable curry so we never explored onto anything else.
Warming up my sons milk is what the microwave is mostly used for so how it performed on this is very important to us, he has a warm milk before bed and will sometimes have warm milk with his chocolate cereal and the microwave warms it to perfect drinking temperate. My eldest used to hate having warm milk that was warmed with a saucepan as I always ended burning it a little causing it to taste a little burnt, I never manage to burn the milk in the microwave.
The microwave is black so the words on the microwave are white, as is the little white mark on the dials so you can clearly what temp/power you are setting it to, I can see these rubbing off after a while, which will make using the microwave hard.
There are no safety features at all with this microwave, most have an auto shut off button, or a child lock.....this has neither, as its hardly used I leave it plugged off at the wall then simply hit the plug when I want to use it, if left plugged into the wall with the power on at the socket, the only thing you need to do to start the microwave is turn the dial, which im not to fond of as my eldest (will be 5 in march) often likes to sit on the sideboard and help with washing up etc.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ Any Negatives? ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
While the microwave does what I need it to, there are a few things im not very happy with. The machine looks very cheap, while it fits into my kitchens colour scheme it looks very basic and cheap.
Because of the very basic features in the microwave the food can sometimes be a little dry, especially with sauces, my last microwave had a sensor within the microwave so the heat/temperature would automatically be adjusted half way through cooking if it needed it, using this microwave means you need to keep a constant eye on what your cooking, due to how it cooks, there can also be a different taste in the food, my fiancé likes these rib things from sainsburys, they are suitable for either microwave cooking or oven cooking, if cooking in the oven they retain their bbq juices, where as the microwave will zap the juices, making them quite dry.
I used it again yesterday to warm some vegetables, the packing suggested 4 minutes....4 minutes later the vegetables were still hard (green beans and carrots), so back in for another 4 minutes, by which point there were dry and tough.
The door is plastic, and sounds very cheap when it is shut, it makes a bit of a clagging bang due to the cheap material its made from, my old microwave door was glass, so was quiet when shut and didn't rattle. Its also pretty noisy when on, my mum cam round for lunch a week ago and thought the noise level was ok, but when comparing it to my older appliance there is a big difference in the noise, you can hear what sounds like hot air being blown into the machine and a constant buzzing sound.
The dials can cause me some real problems, my old microwave was a touch button so I could type in exactly how many minutes and seconds I wanted, where as this microwave has a 2 dials, the power dial is simple to use as it only has 5 settings, but with the timer dial once past the 10 minutes time frame there are very tiny little dots to indicate a minute, so between 10 and 15 minutes you will see 5 dots....the dots are tiny! I have to wear glasses when using the phone, laptop or watching tv.so I now need to use my glasses when using the microwave if im using it for more than 10 minutes, and even then its either over done or under done, to get the dial on the correct minute after 10 is impossible. The digital display is a lot more precise.
The dials are good in size so easy to get a grip of them but they are pretty stiff so are a little difficult to turn.
The food takes quite a while to cook, and will often have to back into the microwave for a few more minutes, this makes me quite paranoid as I like my food piping hot.
The inside is also very small, the overall size of the microwave led me to believe the inside would hold a good size, but its actually very small, the turn table is 25.5 in diameter and there really is no space either side of the turntable to the side of the microwave, so anything bigger than the turntable will stop it turning, my dinner plates are just a little bigger so they don't fit so its impossible to heat a dinner up if I have to leave it on the sides to see to my kids.
The door being very thick cheap plastic means you cannot see through it while its cooking to see how the food is coming along, the argos website advertises the glass door as some sort of observation door, it really isn't, when on and looking through the door you can see a glass panel that is on the inside of the door and you can see a light but you cannot really see the food, even with my glasses on that I only need for reading I still cannot see my food, meaning you have to open the door to check on it.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ Overall Thoughts ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
My dad paid £49.99 and its currently on sale for £54.99, its also currently on part of the 3 for 2 offer with other colour match items meaning you can get your moneys worth if buying another 2 higher priced items from this range, while I find £50 is very cheap for a microwave I find this VERY basic, and I would never have brought this, if it was my money I would have spent more money for more features, and not just features, but simple little things, like a looking expensive rather than cheap, glass rather than plastic etc.
Its very small in size and is more ideal for a single person, or ideal for those people who don't mind having to check your food every 5 minutes.
Value for money has to be pretty pants in my opinion, save your money and buy something decent, we hardly use ours (except for the milk) and ive already had enough of it.