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So I found myself needing a new microwave as the old one had come to the end of its life; I'm not one for the value range machines as I always doubt that they will last longer than five minutes so I decided to have a look in Argos. As I have chrome and black items such as kettle and toaster it had to be a black or silver microwave and this Cookworks one at £46.99 with a four star rating looked like it would do the trick.
The door and the unit is silver in colour and the inside lined with white (showing up the dirt really well especially from exploding beans) with a glass door and glass spinning plate. The unit has 15 buttons and a display which shows the time digitally, the door opens with a handle rather than a push button which some have.
The power of the microwave is 700 watts which is on the lower end of the scale when it comes to cooking food which means that food will need to be in about 10 seconds or more longer. Most times are estimated for 750w 850w etc for burgers and ready meals but common sense usually works unless you are unfamiliar with the microwave.
The microwave has a capacity of 17 litres and as you are all aware all chickens come in litres so you will easily be able to measure this (yeah right). I'd rather the measurements be like anything else in terms of cm for width and height so I know my plates are going to fit in, after all Argos is not the time of place you can just nip down to and pop a plate in for measurements. It is a little awkward for my largest plates as the description in the Argos catalogue does not allow for the larger metal vent inside which reduces the width slightly.
The external measurements are in the usual cm and the diameters are H26 x W43 x D33cm and the turntable is 24.7cm (at least with that knowledge I can ensure my dinner plate is this or smaller for efficient heating).
The machine weighs 10.7kg which is a fair weight if trying to carry the item to the car as the boxes are always really bulky and awkward, however, on the kitchen worktop it doesn't cause me any issues.
Within my kitchen the unit fits in well under my cabinets by the window and blends with the cooker etc. It has a child safety lock which I presume may be good if you have inquisitive minds and wandering hands in your kitchen.
The microwave in total has 5 power levels which go from 20 up to 100 in increments of 20 designed to defrost or cook certain items more delicately. There is a defrost option which is handy when getting the chicken out last minute after being at work or just forgetting. There are also 9 other programmes but if I'm honest I just set a time according to steamed rice packs, burgers or ready meals so have no use for most of it (like the level 5 setting of a toaster).
I would recommend this to anyone needing a microwave to do what a microwave should and that is cooking food whilst not looking too cheap.
This microwave comes from cookworks a company I had never heard of I bought this in Argos a few months ago for £40 and so far it's working fine. It's only a 700 watt oven so that means if something has instructions to be cooked in a 1000. Watt oven then you will need to make adjustments to the cooking time. Most ready meals have instructions for 750 watt so it's not too hard.
This is an all White appliance the door has blacked glass that when the food is cooking or heating the internal light makes the glass see through. There is a small led screen that counts down the time and the controls are all buttons there are no dials on this model.
There is a convent child lock to prevent accidents. The size of this microwave is a little smaller than some it's a 17 litter capacity I find this a little too small as not all plates will fit into it. There are 9 set programs although I don't use them I go by the instructions on the packaging as the times I did use them the food was either still frozen or incredibly hot.
The actual size of the unit is H25.8 W43.3 D32.8cm this means it won't take over your kitchen.
Microwaves those strange machines which we all have bit none of know how they work but do you remember when they were the wonder toy of the modern kitchen, I can remember the excitement of getting our first microwave and the amazement of being able to cook a potato in 8 minutes, and of course the ubiquitious 3 minute sponge pudding. Indeed I have a cookbook just for microwave food and the wonders you can create in a microwave safe dish. Anyway that was then and this is now, microwaves back in the day were so large you could easily mistake them for washing machines but now we have little delicate machines which sit on top of fridges, kitchen tops and are used nearly every day.
We had a microwave but the timer started to fail and it refused to automatically turn off so you had to be present to open the door and switch off the microwave, we had and have a steriliser for babies bottles and I had put the steriliser in the machine and switched it on for 3 minutes but then completely forgot about and managed to melt the steriliser, of which the plastic went under the glass circle and fuse with the rotor making the machine unusable. Not the best idea when you have a six month old baby whose bottles have to be sterilised every day so I bought a replacement steriliser and took the replacement into the shop and made sure it fitted into the new microwave. Hence I bought the cookworks light touch microwave for around £50, it was reduced from £90.
The microwave is silver and has a black frosted front, on the right hand side are the buttons for setting the microwave and is pretty straightforward. There is a button for time, power, and a set of programmes for specific food types. However, does anyone ever use those programmes? Anyway the microwave is very straightforward, set it for full power or defrost, don't think I've ever used any other power setting and press the button to begin. The power automatically gives you a minute but you can keep adding minutes by pressing the time button, you can of course set the time before starting the microwave and that works in the same manner.
The microwave does have a couple of issues, firstly it is only 700 watts so it takes a bit longer to cook everything but hey it takes an extra minute to warm up your left over bolognese so what? The other issue is the lightness of the microwave meaning pressing the button pushes the microwave backwards so its best if you have the microwave with its back to a wall. There aren't many other problems with the microwave and for the price is a decent serviceable and increasingly essential piece of kitchenalia. I'm not sure how we'd survive without a microwave, I mean we'd have to make porridge in a pan and scrambled eggs only take 2 minutes, oh the ease and laziness!!
In a nutshell, the Cookworks Silver Touch is a relatively basic microwave, which I have found to be pretty affordable, reliable, easy to use, and capable of doing the job that a basic microwave should. Here's some more detail on the key points...
<<< Power >>>
The power output is 700 watts, which means slightly longer waiting times and often less predictable results. If you're a fan of ready meals, for example, you'll realise that there are rarely cooking times published on the packaging for this power output now; this means you will have to overestimate the time taken to cook or defrost pre-packaged food, and always err on the side of caution, especially when it comes to things like chicken and fish!
<<< Capacity >>>
The space inside this unit, as with many microwaves, is advertised in terms of its capacity in litres. Personally I feel this is an inadequate measurement, as what we really need to know is what can fit into the microwave and still have sufficient space to turn and heat properly. For example, the Cookworks Silver Touch has a 17 litre capacity, which sounds quite impressive at first, but what does this actually translate to? Well, this unit will accommodate most plates, bowls and Tupperware containers easily, but struggles with dinner plates. The internal shape means that there is space for a dinner plate to fit and rotate freely on the carousel, however the doorway and vents inside mean that in order to actually get the plate into the microwave, I have to tilt quite a bit, then lower it down, and the same applies when removing the plate after heating. This would be fine if the plate were empty, but I'm not into microwaving empty plates; mine usually have food on them, and this introduces the problems of sliding, dripping, mess, and in the case of my very first test of the microwave, massive spillages.
<<< Quality >>>
The silver finish on this microwave means it doesn't look as basic and reasonably priced as it is. It's quite a sleek and nicely designed unit which fits in well in our kitchen. It's solid enough, and although it feels a little lightweight and flimsy when opening and closing the door, it's perfectly acceptable for the price.
<<< Usage >>>
I personally use the microwave each week, but probably not on a daily basis. It's occasionally used for ready meals, and as I am partial to a chilled chicken tikka masala or two, I make sure to overestimate the cooking times a little as described above. My main use for the unit is defrosting (usually either bread for sandwiches or meat for cooking with) or to reheat meals and sauces. For all of these uses I have found the Cookworks Silver Touch to be effective and adequate to my needs/
<<< Cost >>>
At around £85 - £95, the Cookworks Silver Touch is pretty reasonably priced for what it does. Despite a few minor grumbles I have found it suitable for all my needs, effective, and totally reliable up to this point.
<<< Overall >>>
Although I have highlighted a few negative points, I feel the microwave is of decent quality and ideal for my needs at this price. It does what it needs to effectively and affordably, and that is what matters.