“ Brand: Cookworks / Type: Microwave Oven „
When our lovely Sharp microwave died a slow and painful death just before Christmas we mourned its untimely end after 6 years of loyal service. The microwave had worked like a treat and was a cool stainless steel look that fitted in well with our kitchen. When we started to look around for a new one, a few black ones stood out. As out appliances are all either stainless steel or black we wanted one to match.
We narrowed our search down to 2 out of the Argos catalogue and the Cookworks SMB177C7B-P just won on price as around £38.00. It stated it was a 700W which was the same as our last one and was quite compact as just 450 mm x 260 mm and just 340 mm deep. In our tiny kitchen this seemed to be ideal to save a little space.
We purchased the microwave from Argos and was astounded by the size of the box. The box was that bog that we did double check we had received the correct microwave. When we opened the box up at home we realised that it was full of packaging and the small microwave was hidden inside.
The microwave is a glossy black with 2 knobs, one for the heat setting and one for the timer. The door had a viewing window and inside was a decent sized turntable with a glass plate. The heat dial has 5 settings from low up to high and the timer goes from 1 minute to over an hour.
When we first used the microwave we did notice that it is very small inside but it was only advertsised as 17 litres capacity so it is what is to be expected. It wasn't till we tried to put in one of our larger dinner plates...which is by no means huge that we realised how very small the capacity was. The plate would just about fit in but touched either sides so the turntable would not move. Then a glass pirex jug was too tall for the microwave so we had to bu another one. It really does seem a very small 17 litres!
Other problems we have encountered is that the apparent 700W doesn't cook things as quick as out last microwave which was a 700W as well. I am pretty sure that the wattage is lower than advertised or that the heat dial is incorrect. The Medium High setting seems to take the same amount of time as the high setting!
The timer dial is also out and acts very randomly. We have actually tested it and we turned it to 5 minutes and the first time it took 6 and half minutes and the second time just 4 minutes. We had made sure the dial was in exactly the same position so this just shows how the dials are wrong.
I know it is only a cheap microwave but for nearly £40 I would expect much better!
When Mr Lools and I moved to our new house almost a year ago we decided to upgrade all our old appliances to matching black ones to coordinate with the new kitchen. This meant upgrading our old trusty microwave that we had owned for over 6 years and bought from Tesco for the bargain price of £20. We were quite specific that we wanted a black microwave, a one that was reasonably compact but didn't cost a fortune as we were on a budget which is how we came by the Cookworks SMB177C7B-P Solo Microwave Black.
***Cookworks SMB177C7B-P Solo Microwave Black***
This microwave is also available in silver and white but we obviously only wanted a black microwave so this colour was the only one we would consider. The Cookworks Solo is a 17 litre microwave with a power wattage of 700W and has a shiny black gloss exterior. This is a manual controlled microwave with five power settings which include low, defrost, medium low, medium, medium high and high. The microwave has a 24.5cm diameter rotating turntable.
The microwave is reasonably compact with dimensions of 26cm high, 45cm wide and 33.5cm deep. The weight of the microwave is 10.5kg.
The Cookworks SMB177C7B-P Solo Microwave Black is available from a number of retailers including Argos, Amazon and Tesco. We purchased this for £44.99 from Argos. Although this is not the cheapest microwave you can purchase it is one of the cheaper black microwaves that you can purchase. When browsing for a black microwave we found that the average price was around the £70 mark.
The microwave comes in a large box with lots of polystyrene and cellophane. Once you have unwrapped the microwave (which takes around 5 minutes) it is simply a case of placing the turntable rest into the microwave, placing the plate on top and then plugging in. The location where we had chosen for this freestanding microwave to go on our bench was in front of the plug socket but I did notice that the cable was less than 1 m long therefore you if you are restricted by the location of your plug sockets you may find this an issue.
Being honest I'm not a big microwave cook as I tend to cook meals from scratch. However for my boys I do batch cook and freeze meals heating them up in the microwave to ensure they get a wide variation of healthy meals, as it is not possible to look after two toddlers and whilst cooking a full meal for them (i.e. lasagne, curries etc.) every lunch and teatime. Mr Lools is less of an accomplished cook and often will opt for a microwavable ready meal if he is left to feed himself. Therefore the majority of the microwave use is for food for my boys.
The microwave is operated with two manual dials. One which is turned to one of the 5 different heat settings and one which has a time dial which comes from 0 minutes to 30 minutes. This dial is slightly confusing. From 0-10 minutes the numbers are displayed with their own set point. After 10 the next interval shown is between 10-15 minutes, 15-20 minutes, 25-25 minutes and then 25-30 minutes. The space on the dial between the 5 minute intervals is the same as between the 0-10 1 minute intervals. The numbers and writing on the dials are white which show up well against the black background and after 11 months of use have not started wearing off.
The microwave is opened by pressing a large button at the bottom right hand side of the door. This is quite stiff to press and I do find that the door opens at some force therefore not a good idea to have your face in the way as Mr Lools learnt quite early into use.
Inside the microwave there is a white track and a glass plate which sits on top of the track. You do need to line these parts of the microwave up and ensure the plate in slotted into the centre of the base of the microwave. If you do not do this properly the plate will fall off during cooking. On a number of occasions I have found the plate has slipped off or not been in place properly. A light goes on inside of the microwave when cooking. Once the timer has ran out the microwave makes a loud clear ping and this light goes off. You can open the door through a cycle but if you shut the door and have not turned the dial back to 0 the microwave will continue to operate.
The microwave is a 17 litre microwave so slightly smaller than the standard microwave. On the bench this does look compact but I have found height wise inside the microwave there is slightly less space than the standard microwave and some foods (i.e packets of rice) catch the top of the microwave. Mr Lools has also commented the microwave is not the widest and he has struggled to fit two small ready meal dishes inside and cook together.
I mainly only ever use the high setting to cook food in the microwave. This cooks food on the 700W setting. This included a variety of dishes but mainly to cook frozen batch home cooked meals. In these small pots it takes 3 minutes, then a stir then a further 2 minutes, then I allow them to cool (because they are piping hot) before I serve them to my boys. This is something I was quite content with however after spending some time at my mums and using her 800W microwave to heat these up I found they would take 1 minute less. Obviously not a major time difference but it you were cooking a number of items the Cookworks Solo Microwave may take a lot longer than other microwaves to do so. I do find that these dishes when using the Cookworks Microwave are heated up evenly and you do not get hot or cold pockets. My old microwave was terrible for extremely hot pockets then leaving food still frozen.
I do not regularly defrost items in my microwave in particular meat as I was put off by that in my old microwave I tried this and because the chicken started turning white and cooking because of the uneven heat distribution. I have used the Cookworks Solo to do this once for two chicken breasts for Mr Lools and I when it was essential and I did find the microwave defrosted this fully and evenly without the chicken turning white or starting to cook.
The main issue that I have with this microwave is the time accuracy of the manual controls. Obviously I understand that a manual controlled microwave will not be to the second as a digital microwave will be but my old microwave when put to the minute setting on the dial cooked for around 55-58 seconds. With the Cookworks Solo Mr Lools and I tested this using our digital timer on our oven. Setting the timer to the 1 minute mark the microwave only cooked for 47 seconds. I feel 13 seconds difference is quite a lot therefore if I want to cook something I find myself putting the dial slightly over the time I need to cook for to ensure the food is thoroughly cooked.
The microwave is very easy to keep clean. You can take the turntable rest and plate out of the microwave for easy cleaning. Even when Mr Lools has left food splattered up the inside of the microwave and I find this hardened on to the sides of it, with a bit of elbow grease I can get this food off and the inside looks as new again. The main issue is this being a black gloss appliance therefore the exterior is the hardest thing to keep clean. You do find a number of smears on and finger prints (which are very apparent) around the dials, around the push button and on the microwave door.
This is quite a basic microwave but feel the black gloss exterior was the reason it was priced over the £45 mark. Especially as both the white and silver models of this microwave are being sold for £25 on Amazon.
This is not a bad microwave it has a range power settings and food is cooked thoroughly. However the downside to the microwave are that it is only a 700W microwave therefore takes longer to cook food than many other microwaves. Secondly the manual dial makes it less accurate especially as the time dial does not give an accurate reflection of how long your food is cooking for.
Not brilliant but not bad either!
Short name: Cookworks SMB177C7B