Microwaves have always been a no brainer approach to cooking. Open the door, pop something in, push a button and wait a minute. It sounds simple - and so it should be. This microwave however tries to do a bit too much. It has a specialist programme for every type of food you can imagine. Cooking has never been easier ... or has it?
In reality, this is an incredible nuisance. If you want a pack of microwave chips it takes more time to look up the proper codes than to just fry your own. Theoretically you enter the correct code, then enter the weight of the food on the dial and the microwave will cook the food for the optimum amount of time. I spent an hour trying to figure out how to make a package of microwave chips when we first got this. Then the book went in the bin and I resorted to using the 30 second quick heat button and just pushing it a dozen times if I needed 6 minutes. Not only does it work - it works very well. This is a cracker of a little microwave and worth far more than its £48 price tag if you can just get past the silly buttons.
The kenwood k20mss10 has a round dial and five programme buttons. The dial is to set the weight of whatever is to be to be cooked or defrosted. There is no automatic weight sensor for this machine. The buttons are as follows, from the top down microwave - this is where your code should go in theoretically, but only give options of 10 - 100. Awkward when the required code is A-7. Next comes defrost by weight - again requiring you to use the weight dial, clock set, stop and 30 second quick heat. On the odd occasion I use defrost, but the vast majority of the time I use only 30 second start and stop. An option to just heat by minutes would have been very helpful on this microwave.
But once past the issue with the buttons - I really like this microwave. It isn't the largest. It has a 20 litre capacity - which means nothing to me - but it fits a standard dinner plate which is the largest item I would normally place in the microwave. The only problem we have ever had with size is that bags of microwave popcorn can stuck going around. But in general, the size suits us. The exterior dimensions are as follows :25.76 Hx 43.95 W x 35.5 D cm measurements pinched from Curry's as my sons have lost the tape measure again. This fits nicely on my kitchen worktop, and is ideal as we have limited space.
The exterior is an easy to keep clean stainless steel, but the interior is brilliant. I'm not sure what it is. I have read that it is an enamel or ceramic, but whatever it should be called - it's lovely. It is grey, but thicker than paint and super non stick. This means any accidents wipe up with ease. It also means I should not experience another nightmare with rust like my last microwave.
As to noise - I think this is relatively quiet for a microwave, and it has a simple ding when the timer is done. This does not seem like a major issue, but after my previous microwave with an ear splitting fire alarm type scream every time it we off that would not stop beeping until the door was opened, this is a real plus for item.
But the real selling point is - does this perform it's intended function, which is to heat well? The answer is yes. This does a grand job at heating foods evenly with no dried out rubbery bits or cold spots. Our primary use for the microwave is to reheat left overs, make microwave chips or popcorn for the kids or the occasional microwave ready meal. I can't say as like ready meals - no matter how you cook them. But they come out evenly cooked in a reasonable time frame. Microwave chips heat quickly and the popcorn does come out OK, despite getting stuck with the bag not turning at times. I don't know why, but a cup of hot water from a kettle does seem to make a better cup of tea. But in a pinch, this will heat an average mug with water to a proper tea drinking temperature in 90 seconds.
As to energy rating - I am unable to find an energy rating for this. I understand that it is 800 watts, which puts it at mid range for this type of device, but confusingly, Curry's website lists this as 800 watts, but then on the same page says it can provide 850 watts of heat for quick heating. I do not know if this is an error on the website, or if perhaps the quick heat function uses more wattage. I noticed no change in electric bill when we changed microwaves, but my last microwave was the same wattage. I do believe that lower wattage microwaves take longer to heat anyway, so it is doubtful that you save any money by using a lower wattage model.
If you are interested in this microwave, I believe I purchased mine at Currys on special at £49.99 It is currently 54.99. I would always advise buyers to shop around for the best possible price, but do take a look at Curry's site as they have a number of good photos showing the interior and various views.
All in all, I really like this microwave. I would have knocked a star off for the silly issue with buttons, but the wonderful no stick interior makes up for it. Perhaps someone a bit smarter than I would figure out how to work this and enjoy all these settings, but this is a basic budget model. I believe most consumers buying this would prefer simple and easy to operate. The whole idea of microwaved food is quick and no hassle. Kenwood is definitely on to a winner with this little gem - but if their product developers were reading this I would say - next time don't try to be such a smarty pants. Sometimes simple is best. Get rid of the dials and programmes and give us a simple option to select the desired amount of minutes and nuke away.
The Kenwood K20MSS10 Microwave Oven might skimp in size, but it packs in a lot of cooking power, whether you're cooking or reheating / This stainless steel microwave oven hosts a 20-litre capacity and boasts 800 watts of power, to reward you with nutritious and delicious food every time! Compact but powerful, the Kenwood K20MSS10 Microwave Oven has a 20-litre capacity and is less than 45 cm wide / This stainless steel microwave oven looks fantastic and has 850 watts of power for rapid cooking or reheating / The digital control panel offers a choice of 5 power levels and includes several auto-cook programmes / Short name: Kenwood K20MSS10