I bought myself the Solardom as I liked the newness of the technology. It was brilliant for almost three years, then it stopped heating up. Aparently the light bulb is broken, and this can not be sourced for anything less than the cost of a new microwave!
While it worked, it worked very well. Reheating pizza took a minute and was just like in an oven. Roasts came out perfect. Crackling was crackling, and not soft. Combination cooking cut time dramatically, always under half the normal time.
It also worked up to 250 degrees for the first part of cooking a roast, and as low as 40 degrees for merangues.
But now it does not work anymore, and it can not be fixed within any usefull price range.
So I am off to buy something else.
Not an LG as I am now very annoyed with the company.
I was so happy with the machine, but their after sales have let me down completely.
This is the most wonderful oven I have ever owned - I never want anything else. I am a part-time caterer and so the round interior means that there is no dish in my house that cannot fit in it - even the largest Pyrex casseroles. I have three friends who desperately want one having seen mine in use - nonstop. Boiling the milk for one cup of cocoa or making a pasta bake for 15 people - this is the thing. It is, quite simply, fantastic!
It has been reliable - now nearly 3 years old and it is probably used 10 times a day - if not more. The various programmes can take a while to get your head around - but with a bit of thought using the recipe book for something similar - there is nothing that isn't now cooked in far lass time - yet no one could tell it was not done conventionally.
And, if you want a fan convection oven - this is the thing!
Jacket potatoes to die for - proper crunchy skins in less than 15 minutes for one!
As a general rule in our house, all the kitchen related stuff is left to my wife. Not because I'm a male chauvinist but because she's a great cook.
But recently our microwave oven stopped working so we bought a new one and suddenly I've taken an interest in cooking. The reason?
Well the reason is that we chose the innovative LG SolarDom Microwave Oven as a replacement
Calling it a microwave oven doesn't do it justice. This high-tech appliance is also a grill and a fan assisted convection oven.
Okay so combination ovens aren't new but this is not like any other combination oven.
For starters, in addition to the normal method of heating an oven (i.e. passing an electric current through a filament to produce heat) this oven also produces heat by using Halogen bulbs.
There are a number of advantages to this. The most important being that you do not need to preheat it. You switch it on and there's virtual instant heat. But that's not all. This also means that cooking times are up to 4 times faster. But wait that's still not all. It also means that there's a 50% saving in energy when compared to conventional ovens. By using a combination of heating methods it also means that the different heat energies penetrate to different depths thus ensuring a more even distribution of heat.
To get an idea of how much quicker this oven can be, a roast chicken would normally take about 1½ hours to cook. In the SolarDom it takes about ½ hour (i.e. 3 times faster). A pizza would normally take about 25 minutes in a conventional oven but just 6 minutes in the SolarDom.
The marketing material states that because the heating is so intensive, the food cooks quicker and retains more of its moisture. At the time I thought that this was just a bit of spin put in there by the marketing people but in practice the food does indeed come out more succulent. Lamb steaks for instance used to come out of my old gas oven extremely dry and rather tough but in the SolarDom they come out nicely cooked but still tender. I no longer need my steak knife to cut it.
Using it is dead easy. You select Microware, Grill or Oven, spin a dial to select the temperature press 'enter' and the spin the same dial to select the cooking time and press start. The time initially increments in seconds, then 10s of seconds then 30 second intervals, 1 minute and finally 5 minute intervals. Whilst cooking the dial can be used to increase of decrease the remaining time. There are a number of preset recipes programmed into it and it's simply a matter of selecting the appropriate one before pressing the start button. When cooking is finished, a gentle beep sound is produced every minute or so until the door has been opened and closed. The fan also keeps running in order to slowly cool the oven down.
For more advanced operation, the oven can be programmed to use a comination of heating methods eg. microwave + halaogen or normal heating + halogen. It is in these modes that cooking time can be dramatically reduced.
Inside is pretty neat as well. For starters, the door opens downwards instead of left to right or right to left. Its also got a window on it so you can see you food cooking and make small adjustments to the cooking time without having to open the door.
When you do open the door you see a huge concave cavity where the turn-table is and on top of the turn table are two grills; a higher one used for grilling and a lower one used for everything else, Both grills can be removed. Now, hang on, traditional microwave ovens have glass turntables because putting metal into a microwave is a big no-no. Yet on top of the metal turntable sit two metal grills. Don't ask me how they do it but it seems that this microwave oven can allow certain metals inside even when being used as a microwave. You get none of the sparks that you would normally get when you put metal into a microwave.
Because the interior is curved, there is a surprising amount of space in it. We can place 2 plates side by side when cooking but that's not all. Because of the two level grill design we can actually place 4 plates inside. Obviously this is no good when grilling but in conventional oven mode this is great. The curved walls also make it much easier to clean as there are no corners for splashes of fat and food to get into.
The grill has three heat settings and because the turntable spins, you get an even grilling of food. The grill function can also be combined with the halogen lights for even faster grilling/browning.
There's also 3 defrost settings, a built in clock and it's actually rather nice to look at with silver walls and a glass door.
In terms of specifications the Microwave is 900W, the standard convection oven is 1900W and when using the Light Oven which also acts as a grill its 2700W. These seem high initially but remember, the food cooks quicker so the end result is that there is a reduction in the overall energy usage. The oven itself is about the same size as a normal microwave (39H x 57W x48D).
In our house we mostly used our gas oven for cooking and used the microwave mostly for quickly reheating left overs. But with the SolarDom, the gas oven has been relegated to simply storing a few frying pans and now everything is done in the SolarDom. Theres a huge difference now with results of my cooking. My food now comes out of the oven actually looking like the pictures on the packaging and in the recipe books and I've managed to catch up a little with my wife in terms of quality on the rare occasions when its my turn to cook.
I would recommend this oven to anyone considering a replacement or even as a second oven if you have the space in your kitchen.
thanks for taking the time to read this.
After nearly 2 years of use I had my first problem with the oven.
One of the 2 halogen bulbs used for heating the oven in conventional mode went just before Christmas. The oven doesn't function with the single remaining bulb and indeed using the oven causes the fuse in the plug to blow. So for the last few weeks I've been using the oven in microwave mode only.
The bulbs cost £30 each to replace + £8 delivery but the company I order the bulb from has yet to take my money. I presume that they are unable to get hold of a replacement bulb.
It means that I am now without a decent oven and have had to revert back to my old gas oven. LG have yet to respond to my emails for assistance and their phone line is always engaged.
At this moment I would be inclined to advise people NOT to purchase the oven as the after sales service is close to non-existent.
Regarding the comment from Susan Hayes. I did as she suggested.
Thank you Susan.
I tried that number. It's Comets spare parts 'hot line'. The price they have quoted is actually £115.18. You were off by exactly £100
You clearly work for LG and are only interested putting a positive marketing spin on the product.
As it happens I've mangaged to secure one for £38 inc vat and delivery but even so it's an expensive part for a product that is so dependant on it.
My latest problem is that the rubber feet that attach to the end of the chrome grill have started to burn. The result is that the chrome legs on the grill touch the metal turntable and ini microwave mode I see sparks flying about. This is very disconcerting and I'm expecting the microwave to blow up any day now. Knowing my luck it will happen on Christmas Day.
Once again I DO NOT recommend this product because of the potentially high after sales maintenance required and other problems that occur after continued use.
My first microwave oven (a Panasonic) lasted over 10 years with it working absolutely fine until the day it died. The LG SolarDom showed its first problems 24 months after I bought it and seems to be getting worse. Its also gotten noiser with thee turntable sticking at times.
Short name: LG MP9482S