I have a number of red kitchen appliances at home which I have been buying for the past couple of years whenever I've needed to replace or upgrade but have always made do with cheap, white microwaves which, in my opinion, kind of spoil the overall effect I was wanting to achieve in my kitchen. My last microwave was a panic buy when my old one conked out mid way through sterilising my baby son's bottles so I had no time to be selective and pretty much went after the first one I saw that was cheap, it was a basic Tesco microwave which cost me a just over £30 and has been fine to use but it's white and not what I really wanted.
I've had my eye on this red Morphy Richards microwave for some time now, it's the same brand as my toaster and the same colour as my kettle and George Foreman grill and I knew that it would look perfect in my kitchen so when the opportunity arose for me to get my hands on one thanks to Argos's recent January sale I took the plunge and ordered one. At £55.00 rather than £69.00 I thought it was a good price and I had some Christmas money that I could put towards buying it so I figured that it didn't really cost me anything and would be the last thing I wanted for my kitchen. Delivery took a couple of days and the microwave was well packaged in its cardboard box, an instruction booklet was included and other than having to put the glass turntable in position on the circular runner it was pretty much good to plug in and use, so has it lived up to my expectations?
It's a 20 litre, touch button microwave which is predominately black in colour but has red accents running along the top and bottom of its front. There are 10 power levels, a 99 minute timer and has an 800 watt power output which I think is good for a modern microwave and certainly a lot more powerful than my cheap Tesco one. There are a number of options for cooking on the right hand side of the front, here you can select the power level and cooking timer, there is a clearly defined numerical keypad and a start and cancel buttons. Being a touch microwave there are no dials to this model and whilst it looked a bit complicated the first time I saw it compared to my other basic one it didn't take me long to figure out how to use it and what the various functions could offer me.
I'm not terribly ambitious when it comes to microwave cooking and only ever use it for the most basic of things; sterilising bottles, warming milk up for my son and cooking through and re-heating meals for myself are pretty much all I use a microwave for so there are some functions that this offers that I don't use. It has a couple of defrost settings that that may come in handy for some people but these are wasted on me but on the other hand there are some features that I do like such as the ability to set the timer at a single push of a button. If you're wanting to warm something up for a minute then you can simply press the '1' button, 2 minutes you press the '2' button and so on, if you need to set the microwave for a specific minute and second time then you simply press the buttons you need and press start. It's as intuitive as they come really and I have to say that Morphy Richards have put together quite a good little machine here that not only looks stylish but offers a great deal for the money.
The touch pad is excellent although there are times when you might need to press a button again for it to register, I don't know whether in time it will be become less responsive but at the moment it's fine and I do use my microwave quite a lot at the moment with my son wanting his milk warming and the constant sterilising of his bottles. Unlike my cheaper Tesco microwave there are no issues with condensation forming on the outer edge of the machine and despite it being mainly black in colour it is very easy to keep clean and there are never any issues with fingerprints or smudges spoiling its appearance. Admittedly I bought mine for how it looks more than anything and it does match the other appliances I have in my kitchen, it is part of the 'accents' range and although there isn't a lot of red on the microwave it fits in great and I do like it.
I find it easy to use, it's responsive and I think it looks very stylish, the 800 watt power means that cooking time is shorter than it used to be with my old, less powerful microwave and overall I have been very impressed with my purchase. I have mine sat in front of a plug socket but would say that the mains cable is generous so finding a place for it to sit in a kitchen shouldn't be too problematic. I like the quick settings for when I need to warm up my son's milk and the 5 beep alarm alerts me to when things are ready to take out, there's a clock on the microwave which is a nice addition I think even if it is only a 12 hour clock rather than 24 and the display is easy to see and read. For £55.00 I consider it to be a great buy and other than a slight niggling concern that the keypad might lose its responsiveness over time I have no criticisms with it overall and would definitely recommend it to others particularly if they already have some of the other appliances in the same range. The red colouring is a deep red rather than anything too garish and I like the touch of colour it brings to what would ordinarily be a bog-standard kitchen appliance.
I'm awarding 4 stars as a rating here, it would have been 5 but I do think that they keypad concern might be something that I need to keep an eye on, I do use my microwave a lot though so those who don't rely on one quite as much as me might not notice any issues. Definitely recommend though especially at £55.00 as it currently retails for at Argos, thanks for reading my review.
*~*Introduction and reason for purchase*~*
Last year I helped my best friend out with child care as her child minder let her down last minute. I didn't mind in the least as I've known my friend's little girl since she was born and was happy to help but my friend was adamant on trying to pay me. When I kept declining she 'threatened' she would get me something in return. Around a week before my birthday in November my microwave decided to blow up (well not literally but near enough) and in conversation with my friend I mentioned I was going to look for a red coloured one to match the majority of my kitchen decor. On my birthday my friend turned up with a huge box and no prizes for guessing what was inside - a red microwave! To be specific a Morphy Richards EM820CPTF-PM Solo Touch microwave.
The microwave is actually predominantly black in colour with just a hint of red in the form of two strips across the front of the door and the side panelling. The black parts of the microwave are all in a matte finish whereas the red strips on the front are made from a shiny material and whilst the red isn't a bright red, it stands out due to the sheen making the whole appearance of this machine very eye catching and attractive.
Down the right hand side adjacent to the door is the 'control panel' which features the settings and a large digital 24 hr clock right at the top.
Underneath this are the various setting buttons in rows of 3 which are:
*Time Cook, Time Defrost, Weight Defrost
*Power, Clock, Alarm
*Popcorn, Potato, Pizza
*Frozen Vegetable, Beverage, Dinner Plate
*Numbers 1 to 9
*Stop/ Cancel, Timer, Start
Directly underneath is a manual press button to release the door to open.
*~*Specifications & Settings*~*
*Whilst this review is written by me the specifications are courtesy of the instruction manual which came enclosed and similarly they can also be found on the Argos website*
The microwave measures:
Height: 26 cm
Width: 43 cm
Depth: 33 cm
Weight: 11.5 kg
The microwave has a power input of 800 watts and has a capacity of 20 litres.
Other features include:
*10 power levels
*99 minute timer
*Child safety lock
*24.5 cm rotating glass turntable
*~*Price, packaging & availability*~*
As this was a gift I was still aware of the price as my friend gave me the receipt in case I needed to return it if faulty and at the time of her purchasing it in late November 2011 it cost £69.99. A recent search tells me that this can now be picked up for £72.99 and is available seemingly only from Argos as I can't seem to find it anywhere else so is probably just an exclusive line to them (though I'm only hazarding a guess there).
This microwave came in a reasonably sturdy cardboard box though not as thick as I would have expected. Although the microwave itself seemed adequately packaged within in a thick wedge of polystyrene I don't think it would have sufficed enough had the box been dropped or even knocked. Luckily everything was in good condition and the glass turntable plate comes packaged separately to the microwave and both were thickly encased in a combination of polystyrene and thick card.
*~*Setting the microwave up*~*
There isn't much physical setting up required as there is only the turntable to install, which as with the majority (though not all) of microwaves is easily removable to clean as well as to 'install' by placing in the centre of the designated ridges normally accompanying the circular disc underneath.
Although I didn't set the clock up myself - leaving it for my husband as he likes 'tampering' and setting new appliances up - I have had to reset it recently when a power cut called for this. A very simple procedure of simply pressing the hour button to the correct time along with then the minutes - voila.
*~*My experience of using the microwave and my own thoughts on the appliance*~*
I'd had a few microwaves in mind as I knew that my old was on it's last legs before it's demise. Having seen a nice looking red one online I was less than enthused when I saw it up close in store as it looked far too bright and slightly cheap despite the hefty price tag. I was looking for something simple - I didn't need one with a built in convection oven or grill and wasn't interested in something that was all singing and dancing just a plain and simple to work microwave that looked pretty as shallow as that sounds.
My kitchen is predominantly painted white, with a large wall with white tiles but with red grout so I knew that I could get away with either a microwave in white, red or even black as some of my appliances are this colour. When I opened this box on my birthday I was not only surprised at how thoughtful and kind she was but extremely pleased with her choice as it really is a stylish looking piece of equipment.
The microwave manual that was enclosed was easy to read though as with the clock I left this to my husband though I did flick through it myself and found the instructions to be clear, precise and easy to understand.
On first using this I was surprised at how small the capacity actually was as I've always had 'regular family size' microwaves in the past so found that certain pyrex dishes I used in older machines simply wouldn't fit in this new machine. Although it was a pain at having to buy some new dishes that could accommodate this smaller sized microwave it certainly wasn't the end of the world and I have since got used to using smaller sized dishes when cooking. I rely on my microwave more than I thought as I went a whole week when my old one broke to getting this new one from my friend so I was eager to take the best possible care of it by making sure I wipe it down inside after each 'messy' use and 5 months later it is still in fine working condition.
*~*Would I recommend this to others?*~*
Aesthetically this is wonderful - it's sleek and sexy in bold black and shiny red veneer and is the focal point in my kitchen. If I hadn't have been given this as a gift then I probably would have considered this though it wouldn't have necessarily have been my number one choice for the following reasons:
All the buttons here are touch sensitive and whilst they look attractive they are not really very practical as I have pressed a particular setting on many occasion only to find that it hasn't activated so I've had to do it again which may not sound much but can get annoying. I'm not a great fan of anything touch screen/ buttons related anyway so had this been a choice if I was choosing this it would have been heavily against it.
Another is the capacity, I know I've mentioned it previously but this really is quite small inside and as a family of 4 isn't really ideal but that's just personal opinion as for a couple, a single person or even a family that only occasionally uses a microwave then there is no reason why it wouldn't suffice, but as a home that uses ours several times a day then it is on the small side for us.
On it's plus side the settings are very easy to use, though I will admit to only using the basic ones - I don't tend to use specific settings for potatoes and don't cook pizzas in the microwave so cannot comment on each individual settings capabilities but the ones I have used have all delivered the goods so to speak as it heats sood through thoroughly. The most commonly used button in our home is the 'Start' button as when pressed it gives an automatic 30 seconds of cooking time and I simply keep pressing to the required time.
The button for the door is quite large and slightly cumbersome though I have not encountered any problems to speak of so far and when pressed it has opened with ease by 'springing' the door into action though it does need to be pressed quite firmly.
The clock is bold and bright and as our kitchen is next to our bathroom (we live in a tiny cottage) I often nip in for a drink of water if I've had to go to the bathroom and the clock is bright enough to emit a subtle glow in my kitchen and even without my glasses on I'm able to see the time quite clearly and as our last microwave had no digital clock (shock horror) I found this to be a welcoming feature especially on a night.
So all in all this microwave is recommended by me if as mentioned above you are single/ a couple or just use it now and again but not if you are a larger family as I don't think it's adequate enough in size despite it being a powerful 800 watts. It looks stylish and complements my kitchen decor and is easy to clean both inside and out and because of this I am awarding it 4/5 stars.
(This model is also available in purple and white though I think the black/ red combo looks the most stylish).
If you've read some of my recent reviews you'll know that last summer I bought a new flat. As part of my housewarming present my sister bought me a red kettle and toaster from the Accents range, which I have reviewed previously. I wanted to co-ordinate the rest of the appliances in my kitchen so I was pleased to note that Morphy Richards also had a microwave in the same range. The design appears to be exclusive to Argos and at the time retailed for £69.99.
Although I wanted the appliances in my kitchen to coordinate I was a little wary when I first bought this that there would be a lot of red on the microwave and that it could be quite garish. It didn't look like it would be in the picture but I was still a little concerned. However, I needn't have worried. The microwave is elegantly designed and for the most part is black in colour, except for a strip of red along the top and bottom of the door. In my opinion it looks quite classy and elegant and matches the other items in the range very well.
The microwave itself has a 20 litre capacity. This is fine for me as I live by myself and it is large enough to accommodate a standard sized dinner plate. However on occasions where I've had guests and wanted to heat a large quantity of food I have struggled a bit as larger bowls or serving dishes can't easily be accommodated. It's not too much of a problem for me but I would recommend going for a microwave with a larger capacity if you have a family or lots of guests visiting regularly. I also like the fact that the microwave is quite compact with a height of 26cm, a width of 43cm and a depth of 33cm, as I have quite a small kitchen and space is at a premium!
In terms of heating food this microwave has posed no problems at all. It has an 800W power output and heats up food in seconds. The panel on the side of the door has a touch menu through which you can access 10 different power levels and 6 different programmes. There is also a clock on the front panel which is handy as I don't have a clock in my kitchen. The programmes include settings for cooking the most common items including potatoes, pizza and frozen vegetables as well as a defrost option. There is also a quick start option which means that you can manually set how long you want your food to be heated for. I must admit that I haven't used the programme options too much - I have cooked potatoes a couple of times and they came out really well, but other than that I prefer to manually set how long I want my food to be in the microwave for. I've never had a problem with this heating food up -my plates always come out piping hot and in a reasonable amount of time. When in use it is a little loud in the sense that you can hear it whirring away but in my experience it's no louder than many of the other microwaves that I have used in the past.
The buttons themselves are easy to use. I often find that with touchscreens or buttons I have to press quite hard to get them to work but here this is not the case. I do have a few criticisms of the microwave though. One is that perhaps it would be nice if the buttons would light up or glow in the dark. On one occasion where my light bulb went in the kitchen in winter and I didn't have a spare to hand I did struggle a bit to get the microwave going. I have also found that when I press the button to open the door the button gets stuck so that when I want to close the door again I have to depress it to get it out before the door can be closed. When doing this the microwave does tend to slip on the surface, which is not great. Another niggle is that the inside glass window of the microwave has a white criss-crossed grid pattern on it which makes it difficult to view your food whilst it is cooking.
Overall, despite my criticisms I do really like my microwave. It looks stylish and I find it ideal for a small kitchen and for someone living by themselves. It heats my food up well and quite quickly. I do have a few niggles about the design but these are really small criticisms and this would still come with a high recommendation from me.
Short name: Morphy Richards EM820CPT F-PM