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Purchased this microwave from Asda for £45 if I can remember right (it was on offer at the time, otherwise you could be spending a lot more on it) when my Next microwave stopped working after about 6 months only. It was not the microwave of my choice (my Next one looked a lot nicer, it was a bright red which went with my kitchen), but as I could not wait any longer for a replacement from Next, and did not want to spend to much money on one I opted for this one. It has many different programs, which I personally don't see the need for and hence do not use. I would recommend it for its ease of use and reliability (I have now had it for over 12 months and is still working), however keeping it clean is another kettle of fish. The exterior shows every little fingerprint every time you touch it and not many kitchen cleaners leave it sparkly clean, most tend to leave marks/smudges. The best thing I have found so far that seems to clean to a certain extent is window cleaner (yes, on the metal parts)! But apart from it looking "dirty" all the time, this is a good microwave, I just wish I had waited for another red Next one!
Having realised my microwave was over 20 years old and was developing small craters on the inside roof where the paint had lifted and formed stalactities (the hanging down ones ;) ) which had, due to my perhaps insufficiently gentle cleaning, started to break and flake paint everywhere; I decided it might be time to invest in a new microwave.
I have to tell you that microwaves have changed since the 1980s; they are about half the size and weight and 50% more powerful!
I wanted to have a chance at keeping this microwave for over ten years, so went looking for a good quality brand. Prices on microwaves have dropped so much that I was sure I would get a bargain. This one retails for around £65-70 (Spring 2011) but Asda had it on a special offer for £40.
*** What is it? ****
It is an 800 watt microwave with turntable (I think turntables are very important to cook food thoroughly). It is a 20 litre capacity and has a stainless steel fascia, with the rest of the exterior being silver. The door has a central mirrored glass panel. You can see your reflection in it, dimly, when the microwave is empty, but it is not as shiny and reflective as an actual mirror. Good enough to see your hair is a mess but not good enough to redo your parting ;)
It has a digital 24 hour clock on the front, 5 power levels, 8 auto-cook menus and a child safety lock.
Not being inclined to spend ages with the manual I ignored the auto-cook menus! I imagine these are faily easy and I probably don't even need to use the manual as it has an auto cook button and the numbers 1-8 printed on the microwave:
1 - Milk/Coffee
2 - Rice
3 - Pasta
4 - Potatoes
5 - Auto Reheat
6 - Fish
7 - Popcorn
8 - Pizza
There is also a power level button, weight defrost button and lock/unlock button. The other two buttons are for the clock and stop/cancel.
The only other controller is the large round dial which you swivel round for time (or weight) and push on the middle to activate the quick start function.
I generally leave it at 800w and just turn the dial for time then hit the middle of the dial and off it goes.
*** What is great about it? ****
It is lightweight and small so fits in many different locations.
The mirror finish looks nicer than looking into an empty microwave.
The stainless steel front blends in with other stainless steel kitchen items and looks nicer than white plastic.
You can just turn and go!
The beep at the end of the cooking time is loud enough to be heard upstairs (unless you have loud music on).
Both an up and a downside - if you don't get your food out at the end of the cooking time it will beep again... and again... and again. If you have your hands full that can be a little irritating.
*** What could be better? ****
It has a piece of cardboard inside it which is a ray guide (I kid you not). This bit of cardboard has to remain on the inside wall to guide the rays when you use the microwave. It looks like an ordinary bit of cardboard, the thickness of a cereal box and a bit smaller than a credit card. It would be easy to throw it away when unpacking if you didn't read the manual.
This bit of card is my biggest complaint about the microwave. I would normally give the walls a regular clean with a cloth, but am at a loss as to how to wash a bit of card!
I am also concerned about what to do if/when the card needs replacing. Is it a special bit of card or can I do a Blue Peter job on any old card lying in my recycling and trim it and slot it in place? I fear I will have to contact the manufacturer at this point and that this bit of card could be special but no longer produced and result in me needing to replace a working microwave in 5 years time.
To prevent ruining the bit of cardboard I started using cling film over everything, but I don't like throwing it away/fiddling with it so I've ended up investing in plastic plate covers and a plastic "lid" that can go on top of jugs and bowls. I hope that by reducing the splashes to a minimum I may keep the cardboard clean for longer. I also wash that wall incredibly carefully with a very well wung out cloth.
That is probably enough of a cardboard rant - such a shame for something so small to have such an influence on my opinion. The cardboard is definitely not a 21st century improvement! It has led me to give the 4 star rating and the lower quality mark. Other that that this is a really nice microwave - but definitely not worth £70.
Short name: Russell Hobbs RHM2009S