Product Type: Russell Hobbs microwaves
Newest Review: ... not just true of the outside of the microwave but also of the inside which is a similar (if not the same material) as the outside. No mat... more
Looks good works well but tricky to clean
Russell Hobbs RHM2017
Member Name: jillycat
Russell Hobbs RHM2017
Advantages: Defrosts food very well and cooks things well
Disadvantages: hard to keep door clean auto cook a bit superfluous
This is a microwave we bought just after Christmas after our 18 year old combination microwave blew up in flames. Given I hadn't bought a microwave in many years I was surprised how far they had moved on and how much smaller they generally were.
We choose this microwave as we wanted a basic microwave that could be used to heat food up and defrost food if necessary. As we hadn't really used the combination element on our previous microwave we decide this was a function we didn't really need. Also we haven't really used the grill on our previous microwave as it generated too much cleaning so this was another function we felt was unnecessary for our needs.
Very easy to step up and fool proof really it is just a case of making sure there is adequate space around the microwave and the manual provides a handy guide to this. The manual it self is very easy to read and has very clear instructions and guides with pictorial guides as well as written instructions to help you use the different settings
The look and design
The microwave itself is a fairly small size for sitting on top of a work top it measures 262mm by 452mm by 395mm it is a small and tidy little box really. I find on our standard size work top that it sits nicely with enough space at the front to open the door and rest a pot on the work top without having to carry it do a different area. One of the nice design features on the microwave is the mirror effect door. When not in use the door acts as a mirror but when you are cooking food the light from inside the microwave lights up the door so you can see the food going round inside. The mirror effect though nice to look at is tricky to keep streak free and shows up the fingers marks very easily.
The microwave has a turntable design and comes complete with a round glass tray for pots to stand on. I generally clean this with soap water and it works a treat. I don't think it is dishwasher safe though as there is no where in the manual doesn't stipulate you can put it in the dishwasher.
There is a digital display which if you want you can programme to show the time on either a 12 hour or 24 hour setting. We have this on a 24 hour clock and it is very easy to set. The instructions in the manual are very clear and simple to follow to set this. The clock unfortunately does not seem to store the time if the power gets switched off.
Buttons and dials
The buttons to press are also in a silver metallic effect and are all in a horizontal line down the front. There is a power setting, auto defrosts, and auto cook stop/cancel and a start button to press for all the different functions. There is a dial to turn to select the length of time you wish to cook food for or to select the weight in a defrost mode. All you have to do is turn the dial clockwise to set it and anti-clockwise if you goes to far. I personally get a bit frustrated with this dial turning business really as up to 5 minutes it goes up in 10 second bursts and it seems to take an age as you turn the dial to set the time or weight. .
Power and simple use
This Russell Hobbs microwave is an 800 Watt microwave meaning it has plenty of power and falls in between most common categories on the back of reheated meal packs that seem to always stipulate either 750 Watt or 850 watt cooking times. I personally always go for the 850 option for a time guide and this frequently is enough for me to heat the food sufficiently. The manual refers to this being a category D microwave power wise if you know what this means I don't really understand the categories really but this is probably handy to know.
In regards to cooking food the main two things that I use this microwave for are reheating a standard size tin of baked beans and this is achieved in 3 minutes which I personally find a lot quicker than my previous microwave that took 4 minutes 30 seconds to do this. The other thing I use it for mainly is heating a mug of milk for some Horlicks or similar this takes me just 1 minute 30 seconds and the milk is then hot enough to drink and dissolve any Horlicks powder but not so hot I burn my mouth! I find that this power is sufficient for my needs. But on the occasions I use it to melt some butter if I am making flapjack say I do tend to do this in 30 second burst as I have been know before to splatter butter and syrup around as it has heated so quickly.
To use it if you know what time and power setting you need is straight forward you press power and if it is a full power you press this button just the once, if you need it less than this then you keep pressing the power button to decrease the power by 20 % each press. You then turn the dial to the correct time and press start. Very simple and very easy to do with out any problems at all.
The capacity can take 20 litres now if you're like me this means nothing to you then what I will say as an illustration is that it is large enough to fit a 1 and a half litre Pyrex jug on the turntable without any problem. It can fit a large dinner plate in the turntable without any issue and small microwavable dishes to reheat peas without any problems. I used to place a chicken in our old microwave over night to defrost (without using the microwave) to keep the cat from pinching the chicken if it was just sat on the work top. I find with this microwave there is just enough room to do this for an average family size medium chicken. We have never had a problem with the smaller size of this microwave but if you are using it frequently to reheat meals then there is really just enough room for two packs of average size ready meals on the turn table. If you know you are going to need a large size for more than these sort of uses I have talked about then this one will be too small for you needs
This function has just been a revelation for me my previous microwave just never seemed to work very well on defrosts and would often end up cooking food whilst it defrosted. With this microwave I have never had that problem. To select this function you press the auto defrost button then turn the dial for the weight of the food to be defrosted then press start. What puzzled me the first time I did this was that it seemed to stop about half way through and I wasn't sure why so I just press start and it was off again. After consulting the manual though what it did tell me was I needed to turn the bit of meat over half way through and this is too stop there being any problems. Now I have to admit I haven't always turned things I am defrosting over but I have always been surprised how well it has defrosted things. The item it defrosts that pleased me most was some mince as none of the strands of meat had cooked and the meat became a nice soft texture again as if it had never been frozen. In fact I have actually found I now prefer to defrost mince in the microwave rather than over night as it seems to make the mince softer for some reason.
This is actually the bit of the microwave I use the least and I think the reason is simply I find it easier to select the time and power myself. Equally some of the options are not things I routinely would cook in a microwave such as popcorn, pizza, fish spaghetti and rice. The only options I would actually use it for is the milk, potatoes and auto reheat bit and I find it just is too fiddly to do via the auto cook buttons. This is because you need to first select the option out of 8 choices, then select the weight and then press start. For me it is just not a practical option or one that as a family we use.
Whilst this microwave does have this function it is actually not something we have used as yet. Despite having a curious 3 year old he hasn't shown any interest as yet in pressing the buttons on the microwave. I am sure as soon as he does we will be locking it. This is achieved by holding the stop cancel button for 3 seconds a beep then is heard and a padlock appears on the display unit.
As previously mentioned the front is a nightmare to keep clean and streak free because of the mirror effect door. Inside is nice and easy to clean but it does seem to hold on to strong smelling food quite a while even after cleaning which I find a bit frustrating as even if I have wiped any spills after reheating a curry it still smells of it for a few days strangely.
Overall I would say this is a good basic microwave and I am especially please with the auto defrost function and the power settings on this. The addition of the auto cook function I think is something I can live without and don't use really. The microwave door though looking good with its mirror effect is a nightmare to keep clean. We have had no problems using this microwave in the 5- 6 months we have had it and I would definitely recommend it too people. We bought ours in the Sainsbury's sale for around £30. When searching for an up to date price for this review this microwave appears to be tricky to find now and I think it is only available second hand or from discount retailers.
Summary: A good small microwave that has some useful functions but is a bit tricky to keep clean
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