I bought this microwave from sainsburys as a replacement for my old microwave which I have had for way too long. It was reasonably priced for the specifications and seeing as it was half price at £25 I thought it would be a good buy, as most good microwaves are around £65
The microwave came in polystyrene packaging which was secure and easy to remove at the same time. The microwave is sleek in design and is also easy to clean with a removable plate but I would advise not to put food directly onto the plate. Its easy to operate and has a number of settings such as defrost but we have never used that.
Food is cooked thoroughly but it is only a 700 watt microwave, so it does take longer to cook which can be tedious. It is big enough to fit a standard sized plate but not a dinner plate so if you wanted to reheat your dinner you would have to move it onto a smaller plate.
However, the microwave makes a constant noise with the fan being on 24/7 and it also wastes electricity so we have to turn it off when not in use.
Cooking things is slow but you would have to buy a more expensive microwave for it to be a higher wattage.
One problem we have encountered is that the microwave comes with a metal attachment to the grill part of the microwave which has to be manually put in to use and you could accidentally turn the microwave on instead of the grill or forget to take it out which could be dangerous.
Overall, a good cheap microwave. A little small and a bit slow but for the price its expected.
The miracle of bad design
OK, normally I write reviews about things I like and have enjoyed. I'll buck the trend a second time and talk awhile about something I don't and have not. Furthermore, as it was a gift, it is not something that is easy to bin or give away. I'm also not in the habit of throwing away things that still work, as my monolithic coffee machine proves.
My old microwave, also a gift from someone else in my family, committed seppuku (ritual suicide) right in front of me. There was a click, a spark and a bang. Oh, and fair amount of acrid smoke. It must have been bestest pals with my flymo, which expired in much the same manner.
It was a pity. It was a good microwave. It was also near Christmas, so it was replaced free of charge with a microwave from Sainsbury. One of their own brand devices.
Rice steamer? Yum, yum!
The microwave looks ok, with venting on the top rather than side, but on first impressions it looked rather shorter than the outgoing model it replaced. It was. This is one HUGE design fault. We have a rice steamer designed for microwaves. If you jiggle the base plate, you can get it in. However, seven or so minutes later, you risk life and limb trying to take the steamer out again. You see, the Microwave seems to have fallen in love with it, and won't let go.
Extraction of said steamer is only possible by pushing the glass plate to the rear of the unit while angling a plastic container full of boiling steam. Why, oh why did Sainsbury opt for this silly device? I assume price was a prime motivator. Perhaps you can pack more in a pallet. Whatever the reasoning, it is untimately flawed as we will undoubtedly get fed up with and get rid of said device, and what replaces it certainly won't be a supermarket brand-own Microwave.
The device is rated at 700 watts, a drop of 150 from what came before. This means more time heating stuff up. I don't know if ultimately it takes less energy, more energy or about the same. It is as noisy as a standard microwave and the controls are a little clunky to use. The front dial can be rotated in one direction to set time, or you can push it in, each push representing 30 seconds.
I suppose I can't be too critical. It does perform the actions a microwave needs to. If I had known in advance about the "present", I would have had some input into what it would be, but my mum had already snagged it on an impulse buy after hearing of the demise of our old one.
If you want a microwave, are willing to put up with bad design in exchange for a low cost, you could do worse. Just make sure you keep your receipt. If you can go above the £40 this cost, even if it's only by £20, do it. It's worth that little extra investment to have something you're happy using, rather than something you may grow to resent.
I didn't really want to spend much on a microwave as I don't use it as much as other appliances in my kitchen and they never seem to last very long. The last one was broken by my boyfriend who spilled juice down the vents! I set myself a budget of £40 pounds. I did not want an all singing all dancing top of the range model as to be hones as I find them too complicated to work. I wanted one with simple buttons and layout that heated up my food without much bother. I looked at Tesco and Sainsbury's as both have quite a good range of cheap electronics and kitchen appliances these days. I settled on the Sainsbury's one as it looked good and looked easy to use.
==Price and availability==
You can buy the microwave for £39.99 from Sainsbury's stores or online.
I took my shiny and new microwave home and unpacked it. Nestling it on my work top I was quite pleased with the aesthetics of it. It is stainless steel which means it is not a haven for fingerprints but it looks good too. It has vents across the top and down the front there is a window for you to view your food and a set of buttons, a dial and a display pad. It was a little bigger than I wanted: 26.2 cm tall by 45.2cm wide by 32.7cm deep. However the good thing about having a 17Lt cavity space was that it fits in my larger serving bowls so this stops me having to keep swapping crockery around.
The machine runs at 700W so it is not one of the super quick ones and when heating up ready meals (not very often) they tend to take a few minutes longer than if you use a more powerful machine. The machine has 5 different power levels and a dial to set the time. There is a stop/ cancel button if you want to stop and start over and chose a different programme. You can also use the microwave on a preset option where you can ask the machine to come on remotely at a set time. I have not used this and cannot see how it would benefit me. There is also a button for defrost and a button for grill. The microwave comes with a metal stand for you to use to grill section but I do not like this option at all and cannot imagine ever using my microwave to grill when I have a very good oven that has this facility.
The microwave is easy to set and the buttons and dial are easy to set. Swivelling the dial sends the timer up quickly so you can whack it on for ten minutes without having to spend ages turning the dial. Once the timer has run out the microwave emits an enormous beeping to alert you that the food is ready. You can hear this upstairs it is so ferocious! On the whole, the microwave works in the same way as any other, you need to keep checking on the food and stirring it whilst in use to disperse cold spots and stop the food bubbling over. I often find with soup that unless I open it and stir it regularly the top will bubble over and form a gloupy skin but the soup underneath will be cold.
The microwave is easy to clean and the glass plate inside comes out, this allows you to give the machine a good disinfecting inside and you can pop the glass plate in the dishwasher.
The microwave does hold on to smells and tends to get quite dirty in the corners. I find the best way of cleaning the microwave without using too many nasty smelling chemicals is to put half a lemon in a shallow bowl of water and put the microwave on for 3 minutes. The lemon removes stuck on grease and nastiness and makes the microwave smell lovely and fresh.
There are no real grumbles about this machine and in that case, I will recommend it.
=== The product ===
This is a 700 watt 17 litre microwave complete with grill rack. This is stainless steel microwave with black sides and back.
=== The packaging ===
This comes provided in a large cardboard box complete with polystyrene to hold it in place and the front of the microwave had protective plastic over it that I discarded as soon as I unpacked it. The packaging was very good and it meant that when we moved house twice in two weeks it stayed in pristine condition ready for unpacking once we were settled in our new flat.
=== The microwave ===
This microwave is 700 watts with five separate power levels. It has a cable length of 1 metre that isn't particularly long but I have this quite close to my plugs when in use and there is plenty of loose cable at the back. This has a child lock on it but I have never used this and have no idea how to because I discarded the manual before I even read it (whoops!). There are nine separate programmes to help with cooking your food just right and you can combine the cooking settings to make things just the way you want them. There is a weight defrost programme and there are auto-cook menus which are designed for cooking various items easily with minimal thought and effort. The dimensions of this microwave are 26.2 cm high by 45.2cm wide by 32.7cm deep meaning that this is quite a sizeable microwave and it's 17 litre capacity means I am able to cook or defrost on a standard size plate with no space issues at all. This has a glass turntable, like most microwaves, which is 24.5cm in diameter making for ample room for most bowls, glasses or crockery.
=== Where can I buy this & for how much? ===
This can be purchased from Sainsburys stores (selected stores) and www.sainsburys.co.uk and it's usual retail price is £49.99, however, this is currently on 25% off until 4th October 2011 and when I purchased mine it was just £24.99 in a half price offer back in 2010.
=== Overall opinion ===
My main reason for making this purchase was that we were quite hard up on cash as we were about to move in to our first home together and this was just £24.99, so around £21.50 with the discount that I had from someone who worked at Sainsburys at the time, this was obviously a fantastic price for a microwave that was actually big enough to hold a full sized plate, also, I wanted a microwave that was going to blend in with my silver and black kitchen and this one fitted the bill.
The packaging was fantastic, it was ideal for moving around a couple of times in a short space of time and it kept the microwave protected and in pristine condition. The microwave itself looks fantastic, it's black plastic on the back, bottom and sides and then the front is stainless steel. The inside of the microwave is white plastic which means it does show up stains and dirt easily meaning I usually wipe this over a few times a week or after each use to keep it looking brilliant.
There are 8 buttons & 1 dial on this microwave as follows:
Power level - This has five power settings 100%, 80%, 60%, 40% and 20% and I have never actually needed to use this function, after 10 seconds this will also reset back to normal unless you press in the round dial to set the time and then start it off.
Grill - You just need to press this and then turn the dial to set the timer. There is a metal grill stand which has legs on it that is designed to be stood up in the microwave so that items can be grilled easily. Obviously it should go without saying that this must not be left in the microwave when the microwave function if on or this could damage the grill stand or even the microwave itself due to being metal.
Preset - This button is used to preset the microwave for use at a later time, you simply set your normal setting and instead of press the dial to start it you will press preset and then choose the amounts of hours and minutes and then press the dial to start the clock counting down, once it has counted down the relevant amount of time then the function that you had pre-selected will turn on. I have only used this setting once and it worked just as explained above with no problems at all.
Weight adjust - This is used when using the weight defrost feature mainly and goes up in 100g increments from 100g to 1800g which is quite reasonable and covers any purpose that I could need this for.
Weight defrost - This button is used in conjunction with the weight adjust button and will ensure that your items are defrosted in the microwave based on their weight. It will stop once, sometimes more depending on time, during the cycle to ensure that you can turn the items over and I found that this is very accurate. I am usually just defrosting either chicken or mince and I find that this works very well at defrosting and doesn't end up half cooking the items before the timer has finished.
Combi - This button is one that I have never used and I know it does some sort of combination (from the name - I'm bright you see!), however, I don't actually know what it does or for how long and I discarded the manual before I even bothered to read it by accident.
Clock - This is simple to set, just press the clock button once for hours and twice for minutes and use the round dial to set the hours or minutes before pressing the clock button once or twice again to set the clock. If you take more than about 10 seconds this will beep and then be reset so you need to be quite quick at setting the clock.
Stop/Cancel - This one is self explanatory really, it's for stopping the microwave and for cancelling any of the settings that you may have chosen in error.
Time adjust dial - This dial is for setting the time and it runs in increments of 10 seconds from 10 seconds to 5 minutes then increments of 30 seconds from 5 minutes to 10 minutes and in increments of 1 minute from 10 minutes to 30 minutes and then it goes up in 5 minute increments from 30 minutes to 95 minutes where it turns back to 0 again.
This microwave is incredibly loud and annoying. Every time you press a button it emit's a high pitched beep and when it has finished it beeps quite a few times, 4 or 5 I think, which is also loud and annoying but obviously alerts you to the fact that the microwave is finished. I wish that there was a way to turn off the beeping when pressing a button as every time I adjust the time, weight or change functions it beeps and when I turn the round dial to adjust the time it beeps for every single 10 seconds, 30 seconds or minute depending on how fast I turn the dial. It even beeps when you turn the power on at the wall.
Overall I really like this microwave, it's simple to use and while the beeps are annoying this isn't the end of the world. It has the features that I want such as a grill and weight defrost, however, I have actually barely used the grill since we had a cooker fitted back in October 2010 as it's easier just to use that with the designation grill tray that came with it. The clock resets when the power is off and I know this because I usually just switch it off at the wall when I have finished, when the microwave is turned on the time displays from 1:00 and will go up from there until the microwave is switched off again, I found this a little annoying initially but at least I know now when the microwave has been left on and this helps me to save power by prompting me to turn it off. The look of this microwave is stylish, it fits in with my colour scheme in my kitchen and it is still working as good today as it was a year ago when I first starting using it and this probably gets used 2 or 3 times a week, sometimes more sometimes less.
This is fantastic value for money microwave that serves all the purposes that I need it to, and more! I would firmly recommend it.