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I spend a fair deal of time in the kitchen cooking and baking, as such a high quality mixer is essential. Sadly, the budget (and the size of my kitchen) prevents me from getting a stand mixer so I have to settle for a hand mixer. Even though I was quite happy with my Russell Hobbs Mixer (see my "Time to Mix Things Up" review), when it died last Easter I decided to try something new. After reading loads of reviews, I settled on the James Martin by Wahl Hand Mixer ZX702.
The James Martin Mixer is predominately white with a black handle. It looks reasonably nice, but let's face it, a hand mixer is never going to look amazing and stylish. More importantly, it feels quite solid although a little heavy (about 1.5kg, I think), particularly after the very light Russell Hobbs mixer I used to have. I have gotten used to the extra weight, but it is not uncommon for me to need to switch hands if I'm mixing something for an extended period of time. It might not be suitable for younger users or the very frail. The mixer comes with chrome beaters (2), dough hooks (2) and a balloon whisk (1). This is one area where the James Martin mixer is far superior to my old one. The beaters are much larger which means they handle larger quantities better but are just as good on small batches. The cord has a decent reach at 1.75m, which comes in handy as my plugs aren't the most accessible.
To release the beaters, you push a large button on the handle. Below that button is the speed dial, which clicks from left to right to increase speed. The speed dial is stiff enough that you will not change the speed accidentally, but loose enough to easily move it with your thumb while mixing. Unlike my old mixer, I have not had a problem with this one getting turned to an "on" position while being washed on knocked around in the cupboard. There is also a turbo button, which takes the mixer to the maximum speed while you hold it down regardless of which speed is selected on the speed dial.
This mixer has 5 distinct speeds, which covers a nice range from gentle to powerful. Its highest setting isn't as fast as my old Russell Hobbs, but it has been adequate for everything I have made including a wide range of cookies, cakes, muffins, breads, Yorkshire puddings, cream, etc. This 300 W machine has coped fine with everything I've thrown at it- even recipes that require extended beating (I make a chocolate cake with 6 eggs that needs 10+ minutes of beating). I have never had a problem with it struggling with thick dough, etc. When I first got it, the mixer gave off a slightly "electrical" smell whenever I used it. This faded over time and completely disappeared after a few months of use.
I have used my James Martin mixer at least 4-5 times a week for the past 2 years. It came with a two year guarantee (so touch wood nothing will happen now that it is out of warranty- but everything seems to be working perfectly). I bought my mixer from Amazon for £21.49 (free shipping).
Conclusion: This mixer is well made and powerful. It is on the heavy side, but it should be fine for most users. I believe it provides excellent value for money and highly recommend it to anyone in the market for a new hand mixer. It receives a solid 4 out of 5 stars from me.
This review is also posted on ciao, under the same name.
Short name: James Martin ZX410