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Like many people, I've recently discovered a love of baking. After making everything by hand for a while I decided it was time to buy a hand mixer. I didn't want to spend a lot and the ZX758X by Wahl seemed to have the correct mix of ability and price for me. At the bargain price of £25 (as at Feb 2013) I figured that if it was rubbish then I wasn't losing a massive amount of cash. And it's gone down in price since I bought it too to the slightly unusual £18-69 (June 2013). It's endorsed by television celebrity chef James Martin too.
The mixer is made from reasonably tough silver-grey plastic with a nice rubberised feel to the hand grip area. It is flattened at one end which makes it easy to stand up feels nice and solid, not cheap and plasticky at all. It's reasonably heavy at 1.2 kg. I'm fine with it but my girlfriend thinks that it feels a little heavy after using it for a while. If you think that you'd agree with her then maybe you'd be better opting for a mixer with a stand, but obviously that would be more expensive.
It comes with two sets of attachments. One is a pair of plain metal beaters which is fine for mixing eggs, batters, creams and the like. They are quite large and do the job admirably enough for me. I've been using the machine regularly for a few months now and I haven't had any problems with them. The other is a set of curly bread hooks and I was less impressed when using these. It's not that there's anything wrong with the hooks themselves it's that the mixer doesn't really seem powerful enough to deal with a sticky bread dough. On the occasions when I've used them I've always had the impression that it's struggling slightly with the heavy dough so I don't think I'll be using them any more. Anyhow, I much prefer to knead bread dough by hand, I find it very therapeutic.
The mixer is 300w and has five speed settings, and between them they seem to handle most things (apart from stiff bread doughs) easily enough. Setting one is nice and gentle right through to level five which is a really powerful whisk. If this isn't enough there's even a 'turbo' button which gives the speed a little extra boost at any of the levels if you just want to sort of pulse mix something.
There aren't many downsides to this mixer really, it does exactly what I wanted from it and even has a two year guarantee. One thing that might put some people off though is that it only has quite a short electric cable. It's about 1.2 metres or four feet long. That may not be enough if your power outlet isn't directly on or around your work surface. Also, the button that you press to eject the beaters is the same button that you slide to select the speed. This means that there's a slight possibility that you can do one when you meant to do the other until you get the knack of it. I have occasionally dumped my beaters into my cake mix!
The package also included a DVD of James Martin demonstrating eight recipes. You can print these and another 23 by putting the DVD into your computer. I certainly wouldn't have bought this disc on its own but it was a nice extra.
Bought this mixer in Kitchens in Cardiff for around £35 some years back, it replaced an old trusted beater but alas...
In a neat box with James Martins face plastered on along with his name, as if we needed his name to recognise his face, the beater comes in beautiful matt silver encasement (it's not plastic, it's not metal, so am not sure what material it is a mixture?) On the side there are three slats horizontally, and on the front two vertically. It is the same on the other side of the mixer.
The base of the mixer is black, it has a rubber strip for the ease of sitting the mixer up after beating but not finished with it yet, it also has two holes for the actual beaters/dough thing to be inserted. Unlike many branded or unbranded mixers, there are no colour coded holes or beaters. Which comes to a relief as it is annoying having to turn the mixer up and see which beaters go into which hole - I mean does it really matter? James Martin must have had that foresight thus omitted this inane practice.
The stainless steel beaters are very generously big, you can beat almost anything with this, Christmas cake, puddings, batter, souffle, quiche, meringue (hallelujah for auto correct spelling, I can never spell meringue!). The other beater is in a different shape, it is curly/twisty with the ends sharply turned up, this is supposed to be used to make dough, I have tried without any success whatsoever to use this, the dough keeps riding upwards and sticks to the mixer machine, it is very messy process and something I have stopped attempting to use.
On the handle itself, it is also black as the base, on the bottom end where the cord is attached, there is a white capitalised word "WAHL", the cord is at a generous length and is attached to a plug already suppllied. a stamp kindly informs me that it was fitted with 'BS 1362' 3A fuse.
On the top of the handle there are three gadgets to mess around with. The usual speed dial, you flick the lever leftwards towards numbers 1 to 5, 1 begin slow, and 5 begin faster speed. That's not all, there is the marvellous extra Turbo button behind the lever for that extra push. Inside the lever there is a eject button for the ease of removal of the beaters themselves.
I have had this for four years now, and am perfectly happy with how it performs for multitude of tasks I put it through.
I bought this mixer to replace an ancient one my mum had given me. I chose this particular model as it was on special offer at Argos and had good reviews there.
If anyone's not familiar with James Martin, he's a TV chef, who like other TV chefs has brought out a range of kitchen equipment.
The mixer is silver in colour, and is quite heavy to hold, which can be a problem if you're mixing for any length of time. Saying that, it's easy to hold as it has a rubberised handle, and it's easy to move the speed switch with your thumb whilst holding the mixer.
It comes with two lots of attachments: beaters and dough hooks. Being a keen cake-baker it's the beaters that I use, and haven't tested the dough hooks yet. The beaters are around 17cm long, of which 7cm is the wide beater part. They fit easily into the two holes underneath the mixer, by simply clicking into place. To release them you need to press the speed switch downwards, which is a bit stiff to do.
There are five speeds on this 300W mixer, and you just flip the black switch at the front on top to switch between speeds. There's not much between each speed and I always find that I go straight onto speed two, as it's quite sensitive. If you step up to each speed you won't notice a huge difference between each, unless you go from speed 1 right up to speed 5. There's a turbo button just behind the speed switch, which makes the beaters go even faster, although I've not had the need to use it yet, as the fastest speed has been more than enough for my needs.
When first starting to mix, it's best to start on the lowest speed, especially if mixing flour or icing sugar, which can end in a "snowstorm" if you mix too fast to start with! The beaters are deep enough to mix large amounts efficiently, and strong enough to cope with things like buttercream which can be a bit stiff to start with.
The only gripe I have with the mixer is that's it's difficult to clean because of the air vents. You can easily wipe the outside surface down, but icing sugar and flour tend to fly into the air vents, and you obviously can't submerge an electrical item in water to clean it, so you need to try and poke a damp cloth inside just enough to clean the vents. The beaters and dough hooks are dishwasher safe so can be cleaned easily. The cable is long enough to stretch if your work surface isn't directly near a power socket.
The hand mixer is actually manufactured by Wahl, and retails at Argos at £24.99, but is very often on special offer. A James Martin DVD is included, but I haven't had chance to watch it yet, so can't comment on that.
Short name: James Martin ZX758X