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When my girlfriend and bought a flat together 2 years ago, we were in a position of setting up a home from scratch, which as anyone who has done this will tell you, is a very expensive time. We needed to buy so many things, bed, fridge, freezer, washing machine, sofas etc etc, the list seemed to go on and on.
Luckily one thing we didn't need to buy was an oven as there was a built in one in the kitchen. It was very very simple convection oven with no frills, but it was an oven.
Now, my girlfriend and I love our food, we both really enjoy cooking and both love to eat really nice wholesome filling food. Our favourite TV chef is Jamie Oliver because he makes the food we love to eat, so you get the idea of what we like. As such we spend a lot of time cooking. Quite a lot of the things we cook can be done on the hob but we do like a nice slow cooked casserole, or a nicely roasted beef joint or chicken, for which the oven was
However, a few months ago, we noticed that the handle on the oven door was getting a bit looser. we didn't think much of it until it was nearly hanging off then we thought actually we really must do something about it. We removed the inner safety glass so we could get to the back of the handle fixings. we could see that one of the screws holding the handle in place was loose so we tightened it. This seemed to tighten the handle nicely. As we
lifted up the door to check, the front glass panel shattered completely, leaving me holding just the handle and with chunks of safety glass all over the floor popping like popcorn, into small lumps. After a fair bit of time carefully cleaning up all the glass (which looked like we had smashed every piece of glassware we owned, it really did get everywhere), we had a good look over the handle and what was left of the door (just the holders for the glass). It looked like something metal had sheared off the back of the handle, and we figure that when we lifted up the door to check the handle, it must have gotten pressed between metal and the glass causing it to shatter.
Whatever the cause, it mean that we were left without an oven!
Fortunately when we moved in my grandad bought us a combination microwave/convection/grill thingy, so we weren't
completely left without anything too cook in though the microwave is not the biggest thing ever so we were a little limited as to what we could cook. Also it took a lot longer to get things cooked.
We contacted the manufacturers to see if there was any possibility of getting a new door but were told that the only thing we could do was buy all the parts separately and put it together ourselves. This would cost about £100 just for the parts, then we would have to try to assemble it. This we thought wasa very bad idea as we could see ourselves smashing another panel and ending up having to spend a fortune, instead we decided to go for a whole new oven.
Being rather tight for money, we took a few months to save up for a new oven, spending the time looking at lots of different ovens to see what we would buy. We felt we had a choice, either get something very cheap and as basic as we had previously, or spend a bit more and get something a little better.
After a lot of time thinking and discussing, we decided to go for something a little better than we originally had as we felt as we both love cooking we would benefit from a decent oven.
After much looking around we decided upon the Hotpoint SY36W (the W just denotes the colour, you can also get it in black and brown I believe, ours is white). We went for this as it had a good amount of room inside, came with two shelves and a grill pan (unlike so many ovens which only come with one shelf!) It features a fan assisted oven and a full size variable grill. It also has a light and a timer and programmer and clock.
When it came to ordering the oven, we had a major stroke of luck. We were going to purchase it online from Argos at a price of £229 plus £4.95 for delivery plus £7.50 for removal of the old oven which we still had as we had no means of transporting it to our local tip as my car is completely unparactical and the oven would never have fitted in it. Anyway, it was going to be a total of £242.
As luck would have it, one sunday morning, I was just checking my emails and noticed yet another offer email from Argos, which I normally ignore. This one was saying, Hurry offers end in 2 days. I was going to be ordering the oven on the Wednesday once I had been paid, but for some reason, I actually opened the email and had a look on the off chance that our oven would be in the reductions. It wasn't listed but then I noticed a link saying, "click
here for more reductions on ovens" I clicked and went through to the Argos website, I found the oven we wanted and indeed, it was reduced. We bit the bullet and ordered it there and then, for a total cost including delivery and removal of the old oven for a total of £194, a saving of £48!!! We were really pleased.
Unusually for an item from Argos, the oven was not going to be delivered by them but by Hotpoint themselves as they insist upon this. We didn't mind either way. When it arrived, the delivery chap was very helpful and helped us unpack it so we could check there was no damage anywhere on the unit, and he took away the old oven with no fuss.
***** First Impressons: *****
Our very first impression of the oven was that it was much bigger than the old one we had taken out. we knew from measuring that single built in ovens are a pretty much standard size, and indeed this new one was fine for the space in terms of width and height, however the actual body of the oven was much bigger and we weren't sure it would fit into the space as there is a gas pipe to the gass hob at the back of the space for the oven.
The whole unit felt very well made and very sturdy. The shelves are well made and the grill pan very nice indeed, giving a full size grilling area. We were very impressed. The Control knobs felt very nice, eay to turn but without feeling cheap and like they'd fall off with any undue pressure applied like some of the ovens we had looked at which you really felt would fall apart after about an hour.
***** Installation: *****
This oven can be either hardwired or simply plugged in. As we had a cooker point already and the wiring to make it hard wired, we decided that would be the best option. The oven is supplied with a mains lead attached but it is a simple matter of opening up the terminal box on the back of the oven and disconnecting the 3 wires and this is removed. These are the same terminals which are used to hard wire the oven.
We moved the oven to the kitchen, where there is not a great deal of space, and attached the wiring (having made sure the cooker circuit was switched off). We also attached a flying lead to the Hob for the electronic ignition. With the lead attached, we quickly switched the cooker circuit on to check the oven would work. The clock came on fine, so we turned the power off again and set about installing the oven into the space.
This turned out to be a very simple task. The oven slid nicely into the space (all fears of it not fitting were soon forgotten). The method for holding the oven is place was a very clever one indeed. on either side of the oven there are two plastic clips type things. You can adjust them depending on the thickness of the cabinet material either side of the oven.Once this is done, the oven is slid back into place. With the door down, there are two screw holes either side. You put a screw into each of these and the clips are pushed out to hold the oven in place. It really could not be any more simple.
Once this was done we put the power back on. We set the clock, and then as per the instructions, we put the oven on to maximum heat and left it, with the door closed for 30 minutes to burn off any packing grease etc. After 30 minutes we opened the kitchen window and the oven door to let out any smoke, of which there was a little, along with the unmistakable smell of a new oven.
***** Features: *****
** Oven **
This is a Fan assisted electric oven. The fan not only helps it to get up to temperature more quickly, it also helps the temperature to be more even throughout the oven to prevent any cold spots. No more food burnt on one side and not cooked on the other!
** Grill **
The grill is nice and simple to use. Once the main function switch is turned to grill, you can control the temperature via the other knob. This is very nice when you have come from an oven which had a grill with no control options other than moving the shelf up or down.
** Defrosting **
The first click of the main control turns on the fan but does not start the oven heating, this is a mode for assisting defrosting of frozen items. We have only used this once for some saisages we wanted to cook. Normally we would have used the microwave but this has recently died on us. It seemed to work quite well, though I think it's still better to have thought about your meal in advance and allowed any ,eat etc to defrost in the fridge over a day or two.
** Light **
This comes on when the oven is in use, and is really quite useful. It is much better than some I have seen, as it is actually quite powerful and allows you to see how your food is doing without having to open the door.
** Clock/Timer/Programmer **
The clock on the oven is quite useful as any clock is, but it also has other features. It can be used as a timer so if you have something which needs to cook for 20 minutes you can set the timer for 20 minutes and it will beep when finished.
Then there are the programmer modes. The first is a means of putting the oven on for a set amount of time then having it turn off. This is very useful if you have something you want to cook for say 2 hours but then can be left to cool. You can set the temperature etc, then set the programmer for two hours and once the two hours is up, the oven will turn off.
The third mode is probably the most useful, it is the auto cook mode. With this, you can set the temperature you want something cooked at, the length of time it needs cooking for, and then what time you want the cooking to finish. Once set, the oven will switch on and cook for the length of time requested so the food is ready when for the time you set. This is a brilliant feature. For example if you were going out into town in the morning and knew you'd be back for 1pm. You could quickly prepare a casserole before you go out, set the temperature on the oven and set the time for 1.15pm. The oven would come on while you were out, and by the time you'd got home, and taken your coat off etc, your casserole would be ready for you to eat, wonderful!!!
** Easy clean surfaces **
This oven has easy clean surfaces, which as I'm sure you can tell by the name, means it's easy to clean. We haven't let it get dirty enough for it ever to be difficult to clean to be honest but what cleaning we've done has been simple enough.
***** conclusion *****
This is a really nice oven. We have used it loads in the couple of months we have had it, and we are very pleased with it indeed. The Auto cook feature is really nice as we can go out and know that our dinner will be ready for us when we get home, which is a great thing. When we first got it, we were amazed at how quickly it got to temperature in comparison to our old oven. The old one would take about 35minutes to get to 180, this one takes about 10 minutes!
The variable grill has also proved to be very good, its very nice to be able to gently melt cheese over something without burning whatever you are trying to melt the cheese on. Or being able to gently cook a salmon fillet under the grill so it cooks through without the top burning is very nice.
My girlfriend and I are extremely happy with this oven, it is very well built, it's got a good amount of features in the programmer etc and it looks really nice in our kitchen. We are very much enjoying using it and would heartily recommend it to anyone!!!
Short name: Hotpoint SY36