Product Type: Morphy Richards toasters
Newest Review: ... to chose this. I paid £29.99 for this online and delivery was free. The Toaster is just like the picture on here so it looks quite... more
Make Toast, Save the World
Morphy Richards 44943 EcoLectric
Member Name: JJJJ
Morphy Richards 44943 EcoLectric
Advantages: Motorized bread carriage looks cool
Disadvantages: Ridiculous Standby Mode, Toast is Average
Not only is the toaster apparently going to save the planet, but it has a motorized bread carriage which, upon a press of the large black button on the side, automatically lowers and raises the bread for you - and yes, whilst this is undoubtedly a gimmicky touch, it does look extremely cool! Once the bread has descended into the depths of the machine, a chrome lid smoothly slides over it - and this is where the energy savings are made - the lid keeps the heat in, thus requiring less power to toast the bread. Unfortunately, the automatic closing of the lid means that if your bread is slightly taller than usual, it may end up getting its head cut off. My research shows that it will actually take pieces of bread up to 16cms in height - so now you know!
The toaster can be purchased from a range of retailers for £34.95 - I bought mine from gizoo.co.uk, and this was the cheapest price I found. The body of the appliance is constructed from a sturdy black and silver plastic, and despite the choice of material, it looks fairly stylish. The large black button which I mentioned in the previous paragraph is surrounded by a silver dial which controls the cooking time (referred to as a 'Electronic Variable Browning Control' if you want its long-winded title). The dial clicks through six different time settings - but it does feel a little cheap in the hand when you turn it, and reminds the owner that is a very much a low end product.
The side of the toaster features four buttons which include a setting for toasting bagels, one for defrosting, a handy 'reheat' button (when you want to warm up toast without toasting it further), and a button which opens and closes the lid. Actually, the open / close lid button is a bit unnecessary, as this function is operated automatically with the big button on the side. You may think that with all of these buttons, the toaster probably looks a bit cluttered - but actually, the controls are well placed from an aesthetic perspective, and as a whole, the design remains fairly minimalist. It's also important to note that the power cord is of an adequate length, and black in colour to match the toaster's body.
Like the majority of toaster models these days, the Ecolectric features a 'crumb tray' on the underside - this is basically a removable metal draw which slides out and allows you to empty the bits of toast debris which would otherwise have sat on the floor of the machine. It's probably best to empty the tray every few weeks although this obviously depends on how often you use your toaster. Not emptying the tray probably wouldn't have any dire consequences, but the instructions point out that it may hamper the performance of the machine in the long run.
How 'eco' are you really?
Now here's the issue which bothers me most - although it's a designated 'eco' product, the toaster has a 'standby' mode which consumes power when the toaster isn't in use. Most toasters don't consume any energy when the toasting process has finished - but for some reason, this one does. The standby power consumption is seven watts, and if left on, that's around a unit of electricity per week - not as environmentally friendly as first thought! I find this completely unacceptable to be honest, as an eco toaster which constantly uses energy is a ridiculous concept. It means that you have to remember to turn the device off at the wall socket after every use, which you shouldn't have to do.
But how do you toast?
Of course, the crux of any toasters performance is its ability to toast bread - and unfortunately the Morphy Richards Ecolectric isn't the best. Although it promises "Even browning every time" - this really isn't the case, and in my experience, bread gets toasted more on one side than the other, with the outer edges frequently coming out burned. I leave the main dial setting on '3', and strangely enough this will produce differently browned toast from one day to the next - odd! To be honest, it's not completely terrible toast, but it's not as good as the stuff that my last toaster produced, and that cost less than £10. On a positive note, this is a particularly quick toaster, and it doesn't take long at all from putting the bread in, to receiving... well, almost nicely toasted bread. A light on the front of the unit starts to flash when the toast is around ten seconds from being ready which gives you a nice advanced warning as to when to start getting the butter out of the fridge!
Overall, I can't fault the toaster on either its appearance or its innovative design - yet its inability to produce decent toast is unforgivable. Similarly its use of energy whilst in standby mode is just ridiculous, and seems to be an unusual design choice. So all in all, hats off to Morphy Richards for *trying* to create an environmentally friendly product - it's just the way in which they have gone about it which is flawed. The only reason this toaster is desirable is for the novelty value of the motorized bread carriage - which is actually really cool, and slightly hypnotic. The toaster comes with a two year guarantee, so you could always return it if you're not happy with it.
So, to sum it up:
Toasting Ability: 5/10
Eco Credentials: 5/10
Novelty Value: 9/10
Extra Features: 7/10
Must do better.
Summary: Good in Theory, Poor In Practice
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