Saturday, November 26, 2016

Gorenje D722CM Vented Dryer.

After a neighbourhood semi stray cat broke into my laundry and pee'd in my barely 3 year old Westinghouse workhorse of a sensor dryer I was on the hunt for a new one.

Having an outdoor laundry means a vented one is fine and generally it's only used for socks and undies, emergencies when it rains for weeks and towels. Nothing worse than a crunchy towel.

Googling reviews told me that 2 of the major players in the market seemed to leave a lot to be desired. Going off specs alone I decided to take a punt on the little known in Australia Gorenje D722CM. Imported by Asko I figured it was likely a pretty safe bet and I loved that it had a number of cycles to choose from as well as being a hefty 7kgs which was a 2kg upgrade on my last one. 

Upon arrival I was pretty impressed. It looked stylish next to my washing machine, it was solid and build quality was on par with the aforementioned major players. 
  The first run through and I noticed this thing was LOUD. Like, airplane taking off at an airport loud. But that was fine, as I mentioned, it lives in an outdoor laundry and noise wasn't very noticeable in the house. Something to keep in mind if you have an indoor laundry however and young kids who sleep! 

 It has 12 custom cycles plus 3 timed cycles of 30 minutes, 60 minutes and 90 minutes. It has a sensor so once it detects no more moisture in the clothing it will go into a cooling cycle then rotate once every so often for up to 2 hours to prevent creasing. It's important to note that you cannot disable this feature. 

The various cycles, like washing machines, hold various weights of washing. Cotton is up to 7kgs (more on this later), sensitive 2kgs, some are 3.5kgs some 4.5kgs etc. All cycles have the ability to press the cooler temperature button located in the centre square button (-C) and/or an extra dry function (top square button).

Once the cycle has completed, if you find the washing has not dried completely you cannot just hit the start button again. The entire dial has to be rotated to the off position then the cycle started again, complete with lowering temperature and adding extra dry if warranted. 

Drum capacity is huge. Much bigger than my 5kg model and the in door lint filter worked extremely well. It was easy to clean although you have to be careful to click it back into place properly or the outer filter cover won't close properly. It seems to sometimes want to click into some outer area nearby where it's actually meant to click into.
Despite a couple of minor annoyances I generally loved this dryer. Putting socks and undies on cotton yielded a very quick cycle and things were coming out completely dry without being crispy. A few weeks in however I noticed one day that it did not turn off. I had 2 towels, 2 teatowels, 2 small gym towels and 4 facewashers in there. 2 hours later the cycle was still going. A check showed the towels were well over-dry and burning hot to the touch.

Concerned I hoped it was a one off and the next time I used it it worked correctly. However the problem continued intermittently so an Asko technician was sent out to help me. Not having heard of the brand before he had to be briefed by head office as to how the dryer worked. I was told that the cotton feature HAS to have 7kg of washing in it. That any less means that the sensor does not work properly and that if I only have a few kilograms of washing, to use one of the other cycles and also to NEVER put the extra dry feature on. That it shouldn't really have one and is only meant for heavy bedding etc (none of this is mentioned in the instructions, one would think, when purchasing a dryer with a moisture sensor that can hold a maximum of 7kgs would turn off when the washing was dry, no matter how much washing was in the machine, as long as it doesn't exceed the maximum). 

A call to the importer at Asko and I was informed that technically this is not a sensor dryer. It is only a sensor dryer if you have the exact amount of washing in it that the maximum states, otherwise it is a timed dryer and that I should definitely use the other cycles, no using the extra dry feature. 

This proved fruitless. Sensitive cycle, mixed cycle and shirt cycle ALL left my washing still wet even after 2 cycles. Cotton cycle with a lower temperature and no extra dry rendered the machine unstoppable. Frightened of a fire I contacted the company I purchased it from and it was agreed that this is not right. A sensor dryer should cease to dry clothing once the contents are dry and that it may be a fire hazard. Thankfully they offered to allow me to swap it with another product. Stay tuned for that review once it has arrived.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Kambrook 1.5L Glass Electric Kettle-KKE760CLR

I had a gift certificate from a refund at a local store that needed using up. My trusty old Breville Kettle had done my family well for 10 years but it was starting to have a few problems, leaking or not turning on properly. I figured it was as good a time as any to upgrade. Most reviews of kettles out there were pretty ordinary if not dismal. The Kambrook KKE760CLR seemed to have relatively okay one's. Picking up another leading brand's glass kettle while there I noted it felt flimsy and cheaply made (surprisingly so given it's nearly $20 price hike on the Kambrook while on special).

A quick full boil to prep the kettle before it's first use and it was good to go. The cord is plenty long enough that you can move the kettle most places on the bench, it swivels 360 degrees although the blue light is only visible for those of us who pick up the kettle with our left hand. It's sturdily built, all buttons press very easily and it's quicker than my old kettle was to boil. The whole lid flicks up with the press of a button so it's easy to fill. It holds a relatively standard 1.5 Litres of water and the benefit of the glass is that you can see if you're about to dry boil it.

It's an attractive design and has been running well with no leaks or problems at all for the last month. I'm very happy. My only gripe is that the button to boil is very easily pressed and I have knocked it on once or twice when simply wiping the bench. Maybe something to keep in mind if you have young kids who can reach the bench. 

Priced very reasonably compared to other kettles currently on the market. Recommended.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

LG WD1410SBW Front Loader-the most ridiculous machine ever invented.

I posted only relatively recently about my new LG WD10471SD6 . I loved this machine to bits.Sadly just 1 year into ownership, it developed a terrible noise while washing. A call to my Good Guys Concierge Service and a technician was sent out. It had developed a noisy motor. Good news was, it was to be replaced under warranty, bad news was, it had been superseded by a new model, one of which had no listing online at all.

I had to choose to upgrade to the new model coming out or exchange for a different brand of machine. Given that my local Good Guys had not a single 10kg washer on the floor and I would have to order sight unseen regardless I decided to upgrade. I was assured this machine was very similar.

3 weeks later it arrived. There was still no mention of it on the LG website and to this day that remains the same.
Upon arrival of the LG WD1410SBW I noticed that NONE of my favourite cycles on my old machine were included. Gone was the 30 minute quick cycle, gone was the 60 minute quick cycle and gone was the time saving function on the remainder of the cycles.
A full load on Cotton with the time saving feature used to take around 1 hour 30 minutes. Not with the WD1410SBW! 2 1/2 hours later, for 1 winter jumper, 2 kids school shirts and some underwear and socks. The machine weighs the clothing and adjusts the amount of water and washing time accordingly. Out of a possible 8 bars, this particular load weighed 3.

A full cycle of 5 towels, 1 bathmat on Allergy ran at a whopping 2 hours and 45 minutes. This was also well below the full load capability and yet left dry spots on a couple of the towels.

The clothes did come out of the machine lovely and fresh, however, as my husband pointed out, they should given the time they took to wash! The lint filter however is pretty tragic. I have 3 kids and 2 cats, the old machine removed most fur and fluff. This one does not. Everything comes out of the machine as fluffy, if not fluffier than it went in (I do sort my clothes according to fibre types so that is not the problem).

This machine also has a habit of getting off balance. It does have a mechanism which supposedly re-balances the load, this adds time to the already long cycle and so far, in 5 loads total, I have had to readjust the load manually 3 times.

I will concede that it does a great job with whites. They are very fresh and very white. Even more so than my old machine. This is perhaps the only thing that is better than my old machine.

Reading the instruction manual I was excited to discover I could download an Android App and use it to download new cycles to my machine. Thinking that my beloved 60 minute cycle might be on there, I went ahead and installed it. Alas it was not.

An email to LG Australia proved fruitless. They knew less about the machine than I did.   I was told to run an "Intensive 60" cycle. This feature does not even exist on this machine. A further live conversation and I was informed, no, this is not an option on this particular machine but I could run an Easy Care Cycle instead.

Reverting to my App, I discovered a section within called "cycle set". Within this is "Saving" and "Wash a Normal Load in 1 hour with Energy Saving". In order to select this cycle I must first load all clothes into the machine, add my powder/detergent, turn the machine on (but don't select any of the cycles!) then open my app, select Cycle Set, Saving and Wash a Normal Load in an hour at which point I have to wave my phone in front of a certain area of my machine to engage the NFC chip! This is hit and miss. Sometimes it picks up immediately, others it takes 2 or 3 goes to get it to read.

To add insult to injury, the cycle starts IMMEDIATELY. No chance to change the spin speed or water temperature and it runs at 40 degrees, which shrinks at least 50% of the clothes my family owns. If you're quick enough, you can quickly jam the machine onto pause and change some of these. The icing on the cake is that this cycle won't save and you can't add it as a favourite, so every time you want to use it, you have to go through this entire process from scratch.

The whole set up is utterly ridiculous and they've definitely gone for gimmick over function with this machine.

The cycles on offer:
Cotton-At least 2 hours
Sports Wear
Dark Wash
Stain Care
Silent Wash
Speed 14 (2kg limit)
Steam Refresh
Allergy Care
Easy Care
Cotton Eco

Many of these cycles do not allow the full 10kgs to be utilized which is not unusual but a 2kg limit in a 10kg machine seems a little silly. Upon filling up the machine causes my pipes to jackhammer in such an alarming way that the entire house shudders. This was not an issue with the previous machine. Not one of them offers the time save feature, all cycles are adjusted automatically by weight.

The App offers a further 13 cycles. Most of these are useless or repeats of what is already on the machine. It is a bonus that when you download these ones, they will remain on the machine under "Download Cycle" until you replace it with another. On offer here is:

Baby Wear (very hot, very long, fine if you have babies, I do not)
Colour Care (isn't this also Dark Wash?)
Deodorization (Isn't this also Steam Refresh?)
Gym Clothes (Sports Wear?)
Jeans (Cottons?)
Kids Wear (for heavy stains, Cottons or Baby Wear?)
Quiet Wash (Silent Wash?)
Rainy Season (for clothes that got rained what?)
Rinse and Spin (halleluja! But um this is already ON the machine! But it gets wiped, for all these other helpful cycles)
Single Garments (Speed 14 anyone?)
Sweat Stain (again Sports Wear?)
and Swimming Wear (okay this one might come in handy sometimes in summer).

What the app does not do, that you would imagine it should, is to let you know where in the cycle the machine is up to when you are elsewhere, or to give a notification upon completion of the cycle. It's like the most obvious things to put in an app were overlooked entirely.
The App offers some promising features, if they ever bother to update it in any way. Given that this machine has been on the market for almost an entire month and they've yet to even add it to their website, my hypothesis is that it's been one big mistake of a release and will quickly be updated again by a model that is actually functional for families. In the meantime I will hope and pray that someone who actually uses a washing machine will update the app sometime in the near future.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Breville Smart Oven Pro BOV845BSS_ANZ

I purchased the Breville Smart Oven Pro BOV845BSS when Woolworths discontinued their Qantas rewards system and moved over to their new woolworths dollars system as my points were due to expire. Having owned similar ovens
in the past (albeit less expensive one's) that I loved I confess I would have not likely paid the extra money for this particular model. The others however, as much as I loved them, generally failed in some way just out of warranty (most often one of the heating elements would blow). But for around $100 and with the heavy use I put them through, I was okay with that. Time will tell if this model has the same fatal flaw. 

It arrived, all silver and shiny with a flash looking digital display. A 22 litre oven it is quite generous in size, although I think smaller than the technically smaller cheaper models. It does have the ability to hold a 13 inch pizza.  
It comes with the wire rack, a square baking tray and a round pizza tray. Extra's can be purchased directly from Breville. 

The wire rack is adjustable and has 3 positions it can be slotted into depending on what you are cooking. It has a 10 minute pre-heat cycle and beeps once the oven is ready and 10 pre-set cooking functions to choose from (all are adjustable however or you can choose to stick with the recommended settings). Grilling also has 3 temperatures to choose from. Low, Medium and High. Time can be adjusted (up to 2 hours) as can temperature and the oven alerts you when it has finished with another double beep and the light comes on. The light bulb is replaceable which is nice, the cheaper models do not offer this feature.
I have owned this now for 4 months and it's still going strong. I admit that the turn dials on the cheaper models are much simpler to use, not that this isn't easy once you get the gist of it, but a lot of the functions seem kind of pointless. For example there is both a bake function and a roast function but anyone who has been cooking any amount of time at all can just heat the oven and set a temperature. I haven't found the functions to make much difference to the cooking process.

I have also found that things don't cook any better in this model than the cheaper models. I thought maybe things would be crispier or less likely to be gummy given the pre-selected cooking functions but they are not. Again, if you are new to cooking, perhaps these are helpful.

Things tend to need to be grilled from the middle shelf not the top like in the instructions. We have had 2 things catch on fire so far when placed on the top shelf for grilling, even when set to low and tall foods like easter buns just do not fit under.

All in all I'm very happy with this, but if I am honest, when it dies, it will just be replaced with one of the others linked above for about half the price of this particular model. I just don't feel it is worth the extra money. The added bonus of the others is when they cease working, I generally keep the accessories so up to 2 shelves/pans can be in the oven at the same time. This is not possible with this one as there just isn't the room for more than 1 shelf and I think it would likely not cook properly if you attempted to do this.

Monday, March 14, 2016

LG WD14071SD6 Front Load Washing Machine.

I have owned the LG WD14071SD6 for 10 months. After having owned an LG front loader that I loved but stupidly got rid of in favour of another well known brand that was a disaster from start to finish, I went back to what had worked so well in the past. And I don't regret it one bit. 
It comes with a 10 year direct drive warranty and 6 motion wash technology (I don't generally buy into lingo used by sales people however I think it actually makes a difference here). Unlike other top loaders I have owned, all wash cycles can be programmed to use the water temperature you wish from 95/60/40/30/ and Cold, the spin speed you wish from 1400/1200/1000/800/600/400/No Spin and most offer Time Save. 

Don't let the photo or the actual size of the drum fool you into thinking it's small. I spent weeks tossing up between this model and another much much larger model (now sold as 15kgs I believe, this is 10 but at the time they weren't allowed to sell anything listed as above 10kgs) but I'm glad I chose this. It's not so big as to dwarf the entire laundry but has ample room for a family of 5 (one very tall husband, 2 adults who go to the gym almost daily and 3 teenage daughters) washing to be done once a week in 2 loads (separated into darks and lights).
 I can honestly say there is nothing much to complain about with this machine. I have waited so long to review it because little annoying things ALWAYS crop up. Not so much with this machine.

There are 12 wash cycles not including a steam refresh cycle that refreshes clothes with steam. These are:
  • Delicate
  • Easy Care
  • Mix
  • Cotton
  • Cotton Eco
  • Sports Wear
  • Duvet
  • Dark Wash
  • Quick 30
  • Wool
  • Intensive 60
  • Silent
  • Allergy Care
  • Refresh
I confess that in the almost year I have owned this machine I have not really branched out much with the cycles. I predominantly use the Cotton Cycle for whites (with Time Save enabled), Dark Wash or Cotton with Time Save for darks and Cotton for towels and linen. Occasionally I have done a smaller load of washing with the 60 minute quick cycle.

It has electronic touch control which is very sensitive and I have on occasion pressed things I didn't mean to while hovering over my decision for too long but it hasn't been a major problem and is easily changed back.
 As is usual with a front loader, without the Time Save function enabled, it's around about 3 hours (approximately) for a full cotton cycle from start to finish, however, it can be programmed with the delayed start so you can fill the machine full of washing at night and wake up to clean fresh washing first thing in the morning.

Unlike front loaders of the past, ample water is used (but not too much, however I have owned front loaders where washing came out of the machine with dry patches). This machine uses technology that weighs the washing in the machine in order to determine the correct amount of water to be used. I was initially VERY worried about this function, having had the dry clothes issue in the past, but not once has it got it wrong.

It releases short bursts of water into the machine while it fills rather than running a full steady stream. I have had washers in the past that on filling, would pour water down the front of the machine out of the front of the detergent drawer due to high water pressure. I have not once had this problem with this machine. 

Lint wise there has not been an issue. It will destroy a missed tissue in a pocket however with as much enthusiasm as a top be warned.

Clothes are coming out smelling fresh and clean (I'd like to say no surprises there, but my past experience tells me that washing machines do not always wash adequately). 

If I had to really pick anything negative about this machine it would be the plastic front on the door (hey, I said if I HAD to). It hasn't broken or aged at all, however I just feel that for an otherwise stylish machine it adds a touch of  cheapness to the overall look. Time will tell if it's a problem but for now it looks as good as the day I purchased it.

A definite winner from LG and I won't hesitate to purchase another of their front loaders in the future when I need to.