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Gozney Arc XL review: this pizza oven is a crowd pleaser
4:55 am | June 19, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Home Small Appliances | Comments: Off

Gozney Arc XL: Two-minute review

The Gozney Arc is a pizza oven for serious pizza aficionados. Slotting into the range between the approachable Roccbox and the company’s premiere Dome series, the new Arc – and its larger sibling, the Arc XL – harness the company’s most recent learnings to make an exceptional pizza at home.

The Arc and Arc XL utilize the efficiency and ease of gas, hooking up to readily-available propane (LPG) bottles to mean you can have the oven fired up in minutes. Both the Arc and the Arc XL take longer than the Roccbox to heat up, requiring you to turn them on at least 30 minutes ahead of cooking, but they are bigger ovens and offer improved temperature stability, better flame control and allow you to cook bigger pizzas.

So while the Roccbox can bake 12-inch pizzas to perfection, if you want to make large or family-sized pizzas, then that's where the Arc and Arc XL step in. The Gozney Arc will allow you to make 14-inch pizzas – traditionally called large in the US, UK and Australia – while the family-sized Arc XL is capable of turning around generous 16-inch pizzas in minutes. Gozney sent me the Arc XL for this review.

To ensure you make the perfect pizza, the Arcs can be combined with the optional Arc Stand accessory to give you an oven at the right height. This stand can be wheeled around like a traditional barbecue and offers plenty of prep room on either side via fold-down shelves for resting tools and food.

The Arc and Arc XL both include an integrated digital thermometer, meaning there’s no guesswork required to know when your oven is the perfect temperature for cooking. They also feature a new sleek exhaust that reduces the buildup of soot that you get above the door on the Roccbox.

The elongated burners optimize internal oven space and feature a wider rolling flame that arcs across the top to help cook the toppings on your pizza perfectly every time.

All this combines to make a compact home pizza oven that can make professional-level pizza week after week, without becoming a chore.

The only thing I think that would make this a better oven is if Gozney can create a baffle door accessory to help the Arc reach heat saturation faster. And if you only plan on making pizzas occasionally, you'll get more bang for their buck with the Roccbox. However, if you entertain large groups or want to frequently make large pizzas, the Arc and Arc XL ovens are stylish, compact and reasonably priced, considering their professional pizza capabilities.

An uncooked pizza on a peel going into the fired-up Gozney Arc XL pizza oven

(Image credit: Joel Burgess / TechRadar)

Gozney Arc XL review: Price & availability

  • Gozney Arc: $699 / £600 / AU$1,200
  • Gozney Arc XL: $799 / £700 / AU$1,400

The Gozney Arc and and Arc XL are more expensive than the $499 / £399 / AU$799 Roccbox, with the smaller 14-inch capable Arc costing $699 / £600 / AU$1,200 and the larger 16-inch capable Arc XL coming in at $799 / £700 / AU$1,400.

If you have an outdoor kitchen benchtop, then you’ll be able to slot the ovens in directly on top of that, but for those needing a freestanding option that can be moved to different parts of the deck, veranda or patio, then the Arc and Arc XL stand is a handy accessory for $250 / £250 / AU$350. It has enough room either side to rest a pizza or pizza peel, carries the gas cylinder and can be moved using the lockable and stable wheels.

Because both ovens come with an integrated thermometer, you can get away without needing an additional $49 / £39 / AU$69 handheld infrared temperature gun, although this can still be useful for when you’re short on time since the inside surface of the oven gets hotter faster than the built-in thermometer reads.

You will need a pizza peel to easily slide pizzas into the oven, but we weren’t sure you need the placement peels with the longer handle designed for Gozney’s bigger ovens ($99 / £75 / AU$139), you could easily get away with using the shorter handle Roccbox Turning ($65 / £49 / AU$89) and Placement Peels ($85 / £65 / AU$119). Gozney also has a couple of new Balance and Pro Placement Peels that we didn’t get an opportunity to test out, but they look to be the right size for the new Arc range and promise to offer a better feel than the current range.

If you plan to keep the oven exposed to the elements, it’s probably a good idea to cover it with the Arc or Arc XL Cover available from $50 / £50 / AU$80 or the full length Arc + Arc XL Stand Cover ($80 / £80 / AU$130).

Gozney has a great range of recipes and how-to videos freely available on its website for those keen to progress their pizza-making skills, but if you want all the best info in the one place, then it might be worth considering the recently released Pizza Volume 01 Cookbook for $35 / £25 / AU$40. I haven’t had a chance to flick through this yet, but the recipes on the website are excellent, so I would expect nothing less here.

  • Value score: 4.5 / 5

Gozney Arc XL pizza oven on its stand and covered with a branded cover

(Image credit: Joel Burgess / TechRadar)

Gozney Arc XL review: Specifications

The Arc and Arc XL are significantly smaller than the original Dome and Dome S1 range, weighing just 47.5 Ibs (21.5kg) and 58.5 Ibs (26.5kg) instead of the 107 lbs (48.5kg) of the gas-only Dome S1.

Gozney Arc XL review: Design and features

  • Stylish
  • Top vent prevents soot buildup
  • Efficient internal space

While restaurant-quality performance is the trademark Gozney has built its reputation on, it’s hard to go past the importance of looking good, and Gozney’s ovens are the best-looking consumer-grade ovens around – by some margin in my opinion. And the new Arc and Arc XL don’t stray too far from this established aesthetic, borrowing the igloo shape from its original Dome siblings and continuing the bone-white coloring that would fit in any home.  

The Arc series looks slightly different with a wider mouth proportion, sleek front vent and metal side strips. The steel sides on the Dome and Arc aren’t as nice as the more uniform Dome S1 units, in my opinion, but it’s a minor detail that's quickly overlooked. In addition to looking sleek, the vent at the top will prevent any soot buildup, which is an issue on the Roccbox where the cooking process leaves black streaks on the front.

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Flames inside the fired-up Gozney Arc XL pizza oven

(Image credit: Joel Burgess / TechRadar)
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Gozney Arc XL pizza oven fired up on its stand

(Image credit: Joel Burgess / TechRadar)

 What’s perhaps the biggest functional tweak however, is the lateral burner at the side of the oven. The now flat gas outlet fires a line of flames from the side of the unit which hugs the arched ceiling of the oven to stretch right across and down the far side, creating a much more even top-down heat. This has an excellent impact on performance, which I’ll talk about later, but it also occupies much less space than the circular output found on the Dome, allowing you to cook bigger pizzas in a more compact form factor. Reducing the overall internal oven space means there's less thermal mass for faster heat times, but it also allows the unit to be more compact and lightweight without losing performance. 

The Arc stand looks a little bottom heavy when the arms are folded down, but there's logic in a device as hot as a pizza oven having an abundance of stability. I did wish there was somewhere to hang the larger pizza peels from as they're unlikely to fit in your home kitchen cupboard. 

  • Design & features score: 5 / 5

Gozney Arc XL fired up with two uncooked pizzas beside it on the fold-up shelves of its stand

(Image credit: Joel Burgess / TechRadar)

Gozney Arc XL review: Performance

  • Gas is faster and easier
  • Wide mouth for easy manoeuvring
  • Stable temperatures for back-to-back performance

Wood-fired is obviously the gold standard when it comes to the highest quality pizza, but making a wood fire is a significantly more laborious process than firing up a gas oven, and the difference can be hard to justify when you’re only going to make a handful of pizzas in one session. Add to this the extra space you need in the oven for wood and the cost of buying pellets or the time to process compact wood cuttings, and you have an equation where gas is going to be, by far, the more preferable option for many home cooks. 

Apart from it not being wood-fired, the cooking performance of the Arc XL I tested really can’t be faulted. The oven is capable of maintaining a stable 950ºF / 500ºC temperature thanks to considerable insulation and the 20mm thick cordierite stone floor that holds a generous amount of thermal mass to cook thick or thin pizza bases as quickly as the toppings. 

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A pizza cooking inside the Gozney Arc XL oven

(Image credit: Joel Burgess / TechRadar)
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A cooked pizza on a peel coming out of the Gozney Arc XL pizza oven

(Image credit: Joel Burgess / TechRadar)

The Arc XL I tested had a much wider mouth than what I was used to with the Roccbox, providing a lot more space for sliding in larger pizzas and making it easier to turn them without hassle. The big mouth did have the downside that the Arc XL took around 35 minutes to get to an optimal temperature to start cooking, which is 10 to 15 minutes longer than what you can get using the Roccbox. The smaller Arc takes a similar time to the XL, or even a bit longer by many reports. So if you’re hoping to cook multiple times a week that difference can start to add up, but when you consider large wood-fired pizza ovens can take the better part of a day to get to the right temperature, this distinction can seem like splitting hairs. Still, I'm hoping Gozney is working on a baffle door to cut that heat-up time down considerably.

A cooked pizza on a peel beside the Gozney Arc XL pizza oven

(Image credit: Joel Burgess / TechRadar)

 Once the oven is ready to go, it’s impressive how much control you have over the speed that toppings cook. The gas dial allows you to leave the flame at full roll for those pizzas with more toppings needing a good sizzle, but you can also dial it right back for the classics that just need a smattering of top-down heat. All the while the thick stone base ensures the dough is cooked through in a matter of minutes. This control means that even newcomers to pizza making can easily get a feel for how to make the perfect spotty crust and evenly cooked ingredients. 

The Arc XL had no issues churning out pizza after pizza for those moments when I was trying to entertain a number of guests. It’s also stable enough that you could easily put one in a beer garden and try your hand at a side hustle. The only way you could make a better pizza is with a full built-in wood-fired pizza oven… and even then you’d still have to really know what you’re doing. 

  • Performance score: 5 / 5

A cooked pizza on a Gozney-branded pizza rocker

(Image credit: Joel Burgess / TechRadar)

Should I buy the Gozney Arc XL?

Buy it if...

You want larger pizzas

The Roccbox does awesome 12-inch pizzas, but if you want 14- or 16-inch family-sized options, then you’re going to need to get an Arc or Arc XL.

You expect to make pizza frequently

The Arc and Arc XL units are excellent at making lots of pizzas for big groups, but you can also expect them to be easy enough to use week after week when you want to make pizzas for yourself or your immediate family.

You want the most convenient option

In addition to being able to turn this on and fire up in minutes at the turn of a knob, you also don’t need to clean out ash or cut wood down to size… making it by far the easiest option for cooking pizza.

Don't buy it if...

You need a portable oven

If you think you might like to make pizza while camping or at a holiday home, then the Roccbox is likely to serve you better.

You want the flavor/ romanticism of wood fire

If you’re going to be wondering what every one of your pizzas would have tasted like if it was cooked using a wood fire, then you should really be thinking about buying a dome.

Also consider

Gozney Roccbox

This compact portable pizza oven is more than capable of cooking excellent 12-inch pizzas at home or anywhere you can think to carry it. It’s fast, efficient and makes pizza good enough to be the perfect option for most people’s requirements.

Read our full Gozney Roccbox review

Ooni Karu 16

This is another option if you want to make larger pizzas and offers the bonus of having the option of wood fire, but its performance isn’t quite as good as the Gozney models unfortunately.

Read our full Ooni Karu 16 review

How I tested the Gozney Arc XL

Gozney Arc XL on a stand and covered with branded cover

(Image credit: Joel Burgess / TechRadar)

I tested the Gozney Arc XL pizza oven over a period of a couple of months, making pizzas frequently for guests, family dinners and sometimes even for my own lunch. 

A stopwatch was used to measure heat-up time and an infrared thermometer was used to verify the internal thermometer’s readings. The oven was tested at various temperatures and using a range of settings to cook different toppings. 

Over 40 pizzas were cooked before coming to a final conclusion for this review.

Read more about how we test.

[First reviewed June 2024]  

Bissell CrossWave OmniForce review: Bissell’s best wet-dry vacuum yet
6:01 pm | June 14, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Home Small Appliances Vacuums | Tags: | Comments: Off

Bissell CrossWave OmniForce: two-minute review

I don't know that I’ve seen any company with as many wet dry vacuums as Bissell. And, having used three different models, including the epically-named Bissell CrossWave OmniForce I can say that each model has qualitatively improved on the last.

Whether you'll find the Bissell CrossWave OmniForce to be one of the best vacuum cleaners for you will depend heavily on your needs. This wet dry vacuum has the best vacuuming performance of any of the Bissell models I’ve handled, and you’ll have to pay much more for a wet-dry competitor.

While I’ll go much deeper into what makes the Bissell CrossWave OmniForce tick, I can already state that its vacuuming ability is its best asset over the rest of Bissell’s wet dry vacuum line, as it no longer feels like an underpowered afterthought. The fact that it will clean its own mop pads when returned to its base station is another point in its favor. Plus, you’ll get a decent 30 minutes of battery out of it, though that’s not particularly impressive compared with the best cordless vacuums.

Bissell CrossWave OmniForce in a living room

(Image credit: Future)

There aren’t a ton of negatives, either. While the vacuuming capability is pretty good, it won’t replace the need for a powerful model for deep cleaning purposes. Also, the floorhead doesn’t tilt enough to get very far under hard-to-move furniture. All in all, though, it’s a worthy addition to any home when you want a convenient way to vacuum and mop your floors.

Bissell CrossWave OmniForce review: specs

Bissell CrossWave OmniForce review: price & availability

  • $379.99 (about £237, AU$450)
  • Available now
  • Available only in the US

Though I assume the Bissell CrossWave OmniForce will eventually make its debut in the UK and Australia, it is, at the moment, a US-only affair. And, since it’s the newest addition to Bissell’s surprisingly deep lineup of wet dry vacuums, it’s also the most expensive. It’s also pricier than some of the other models for other reasons. As someone who’s been able to test the Bissell SpinWave + Vac, which retails at $249.99 / £179.99, I can tell you that spending the $379.99 (about £237, AU$450) on the Bissell CrossWave OmniForce is worth it for the much improved vacuuming ability.

If you already have a fantastic vacuum and don’t need the two-in-one capability, you might feel just as satisfied with the SpinWave SmartStream Spin Mop, which goes for a much lower price at $159.99 (about £130 / AU$250), though it doesn't have the self-cleaning mop capabilities of the CrossWave OmniForce. It also doesn’t have quite as cool a name.

Of course, there are some models out there that are amazing wet dry vacuums with performance that can match the best vacuums, such as the Tineco Floor One S7 Pro. However they’re generally bulkier and more expensive. In the case of the Tineco, you’ll have to pay $799.99 (likely £669 / AU$999) to get one.

  • Value for money score: 4 out of 5

Bissell CrossWave OmniForce review: design

  • Attractive if unassuming as well as durable
  • Streamlined controls
  • Not much in the way of accessories

The Bissell CrossWave OmniForce, made of of durable, high quality plastic in an attractive if unassuming black and gray colorway, has a definite mid-range look to it. You’re not going to get a premium feel, but neither will you worry that it’s going to break during use.

At almost 11 pounds, it has some heft to it. I could see it being tiring for some to push around for 30 minutes straight, which is how long it can last on a single charge. That said, it’s well-balanced and moves around easily on its two wheels. I would assume some of its balance comes from the fact that, unlike with stick vacuums, the body containing the motor, the water reservoir and the dirty water tank are all located close to the floorhead instead of the handle.

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Bissell CrossWave OmniForce with included accessories

Bissell CrossWave OmniForce with included accessories (Image credit: Future)
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Bissell CrossWave OmniForce filter in dirty water reservoir

Bissell CrossWave OmniForce filter in dirty water reservoir (Image credit: Future)
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Controls on Bissell CrossWave OmniForce

Controls on Bissell CrossWave OmniForce (Image credit: Future)
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Bissell CrossWave OmniForce brushroll

Bissell CrossWave OmniForce brushroll (Image credit: Future)

Speaking of the water reservoir and dirty water tank, they easily pull out to empty with a simple push of a lever. The brush roll in the floorhead is accessible in the same way if you need to clean it. Considering the brushroll is basically a rolling mop in cylindrical form, you don’t have to access it too often to untangle hair and the like.

In terms of controls, the Bissell CrossWave OmniForce is pretty streamlined. You have a power button that automatically engages the vacuum mode (there’s no way to turn that off, incidentally), the button to turn on the mop function, and a turbo button to run the vacuum or vacuum and mop functions at a higher speed. These are all situated on the front of the handle. There’s also a button at the top of the handle to run a self-cleaning cycle on the brushroll, which you would do when the unit is sitting in the storage and rinse tray.

Bissell CrossWave OmniForce LED display during use

(Image credit: Future)

You can track what’s engaged by looking at the large LED display on the front of the body that indicates not only whether mop mode is on, but at what level the vacuum and mop modes are at. It also shows battery life.

As far as attachments or accessories go, the Bissell CrossWave OmniForce is fairly light compared to a lot of vacuums. There’s the storage and rinse tray, which also charges the vacuum in between use, and two sample size containers of cleaning fluid. So, don’t expect this to do everything your stick vacuum can do as there’s no crevice tool or anything else. Considering the form factor of this vacuum, however, that’s to be expected.

  • Design score: 4.5 out of 5

Bissell CrossWave OmniForce review: performance

  • Surprisingly good vacuum performance
  • Even, deep mopping
  • Surprisingly quiet

Whether it’s cereal or pet hair, the Bissell CrossWave OmniForce will pick it up. I even picked up small leaves. I say all this to emphasize that this vacuum does a good job being a vacuum. Some wet dry vacuums do a great job of leaving the floors clean, but only after using something else to vacuum first, and then using said wet dry vac to do the mopping.

Bissell CrossWave OmniForce vacuuming

(Image credit: Future)

However the Bissell CrossWave OmniForce does a good job on both fronts, and the floorhead is only a little bit wider than the brushroll so this model is able to reach edges fairly easily as well. But while I found it to pick up all sorts of debris, I wouldn’t consider this a complete floor-cleaning package. You’ll probably still want a powerful vacuum, preferably with a HEPA filter (this does not come with one) and an assortment of attachments to get into various nooks and crannies. It’s also worth noting that the floorhead doesn’t have a lot of tilt to it so you won’t be able to get far under furniture without moving it.

Bissell CrossWave OmniForce mopping

(Image credit: Future)

In terms of mopping, the Bissell CrossWave OmniForce leaves a small and even level of water or water and solution as it goes across the floor that not only properly washes the floor, but does so without leaving excess amounts of water as you might experience when mopping by hand. Seeing the dirty water as well as debris in the dirty water tank is enough evidence that this does an excellent job mopping, though the shiny floors help.

During operation, it’s also surprisingly quiet, registering at around 68dB during use. I’ve used plenty of vacuums that get very loud, yet this one is able to do its job well at a volume you can talk over (at least when you're not using the turbo mode).

It also has a decent, if not amazing, battery life. It took me 8 minutes and 15 seconds to get to 75%, for instance, and I’ve used it for up to its advertised 30 minutes of juice, which I found to be more than enough time to cover a full floor of a house. However, it does take four hours to charge back up. Plus, if you use the self-cleaning function (and you should), the brushroll will be wet for up to 24 hours. Likewise if you use the mop function, which means you won’t be able to vacuum carpet straight after.

  • Performance score: 4.5 out of 5

Should you buy the Bissell CrossWave OmniForce?

Buy it if…

Don't buy it if...

Bissell CrossWave OmniForce review: also consider

How I tested the Bissell CrossWave OmniForce

To test the Bissell CrossWave OmniForce, I used it for a week to vacuum hardwood and marble flooring around my house. I also tested it on carpets and used all the modes to see how the vacuum performed. I also vacuumed up different sized debris and made sure to use it to get under furniture and edges.

I’ve tested a lot of gear over the years from laptops and audio equipment to vacuum cleaners and air fryers, and so have been able to use my expertise to give an honest and fair opinion, not to mention a critical eye, to any product I test.

Read more about how we test

First tested June 2024

Braun TriForce / PowerBlend 9 blender review
11:41 am | June 10, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Home Juicers & Blenders Small Appliances | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Braun TriForce Power Blender: two-minute review

This blender has slightly different names and product codes in different territories:

US: Braun TriForce Power Blender JB9040BK
UK: Braun PowerBlend 9 jug blender JB9040
AU: Braun PowerBlend 9 Jug blender JB9042

We tested the UK version. Be aware there may be minor differences between different countries' models.

The Braun TriForce Power Blender (known as the Braun PowerBlend 9 in the UK and Australia) brings all the benefits of the best blenders with a few extras, such as a hot Soup mode and Chop function, thrown in. It's a highly customizable appliance, offering 18 preset blending options – six presets with three texture settings for each – plus 10 manual speeds, a Pulse feature and Clean mode. It comes with 2-liter triangular Tritan jug, a fixed blade and tamper.

The TriForce Power Blender is the flagship model in Braun's countertop jug blender range. Its unique triangular, 2-liter jug sets it apart from other blenders I’ve used. Not just in terms of design, but also because this shape makes sure food rarely gets stuck to the sides. Everything is pulled towards the blades and blended quickly – up to four times faster than rival models, according to Braun. 

It offers a wide range of intuitive presets – Smoothie, Soup, Chop, Ice Crush, Frozen Dessert, and Spread – making it super easy to not only make a selection of drinks, dips, butters, desserts at the touch of a button, but to get your ideal consistency time and again. During my tests, it produced an almost perfect smoothie in seconds, despite some tiny flecks of kale; its Spread setting is brilliant for making hummus because it cycles through blending and pulsing; and its Ice Crush feature worked as expected. The ice wasn't as powdery as on other blenders I've tried, but it wasn't far off. 

Braun TriForce Power Blender on a kitchen counter

(Image credit: Future)

Elsewhere, you can easily set or change the consistency of anything you make by cycling through the different textures – Smooth, Medium and Coarse – and the manual speeds are varied enough to bring an extra level of precision. The hot soup function is also a pleasant surprise. It turned cubes of vegetables and stock into warm, tasty, comforting soup in less than six minutes. Minimal hassle, minimal mess. 

Speaking of mess, the TriForce Power Blender's Clean mode works really well, which is a welcome feature considering you can't remove the blades to clean underneath them. You can also put the jug safely in the dishwasher. 

Despite its wide array of features, the TriForce is surprisingly compact, fitting neatly under my cabinets and light enough to move around and store easily. It measures 16.9 x 7.9 x 7.9" / ‎43 x 20 x 20 cm (H x W x D) and weighs 10.1lbs / 4.6kg. The anti-slip feet and tidy cord storage are thoughtful touches that make it practical and safe for everyday use. 

Ice cubes in the Braun TriForce Power Blender

(Image credit: Future)

This blender can get loud, especially at higher speeds, reaching as high as 105db. This is equivalent to having a car horn blasting in your kitchen, which can be uncomfortable at times. But since it blends so quickly, at least it’s a short-lived racket.

In sort, if you're looking for a high-performance blender that can do it all and a little more, and are happy to invest a bit more to get it, the Braun TriForce Power Blender is a great choice. It's a powerful, intuitive addition to your kitchen and while it's far from cheap, it is at least good value, specially if you can get it for one of the many discounts being offered regularly from third-party retailers. That's the short version – read on for my full Braun TriForce / PowerBlend review.

Braun TriForce Power Blender review: price & availability

  • List price: $249.95 / £199.99 / AU$299
  • Available in US, UK and Australia

There are three Braun countertop blenders – the $99.95 entry-level Braun PureMix Power Blender (JB7200), the standard $249.95 Braun TriForce Power Blender (JB9040BK) and the $299.95 TriForce Power Blender with Smoothie2Go accessory (JB9040BK). This accessory turns the jug blender into a personal blender for an extra $50. I reviewed the standard TriForce model. 

As 2-liter jug blenders go, the TriForce is one of the more expensive models on the market. Few countertop blenders exceed the $200 mark with the exception of those from high-end brands such as Vitamix and Smeg with the $649 Vitamix A3300 Ascent Series, or the $429.95 Smeg Professional Blender. The closest Braun rival, in terms of size and features is the Ninja HB150C/HB152 Foodi Heat-iQ Blender and this sells for $198. It's slightly smaller, but has more automated settings.  

In the US, you can buy the TriForce Power Blender from Braun directly, or via a number of third-party resellers including Walmart, Amazon and Target. At the time of writing, the TriForce Power Blender was being sold across these third-party sites for as much as $70 less than its RRP. In fact, only Braun was selling it for its full price. 

In the UK, and Australia, the appliance is known as the Braun PowerBlend 9 and you can buy it directly from Braun, as well as Amazon, Debenhams and AO in the UK. In Australia, you can buy it from Braun, Harvey Norman and Appliances Online. Again, few sites in the UK and Australia regularly sell the PowerBlend 9 for its RRP and some regularly sell it for ~£100/AU$150 less. 

The Braun TriForce Power Blender is a powerful appliance with a wide range of features that elevate it beyond a simple jug blender. From a hot soup function to a food processor-style chopping feature.  As a result, it has a price to match. There are cheaper blenders that perform well against the Braun, but there are also more expensive models that don't live up to its performance. So, while $249.95 seems a little high, it is decent value and you get some of the benefits of multiple appliances for the price of one. Plus, with a number of sites regularly dropping the price, you could get a really good deal. 

  • Value for money score: 4 out of 5

Braun TriForce Power Blender specifications

Braun TriForce Power Blender review: design & features

  • 1600w motor, 2 liter BPA-Free Tritan jug
  • 10 manual blending speeds + 6 presets, 3 textures, Pulse and Clean
  • Triangular jug with fixed blades

The first thing I noticed about the Braun TriForce Power Blender is its triangular, 2-liter jug. Most jug blenders have circular or boxy jugs yet Braun has deliberately designed its jug in a way that means food rarely gets stuck to the sides. This is because the sides bring the food closer to the blades, and thus it's constantly being pulled back towards the center due to the centrifugal force. Braun claims this guarantees "faster blended results in less time."  

The BPA-Free Tritan triangular jug then slides and locks into place on top of a rubber triangular base, while the jug's lid, complete with small, detachable cap, locks onto the base via two large clips on each side. 

Circular cap on the Braun TriForce Power Blender's lid

(Image credit: Future)

Below the jug is a touchscreen display and rotating dial. Along the display are each of the preset buttons – Smoothie, Soup, Chop, Ice Crush, Frozen Dessert, and Spread – and while I appreciate how self-explanatory they all are, I don't love the use of lowercase font throughout. It's a very minor, almost ridiculous complaint, but it makes the machine look less professional than its price would suggest.

Below these buttons are the Manual and Pulse buttons above the Clean button, on the right-hand side, and the Start/Stop button that doubles up as the control dial in the center. This dial can be used to set the manual speed, when Manual mode is selected, or used to switch between the blender's three iTexture settings: Smooth, Medium or Coarse.  

This mix of presets and textures takes the total possible number of automated settings to 18. This extends to 29 settings when you add in the 10 manual speeds and the Pulse function. This is a very impressive number and could feel overwhelming. However, by making every button and setting easy to use and identify, Braun has avoided over-complicating things. This intuitive design even encouraged me to experiment with different settings without fear of breaking it or something going drastically wrong. 

Controls on the Braun TriForce Power Blender

(Image credit: Future)

Despite its 2-liter jug and panel of impressive controls, the blender is surprisingly compact measuring 16.9 x 7.9 x 7.9" / ‎43 x 20 x 20cm (H x W x D). It should fit easily under most kitchen cupboards, even with the jug attached, and will sit neatly in a corner. 

It's a lightweight blender too. The base and jug together weigh 10.1lb / 4.6 kg and this makes it easy to move around your countertop, or if you want to store it in a drawer or cupboard. It then has anti-slip feet on the bottom of the base, and a 3ft / 1m cord. Such is its compact and portable nature, the blender was one of the few appliances I was able to leave out on my limited countertops when my kitchen was being remodeled.  

The use of black plastic and rubber follows suit with the majority of blenders on the market and while this means it will blend into most aesthetics, it's hardly groundbreaking. The only element that gives the TriForce Power Blender a touch of flair is the green light used to illuminate the Start-Stop button and speed dial. That's not to say it's ugly; rather if you want something with striking looks, this blender may not be for you.

It's also a shame that the blades aren't removable but, thanks to the built-in cleaning mode and the fact the jug is dishwasher-safe, this is another minor flaw that's easily remedied. 

  • Design score: 4.5 out of 5

Braun TriForce Power Blender review: performance

  • Almost faultless results across various blending tests
  • Blends quickly and effectively
  • Presets perform better than manual settings

For my first test of the Braun TriForce Power Blender, I made a kale, blueberry and banana smoothie with almond milk. I add all of the ingredients to the jug, pressed the Smoothie button, selected the Smooth texture, and pushed the Start button. In as little as 20 seconds, the drink looked smooth and well blended but I let the Smoothie setting run to its default time of one minute before pouring the drink. 

The resulting drink was almost velvety in texture. I could see tiny flecks of kale and blueberry skin when I looked at the drink, but they were so small I couldn't taste them. If you choose the Medium texture, the total blending time is 44 seconds, and for Coarse it's 42 seconds. I was impressed by how quickly the blender achieved these results, and in my experience it lives up to the brand's claim that it creates food "60% finer and four times faster" than other models. 

Making a kale, blueberry and banana smoothie in the Braun TriForce Power Blender

(Image credit: Future)

Next, I made hummus. I usually have to use a manual setting when making hummus on most blenders I review because they rarely have an appropriate, dedicated setting. On the Braun TriForce Power Blender I used the Spread setting, which the instruction manual says is designed for hummus, pesto and nut butters, and the blender ran for 2 minutes and 20 seconds cycling through a pattern of blending and pulsing. 

The resulting hummus was the perfect consistency. It was smooth but thick, making it ideal for dipping vegetable sticks into, while also coating the inside of my mouth with flavor. What's more, I didn't once have to stop the blender to scrape the mixture from the edges, or press it down using the tamper. 

Hummus made in the Braun TriForce Power Blender

(Image credit: Future)

Finally, I used the blender to make crushed ice using the Ice Crush setting. This setting causes the blender to operate in short bursts for 25 seconds to crush the ice to a powder. It worked well, in terms of quickly and effectively blending the ice cubes, but the result was less powdery than other blenders I've used. It was closer to the consistency of a sorbet. There is a very subtle distinction between the two, but whereas other blenders have turned the cubes to light powder, the Braun's crushed ice was more wet so stuck together in clumps. You can easily use it to make frozen drinks but I felt the texture was slightly off.

In addition to the above tests, I also wanted to put the TriForce Power Blender's Soup function to the test. The brand claims you can turn room-temperature ingredients into hot soup in almost six minutes. I tested this by adding chunks of cooked butternut squash, garlic, onion, carrot and a liter of vegetable stock to the blender. I pressed the Soup button, pushed Start and the blender began by chopping the ingredients, before blending and slowly heating them for five minutes and 45 seconds. The result was a slightly coarse, warm soup that lacked some of the depth of soup made on a stove, but was still tasty and comforting. 

Ice cubes in the Braun TriForce Power Blender

(Image credit: Future)

The only real downside to all of these pros is how loud the TriForce blender can be. On Speed 1 in Manual mode, it's relatively quiet, averaging 63dB.  It was easy to have a conversation with my partner or children while the blender was running at this speed. 

However, during my Smoothie and hummus tests, this sound jumped up to an average of 97db. This is equivalent to the sound of a motorcycle engine and feels uncomfortable in such a confined space like my kitchen. On Manual Mode, Speed 9, the average reading was 91db, and it jumped to an average of 105db when crushing the ice cubes. This is equivalent to a phone playing at full volume and just below the sound of a car horn. Any sounds over 85dB for extended periods can cause hearing problems. 

Thankfully, because the blender works so quickly and efficiently, these sounds run for less time than they do on other models so at least you don't have to be subjected to them for longer than necessary. 

Overall, the TriForce blender's performance is a little hit and miss but largely positive. I was worried, given its wide range of features, that it would be a Jack of all trades, master of none but this is far from the case. I also appreciate the different ways I can customise my drinks and food and this makes up for any of the blender's shortcomings in my opinion and experience. Mainly because if I want a different texture, or the presets don't work as I want, I have a range of ways to correct it and tweak it until they do. 

  • Performance score: 4.5 out of 5

Should I buy the Braun TriForce Power Blender?

Buy it if...

Don’t buy it if...

How I tested the Braun TriForce Power Blender

  • I used it to blend drinks, food and ice
  • I checked the noise level at different speeds
  • I assessed how easy it was to clean

I used the Braun TriForce Power Blender in my own home for four weeks, making smoothies, sauces, hummus, soup and crushed ice. 

I assessed how simple it was to set the blender up, how easy and intuitive it is to navigate the different presets and textures, how well it performed different tasks, its noise levels and how easy it was to clean. 

I’ve been reviewing home and kitchen appliances for more than 15 years and have a wealth of knowledge and experience to draw on when assessing how well a product such as a blender performs. 

Read more about how we test

First reviewed May 2024

Shark FlexBreeze fan review: big, quiet and versatile
11:00 am | June 9, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Home Small Appliances | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Shark FlexBreeze Portable Fan two-minute review

I've been through my fair share of fans over the years, ranging from small desktop ones (shout out to my original Woolworths desk fan) to larger air circulators. And as excellent as some of those have been, few can match the versatility of the Shark FlexBreeze Portable Fan. If you want something that adapts to pretty much any situation, this could well be the best fan for you.

For this review I tested the UK version, but the SharkBreeze is also available in the US (there may be very minor differences, but it's essentially the same product). For avoidance of doubt, these are the names and product codes for the US and UK:

  • US: Shark FlexBreeze Fan With InstaCool Mist Attachment FA222
  • UK: Shark FlexBreeze Portable Fan FA220UK

Shark has built a name for itself as the brand behind some of the best vacuum cleaners on the market, and its sister company Ninja is well respected in the kitchen appliance space, particularly when it comes to the best air fryers. Shark isn't particularly known for its fans, though. The Shark FlexBreeze, nonetheless, is a classic SharkNinja product – that is, one that's especially clever and capable replacing a couple of different products in a top-class, well-engineered package.

This is largely because the FlexBreeze is a fan that can be used in as many different ways as you can think of, whether it's as a conventional pedestal fan or as a desktop fan with its fold-out legs. It also has a mister attachment for use outdoors with cooling water directly from an outdoor tap and can be corded or cordless and run for up to 24 hours away from the mains. This makes it an ideal fan for use virtually anywhere in your home, and it's a fan that's so good, that I've purchased two of them.

Shark FlexBreeze Portable Fan in a living room

(Image credit: Future)

There are five fan speeds on offer, and even at full blast the FlexBreeze is a quiet performer, while also being able to push air so you can feel it from up to 70 feet away. It is virtually silent on its lowest setting too, and worked a treat in a bedroom when I was trying to sleep. It's also UV and rain-resistant and has no trouble working outside, while the InstaCool mister attachment fires out two reasonably powerful jets of water that create a cooling mist.

The FlexBreeze is by no means a perfect fan, though. It lacks advanced features such as app control and more granular control for fan speeds, offering only five levels. Unlike other fans and air circulators, it also lacks any form of automatic vertical oscillation, although offers up to 55 degrees of manual tilt and 180 degrees of automatic oscillation horizontally. However, where the FlexBreeze really wins is on its quietness, versatility and ease of use – all of which will be expanded on below.

Shark FlexBreeze Portable Fan review: price & availability

  • List price: $199.99 / £199.99
  • Launch date: April 2024
  • Availability: UK/US

The Shark FlexBreeze is a premium fan, carrying an appropriately weighty £199.99 / $199.99 price tag, and comes in a single configuration – that's as a fan with cover, magnetic remote control and mister attachment, suitable for use as a pedestal fan and, with its integrated legs, as a tabletop fan. Interestingly, the fan carries different names in the UK and US, as is typical with SharkNinja products. In the UK, it's the Shark FlexBreeze Portable Fan, while in the US, it's the Shark FlexBreeze Fan with InstaCool Attachment.

With that higher price tag, it's pitted against top-class floor-based options such as the Meaco MeacoFan 1056P and the Dreo PolyFan 704S, although Shark's option is unique among its contemporaries. That's because it can operate both as a pedestal fan and as a table fan with integrated legs, without the need for a cable, and it can also be used outdoors, with its mister attachment if required. No other fan offers as much versatility as the FlexBreeze, making it an excellent-value purchase if you want a do-it-all fan that can work virtually anywhere.

Compared to more conventional table fans, it is quite chunky and heavy with a larger plastic fan head than others, making it a little unwieldy to place on smaller tables or surfaces. That said, the FlexBreeze's entirely plastic construction remains sturdy in all configurations, which, alongside its accessories and versatility, goes a long way towards justifying the price tag.

  • Value for money score: 4 out of 5

Shark FlexBreeze Portable Fan review: design

  • Entirely plastic construction
  • Works either as a pedestal fan or as a table fan
  • Comes with a mister attachment for use outdoors

The Shark FlexBreeze in its default configuration is akin to a typical pedestal fan, with a large fan head atop a skinnier stand with base at the bottom. Available only in black, it sets itself apart from the sea of white and silver fans out there, including the Meaco MeacoFan 1056P and Dreo Polyfan 704S, and sits well both in my front room and out in the garden. That being said, the entirely plastic construction would have benefitted from some metal accents and differing materials to help justify its premium price tag.

There is a small handle on the top of the fan head for easy maneuverability, while its 12.2lbs / 5.6kg weight makes it lighter than the competition, and simple to pick up and place wherever you need it to be. The 13.77 x 13.77" / 35 x 35cm base is quite large, although the FlexBreeze is still compact enough to fit in the corner of a small bedroom if needs be, while being able to move a substantial amount of air with its larger head.

The 37" / 94cm height thanks to the pedestal raises it up to a suitable level for use while sitting at a desk, on a sofa or for use in bed, while the fan head can also be angled up or down manually for more targeted airflow. There are up to 55 degrees of tilt here, and 180 degrees of oscillation. That being said, the FlexBreeze lacks the automatic vertical oscillation of other fans, although it can oscillate horizontally via the remote control.

Shark FlexBreeze Portable Fan detached from pedestal

(Image credit: Future)

The clever thing about the FlexBreeze is that the fan head can be detached from the pedestal with a small button on the back side of its shaft, revealing some small fold-out legs so that it can be used as a tabletop option. The plastic legs are sturdy enough, and do a good job of keeping the FlexBreeze stable. Combined with its handle, the small fold-out legs make this an especially portable fan for use all around the home.

The fan element contains three large blades in grey, offsetting the black colorway well, with a plastic grille that has a small Shark logo in its middle. It continues the black look found across the fan, and springs little surprises. The back of the fan head is home to a small magnetic panel with an indent for the FlexBreeze's simple remote control.

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Controls on the Shark FlexBreeze Portable Fan

(Image credit: Future)
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Remote control for the Shark FlexBreeze Portable Fan

(Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 3

Remote control attached to the Shark FlexBreeze Portable Fan

(Image credit: Future)

If the remote control isn't your preferred control method, there is a small selection of dedicated controls on the fan head's top side for power, oscillation and speed. The fan speed is in five levels, indicated by a small bar on the top edge of the grille with five LED lights. Next to those lights is a battery indicator for the FlexBreeze when used cordlessly – depending on the level, it is either green, orange or red. When plugged in, it pulses white.

The FlexBreeze comes with no app control or smart features, although comes with a small cover for stowing away, and a mister attachment. This is known as InstaCool, and attaches magnetically on one end to the logo plate in the middle of the fan head, while the other attaches to a hose outlet. When turned on, it provides a cool mist of water directly from an outdoor tap, which is handy for the hot summer months when air on its own just won't do.

For the most part, the Shark FlexBreeze offers a well-considered and versatile design, with a sturdy plastic finish and convenient accessories. Some additional style accents wouldn't have gone amiss, but on the whole its solid finish helps to justify its price.

  • Design score: 4 out of 5

Shark FlexBreeze Portable Fan review: performance

The FlexBreeze performs excellently on its five different fan speeds, with even the lowest setting providing ample push to reach me across the other side of my living room, or indeed the patio outside. Its airflow is cold, and helped to cool me and the room down by a fair margin in a matter of moments.

Of course, the faster the fan goes, the more airflow there is, and at full tilt the FlexBreeze doesn't half cool down a room quickly. Shark claims that the FlexBreeze can make a room feel up to 10 degrees cooler, which is welcome for particularly stuffy days.

Close up of the Shark FlexBreeze Portable Fan's head

(Image credit: Future)

While the fan isn't silent on its most powerful setting, it remains whisper-quiet and isn't so overpowering that the noise will disturb any conversations or sound from a television. From the base level to its middle option, however, the FlexBreeze is virtually silent, and if you're a light sleeper this isn't a fan that's going to disturb your slumber. I had the fan on its pedestal level with my mattress, and its airflow wafted over me on the lowest setting, helping to cool both me and the room around me impeccably.

If you have a particularly large room or outdoor area, then the BreezeBlast mode (enabled when the fan is on its most powerful setting), which can drive its airflow up to 70 feet away, is going to be king, and worked a treat when placed at one end of my garden, with me sitting at the other. It may not be the biggest area and nowhere near 70 feet in length, but it works nonetheless.

The Shark FlexBreeze Portable Fan's InstaCool attachment in action

(Image credit: Future)

Speaking of outdoor use, it's also good to know that the FlexBreeze is both UV and rain-resistant, meaning you can use it come rain or shine, and being cordless also makes it an ideal companion on a warm day without a cable trailing from indoors. The InstaCool mister attachment worked a treat too, attaching to the fan head via magnets, and hooking up to my outdoor tap in a matter of moments. It pushes out two quite powerful jets of misted water, which did an excellent job of cooling me down on a particularly warm day.

It can be used either corded, with a small power brick and long cable, or cordless, which is handy for portability and putting the fan exactly where you want it. Battery life is solid too, with the FlexBreeze offering up to 24 hours of runtime away from the mains, giving you a literal day's worth of runtime. My testing matched up with Shark's figures, with it requiring a charge every two or three days when used on the base fan level without the need for oscillation. It can also be used while charging, too, so you aren't missing out on valuable time being cool.

The FlexBreeze isn't perfect, however, lacking the MeacoFan 1056P's sheer number of speed modes for instance, or customization of those fan speeds, such as a sleep mode and eco mode. These would have been pleasant to see on the FlexBreeze, although Shark's option wins in other ways.

  • Performance score: 4 out of 5

Should you buy the Shark FlexBreeze Portable Fan?

Buy it if…

Don't buy it if…

How I tested the Shark FlexBreeze Portable Fan

I used the Shark FlexBreeze for three weeks around my house, positioning it in various rooms including the master bedroom, office, living room and outdoors in the garden and patio.

I used it every day on all of its speeds and on particularly warm nights. When it was a pleasant day outside, I also used it outside with the InstaCool mister attachment for a blast of cool water. I also measured its battery life and used it both on its pedestal and as a desktop fan.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed June 2024.

De’Longhi Eletta Explore review: delicious hot and cold brews from one bean-to-cup machine
6:21 pm | June 5, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Coffee Machines Computers Gadgets Home Small Appliances | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

De'Longhi Eletta Explore two-minute review

Throw your Starbucks loyalty card out of the window, because the De’Longhi Eletta Explore is here to completely shake up your coffee addiction, offering a gamut of both cold and hot drinks in one brilliant machine.

This is easily one of the best bean-to-cup coffee makers I’ve tested, pouring deliciously smooth and sweet espresso and cold brew coffee in record time with minimal maintenance. Of course, as with many bean-to-cup machines, it’s not going to be one for the fervent, ride-or-die coffee lovers; they're better off with one of the best espresso machines. It is, however, perfect for those of us who don’t need the ritual of coffee-making and just need the good stuff.

Relatively compact at 15.13 x 10.25 x 17.5" / 38.5 x 26 x 45cm (H x W x D), the De’Longhi Eletta Explore manages to pack in a lot of features and functionalities without eating up too much counter space — provided you’ve got fairly deep counters. It’s not a thing of beauty, but it’s not bad-looking, clad mostly in black and deeper grays, and it comes with a whole host of accessories; a travel mug, two milk carafes, an ice tray, a grounds scoop, a brush and a hot water nozzle. You name it, and it’s probably in the Eletta Explore box (provided it’s somewhat relevant to coffee-making, that is).

De’Longhi Eletta Explore on a kitchen counter

(Image credit: Future)

As ever, I was impressed by De’Longhi’s Bean Adapt and Latte Crema technology, which work in tandem to ensure drinks produced by the Eletta Explore are as close as possible to barista-made beverages. The Eletta Explore can also connect to De’Longhi’s Coffee Link App, meaning you can remotely control your machine and line up your orders from the sofa. But keep in mind that the machine runs its cleaning cycles before use, so you’ll have to get up to switch your mug for the container catching wastewater.

De’Longhi Eletta Explore review: price & availability

  • Price: $1,899.99 / £999.99 / AU$1,799.00
  • Available in US, UK and Australia

The price for the De’Longhi Eletta Explore varies wildly across the globe; in the UK, its list price is £999.99, though retailers seem to consistently sell it at least £100 cheaper at £899.99. In Australia, it’s priced around the same at AU$1,799, but in the US it’s horrifically more expensive at $1,899.99.

In the UK/AU, it’s definitely offering relatively good value for money; yes, it could still do with being cheaper, but there aren’t that many bean-to-cup machines as capable as the Eletta Explore, especially not when it comes to cold drinks. When it comes to the US, however, it’s inconceivable why it should be double the price.

The machine comes with all the accessories you should need: a travel mug, two milk carafes, an ice tray, a grounds scoop, a brush and a hot water nozzle. It also comes with a descaling kit and one water filter, which you’ll need to replace to keep the machine in good working order; these cost $9.95 / £11.99 / AU$19.95 and $19.95 / £15.99 / AU$29.95 respectively.

De’Longhi Eletta Explore specs

De’Longhi Eletta Explore review: design

  • Compact design
  • Touchscreen display
  • Hot and cold milk carafes

While the De’Longhi Eletta Explore takes up a decent chunk of kitchen counter space, it’s broadly speaking a compact and space-efficient machine provided you have deep enough counters and sufficient overhead. It measures 15.13 x 10.25 x 17.50" / 38.5 x 26 x 45cm, but you’ll also have to think about how you store its many accessories.

On top of the machine at the rear is the 10.6oz / 300g bean hopper and grounds hatch. These are not airtight, unlike the detachable bean hoppers included with the De’Longhi Rivelia I tested a few months ago, meaning you probably only ever want as much coffee in there as you intend to use in a given day to keep your beans and grounds fresh.

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Bean hopper and grinder adjustment on the De’Longhi Eletta Explore

(Image credit: Future)
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De’Longhi Eletta Explore with the water tank pulled out

(Image credit: Future)
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De’Longhi Eletta Explore's display showing its 'Mug to go' option

(Image credit: Future)

You can also change the grind size using a dial seated beneath the hopper lid — this is a slightly annoying design choice, especially if you like to fiddle with your settings and have lower cabinets. There are seven grind options for the conical burr grinder within the machine.

Moving towards the front of the machine, there’s a metal tray that is great for storing accessories or cups, and then at the very front are the controls. From left to right, there are touch controls for the machine’s different menus: ‘To-go mode’, cold beverages, hot beverages and your favorites menu. These controls surround the 3.5-inch (8.9cm) color touchscreen display in the middle of the console, which displays various instructions and status updates while your coffee brews.

De’Longhi Eletta Explore grinding beans for a flat white

(Image credit: Future)

Beneath the controls on the front of the screen are the spout, the accessory slot where you can click in the Hot and Cold LatteCrema Carafes or hot water nozzle, and the 60.9fl oz / 1.8L inbuilt water tank, which slides out of the machine. I love the design of this in principle; however, in practice, it can be really annoying. I found that the tank didn’t always quite align with its threads properly, meaning it would be slightly askew in the machine, especially if you fully remove the tank — so thankfully, De’Longhi has included an insert lid for the tank with a small hole for pouring in water. If, like me, you refill your coffee machine with filtered water from a jug, that’s no issue, but if you will be refilling from a faucet or otherwise affixed water source, you might find this process tedious.

At the base is the drip tray, which is just about fine for all cup sizes, barring some of the larger mugs I have in my collection. It gets better still when you lift the hatch here, which grants some extra height and allows you to fit full-size travel mugs — a really neat addition that’s perfect for early-morning commuters.

A hand holding the De’Longhi Eletta Explore's Cold LatteCrema Carafe

(Image credit: Future)

In addition to the machine itself, you get two LatteCrema milk carafes for hot and cold milk beverages. The reason these are split into two containers is that different nozzles are needed to foam milk with and without heat, which makes sense, but does create some frustrations in use. Plus, you can exclusively use semi-skimmed milk and plant-based milk with the Eletta Explore.

On top of each carafe is a dial that allows you to choose between min, mid and max froth, as well as the cleaning setting. These lids aren’t snugly fit to the carafes, so make sure you don’t make the same mistake I did in lifting them by the lid — unless you want to cry over spilt milk. The nozzles sit quite far forward on the carafe, meaning slimmer tall mugs can be a bit problematic, given the espresso spout is fairly far back.

  • Design score: 4 out of 5

De’Longhi Eletta Explore review: performance

  • Consistent and rich results
  • Impressive grinder
  • Easy to maintain

As with any bean-to-cup coffee machine, the quality of the beverages will never quite match those made by hand using a more sophisticated espresso machine, but I was nonetheless impressed by the De’Longhi Eletta Explore. Broadly speaking, its results were consistent and rich, although occasionally it spat out a very acidic espresso. This was usually only when I hit a not-so-sweet spot where I’d made a few coffees in close succession and the beans had been in the non-airtight hopper a little too long.

The rest of the time, the Eletta Explore made delicious, well-balanced espresso with a well-formed crema and plenty of body. Its cappuccinos had great microfoam with impressive staying power, and the lattes were delicious and creamy. All of the drinks came out at the perfect recommended drinking temperature, too.

De’Longhi Eletta Explore making an iced latte

(Image credit: Future)

Most impressive, however, was the cold coffee made by the Eletta Explore. From rich and creamy iced lattes to delicious cold cappuccinos with excellent foam — though it’s never quite as good as foam created by heating the milk. Even its cold brews that compress a slow brewing process into mere minutes came out deliciously, with only a hint of bitterness. The machine will tell you the perfect number of ice cubes to use from the supplied tray, which in my experience was the perfect amount every time.

The conical burr grinder inside the machine is fantastic, crushing beans to the perfect size for smooth and delicious coffee. I mostly kept the grind setting to five, but the Eletta Explore offers seven different settings from fine to coarse. It’s fairly loud (70dB) in use, but not the loudest I’ve tested.

Swapping between milk jugs is pretty annoying if, like me, you want to have different coffees throughout the day. It seems to be a workaround, as different nozzles are needed for different milk temperatures, but why couldn’t they just offer changeable nozzles?

De’Longhi Eletta Explore making a cup of espresso

(Image credit: Future)

I used the Coffee Link App and Bean Adapt technology with my Eletta Explore to ensure I was crafting the best possible coffee, inputting information about my coffee bean of choice to finesse the water temperature and intensity. The app and machine both boast a huge menu of espresso-based options, too, if you’re ever looking for inspiration.

Maintenance-wise, the machine is pretty easy to look after. It cleans itself automatically, but you’ll need to keep on top of the descaling and water filter to make sure it remains in good working order. The drip tray and grounds container are easy to remove, but the drip tray is a little fiddly to clean. The milk carafes are both dishwasher-safe, but relatively easy to clean by hand in the sink, too.

Should you buy the De’Longhi Eletta Explore?

Buy it if…

Don’t buy it if…

How I tested the De’Longhi Eletta Explore

I used the De'Longhi Eletta Explore as my main coffee machine for a month, testing its various settings and functions and drinking a lot of different coffees. I used both its cold and hot coffee technology to try almost every drink on its expansive menu - excluding those that are effectively just iterations on standard drinks.

In addition to coffee taste and quality tests, I also maintained the device per the manufacturer's instructions to see how easy it is to run over time. I also tested the De'Longhi coffee link app to see how easy it was to use and how successfully it can control the machine.

I've been testing home appliances for two years, in addition to my years of experience testing tech more generally, which informs my ratings and opinions on how well tech performs, how well it's designed and if it offers value for money. 

Read more about how we test

First reviewed June 2024

Halo Capsule X Pet Max vacuum cleaner review
5:00 pm | June 2, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Home Small Appliances Vacuums | Comments: Off

Halo Capsule X Pet Max vacuum cleaner two-minute review

I’ve reviewed many of the best cordless vacuum cleaners over the years and the quirky home-grown Halo Capsule X is a sterling contender that thoroughly impresses on both carpet and hard floor. In fact I was amazed at how thoroughly it sailed through all my tests.

There are no fancy interfaces to get your head around, it’s comfortable in the hand despite the protruding motor and battery housing and, given the bulbous shape and size of its larger-than-average two-liter carbon-fiber bin assembly, it’s much lighter than you’d expect, too.

I personally love the fact that Halo has stuck to the good old-fashioned bagged system because it means far fewer trips to the kitchen bin and zero dust up the nose when emptying. It also means you can vacuum up the finest particles like fireplace ash and powdered sawdust without destroying the motor. The fact that the bags are comprised of compostable cardboard and brown paper means it’s good for the environment, too.

The Halo Capsule X Pet Max vacuum cleaner with its accessories

(Image credit: Future)

In some ways I think I prefer the earlier rear-handle design of its predecessor, the standard Halo Capsule, but given this vac’s remarkable pick-up performance on both hard and soft floors, its excellent maneuverability, decent battery life, huge two-liter bagged bin and current discounted price, I have no compunction in giving the Halo Capsule X Pet Max a full high five!

Halo Capsule X Pet Max vacuum cleaner review: price & availability

  • How much does it cost? $499.99 / £299.99
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? In the US and UK

Halo appears to have taken the Shark approach to the pricing of its various Halo Capsule X bundles and the company couldn’t have made it more confusing if it tried. I received the Pet Max Bundle with two batteries which Halo is selling at a knockdown £299.99 and Amazon is selling for £319.99.

The pricing becomes very arbitrary when it comes to selecting other variants. For instance, the standard version with just one battery retails at an exceedingly reasonable £249.99 (instead of £515.95) while the same bundle with just twice the amount of dust bags costs a whopping £531.93. Clearly, discounts have been applied to some of its variants and not to others so I would recommend grabbing yourself an absolute bargain while you can because there’s no telling how long these low prices will last.

If you live Stateside, head to Amazon and Walmart where the standard single-battery variants retails at $499.99.

  • Value for money score: 5 out of 5 (on current UK discount pricing)

Halo Capsule X Pet Max vacuum cleaner specs

Halo Capsule X Pet Max vacuum cleaner review: design

  • Light in the hand
  • Excellent maneuverability
  • Comfortable to use

I love the funky design of the Halo Capsule X. Granted, it’s a wee bit toy-like but you don’t see many carbon-fiber composite cordless stick vacs on the market, and who doesn’t like a bit of carbon fiber? I think the bright blue details make this vac really stand out and, while looks aren’t everything, I do think it helps one enjoy the unenviable task of vacuuming a little more than cleaning up with something that’s bland in the hand. Actually, while I’m on the subject of looks, I think Halo may have missed a trick here because I can see this vac’s details being even more attractive to a wider audience were they available in a few different colors instead of just blue. How about dusty pink, bright yellow, orange, even white? Halo, you can pay me later.

Let’s start at the top of this vac because, well, why not? See that large rectangular box jutting out of the rear? That’s the battery, motor and HEPA filter housing. Yes, it looks ungainly and not as sleekly designed as this model’s predecessor (which is still on sale), but it never gets in the way of arm movement, unlike most Dyson models that have everything above the hand which inevitably gets in the way. With this model you can vacuum with a straight arm using a pendulum motion without anything digging into any parts of the hand or wrist, much like a Roidmi vac.

Close up of the Halo Capsule X Pet Max with a rug in the background

(Image credit: Halo / Future)

The Capsule X doesn’t have any fancy digital screens telling you how many microns of dust it has collected and it doesn’t even have any kind of automatic suction where the motor ramps up on the dirtiest sections. Instead all you get is an on/off button, a button to engage the motorized roller and another button to change through three levels of suction power. The Capsule X always defaults to the middle power setting when starting up but with the motorized roller off. I’d prefer to have it always start up with the roller engaged so I can turn it off rather than having to turn it on. After all, I’ll never use this vac without the motorized roller engaged because, well why would I when a motorized roller is so much more efficient than a non-motorized one. As for outright suction power… who really cares how many Pascals of power it has because this vac passed every test I threw at it. And that’s all you need to know.

The Halo’s battery is of the 32v Lithium-Ion variety and you get two of them with this bundle for greatly extended coverage. The battery simply unclips and charging can be performed by plugging in the charging transformer or charging it on the unit itself when attached to the supplied wall mount.

The Halo Capsule X Pet Max vacuum cleaner's filter

(Image credit: Future)

Just in front of the battery is the first of two filter systems: a corrugated HEPA paper filter that, after 10 days of vacuuming, still shows no signs of being used, and another thin spongy one positioned towards the back of the dustbin bag. One of the best things about bagged vacuum cleaners is that their filters remain far cleaner than any bagless model because there’s no pre-filter to get clogged up or require regular cleaning. Instead, all the muck goes directly up the suction tube and straight into the bin bag which acts like a filter in itself. It also means you could use this vac to occasionally suck up ash around the fireplace or plaster dust without destroying the motor. Why is the Henry vac system so popular with the construction industry? Because it’s bagged!

Moreover, where most bagless stick vacs have small bin capacities – 0.77 liters in the case of the class-leading Dyson Gen5detect – that are further reduced by the need for some kind of cyclonic thingamajig in the center of the bin, this model ships with a huge two-liter monster that won’t require emptying for at least a couple of weeks. And what’s more, the bin bag itself is made from recyclable brown cardboard and paper for conscience-free convenience.

I received 10 dust bags with the Capsule X and that should provide many months of vacuuming. Of course, when they run out I’ll need to purchase some more – and remember to do so. But since they only cost £7.99 for five, I don’t consider that a deal breaker.

Halo Capsule X Pet Max vacuum cleaner on a rug

(Image credit: Future)

Right, let’s look at the business end of this model. The Capsule X comes with two main motorized roller heads: a 22cm hard floor head with towel-like roller and a smaller 20cm carpet brush with two sets of wavy bristles and an LED headlight on the front to illuminate dark areas. As you’ll see in our performance chapter below, both of these floor heads performed exceedingly well in all tests. To be honest, if your hard floors aren’t too delicate, you could just as well keep the brushed carpet head attached at all times because it cleans both hard and soft floors equally well.

Being of the ‘pet’ variety, this model also came with a small 12cm motorized bristle head that can be used in handheld or stick mode. It’s a very handy tool for cleaning pet hair and other detritus off sofas, dog beds and that most annoying of all materials, Velcro-like car carpet.

To supplement this, the box also contains a flat-headed detail tool and a nozzle for handheld use, plus a handy suction tube clip to accommodate one of them. All in all, it’s one very tidy package that will cover all cleaning requirements.

  • Design score: 4.5 out of 5

Halo Capsule X Pet Max vacuum cleaner review: performance

  • Supreme hard and soft floor performance
  • Amazing dust capacity
  • Easy to use

This cordless vac has been a pleasure to use. Like most stick vacs, it won’t stand up on its own which can be a bit of a pain when you want to move furniture around in the middle of vacuuming. I’m used to that malarky and just prop it up somewhere convenient.

Four things have really impressed me when using the Halo Capsule X – its ability to swallow huge qualities of debris, how light it feels, its excellent maneuverability and how easy it is to empty the bin. In my opinion, these are the four many qualities required of any decent vac.

My first two tests involved a sprinkling of crushed biscuits with flour and, for the second test, a good dose of oats on both my wooden kitchen floor and a medium-pile rug in the lounge. For the hard floor I used the default medium power setting with the hard floor roller in motorized mode. It laughed at me as it gulped up every last crumb and oat flake in a single sweep with no scattering and absolutely no snow plowing. It did exactly the same thing on the rug, with no evidence of any flour remaining.

Halo Capsule X Pet Max vacuum cleaner tackling corn flakes

(Image credit: Future)

Impressed by this performance, I then scattered a small cup of uncrushed Crunchy Nut corn flakes on the wooden floor and expected the Capsule X to at least snow plow some of them across the hard floor or perhaps scatter a few. But lo and behold, it just swallowed the lot up in a single pass – easily a match for the Dyson Gen5detect. Since I have several pets, I was equally impressed by the amount of hair it collected – far more than I thought possible – and also how well it performed on deep pile carpet, despite the wheel tracks it left in its wake.

The Halo Capsule X weighs just 2.6 kilos with everything in place and this is definitely on the lighter end of the scale when compared to other models on the market. However, it’s not just weight that makes a difference when vacuuming for longer periods of time. Just as important is comfort in the hand – at which this model excels – and the ability to steer round corners and chair legs with ease. This model’s brush heads aren’t quite as flexible as Dyson’s Gen5Detect and V15 detect – they swivel on a plane of about 30˚ – but they’re a lot more maneuverable than the Samsung Jet 85 I recently reviewed.

Halo Capsule X Pet Max cleaning oats off a rug

(Image credit: Future)

I’ve also been impressed by how low this vac can be lowered to the floor when vacuuming under beds and sofas. Yes, the carbon bin section measures a portly 14cm in diameter so there is a limit to how far it can reach under most furnishings, but I managed to push the entire unit under a bed by resting the battery housing on the carpet and simply shoving the vac forwards and backwards. I also found this vac easier than most to carry from room to room, partly because the smooth, rounded bin section feels so tactile.

However, the sheer size of the bin section makes it feel a bit clunky when used in handheld mode and there will be times – like vacuuming the car – where its sheer size prevents it from cleaning hard-to-reach areas. On the plus side, this vac is unlikely to annoy your neighbors because it measures just 72dB, which is pretty quiet for a stick vac. Mind, the sound level did increase to 80dB when the dust bag was near full.

Halo Capsule X Pet Max vacuum cleaner dust bag

(Image credit: Future)

Although the huge two-liter paper dust bag is a bit tricky to fit, the sheer easiness of simply chucking it away when full is a welcome change from the dusty norm. If you suffer from dust allergies, this is the stick vac for you.

You get two batteries with this ‘Pet’ bundle and they can be charged on or off the main unit. In my battery test – using medium mode on carpet with the head’s motorized brush engaged – the Capsule X’s battery maxed out at 20 minutes and 25 seconds.

I calculate that, if used on a combination of hard floor and carpet, this vac will go on running for about 25 minutes of non-stop cleaning on a single battery when used in medium mode with the mortised brush head engaged. As this Pet Max model came with two batteries, that amounts to a commendable 50 minutes of real-world vacuuming.

However as to be expected, I only got 12 minutes out of the turbo setting using the motorized brush. That said, you’d only ever need to use this setting in handheld mode when collecting detritus from car carpet or down the side of the sofa. The battery took just shy of two hours to charge from stone dead – a lot quicker than the stated three-hour time.

  • Performance score: 5 out of 5

Should you buy the Halo Capsule X Pet Max vacuum cleaner?

Buy it if… 

Don't buy it if… 

How I tested the Halo Capsule X Pet Max vacuum cleaner

After taking the myriad parts out of its brown cardboard box I gave both batteries a full charge and got down to testing the unit on hard wooden flooring, linoleum and both medium and deep-pile carpet. I have been using this model for the past 10 days and it has quite literally sailed through every test – from powder-fine flour to cornflakes to pet hair – with consummate aplomb. I also checked the weight of the machine with brush head attached and measured its sound levels using a decibel app.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed June 2024

Dreo PolyFan 704S smart fan review
6:01 pm | May 31, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Home Small Appliances | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Dreo PolyFan 704S two-minute review

As someone who is always hot and has been known to wear flip flops and shorts when in winter, I own – and have tested – a huge number of fans in my time. This includes cheap, desktop models right up to Dyson behemoths and I can honestly say the Dreo PolyFan 704S beats them all. 

It's a high-performing, smart pedestal fan that comes with a huge, and impressive array of features. Not only does it provide nine speeds of powerful airflow that cools you down without ever leaving you feeling icy cold, it covers a huge distance. Despite its relatively small, 9" / 22.7cm fan head. This is due to its huge 110ft / 33.5m wind distance coupled with the fact you can angle it by 150-degrees horizontal and 120 degrees vertical. Even in Turbo mode, where the fan operates at maximum speed, the fan is surprisingly quiet, while in Sleep mode and at lower speeds you can barely tell it's on. So much so I often went to turn the fan on, via the app, before realizing it was already running. 

Dreo PolyFan 704S

(Image credit: Future)

Speaking of the app, the fan comes with Wi-Fi built in which means that you can connect and control it from both your phone, as well as your voice through smart speaker integration. Via the Dreo app you can set the angle, control the speed and oscillation, set timers and schedules and even customize the fan to match its speed to the room's ambient temperature. Or, via Alexa or Google Home, you can turn the fan on and off, increase or decrease the fan speed, and even adjust the angle by as little as one-degree increments, hands-free. 

It's not perfect. The premium features and performance are let down slightly by the fan's plastic stand, which makes it look and feel cheap. I'd also like the option to change the oscillation speed but these are very minor points. In all my time testing the best fans, I'm yet to find a fan that ticks as many boxes as the Dreo PolyFan 704S and this makes it great value for money and a worthwhile investment. 

Dreo PolyFan 704S review: price and availability

  • List price: $149.99 (silver); $159.99 (gold)
  • Only available in the US

There are four models in Dreo's PolyFan range, starting with the entry-level $89.99 PolyFan 311 up to the flagship $199.99 PolyFan 715S. The Dreo 704S launched in Spring 2024 and, at $149.99 for the silver version, sits just below the flagship in terms of price and features. You can alternatively buy a gold model for $159.99.

This makes the 704S one of the more expensive pedestal fans, not just in the Dreo range but more widely too. You can buy basic pedestal fans for around $50, while good-quality pedestal fans tend to cost $100. However, when you add smart features like those seen on the 704S, these prices rise to between $130-$150 meaning Dreo's model is on a par with its rivals.  

You can buy the PolyFan 704S direct from Dreo in the US, as well as Amazon, and Walmart

The best like-for-like alternative to the Dreo 704S is the $135 Ofuzzi Breeze 10 Pro+. It offers similar app and voice controls, is almost as quiet and has a slightly narrower, 140 degree horizontal oscillation range. It only produces half the wind distance and the app isn't available on the Google Play Store; you have to download it via the Ofuzzi website. 

While $149.99 isn't cheap, especially when you can get a standard pedestal fan for a third of the price, the Dreo 704S is priced fairly compared to similar models on the market. You're largely paying for the smart features and the fan's power, but both are more than worth the investment making the fan great value in my opinion. 

  • Value for money score: 4.5 out of 5  

Dreo PolyFan 704S review: specs

Dreo PolyFan 704S review: design

  • Plastic, conical stand feels and looks cheap
  • By contrast, the fan head is high-end
  • Touch controls and display
  • Adjustable height + vertical oscillation is welcome

The Dreo 704S isn't the most elegant pedestal fan I've used. I reviewed the silver model and while the fan head is classy and well-built, the plastic, conical and chunky design of the stand and base makes the overall fan look and feel cheap. That's not to say it's ugly; it will comfortably fit in to most people's homes but I would have preferred more metal accents or features to give it a more premium feel to suit its price. 

The major plus side to this, however, is that the fan is easy to move around. It weighs 17.82lb / 8.1kg and has a handle on the rear to make it comfortable to pick up and reposition. The base measures 13.7 x 8.7" / 34.8 x 22.1cm (D x W), making the 704S compact enough for tight spaces while still feeling sturdy and secure and delivering powerful airflow.

Dreo PolyFan 704S

(Image credit: Future)

The fan head sits between two arms that allow for an impressive range of oscillation, both horizontally and vertically. As you change the fan head's position, it glides smoothly between these arms and looks high-end. The fan itself is made using three blades (said to have been inspired by the wings of an owl) behind a 9" / 22.7cm circular protective grille. In stark contrast to the plastic stand and base, the fan head and grille look and feel high-end. 

The fan's touch controls are then aligned vertically down the front of the base. From top to bottom: 

Dreo PolyFan 704S controls

(Image credit: Future)
  • Wi-Fi indicator light
  • Power button
  • Fan speed – 1-9
  • Fan mode – Normal, Natural, Sleep, Turbo, Custom, and Auto
  • Timer – up to 12 hours
  • Vertical oscillation 
  • Horizontal oscillation

You can also control the fan via remote control, or by connecting it to the Dreo app. This remote control can be stored on the fan's base via a small clip, to avoid it getting lost. However, I rarely used the remote – favoring the touch controls or the app – so it hardly ever left this clip. 

At its tallest, the fan measures 42.5" / 108cm but can be dropped down as low as 37.5" / 93.5 cm. This range is more than adequate for when your sat on sofa, working at a desk or lying in bed. What's more, the fact you can tilt the head up on its 120 degrees vertical axis adds significantly to this height and range. I often stood over the 704S with the fan tilted towards my face in between reps, while working out. This is a very welcome bonus. 

The majority of elements on the 704S fan are well considered. It's a shame it's let down by its plastic look and feel but this is a relatively minor flaw in an otherwise attractive and well-designed appliance. 

  • Design score: 4.5 out of 5

Dreo PolyFan 704S review: performance

  • Whisper quiet, even on Normal mode
  • Extremely powerful, even on the lowest settings 
  • App adds unprecedented control and customization 

While the design of the Dreo PolyFan 704S has a couple of flaws, the same can't be said for its performance. It's rare for me to say this, but I'm struggling to find fault with it. 

Even on the lowest setting, the fan is powerful and effective. I could sit on the other side of the room and still feel the wind touching me. The air itself is cool enough to lower both my temperature, and the temperature of the wider room, without ever making me feel cold, or icy, as is common with powerful fans. 

This made it an ideal fan to have in the bedroom at night. As did its whisper-quiet noise. The PolyFan 704S has a Sleep mode that reduces the strength of the wind, which in turn lowers the sound so it doesn't disturb you in the night. Yet I didn't need to use this mode. The fan is so quiet on Normal mode, even on the highest speed settings, that I could sleep comfortably and without distraction. The biggest benefit of using Sleep mode is that the speed gradually decreases throughout the night. This means that as the temperature drops outside, you're not still being blasted with a fast wind speed that no longer suits the temperature in your room.

At its quietest, the 704S lived up to the brand's promise of producing just 25dB of noise, akin to the sound of leaves gentle rustling. On the highest, Turbo mode this noise increased to slightly above Dreo's promised 51dB, averaging 56dB. A small, almost indiscernible difference and at a level that's equivalent to the humming of a refrigerator. 

Speaking of modes, the differences are as follows:  

  • Normal Mode: This mode runs the fan at a fixed speed, selected manually. 
  • Auto Mode: This mode adapts the speed based on the ambient temperature. 
  • Turbo Mode: Runs the fan at the maximum speed.
  • Natural Mode: Natural mode varies the fan speed to simulate a natural breeze. 
  • Custom Mode: This mode lets you set different speeds to correspond to different ambient temperatures. For instance, when the room temperature exceeds 23 degrees, you can set the fan to switch on at Speed 3 and so on. 
  • Sleep Mode: Air circulator speed decreases every 30 minutes, offering Level 1 to Level 9 options.

My favorite mode is Natural mode. It really does feel like there's a gentle breeze flowing over you and this is comfortable and calming. Auto Mode works really well, too. In my living room I have a large bay window that faces west. In the morning the room is cool but as the sun travels over the house and beams through the large window, this room can become stifling – the difference can be as much as 10 degrees. Auto Mode solved this problem. Without having to make any adjustments, the fan kicked into action before the heat could reach an uncomfortable level and maintained a cool temperature all day. Elsewhere, the Custom Mode is a great addition but beyond playing around with it in the app to see how it worked, I never used it. The other modes gave me more customization and automation than I needed.  

Dreo PolyFan 704S display

(Image credit: Future)

When it comes to oscillation, the wide range of movement both vertically and horizontally, combined with the power and efficiency of the wind, means the PolyFan 704S can cover a surprisingly large space despite its relatively small fan head. You can select the angles at which the head oscillates from a list of presets – 30, 60, 90, 120 or 150 degrees for horizontal oscillation, or 30, 60, 90 and 120 degrees in the vertical – or you can customize these angles in one-degree increments. 

The presets can be accessed via the base's touch controls, and remote. It's easy to keep pressing the respective buttons until you reach the desired angle. However, you can only customize the more precise angles via the app, or using voice commands. My only, very minor complaint is that the oscillation speed is slower than I'd like. I'd love the option to speed this up but I'm nitpicking. I remarked to my partner during my review that "I love this fan" and it's true. From how easy it is to use, to the fact the large number of options and settings never feel overwhelming, its power, efficiency and how well it fits into my home and lifestyle, it's almost perfect. 

  • Performance score: 5 out of 5  

Dreo PolyFan 704S review: voice control

  • Easy to set up 
  • Adds an extra level of personalization
  • Perfect for hands-free control

One of the standout features of the Dreo PolyFan 704S is the ability to control it using voice commands via your smart speaker. 

Once the fan is connected to your home Wi-Fi, via the Dreo app, you can connect it to any Amazon Echo or Google Home device on the same network at the press of a button. Once connected, go into the Settings menu on the Dreo app, select the Voice Control menu and you'll see all the relevant command prompts. I used my with Alexa and there are 26 standard prompts listed. Everything from, "Alexa, turn on Dreo Fan" to, "Alexa, increase Dreo Fan horizontal angle by five degrees", timers, and more. 

I often used these controls at night when the fan was in my bedroom. If I hadn't set the angle or speed correctly before getting under the covers, I could ask Alexa to adjust the power and wind direction without having to leave my bed. It's pure convenience, or laziness depending on how you look at it, but it's a fantastic addition. Similarly, when I had the fan in the playroom, I could get the fan to follow where my youngest was playing, by asking Alexa to change the angle and oscillation, to make sure he remained cool while jumping around the round.  

Beyond the standard Alexa-powered voice commands, thanks to Alexa Routines you can also create a sequence of events based on other criteria. For example, I set the fan to switch to Sleep mode at 10pm, or even switch off when it detected snoring. This is in addition to the timer and scheduling features found on the Dreo app. All of the Alexa features are managed via the Alexa app, and are simple to navigate and set up. Once you're in the Alexa app, you can also edit the voice prompts and control the fan's settings, adding yet another way to control the device. 

Dreo PolyFan 704S review: app

  • Offers a wide variety of customization options
  • Easy to set up and intuitive to use 

The app, alongside voice commands, is one of my favorite features of the Dreo PolyFan 704S. It's intuitive and everything is well-labelled and clear. When you first open the app it will search for nearby Dreo devices. If it doesn't, or it fails to find the devices, make sure Wi-Fi is enabled by pressing and holding the horizontal oscillation touch button for five seconds. 

The app guides you through setup and once the fan is connected, you'll see an image of it on your app's homepage. From this homepage you can see how much time is left on the timer, the room's current temperature, what mode the fan is on, and any schedules you've set, at a glance. You can also access the fan's Wi-Fi and voice controls via the Settings button. 

Dreo PolyFan 704S app screenshots

(Image credit: Future)

Clicking the image of the fan takes you to the full range of 704S' controls. There's a menu at the top that lets you switch between Standard, Turbo and Custom modes. In Standard mode, you'll additionally see four icons, each one corresponding with the four wind modes: Normal, Auto, Sleep and Natural. A slider on the right-hand side lets you manually adjust the fan's speed, above the fan's oscillation controls and 3D Angle Control. 

You can then enable panel sounds, set the display to turn off after one minute, set a child lock and calibrate the oscillation.  

Out of all of these features, my favorite – and the one I use all the time – is the 3D Angle Control. On this screen you can manually set the horizontal and vertical angle of the fan head by running your finger over the screen. Alternatively you can move it using the arrows, or set Common Angles. The latter is particularly useful if you like the fan at a certain angle in bed but you don't want to manually set it each night, after having changed it during the day. 

Dyson fans and purifiers have offered a similar feature on its smart appliances for years, yet it's rare to find control like this on such a relatively affordable fan. I'd pay a large part of the PolyFan 704S' price for this feature alone. 

  • App score: 5 out of 5 

Should you buy the Dreo PolyFan 704S?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

If you don't want or need all of the Dreo 704S fan's features, here are a couple of options to consider...

Dreo Pilot Max

This tower fan is a top option for those on a budget, and it doesn't lack features. It offers 12 speeds, 4 modes, and 4 oscillation degrees. The overall design is sleek too.

Read our Dreo Pilot Max review

Meaco MeacoFan 1056P

The Meaco MeacoFan 1056P tops our best pedestal fan list because it's effective, it oscillates both horizontally and vertically, and comes with 12 speed settings.

Read our Meaco MeacoFan 1056P review

How I tested the Dreo PolyFan 704S

  • I used the Dreo PolyFan 704S and its app for 4 weeks
  • Positioned in different rooms around the house 

I used the Dreo PolyFan 704S in different rooms around my home for four weeks. This included my living room, large open-plan loft, children's bedrooms, and master bedroom. 

I used the device every day, and on nights when the weather was warm, on a range of modes and speed settings. I scheduled timers to turn the fan off, and tested all the features of the app, and its remote control. This includes using voice commands.

I also monitored how loud the fan was on different speeds, and in different modes.  

Read more about how we test

First reviewed May 2024

GHD Flight+ hair dryer review
12:16 pm | May 29, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Hair Care Home Small Appliances | Tags: | Comments: Off

GHD Flight+ hair dryer: two-minute review

A travel hair dryer needs to tick very specific boxes. It needs to be compact enough to fit in your luggage, without sacrificing too much power. It needs to offer enough controls to make it useful, and ideally you should be able to use it in different countries with minimal fuss.

The GHD Flight+ dryer hits a home run on almost all of these features. Its handle tucks underneath the body of the dryer when it's ready to be packed away, making it a highly compact and portable appliance. Despite being slightly heavier than its predecessor, the GHD Flight, the Flight+ remains lighter than most of the best hair dryers. This means it won't significantly eat into your baggage allowance, and it also makes it a lightweight and enjoyable dryer to use over long periods.

This is fortunate, because the GHD Flight+ is a long way from the fastest, most powerful dryers on the market. Even on the fastest speed it took almost eight minutes to rough dry my long, fine hair, and 11 minutes and 25 seconds, on average, on the slowest setting. Blow drying then took considerably longer: 15 minutes 10 seconds on the faster speed, and 20 minutes on the slower.

GHD Flight+ hair dryer

(Image credit: Future)

That said, this is what I'd expect from a travel dryer. With 78% of the power of the full-sized GHD Air, the Flight+ performs better than the majority of travel dryers I've tested and my hair felt soft after each use. It had an impressive amount of movement and body and while it lacked any discernible shine and the dryer created more frizz than I'm used to, the Cool Shot function helped to negate these issues. 

All of this, combined with the Flight+'s matte black finish and simple controls, contributes to the dryer's overall appeal. As does its dual voltage capability. This is essential for international travel and you can easily switch between 240V and 120V via a dial on the Flight+'s handle. The mechanism to change the voltage setting requires the use of a coin, which is a bit of a faff, but it's much less hassle than having to pack a step-down converter or adapter.  

GHD Flight+ hair dryer in its case with other hair items

(Image credit: Future)

My only complaints about the GHD Flight+ are minor. I'm not a fan of the dryer's built-in nozzle. With a semi-transparent, almost brown finish it lets down the rest of the Flight+'s aesthetic. I also don't feel like the carry case, which comes with the Flight+ as standard, adds too much. Its rigid lid makes it harder to pack, not easier, and I quickly abandoned it when I took the Flight+ on a weekend trip. The case’s design does allow for storing other items, like a hairbrush and full-sized hair products, and it keeps everything neat, but I'd rather pay less for the Flight+ itself and not have the case. 

Speaking of price, when you compare the Flight+ to the rest of the GHD range, it appears affordable. Yet look outside the brand and the Flight+ is significantly more expensive than the vast majority of travel dryers on the market – as much as five times the price. In my opinion, you do get what you pay for and many of the Flight+'s cheaper rivals lack the folding handle, the power, the dual voltage and the stylish design. Not to mention the carry case. 

Overall, the GHD Flight+ is a great travel hair dryer that makes small compromises in drying power and speed for improved portability and a thoughtful design. It won't replace a full-sized dryer for everyday use but offers a solid alternative for those needing a lightweight, stylish option on the go.

GHD Flight+ hair dryer review: price & availability

  • $199 / £109 / AU$160 
  • Available US, UK and Australia 

The GHD Flight+ is the brand’s entry-level travel hair dryer, having recently replaced the original GHD Flight. 

It's sold in the US, UK and Australia and costs $199 / £99 / AU$160. For this price you get the foldable hair dryer and a leather travel case. In the UK, you can alternatively buy the Flight+ as part of a limited edition gift set. This set costs £109 and the standard travel case is replaced by a corduroy case with rose gold  accents. 

In the wider GHD hair dryer range, the mid-level GHD Air costs $209 / £139 / AU$270, while it’s top-of-the-range model, the GHD Helios, costs $279 / £179 / AU$350. This makes the Flight+ look almost cheap in comparison. 

Yet, look elsewhere and it's rare for a travel hair dryer to exceed $40 / £30 / AU$55. Granted none of these cheaper models offer the style, power and considered design of the Flight+ and, in my view, you get what you pay for with the GHD model. If you're after a no-frills travel dryer, though, the Flight+ may exceed your needs. 

The GHD Flight+ is available from GHD, and Amazon worldwide. You can additionally buy it from Target and Walmart in the US; Lookfantastic, and Cult Beauty in the UK;  and Adore Beauty in Australia. 

  • Value for money score: 3.5 out of 5

GHD Flight+ hair dryer review: design

  • Compact, foldable shape 
  • Power converter built-in
  • Simple controls

The GHD Flight+ is one of the most compact hair dryers I've ever tested. Even before it's folded. Not only does it weigh just 1lb / 0.5kg, with the cord and nozzle, but when in use, it measures just 9 x 7 x 3.5" / 22.9 x 17.8 x 8.9cm (H x W x D). It then shrinks when folded to 9 x 5 x 3.5" / 22.9 x 12.7 x 8.9cm.

This is slightly heavier than its 0.9lb / 422g predecessor, the GHD Flight, but is noticeably lighter than the Dyson Supersonic, for example, which weighs 1.7lb / 653g. 

One of the most distinctive features of the GHD Flight+'s design, and the first thing you notice about it, is its folding handle. There's a small hinge where the handle meets the Flight+'s barrel. It locks into place during use, but with a small amount of force you can push the handle so it tucks neatly beneath the dryer's body. 

GHD Flight+ hair dryer with the handle folded

(Image credit: Future)

The hair dryer itself looks similar to the GHD Air, albeit half the weight and 25% smaller. It has a stylish matte black finish that is synonymous with the GHD range, with a shiny black plastic slider where you can select one of the two speed settings, or the Cool Shot function. The Cool Shot button, especially on cheaper dryer models, tends to be a button that you have to press and hold. This can make your hand ache after a while so being able to choose this option as a fixed setting on the Flight+ is a small but welcomed touch. 

Below the speed switch is a dual voltage dial that lets you adjust what voltage the GHD Flight+ operates at. You can choose either 240V, or 120V and this means it will work in countries that produce different voltage levels without the need for special plugs or step-down converters. The only downside is that it's not easy to turn this dial – which is likely deliberate to avoid your turning it by accident mid-style. Instead, you need to use a coin or similar to switch between voltages. 

Controls on the GHD Flight+ hair dryer

(Image credit: Future)

At the bottom of the handle is a hanging loop, which is a nice touch and adds to how you can store this dryer, attached to the GHD Flight+'s 6ft / 1.8m cord. This cord shorter than the 9ft / 3m cord found across the rest of the GHD range, but makes the Flight+ easier to pack and store.

On the front of a barrel is a detachable, semi-transparent plastic nozzle, similar in size to the concentrator attachment that comes with the GHD Helios, albeit it with a wider mouth. Its nice to have the attachment included as standard, but it has a slightly brown/grey tint that lets down the Flight+'s overall aesthetic. On the rear of the barrel is a GHD-branded metal grille. 

Whereas some brands simply shrink the size of a standard hair dryer and call it a travel model, it's clear GHD has put a lot of thought into how the Flight+ looks and works. Little touches such as the dual voltage dial, shorter cord, folding handle and carry case will all elevate its appeal. It's just a shame the nozzle lets it down. 

  • Design score: 4.5 out of 5

GHD Flight+ hair dryer review: performance

  • Fast drying times 
  • Difficult to determine the best mode
  • Mixed styling results 

To test the GHD Flight+'s power, I used it as my go-to hairdryer at home for three weeks. I also took it on a weekend away with my family. I timed how long it took the Flight+ to dry my hair on the two different speed settings, and noted down how my hair looked and felt after each use.  

The dryer noticeably lacks power compared to a standard size dryer, a point that GHD openly acknowledges (and which I'd expect from a travel dryer.) GHD claims the 1600W dryer offers 78% of the power of the GHD Air, compared to the 70% power of its 1400W predecessor, the original GHD Flight. It produces an airflow temperature of 149°F / 65°C.

GHD Flight+ hair dryer's rear grille

(Image credit: Future)

Even on the fastest speed it took almost eight minutes to rough dry my long, fine hair, while on the slowest speed, this increased to 11 minutes and 25 seconds, on average. My hair felt soft after each use, and had a surprising amount of movement and body, but it looked frizzy and was lacking in shine. 

When blow drying my hair properly, with a barrel brush and by sectioning each piece off, these times rose to 15 minutes 10 seconds, and 20 minutes respectively. This left my hair looking and feeling much smoother, although it still lacked any discernible shine. 

Given the dryer's compact design, these results weren't entirely unexpected and are on par with, if not better than, many other travel dryers I've used. What's more, the smaller form and lighter weight of the GHD Flight+ make it a dream to use while blow drying your hair. It's easy to maneuver around your head and my arms and wrists never ached, despite the longer styling times. 

The Cool Shot function works well. It helped to set my style and reduced some of the frizz the dryer created. The drop in temperature compared to the regular airflow temperature wasn't dramatic but it was definitely cooler and the longer I used it, the cooler it became. 

I didn't leave the country during my GHD Flight+ review, so was unable to test the effectiveness of the dual voltage switch. However, I did take it on a weekend trip so was able to review its portability. 

GHD Flight+ hair dryer next to its case

(Image credit: Future)

The carry case is a nice touch, and I was initially impressed that it came as standard with the Flight+. It comes with a strap, and a handle to make it easy to carry on its own. However, because it has a rigid lid with soft sides it's not great for packing in your luggage. Its rectangle shape takes up more space, not less, and I would have preferred a bag or similar; so much so that I abandoned the case and packed just the dryer to save space. 

On the plus side, there is enough room in the case, alongside the Flight+, to store other items such as a hair brush and styling products if you wanted to keep everything together in your case. Plus the carry case does allow you to store the Flight+ more neatly at home. 

For such a compact and light dryer, the GHD Flight+ performs admirably. Its slower times would only become a problem if you were using the dryer every day but for a styler that you'll use occasionally, it's a small sacrifice for the portability and considered design.  

  • Performance score: 4 out of 5

Should I buy the GHD Flight+ hair dryer?

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First reviewed: May 2024

Tineco Floor One S5 vacuum and mop review
2:54 pm | May 28, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Home Small Appliances Vacuums | Comments: Off

Tineco Floor One S5 vacuum and mop: two-minute review

The Tineco Floor One S5 is a cordless vacuum and mop with a floor-standing charging unit. During testing, I found it powerful and effective across all hard floor types including sealed wood in my living area and vinyl kitchen tiles. It can’t, however, be used to refresh area rugs and mats like some designs can.

I was impressed at how efficiently it worked when vacuuming and mopping up dirt and debris and cleaning fresh wet spills in my home. I found it a little harder to mop away older and more stubborn caked-on floor debris, however, but perhaps that’s just my fault for leaving them so long to clean up.

The design has a digital control panel on its front with indicators to help you with the smooth running of the appliance. The device provides voice prompts too, which is useful when you’re in a hurry to navigate the controls.

iLoop on the Tineco Floor One S5 Extreme vacuum cleaner goes from blue to red as it cleans

(Image credit: Future)

I reviewed the Tineco Floor One S5 Extreme and found the design comfortable in hand and the controls useful and comprehensive. While it’s quite heavy, the self-propelling control makes this less of an issue. Overall, I think that if you have young kids who are prone to spilling food under the table, or you simply need to refresh a muddy hallway, this vacuum and mop in one is a handy tool to have on standby. It also works well for a quick fix on dusty floors that look desperately messy when the sun shines through. Read on to discover whether this one ranks with the best vacuum cleaners.

Tineco Floor One S5 vacuum and mop review: price & availability

  • List price: $499 / £399 GBP
  • Launch date: April 2022
  • Availability: US / UK

Based in China, Tineco sells a range of carpet cleaners, wet dry vacuums and smart vacuum cleaners. The Floor One S5 Extreme was added to its floorcare range in 2022 and at the time of writing, you can buy it on Amazon for $499 / £399. While this comes at a premium price, it’s an intuitive design with a powerful and effective brush that I think helps justify the price.

  • Value for money score: 4.5 out of 5

Tineco Floor One S5 vacuum and mop specs

Tineco Floor One S5 vacuum and mop review: design

  • 800ml water tank is 30% larger than its previous model
  • Self-propelled design for easy steering
  • Brush head designed to go right up against skirtings and baseboards

The Tineco Floor One S5 sits on a floor-standing charging dock for convenient grab-and-go cleaning. This makes it ideal for utility rooms or under the stairs where you have a plug socket nearby.

You’ll need some room to store it on display in a living room, however. When sat on its floor-standing charger, the handle is at a slight angle so it’s not completely flush up against the wall, which is something to bear in mind.

Like the Shark HydroVac Cordless Hand Floor Cleaner, the Tineco Floor One S5 is easy on the eye. It has a graphite, white and navy finish with parts that look and feel stylish and premium. While it’s an expensive piece of kit, I can tell that it’s made with durable parts that are built to last. It also has a generous offering in the way of extras in the box. It has two extra brush rolls in the box and a filter that both needs replacing every 6 months, and a handy cleaning tool for giving the device a thorough clean. The kit also comes with its own Tineco branded deodorizing and cleaning solution, and you’ll need to make sure you only use this in the device. 

The Tineco Floor One S5 Extreme vacuum cleaner at work

(Image credit: Future)

The Tineco is similar in design and performance to the Shark HydroVac and both are designed to work across dry and wet spills on hard flooring. Both also have self-cleaning features, to help with upkeep and ensure the vacuum remains smelling fresh. While they are both similar in design, the Tineco is much heavier – Shark is 3.95kg, while the Tineco is 7.8kg.    

While the Shark has a 500ml water tank, the Tineco has a more generous 800ml design, however, which is 30% larger than its last generation Floor One cleaner. Run times differ too – with the Shark at around 25 minutes and the Tineco offering up to 35 minutes on a full charge. The Tineco also has iLoop Smart Sensor Technology that takes the guesswork out of cleaning by detecting dirt and adjusting the suction accordingly – more on that in the Performance section.

There’s also a Tineco app that you can connect to on your smartphone to monitor usage and access user guides – although this doesn’t enhance the experience with any remote control feature at present. It only supports 2.4G WiFI, and while I have dual broadband, after several failed attempts at connecting to it, I had to give up and admit defeat.  

  • Design score: 4.5 out of 5

Tineco Floor One S5 vacuum and mop review: performance

  • iLoop Smart Sensor detects debris and adjusts suction power and water
  • Up to 35 minutes run time on a full charge 
  • Comes with a self-cleaning mode

Setup

I found setup of the Tineco Floor One S5 straightforward as there aren’t too many parts to contend with. It was a matter of slotting the handle into the main brush head and motor and placing it on the floor-standing charging dock. When the device is positioned on the docking station it delivers a voice prompt to let you know that ‘charging has commenced’. It’s then easy to see the battery level rise.

This device is designed to remove dirt, grime, grease and tough stains from most types of hard surfaces and can be used on wet spills too. To give the design a fair trial, I used it across the sealed hard wood flooring in my living and dining area, and on the vinyl floor tiles in my kitchen. I used it a few times to get a good feel of how well it maneuvered when on a general vacuum and mop.

To get it ready for its first clean I made sure it was suitably charged and added a capful of cleaning solution that comes in the box to the water tank. I then topped it up with water to its max line.

I could clearly see how much battery life is left and what percentage the battery life was on, for example. I could also see when the dirty water tank needed changing and when the clean water tank had run out. By switching to the voice prompt button, it then told me when it was time to charge the cleaner or when the water tank needed filling.

Usability and control

I really enjoyed using the Tineco Floor One S5 Extreme smart cordless vacuum cleaner and mop and while it can’t be used on area rugs and carpets, it is great on non-carpeted floor surfaces such as vinyl, tile and sealed wood. To get a good idea of how well it works, I used it to clean up both wet and dry spills. I managed to use it for a full 30 minutes on hard floor before having to put it back on its charger.

It has its own iLoop Smart Sensor that detects the level of debris and adjusts the suction power and water flow accordingly. There’s a ring that runs around the main control until that goes red when it detects dirt and clears to blue when the dirt has been tackled effectively. When needed I could also up the power by pressing the button on the handle to take the vacuum from auto mode to max mode.

The device is quite heavy, but as it’s self-propelled it whizzed around the floor without too much effort on my part. I simply pushed to vacuum and pulled back to mop. It doesn’t leave the floor too wet or sodden either like some mops can, but mops evenly and leaves a mild, pleasant scent of the Tineco deodorizing and cleaning solution behind as the floor dries. While the head is large, it seemed to do a great job at getting close up to skirtings and up against furniture. I really think a crevice tool would enhance the design here, however, and because the handle doesn’t go flat you’re limited when it comes to cleaning under furniture.

The Tineco Floor One S5 Extreme vacuum cleaner at work on fine debris

(Image credit: Future)

I used it across my kitchen floor to clear up a milky cereal spillage and was amazed at how quickly and effortlessly it tackled the area. There’s also a suction mode I could use to absorb water and not spray solution, which worked well here. I could then switch to auto mode to completely clean the surface.

On dried-on cereal and general food stains under the table that had stuck to the surface, the mop needed a little more help and I found myself ramping up to max mode and going over the area a few times to dislodge and clean effectively. To get a good idea of how well the device can vacuum dirt and debris, I sprinkled oats on the floor to mimic larger debris and also sprinkled crushed biscuit and flour on the floor to mimic finer dust. The vacuum worked a charm on both messes without leaving any residue behind.

Maintenance and noise levels

To keep the device smelling fresh, you’ll need to clean it after every use. There is a self-cleaning mode that helps speed things along and cleans the interior but you will have to take out the dirty water tank to empty and clean the filter too. The brush roll will need to be taken out to dry to avoid it smelling. This can be fiddly – and rather grim if there’s a lot of mess – but a simple wash under warm water straight after use keeps things fresh. I like the fact it has a cleaning brush to help with this as it came in useful.

Removing the Tineco Floor One S5 Extreme's filter for cleaning

(Image credit: Future)

In terms of noise levels, the Tineco is quite inoffensive. I used the Decibel Meter App to measure the Tineco at 68.1 decibels while it was in self-cleaning mode, which lasts over a minute. By comparison, the Shark HydroVac goes up to 83.1 decibels while in self-cleaning mode. 

  • Performance score: 4.5 out of 5

Should you buy the Tineco Floor One S5 vacuum and mop?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

How I tested the Tineco Floor One S5 vacuum and mop

I’ve been reviewing home appliances for over 20 years so know what makes for an ergonomic and useful design. Unlike a vacuum cleaner, the all-in-one vacuum and mop isn’t a staple in many homes, but I’ve recently noticed an increase in the number of companies promoting these multi-functional devices.

I used the Tineco Floor One S5 in my home over the course of a month to see how well it could handle my flooring. I have sealed hard wooden floors that span the entirety of my living room, dining area and hall and have vinyl tiles in the kitchen, which provided ample floorspace to give the Tineco a fair try.

I recently reviewed the Shark HydroVac Cordless Hard Floor Cleaner WD210UK, for example, so it was good to be able to compare the Tineco Floor One S5 to that.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed May 2024

Nutribullet Pro+ 1200 blender review
5:00 pm | May 19, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Home Juicers & Blenders Small Appliances | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

Nutribullet Pro+ blender: two-minute review

The Nutribullet Pro+ 1200 personal blender sits towards the upper end of this brands range, with a more powerful motor and an added pulse button compared to cheaper models. 

This looks a lot like a standard Nutribullet, and for the most part it's the same straightforward but effective design. Add the blade part to one of the two included cups, twist it on to the main body of the blender and it starts to blend immediately, cutting out after 60 seconds to prevent pressure from building up in the cup. The more powerful motor (1200W) makes light work of even tough smoothie ingredients, and delivers consistently smooth results. To-Go lids can be attached directly to the blending cup once you've taken off the blade part, enabling you to blend and go. 

Another point of difference here is the addition of a pulse button. This is good for things like salsas, and make it easy to tailor your blend to the perfect consistency you're looking for.

Pulse button on Nutribullet Pro+ 1200 blender

(Image credit: Future)

Price-wise, it sits in the mid-range of the wider market, and I'd say it's worth it if you want that extra power and the versatility of the pulse function. If you don't want the pulse function and are happy with a lower-powered option, you might be just fine with a cheaper Nutribullet like the 900 (read TechRadar's Nutribullet Pro 900 review), and if you want a quieter model with a fancy touchscreen rather than the twist-to-blend approach, you'll need to spend a bit more on the Ultra model (read TechRadar's Nutribullet Ultra review). However, in terms of effectiveness and value for money, the Pro+ 1200 is easily one of the best blenders I've tested, especially for smoothies.

The names are very slightly different in different territories, so for avoidance of confusion, here's what you're looking for:

For my review, I tested the UK version. There may be very minor differences between the models in different territories. 

Nutribullet Pro+ blender review: price & availability

  • List price: $129.99 / £119.99 / AU$189.95
  • Launched: 2023
  • Available: worldwide

The Nutribullet Pro+ 1200 is available worldwide and is a mid-range blender. At ticket price, it's $129.99 in the US, £119.99 in the UK and AU$189.95 in Australia. 

Within the Nutribullet personal blender range, it's one of the pricier options, sitting between the 900 series and the top-of-the-range Ultra. If you're on a tighter budget, there's also the less powerful 600 Series. See how all the models compare in the specs comparison table

While the Pro+ 1200 isn't the cheapest, I think it's reasonably priced for a personal blender with a powerful motor. It's also worth keeping an eye out for deals around sales periods like Black Friday. 

  • Value for money score: 4 out of 5

Nutribullet Pro+ blender review: design

  • Powerful 1200W motor
  • Two cups with two To-Go lids and two Comfort Lip Rings
  • Twist-to-blend, with 60 second auto-shut off
  • Manual pulse mode that lasts up to a minute

The Nutribullet Pro+ 1200 sits neatly on the worktop and is held in place by four suction feet. The main machine, without cups attached, measures 5.4 x 5.4 x 15" / 13.6 x 13.6 x 37.5cm (W x D x H).

It has a black body with a silver trim, and while it's not quite as sleek as the Nutribullet Ultra or the eye-catching finish of the Pro 900, it's still compact and stylish on the countertop. 

Close up of blade for Nutribullet Pro+ 1200 blender

(Image credit: Future)

It comes with a powerful 1200-watt motor which – like the Ultra – is designed to split through tough ingredients such as frozen berries and almonds. To start it, you simply need to twist on the cup and a 60 second blend will start. What makes it stand out from cheaper models in the Nutribullet blender range, is a dedicated illuminated Pulse button on the front of the motor base, which allows you to stop the auto-blend within 5 seconds of it starting and then manually pulse your ingredients yourself for up to a minute. 

To-Go lids on Nutribullet Pro+ 1200 blender cup

(Image credit: Future)

There are two blending cups provided – an 'Oversized' 32oz / 900ml cup and a 'Tall' 24oz / 680ml cup. There's no 'Short' 18oz / 511ml cup provided (this is the best option for a single smoothie serving) but one can be purchased separately from Nutribullet. The larger cup sizes give you plenty of flexibility when it comes to making smoothies or dips for a few people. 

Both provided cups come with To-Go lids and Comfort Lip Rings, which means you don't have to decant your smoothie to a different cup before taking it out with you. 

The cups can simply be twisted off after use and while they are dishwasher-safe, I found that washing the blade and cups with warm, soapy water straight after use kept them looking box fresh. Note that if those cups don't suit your needs, you can purchase other sizes separately from Nutribullet.

  • Design score: 4.5 out of 5

Nutribullet Pro 900 specs

Nutribullet Pro+ 1200 blender review: performance

  • Creates super-smooth smoothies, and pulse function useful for chunky blends
  • A little noisy in use – and louder than the Nutribullet Ultra
  • Ingredients can get stuck at top for thicker blends
  • Also decent at crushing ice

To give the Nutrbullet Pro+ 1200 a fair trial, I used it for a month in my kitchen to create smoothies and dips. I followed the recipe for a Creamy Coffee Smoothie, with banana, coffee, almond milk, Greek yoghurt, cinnamon and maple syrup, for example, which made a nice change from my hot morning coffee. I was also keen to find out how well it did at creating grainier dips such as hummus, as well as for a thick pancake mix.

With a 1200-watt motor base, the Nutribullet Pro+ 1200 has twice the power of the original Nutribullet 600. As soon as the cup is twisted on the blend cycle starts, and it will cut off automatically after a minute. I used the full minute for my Creamy Coffee Smoothie, and it created the smoothest of blends, and whipped the ingredients into up a delicious frothy texture. The 60-sec cutoff is so as not to cause a pressure build-up inside the cup, and it's important to wait until the motor cools before blending again.

Image 1 of 2

Making pancake batter in Nutribullet Pro+ 1200 blender

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 2

Coffee smoothie made in Nutribullet Pro+ 1200 blender

(Image credit: Future)

Like the Ultra, the blades in the Pro+ 1200 are designed to work on tough ingredients, so ice, nuts and chickpeas will all work well here – provided you have enough liquid in the cup to help the mixture blend that is. If you don't have enough liquid, the ingredients tend to get stuck at the top of the cup. I had this issue when making my pancake batter – on my first attempt, the flour got stuck to the sides. I added more almond milk and shook the cup a few times, and after that it combined more effectively, and very quickly, too. 

Ingredients for pancakes next to Nutribullet Pro+ 1200 blender

(Image credit: Future)

My final test was to see if the Pro+1200 could handle crushing ice. It performed well in our ice test, blitzing through the majority of a cupful of ice so that it formed a powder like finish ideal for snow cones. After 30 seconds i gave the cup a shake and let it soldier on through the remaining ice cubes. 

Nutribullet Pro+ 1200 blitzing ice

(Image credit: Future)

One feature the Pro+ 1200 has that cheaper Nutribullets don't is a Pulse button. I used this to help when making a textured hummus, and I also think this would work well for chunky salsas, guacamole or anything else where there are tough ingredients that need breaking down into small chunks. 

To use the Pulse button, you need to twist the cup on the base and press the Pulse button within five seconds. You can then manually press the Pulse button for up to a minute to adjust the texture to your exact preferences.

Overall, I really enjoyed using this blender and appreciate how powerful and flexible it is. It's quite loud in operation, however. The Nutribullet Ultra (which is designed to be quiet) measured 88.9 decibels on my Decibel Meter App, while the Nutribullet 1200 Pro+ came in at around 93.3 decibels. This isn't something that would put me off buying it, however, as my household is more than used to hearing me say ‘cover your ears for 60 seconds' whenever I want to prepare my morning smoothie.

  • Performance score: 4.5 out of 5

Should you buy the Nutribullet Pro+ 1200 blender?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

How I tested the Nutribullet Pro+ 1200 blender

I trialled the Nutribullet Pro+ 1200 personal blender in my kitchen to see if it was capable of blitzing up standard blending recipes with ease. I used it to make humus to see how well the pulse feature could work here, and also make pancakes and a creamy coffee smoothie to see if all the ingredients combined effectively. To get a good idea of how loud it is in use, I measured noise levels using the Decibel Meter App on my smartphone. I also gave it a good wipe down and washed it to see how easy it was to clean. 

Read more about how we test

  • First reviewed May 2024
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