Update: When we first reviewed the Dyson Hot, we weren't overly impressed but having been without central heating for a couple of weeks during the depths of the 2012/2013 winter we've had good reason to get to know the Hot even better and although it's still expensive, we're definitely more convinced now.
There is something hugely admirable about Dyson. The British company regularly invents what arguably could be considered revolutionary technology, but chooses to do so for humdrum household objects like vacuum cleaners, hand dryers and fans. It's bonkers, but brilliant and typically with price tags to match. So what happens when Dyson makes a heater?
The result is the Dyson Hot (AM04) and, naturally enough, it aims to revolutionise the way the well heeled keep warm. The design is pure Dyson, minimalist yet curvy, though it diverges from the lollipop-shaped Air Multiplier (AM01) fan in favour of a straighter design which looks like the close up of the eye of a needle. The shape change is largerly down to the heating elements that need to be incorporated into the tall sides of the new design.
As for build quality, the same love it/hate it Dyson qualities are also on show with a primarily plastic construction, matt finish and the usual choice of just two colours: white and silver or grey and blue. The latter looks better to us, though clearly your choice will depend on your existing decor. Like most Dyson products the Hot gives the impression it will be durable and wear well.
Of course what really sells the Hot, however, is the technology inside. This is the same Air Multiplier technology Dyson uses in the AM01 (which we now think should be rebranded the 'Cold') and it works by sucking in air through the grilles in the base and firing the airflow from a continuous thin vent that runs around the inside of the open section. The benefits are a more consistent flow of air, increased safety from no exposed fan blades and most importantly of all a much more powerful, longer range flow of air.
The Dyson Hot uses ceramic heating elements so avoids the burning smell you get with cheaper metal coil-based fan heaters. Also, the way the elements are mounted in the sides of the fan means that the top curved section remains relatively cool to the touch so acts as a carry handle that can be used even when the fan is on - very convenient for quickly aiming the fan in another direction.
Other innovations inside the Hot include an automatic cut out if the unit is tipped over, tilt adjustment and - like a desk fan - automatic rotation on its base to distribute air over a wide angle. Most importantly of all, though, is that you can drop the temperature all the way down and simply use this as a conventional fan, making it a true one-stop replacement for both a desk fan and a fan heater.
For those unable or too lazy to get up, the Hot comes with a simple remote with power, speed and temperature controls as well as the ability to start or stop rotating. A nice touch is the controller contains a magnet and will store neatly on the top of the Hot.