A no-frills, entry-level machine that lives up to the ‘Essentials’ name, the Essentials C17MW10 is a very compact unit (H26.2 x W45.2 x D35cms) which will fit even the smallest kitchen; the downside is that the cavity is correspondingly small with a capacity of 17 litres (0.6 cubic foot).
A machine designed for cooking snacks and ready meals – although you’ll struggle to cook a bag of microwave popcorn as the inflated bag will stop the turntable’s revolution, the Essentials C17MW10’s small size also translates into light weight and the machine is very prone to moving about in use – two hands are needed when opening the door.
A refreshing change to see a microwave without the ubiquitous touch controls, the C17MW10 has two dials; one to set the power level (choice of six options) and one to set the cooking time. If you’re a Luddite (or even just a bit of a nostalgia junkie) the mechanical timer will be music to your ears. On top of this the dials are big and chunky and clearly marked, which is a boon if visibility is a problem. It is a bit tricky setting 30 second increments though.
The unit has 700W of power which is adequate for the sort of food one is likely to be putting in it; however, the cooking instructions on the majority of foods start at 750W so an element of guesswork is involved. Food generally takes a little bit longer to cook than expected, but familiarity resolves this issue and the cooking performance is otherwise excellent, with defrosting particularly good.
So a small, simple, uncomplicated microwave that’s lacking in sophistication but delivers on the important things. Stick a non-slip mat underneath it and enjoy.