The Hotpoint MWH 26321 MB microwave is an affordable combi appliance with a sleek design, easy-to-understand controls and several cooking accessories, some of which are also suitable for use in combi programmes. With a flatbed design and built-in grill, it can crisp food in addition to defrosting and heating it. While there are some oddities within its range of programmes, these can be adapted. The same is true of the slight unevenness in heating results between the left and right side of the appliance, which can be resolved by rotating the plate or bowl when pausing to stir or flip the food during cooking.
- Great crisping
- Wide range of programmes
- Clear control panel
- Some auto programmes are confusing
- Some unevenness
- Poorly written manual
- UKRRP: £199.99
- TypeThis is a flatbed, freestanding microwave with a grill
- PowerThis is an 800W microwave oven
The Hotpoint MWH 26321 MB is a flatbed microwave with built-in grill, allowing for a range of combi programmes. A baking tray-like crisping plate that can be used in the microwave is included for best results.
While there was some unevenness in the heating of food between the left and right sides of the oven, this can easily be avoided by rotating your cooking container when pausing to stir or flip food.
Design and Features
- Premium feel with clear control panel and display
- Spacious due to flatbed design
- Some auto programmes come with specific recipes
Thanks to its sleek black design, the Hotpoint MWH 26321 MB oozes sophistication. The plastic trim and control panel is of high quality, and the knob for time and weight selection is nicely textured and encases the recessed start button.
In addition to the main window that offers good visibility, the microwave door includes a little window for the display, which is actually behind the microwave door, protected from potential fingerprints and grime.
The display itself is large enough to feature clear icons, showing which functions have been activated – Microwave, Defrost, Bread Defrost, Auto Cook, Auto Clean, Grill, Crisp or Child Lock. The display will also show when to add food to the microwave (when preheating), turn food over or stir it, as well as displaying a running cycle animation when the microwave is in use.
The touch-sensitive control panel is clear and easy to use, showing the different functions on offer. In addition to the ones mentioned above, it has a Combi button for using the microwave and grill functions together without a pre-set programme. There are also buttons for setting the time and putting the microwave into silent mode, which stops the buttons from beeping when pressed, but also the appliance from playing an almost musical shrill on the completion of cooking.
The beeping can become annoying when navigating the long Auto Cook menu; however, programme selection can also be done via the knob. After lingering on a particular programme for a few seconds, the display changes to weight selection (where available), which can also be set using the dial.
A quick pictorial guide to the 23 auto programmes can be found on the rim of the cavity, and the defrost guide is hidden underneath the display. The programmes are all outlined in the manual, but some of them are oddly specific and come with recipes, such as Bolognese Meat or Vegetable Cream Soup. Other programmes include the usual pizza, chicken nuggets, fish fingers and fries, as well as more esoteric options such as entrecôte and croque monsieur.
The inclusion of recipes could be inspiring for some, but the instructions aren’t very clear – and littered with typos. For instance, the rice programme instructs to add “1 cup porboiled white rice (180g)”, without specifying how much water ought to be included with the rice – a poor instruction given that rice can easily burn without sufficient water.
Meanwhile, defrosting programmes include special weight-based iterations for meat, poultry, fish and bread. There’s also a separate weight-based Bread Defrost programme, which both defrosts and grills the bread with the help of the crisp function and the crisp plate. Programmes requiring the use of the crisp plate take about 2mins 30secs to preheat.
The Auto Clean function requires a container with 250ml of water to be inserted into the microwave and the cavity wiped down afterwards, simply providing a programme as an easy 11-minute shortcut for regular microwave cleaning.
- Crisps up bread very well
- Delivers jacket potatoes in about 10 minutes
- Some unevenness between the left and right side of the cavity
The Hotpoint MWH 26321 MB tackled cooking and crisping tasks well, although some unevenness could be detected during defrosting and reheating – but this could be resolved by rotating your containers during cooking.
I started my defrosting tests with Bread Defrost, which purports to both defrost and heat bread products for a “freshly baked” sensation. This function is weight-based, in 50g increments up to 500g. Using this function on two slices of medium white bread that weighed about 75g, I tried both 50g and 100g programmes.
After pre-heating, the latter took 4 minutes, notifying me to flip the bread after 1min 45secs. This resulted in very crispy toast that looked like it was starting to brown; however, it was a little on the dense side. The 50g programme took 3mins 30secs. Having flipped the bread after 1min 30secs, it came out a little paler, but softer on the inside, which contrasted nicely with the crispy outer layer.
I then tried the defrost programme P5 for bread, selecting the 50g programme to start. After 1min 4secs, having flipped the slices halfway through, the slice on the left- was warm, while the one on the right remained cold on my thermal camera.
I ran the same programme again, which led to the left side heating up too much and proving the need to rotate the plate when pausing to flip the bread. However, the results were remarkably even here, with not many contrasting hot and cold spots.
Turning to the broad range of automatic programmes for my recently defrosted bread, I tried the curious Toast programme (A22) using the wire rack. For 80g of bread, this took 24 minutes, flipping the bread after 5 minutes. The bread came out biscuit-like in texture, but golden brown. Considering the slices had been previously frozen (which already impacts the texture) and they weren’t particularly thick, this programme still seems excessive, considering a toaster would complete the same task in a few minutes.
To test the appliance for even heating of food, I microwaved 200g of cooked fridge-cold rice with two tablespoons of water at full power. Following 2 minutes, the left side of the bowl appeared hotter than the right side, visible as a white-hot area on my thermal camera. While I measured the temperature at the centre of the dish at about 91°C, the left side was about 66°C and the right 64°C. After stirring, I rotated the bowl and put it back in for another minute. This time around, the rice came out looking more even, recording a safe 78°C after a stir.
Next up, I set this appliance my jacket potato challenge, microwaving a fridge-cold, oiled, salted and pricked 370g baking potato at full power for 6 minutes, turning it over halfway through. After letting it stand for another minute, the potato measured 98°C on the inside, but there was still a slight crunch to it when the skewer went in. I microwaved it for a further 2 minutes and allowed for an additional minute of standing time, achieving an inner temperature of 100°C. The skin of the potato wasn’t too wrinkly, and cutting into it felt pretty smooth, although there was still a slight crunch to one edge.
Curiously, there’s no combi programme for jacket potatoes, but there is a weight-based microwave-only setting (A16). While the manual recommends using it for 1kg of medium-sized potatoes, its cooking time of 12 minutes made me think it might also be suitable for a bigger baking potato. I opted for one just over 400g and turned it, as instructed by the programme, halfway through the cooking time. Its skin came out looking a little shrivelled, but it was hiding a wonderfully mushy interior that measured 100°C. Since this result was nearly mash-like in texture, I reckon about 10 minutes on full power would be the sweet spot.
I also used the Breaded Fish/Fish Sticks programme (A5) to cook some frozen fish fingers and fries on the crisp plate. For 600g of food, it took 18mins 16secs, requiring a flip/stir after 11 minutes. The fish sticks came out nicely crisped, and while the fries seemed a little pale, they had a nice bite to them.
Should you buy it?
If you want a combi microwave on a limited budget, this is a great choice.
If you want more from a combi appliance than microwave and grill functions, look elsewhere.
The Hotpoint MWH 26321 MB may have some bizarre auto programmes, producing slightly uneven results, but it’s great for cooking large potatoes and crisping up defrosted bread.
It has fewer programmes than the likes of the Sage Combi Wave 3 in 1 and the Panasonic NN-CS89LBBPQ, but it’s also more affordable. Compared with the Sharp YC-GC52FU-B, the crisper plate here is microwave-compatible, allowing for successful combi cooking.
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Used as our main cooker for the review period
We test according to features, which can include steaming vegetables, cooking chips, making a casserole and grilling meat. We use the same tests for the same features on each device.
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No, this model is a microwave and grill only.
Yes, it does: you can put in rectangular dishes, using the full bed of the microwave.