Whirlpool SMP 778 C/NE/IXL Review

A powerful and flexible induction hob

Verdict

Beautiful looking and easy to keep clean, the Whirlpool SMP 778 C/NE/IXL is a super-flexible induction hob packed with features.

Pros

  • Easy to use LCD screens
  • Flexible cooking
  • Lovely design
  • Quiet in use
  • iXelium coating protects glass

Cons

  • Controls could be more responsive
  • A little slow with large round pans

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £999.00
  • 8 induction rings
  • 18 heating levels
  • iXelium coating
  • Key-lock button
  • 77cm wide
  • LCD screens
  • “6th Sense” button (special functions)
  • Quick heat button
  • 7400 Watt
  • 2-year guarantee

What is the Whirlpool SMP 778 C/NE/IXL?

Flaunting great looks, dual LCD information screens and a feast of cooking options, the Whirlpool SMP 778 C/NE/IXL is an attractive 77cm wide, eight-burner induction hob coming in at just under £1000. Although at the higher end of the market, it’s visually striking and the 6th Sense button accesses special features including assisted cooking and Whirlpool’s Chef Control.

Equipped to handle a range of cooking tasks including melting, simmering, pan frying and grilling, the Whirlpool is a cooking champ. Heat-up timings at this price could have been slightly nippier, but with this number of features and cooking modes, this isn’t a deal breaker.

The Whirlpool is a premium hob that delivers premium style and plenty of options for the creative chef.

Related: Best induction hobs

Whirlpool SMP 778 C/NE/IXL – Design and features

There’s no doubt that the Whirlpool stands out from the crowd with its slim, anthracite-grey glass top and smoothly rounded corners. It’s sleek and sports an   iXelium coating for protection against scratches and corrosion, ensuring a long-lasting gleaming shine.

It has eight rectangular induction zones, each with 18 power levels plus a boost mode for speedier cooking and shorter heat-up times. These are all easy to access with the slider power control and twin touchscreen displays.

One of the stand-out special functions is the 6th Sense button, which can be found above the slider on the control panel. Simply press it to use Whirlpool’s Assisted Cooking, Chef Control and FlexiFull functions.

Assisted Cooking offers a raft of food presets with ideal heating conditions for each, while Chef Control divides the hob into four cooking zones with preset heating levels. This allows you to move pots from one area to another and continue cooking at different temperatures. FlexiFull links the whole hob top as one super-large cooking area with a single power control.

The LCD screen on the left side is the cooking zone display, showing eight zones, each selected via a single touch. You simply swipe across multiple zones to link them.

The LCD screen on the right manages the features and cooking functions, where you can choose your food category and cooking method. These include a wide range of choices such as pasta and rice, sauces, gravies, soups and fish. With 63 cooking combinations to choose from, you could cook every day for two months without seeing the same dish twice!

If that isn’t quite enough, the Whirlpool also offers timers for each cooking zone, automatic pan detectors and a child lock.

For all of you coffee lovers, there’s even a Moka function that allows stove-top coffee makers to be heated automatically. This is activated by selecting the Moka function on the menu; a beep will sound once your coffee is ready. Being huge coffee fans ourselves, we can’t espresso how much we liked this feature.

Whirlpool SMP 778 C NE IXL – What’s it like to use?

Given the Whirlpool’s iXelium coating and polished feel, we were slightly disappointed with the response from the touch controls and LCD screens. At this price, we’d expect this to be flawless. However, there were occasions where there were slight delays in the slider or touchscreens responding.

These delays weren’t significant enough to be a major hindrance whilst cooking, but it does take the shine off of the operating experience a little. That said, we were still able to use the control panel fairly easily and navigate through modes, even if we occasionally needed to press buttons twice.

We were amazed at the range of options packed into the LCD screens and enjoyed scrolling through different cooking options. We especially liked the FlexiFull function, which allows you to use the entire hob as a single cooking area. You can simply stick down a pot on any zone and the auto-detection will heat to the levels set for the whole area.

The Assisted Cooking works by you having to scroll through a load of foods – such as fish, vegetables, meat and so on – and then selecting the cooking method such as grilling, pan frying or boiling. For more complex dishes such as desserts, the feature will choose the heat level to match, such as slowly melting chocolate, heating custard and scrambling eggs. Some of these features are well beyond our level of chef-pertise, but we could see the convenience of options such as auto-simmering rice and pasta.

The 18 levels of power control afford much greater micro-control over the heating and simmering levels than the traditional nine level models. That makes it a whole lot easier to reach and maintain precise temperatures if your cooking demands it.

This level of detailed control combined with eight zones that can be linked in a variety of combinations makes the Whirlpool one of the most flexible and creative hobs available.

In addition, the Whirlpool’s large width of 77cm affords plenty of freedom whilst cooking, providing ample opportunity to experiment with different-sized pans and skillets at one time. Due to the oval shape of the burners, large square pans work great with the Whirlpool as this will pick up energy from two burners.

We also enjoyed trying out the pan-frying, grilling and much-loved Moka cooking methods, and felt these all worked well. Throughout use, the Whirlpool remained reasonably quiet, which was a nice touch and maintained the premium feel in use.

The iXelium coating is also handy, albeit not an overly obvious one when you look at the surface. We certainly had no issues cleaning up a mucky hob top, with the surface buffing up nicely after use.

Whirlpool SMP 778 C/NE/IXL – Performance

Using thermal imaging we discovered that all eight burners were the same size, so we weren’t surprised that heat-up timings slowed down as the pan size increased using only the one burner. Obviously, with large pans you can link two burners together, doubling your cooking power and producing heat over a wider area.

Using the boost mode, we placed our smallest 17cm pan containing 1 litre of water on the far-left burner. Our target of 90ºC was reached in a swift 4mins 15secs thanks to the decent 1.9kW of energy the burner put into the pan. The results were an even spread across the hob top, so it doesn’t really matter where you place your pan assuming you are using just a single zone.

We used our medium-sized 19cm round pan on the far-right burner, containing 1.5 litres of water. Drawing in 1.9kW again, the 90ºC target was reached in 5mis 30secs. Again, a good result – if not super-quick compared to models with fewer but larger burners. The same was true of our large 21cm pan. On a single zone it again received 1.9kW, which meant the water took a slothful 7mins 15secs to reach 90ºC.

We experimented with placing this pan across two zones, but it transpired to be a little too small to get the benefit of two adjacent burners simultaneously. Realistically, the Whirlpool is at its speediest with smaller saucepans on a single burner or very large pans and skillets that easily span two zones.

Why buy the Whirlpool SMP 778 C/NE/IXL?

The Whirlpool looks delightful and is bursting with fun functions and features for the creative chef. It delivers good heat to all eight burners and offers real flexibility in how they can be linked, including automatically engaging the entire hob surface with the FlexiFull feature.

We absolutely loved all the programmes and Chef Control options, which are ideal if you really want to experiment with your hob-top cooking. If all you do is boil an egg and heat frozen peas, it’s probably a bit much.

Related: Best induction hobs

The touch controls could have been slightly more responsive, but if you’re looking for a stand-out product that offers great looks, solid performance and more features than you may ever need, then the Whirlpool is a must have.

Verdict

Beautiful looking and easy to keep clean, the Whirlpool SMP 778 C/NE/IXL is a super-flexible induction hob packed with features.

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