Sunday, 28 October 2012

Breville VKJ267 Still Hot Kettle Review

My family, or my parents at least, are not the types to buy the latest high-tech domestic gadgets. A lot of the utilities in the kitchen are a good 30 years old, as 'things were built to a better quality back then'. I always wondered whether this was a simple excuse for not splashing on the latest flash gadget, but now I'm not so sure.

When our 12-year old (cheap) kettle finally broke down last September, I expected my mother to return from the shops with something economical and functional (i.e. without the touch-screens and GPS systems that kettles are probably equipped with these days). Imagine my surprise, then, when she produced a brand-spanking-new Breville VKJ267 Still Hot Kettle in chrome and glossy black. It was not so much a flash gadget as a glow one: undoubtedly the coolest feature (or should I say hottest?) was the illumination.

Awkward little Breville - The silver version of our flash but troublesome kettle.

When the kettle switched on, a blue glow illuminated the fogged window, and, even better, as the kettle heated the LEDs changed colour until they shone red at boiling point. Furthermore, the red light remained on until the water temperature dipped below 80°C. How boiling is that? As soon as my brother and sister and their respective other-halves saw it they declared an immediate pledge to buy the Breville for their own homes.

So far so good. But now comes the bad bit. Now, just over 12 months later, we are on our third VKJ267 Still Hot Kettle. And it has just broken, only two weeks and three days after purchase. Every time the problem is the same: the lid keeps breaking off. If it happened just once one could dismiss it as a one-off. It is now clearly apparent, however, having happened thrice, that this is a design flaw that this model suffers from across the board.

The other problem seems to be, though perhaps this is normal with new kettles, that a small volume of water boiled (say 400-500ml) has the distinct metallic flavour of the kettle, even when mixed with strong tea and coffee. Just how hard can it be to make a working kettle? It was first invented yonks ago, so one would expect that it might have been perfected by now.

The question is, would the lid break so soon on the £5.39 Argos Value model? I bet not. For all its chrome, gloss, and glowing charisma, the Breville is like the new iPhone – it has all the wonderful gadgets, but is fundamentally flawed in the one function it was designed to do.

I think my parents were right. I'm off to look for a 15-year old kettle on eBay...

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