Have manufacturers gone settings mad?
Products now have longer names, more complicated designs and settings that are very hard to understand. Our homes are stuffed with appliances that we’ve never used, gathering dust in the garage or sitting on our kitchen counter as decorative items.
Published 22 May 2013:
Here are just a few of the more baffling product functions that have been recently launched.
• Philips Ionic Deep Steam Iron offers smaller steam particles for tough creases. They are charging more than double the amount for this iron compared to their standard model.
• Breville Elements Premium 4-Slice Toaster has independent slot operation and illuminated controls – a total of six toasting settings including one for crumpets and bagels.
• Dyson Soft Dusting Brush has specially soft bristles and a different shaped head for delicate surfaces.
• Bosch kettles with four heat settings. These tell you what temperature to heat your water to. So for white tea 70 degrees, 80 for green tea, 90 for coffee and 100 for normal. Apparently these are the correct temperatures for these drinks. But how different can white tea really be to so-called normal tea? And the added features will cost you. This Bosch kettle is more than twice the price of the standard model.
• Hotpoint tumble dryers now come with a special cuddly toy setting. Why?! Apparently because your child’s favourite toy requires a cooler dry?
• Siemens condenser tumble dryer comes with an outdoor setting. So if you have a small kitchen or no utility room, is the idea that you could put this outside?
• The AEG protex condenser tumble dryer. Not only does it have a silent system but it also has an extra silent system – for when you want your tumble dryer to be more than silent.
• The Hotpoint vented tumble dryer with 16 levels of dry.
• Panasonic Combination Microwave’s with a ‘chaos defrost’ function.
Of course this could just be progress. Technology moves forward and some of these latest gadgets may be vital to businesses.
Technology journalist Daniel Bennett from Focus Magazine explains '…for the last 20 years or so, technology manufacturers have sort of been in an arms race with each other. So they add all these new features, because if you put these two new TVs for example side by side they end up looking really similar - unless you add things like, it can control your DVD player, your blu-ray player, your Freeview. The end result is that you get a TV with a remote control that looks like it will control a small nuclear power station.'
'With these kind of innovations, they seem bizarre now, but five years down the road they become quite standard. And so for example, mobile phones when they first developed SMS text messaging, it was simply for engineers in different countries to tell each other how their network was working. But then when the phone companies realised this was built in to phones they loved the idea and gave it to consumers. So these kinds of developments that are on the periphery, that seem to be bizarre the fist time you try them, actually quite often turn out to be something you can't live without.'
A SPOKESPERSON FOR AEG SAYS:
(RE: Extra silent tumble dryer)
AEG carried out extensive independent research on the subject of noise a few years back. So we know for sure that noise is an issue in the kitchen and that functions that allow quiet operation are important to many.
Regarding the feature Extra Silent. This was not meant as an adjective, but as a feature name – hence used with capital letters, with the Extra Silent feature being quieter than the Silent System Plus feature.
A SPOKESPERSON FOR PHILIPS SAYS:
(RE: Azur Ionic Steam Iron)
As the world’s number 1 supplier of irons worldwide, Philips believes that all its irons offer good value for money based on the extensive technology used. Philips manufactures about 40 steam irons, with prices ranging from £25 - £120. Some irons in the higher price range, such as the award winning Philips Azur GC4870, have many added benefits including ionic steam technology. The ionisation process means that the iron produces smaller steam particles than irons which don’t have this feature. This allows steam to reach deeper into tough creases, resulting in quicker and easier ironing of all fabrics.
A SPOKESPERSON FOR BOSCH SAYS:
(RE: Styline kettle with four heat settings)
The Bosch Styline Kettle is a premium product and offers a wealth of features for consumers who want or need them.
Much like different teas need to be steeped for an ideal length of time, different drinks should also be brewed at different temperatures for best results and that isn’t achievable with a standard kettle.
The Styline kettle also offers users the ability to boil as little as one cup of water to as much as 1.5 litres to ensure that just the amount of water needed is used this also reduces water and electricity usage. Additionally this kettle benefits from other features such as an anti slip ‘soft touch’ handle, cool touch housing and integrated cable storage.
For example; black teas, herbal infusions, instant soups, sauces, pot noodles and jelly require boiling water at 100°C whilst instant coffee granules and powders, cafetiere coffee and hot chocolate should be prepared at 90°C. Green teas steep best at 80°C and more delicate teas such as white tea should be prepared using 70°C water.
A SPOKESPERSON FOR SIEMENS SAYS:
(RE: Tumble dryer – outdoor setting)
The ‘Outdoor’ setting is intended for use on outdoor clothing such as items made from Gore tex, fabrics with membrane coating, water-repellent fabrics, functional clothing and fleece fabrics as these often need a more gentle heat.
Although a user can manually adjust the temperature on this model of dryer, we have included a number of preset programmes to improve the usability of the appliance.
A SPOKESPERSON FOR BREVILLE SAYS:
(RE: Toaster – crumpet and bagel setting)
The ‘Crumpet/Bagel’ function is specifically designed to toast crumpets and bagels by fully toasting one side, whilst gently heating the other by differential powering of the elements. This function was developed to give an improved toasting result that consumer testing has shown us is highly sought-after and ideal for Crumpets and Bagels.
Whilst JCS accepts and understands that not all consumers will need or want to use this function, JCS remains committed to providing features and benefits to cater to as many specific consumer tastes and requirements as possible.
A SPOKESPERSON FOR DYSON SAYS:
(RE: Soft dusting brush)
The Dyson soft dusting brush attaches to your Dyson upright or cylinder vacuum cleaner for vacuum-assisted dusting around the home. Soft dusting refers to the soft bristles on the tool. It gently removes dust and allergens from flat surfaces, delicate areas and upholstery – hygienically capturing it in the bin.
A SPOKESPERSON FOR HOTPOINT SAYS:
(RE: Vented Tumble Dryer – 16 levels of drying/cuddly toy setting)
We can confirm the dryer has 16 drying programmes rather than 16 drying levels.
It is normal for children’s soft toys to be chewed, sucked and eaten and can therefore be a breeding ground for dirt and germs so we recognize the need for them to be cleaned as often as necessary.
This is a delicate automatic drying cycle at a low temperature with a soft tumble action to restore the original look and condition of the fur and fabric of the toy
A SPOKESPERSON FOR PANASONIC SAYS:
(RE: Chaos defrost microwave)
The name Chaos defrost is used to denote automatic defrosting programmes that utilise a random sequence of microwave pulses to achieve a quick and even defrosting.
This function allows consumers to defrost frozen foods by weight, there is no need to enter the time as the programme will calculate automatically. This feature saves time and reduces the risk of food spoiling due to an extended defrosting time.