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Customer Review

on January 14, 2010
The unit is super-solid. Very powerful motor... you can tell by the weight of the base and the sound of the motor during operation. Very quiet and very smooth. Spins more slowly and runs a lot quieter than I was expecting. It's tank-like, in a small form factor.

But it comes with several unfortunate drawbacks. First, you cannot use it with liquids AT ALL. Last night I tried making "Frozen Banana Fluff" and ended up with rice milk and cinnamon all over my counter and appliances (it required serious clean-up, as the milk and cinnamon were thrown over a wide area). I put in one frozen banana in chunks, 1/2 cup rice milk (well below the liquid "Max Fill" line), 1 tbsp flax meal, several dashes cinnamon, 1/4 tsp vanilla extract, and about 1/3 cup coconut milk. I was using the S-blade. The instant I turned it on milk and cinnamon sprayed out from the seam between the bowl and the cover.

I cleaned up everything, then carefully reassembled the unit to try again (I'm a mechanical engineer by trade, and can assure you the problem wasn't caused by improper assembly). I wrapped my hands around the seam, hit the pulse switch once, and the same thing happened again (this time my hands caught most of the liquid).

Here's the deal: When you turn it on, the liquid gets whirled around and forced up the side of the unit and comes shooting out the seam between the bowl and lid. Part of the problem is the diameter of the "skirt" on the lid that's supposed to help create a seal between the two (think of it as an insert that extends an inch down inside the perimeter of the bowl). It's undersized by about 3/16" compared to the diameter of the bowl (that's a lot). Another factor is the lid has two tiny nubs on the sealing surface to help ensure the lid stays fastened tight (plastic parts are often designed this way - it provides some tolerance to the design if the part warps slightly). The problem is that these nubs (about 1/16" tall) keep most of the lid's sealing surface from contacting the bowl. So if you combine the smaller lid diameter with the sealing surfaces that don't touch you've basically got a completely open path for the liquid to escape. And does it ever!

Another drawback to this unit is amount of scraping you have to do to get solid food evenly chopped. I think this is because the blade RPM is so much slower than most processors. It doesn't throw the food around the way a higher RPM machine would do. So if you turn it on and leave it, the bottom part of the ingredients gets chopped/minced but not much of the top. To do it evenly you have to turn it off, open the unit, and scrape / mix the top ingredients into the ones at the bottom (the presence of the S-blade can make this a tricky operation). And each time you take off the lid you've got a mess to deal with upon reassembly because some of the food gets thrown into the sealing area similar to the problem with liquids mentioned above.

When a unit has design flaws like this it introduces another major inconvenience. To finish what I was making last night I had to transfer everything to my Vit-Mix blender. So now I've got two appliances to clean. That's the problem, you reach for this little processor wondering, "Am I going to have problems with it leaking? Can it chop the way I need it to chop without making a mess, and without prematurely pureeing the bottom part of the ingredients before I get everything scraped down and mixed together?" So you roll the dice, find out it can't do what it easily should be able to handle, and now you've doubled your clean-up time (even more if it created a big mess along the way).

Overall I give it an "A" for construction / durability / form factor, a "C-" for chopping and processing performance, and a "D" for unit design. 2-1/2 stars.
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