Karen Wiggins on August 1, 2016 0 Comments Hands-On With Breville’s Mini Smart Oven Table of Contents Get to Know the Unit List of Features Customer Reviews What I Liked About It What I Didn’t Like About It Promotional Video Over the last couple of decades, countertop toaster ovens seem to have exploded in popularity. With continued innovation and sleeker designs, these countertop ovens have become one of the most popular appliances in kitchens all around the world. They are small, convenient and easy to use. Combining the quick countertop cooking of a microwave with the skills of a larger conventional oven, these smaller cookers are ideal for anyone with an active lifestyle. With this explosion of popularity, brands have started to include many smart features into their toaster ovens. One of the most reputable brands making toaster ovens is Breville, and they have an entire line of “mini smart ovens” that are capturing the attention of chefs, foodies and homeowners. I recently got the opportunity to test out the Breville BOV450XL mini smart oven, the most popular model in their toaster oven product line. Below is my full review, some thoughts about the pros and cons, and what you should expect if you are thinking of buying it. Find The Best Price: Meet the Breville BOV450XL: Branded as a mini smart oven, the Breville BOV450XL toaster oven features 1,800 Watts of power and eight different preset cooking settings, including toast, bagel, pizza, reheat, cookies, roast, broil, and bake. Preset cooking settings are pretty common with toaster ovens, but this specific Breville model does include a higher than average amount of functions for this type of appliance. Depending on how you plan on using your countertop oven, these preset cooking functions may prove really useful, as you no longer have to fiddle around attempting to find the best cooking setting for your specific dish. With these preset functions, the Breville BOV450XL allows you change the default settings to better suit your specific recipe or cooking needs. This is level of versatility is pretty unique for toaster ovens, especially those within this price range. Once tweaked to your preferences, these new settings will be stored until you change them again or unplug the machine. Directly underneath the cooking dial is an LCD display that displays the time and temperature, with easy-to-use up and down buttons built into the same panel. Acting much like a conventional wall oven, these give you a simple way to preheat or adjust the temperature inside the device to accommodate your specific recipe. The LCD display itself will change colors based on what the toaster is oven is doing. When the unit is on, the display lights up orange. When the light turns blue, the cooking cycle has been completed. Inside the oven, there are heating elements at the top and bottom. They are made of quartz, which is very sensitive to heat; this means that they are better at heating than their non-quartz counterparts. And thanks to the Element IQ technology, heat will be distributed properly and channeled to the necessary parts in line with any of the particular cooking functions. Underneath the LCD panel, you will find a button titled “A Bit More.” This is another feature that is unique to the Breville BOV450XL mini smart oven, and quite possibly one you will be using often. This allows you to add a bit more time to the cooking cycle, with out stopping the unit or completely resetting the cooking time. You will also find a “Snowflake” symbol. Upon pressing, this tells the oven that the meal you are preparing is frozen. It will then utilize Element IQ Technology to adjust the heating cycle to cook that meal in a more intelligent and efficient manner. The Breville toaster oven also comes with adjustable racks, allowing you to personalize your cooking experience based on the recipe or meal you are making. Size-wise, you can fit an 11″ pizza or four slices of bread in the oven. At its lower rack height, you can easily bake a small chicken or turkey. It also comes with a baking pan and a removable crumb tray for easy cleaning. List of Features: The Breville BOV450XL comes with a number of cool features that you will find useful. Here is a quick list: Element IQ technology. Four quartz elements and 1800 Watts of cooking power. An LCD display to constantly monitor time and temperature. The ‘a bit more’ function to easily add time to your cooking cycle. A removable crumb tray and nonstick interior to make cleaning as easy as possible. Sleek and durable stainless-steel exterior. A tempered glass door to watch your food cook. Overview of Customer Reviews The Breville BOV450XL smart oven is an incredibly popular item on Amazon, and after reading over what customers are saying about the device, it’s pretty easy to see why. It is currently ranked in the top five best toaster ovens on Amazon, and the feedback from those that bought it make a strong case as to why it is so popular. A common trend in the reviews were people discussing that they decided to invest in this Breville unit because they were tired of having to buy a new toaster just to replace the cheaper units that frequently broke down. And this oven gave them the ability to not only toast bread or bagels, but also cook or reheat meals for their family. The praise for being a more functional countertop appliance was easily the most common theme. Everything You Need to Know When Buying a Toaster Oven Others talked about the compact nature of the oven, how well it cooked foods and how easy it is to clean. The removable crumb tray seemed to be a big hit among customers, even those that were more critical of the device. At the time I write my own review for the Breville BOV450XL, the unit has over 1,235 reviews on Amazon with 87% of those customers giving it either 4 or 5 stars. That is definitely an impressive feat for any online product. Click here to read all reviews on Amazon. What I Liked About the Breville BOV450XL: It looks good on my countertop. This means a lot for anything that you will be looking at every day. And the first impression for this toaster oven is sleek and elegant. It is very quick to heat up, and does so in an even manner due to its design with heating elements located both above and below the racks. Very easy to use. This is definitely an intuitive cooker that doesn’t require a PHD to figure out how to work. It has a high number of preset cooking functions. While you may not use them all on a regular basis, as I know I won’t, it’s great to know I have the option to, as well as have the ability to tweak the default settings based on my recipes. The oven is small enough that it doesn’t take over my kitchen counters, yet still large enough to be useful for my growing family. Would be ideal for anyone living alone and looking for a convenient cooker. Most importantly, for me at least, it is very easy to clean. The removable crumb tray is a must-have feature for any toaster oven. But the nonstick interior will prove pretty useful, as well. Breville is a reputable and trusted name for home and kitchen appliances, with a very popular line of toaster ovens. This reputation is important, as you know they have sunk a lot of time into innovating the design, features and build of their products. What I Didn’t Like About the Breville BOV450XL: It doesn’t feature a fan for convection cooking. While this is reflected in the lower price, yet it would be an awesome addition for this specific toaster oven model. If this is an important feature for you, I would recommend checking out the Breville BOV800XL, which does include a convection fan, as well as a few other useful features. Even without a convection fan, the BOV450XL is somewhat on the pricey side compared to other models with similar features. That being said, it is a Breville toaster oven with Element IQ Technology, so you are getting a reputable brand with innovative features. Is this slightly higher price worth it? That’s up to you. The timer is a bit loud. While this does mean you won’t forget about having something in the oven, it may startle you a bit when the alert goes off. I reviewed the manual and was unable to find a way to adjust the volume. The rack doesn’t slide out. While this shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, not having that simple functionality is a little disappointing, especially considering that many other cheaper toaster ovens do have this feature. Promotional Video from Breville: Video Credit: Breville on Youtube The Final Verdict: Is This Really A Smart Oven? There is no doubt, in my mind at least, that this is a pretty good toaster oven. It does rank up pretty high as one of the best toaster ovens available, but that term is a bit ambiguous and should be looked at as such. It may be purchased by many, but that doesn’t mean it is the best one for you. Another ambiguous term is is the use of “smart oven” to describe the device. In the world of Internet of Things, the Breville BOV450XL lacks the intelligence you’ve come to expect from “smart” appliances. It does not work with wi-fi, there is no phone app, and you can’t tweet about what you’re cooking, all prerequisites to be considered a “smart” product. However, do you really need a toaster oven that can do any of that? Yeah… I didn’t think so. Sure, it has Element IQ, which indeed adds a layer of functional intelligence that other toaster ovens lack, and is quite useful for your everyday chef. But, is it enough to call it a “smart” appliance? I don’t think it does. As such, the term “smart oven” should be looked at as marketing lingo, nothing more. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is truly a great oven that will add quite a bit of convenience to your daily life. It’s powerful, has a wide variety of cooking settings, is easy to clean and doesn’t take up too much space on your countertops. It’s also nice to look at. While the Breville BOV450XL does lack a few basic functions, such as an auto slide-out rack, it’s clear that the company has put a lot of thought into the design of this unit. The stainless-steel exterior is sleek and modern, guaranteed to fit in nicely with kitchens of all decors. With the BOV450XL oven, you get the quality and innovation of a proven brand at a (mostly) affordable price. It isn’t perfect, but I think Breville has achieved what it intended to. It is easy to use, easy to clean, and, most importantly, cooks really well. If you are currently on the lookout for a toaster oven, this may just be the best one for you.