Review: Haier 20-litre Convection Microwave Oven
Microwaves are lifesavers, if you are a family, and especially if you’re living alone. Gone are the days when you’d only use your microwave to reheat – a good microwave today should help you cook as well, and this is where the Haier HIL2080EGC microwave shines.
The Haier HIL2080EGC is a convection microwave that is good enough for a family of four, and excellent if you are living alone or with a flat mate. The 20-litre model comes with 5 power modes, a very efficient convection performance and Auto-cook menus that are geared towards the Indian kitchen. This is a counter-top microwave, so if you are using it in a modular kitchen, please know that this will not go inside a cabinet. That should not be an issue though, because in terms of looks, it fits beautifully in any kitchen.
Usability is also great for this one – the menus are easy to use and the buttons are placed conveniently on the side of the door.
Read on to find out more about the Haier HIL2080EGC and check if this is right for you.
It is difficult to innovate with the design of a microwave. Customers are used to a rectangular, boxy design, and that is what you get. Yet, the design on this Haier has been emphasised to sport a clean, uncluttered appearance.
The Haier comes in two looks – one with a silver mirror look, which we love, and another with a black door, which is also visually appealing. The control panel subtly fits in with the design, adding to the clean overall look of the microwave. The handle is conveniently placed on the side of the door, and unlike a button-press door, works better to open and close.
The bulb on the interior is bright enough to let you check the doneness of food if you are cooking. The turntable is easy to remove when you clean the interiors.
Two distance limiters at the back tell you how far from the wall your microwave needs to be, and this is a wonderful feature for those who can never judge if the distance from wall is correct and end up with a super hot microwave after every use.
The stainless steel interior is easy to clean, and the microwave has a quartz grill element for even browning. The auto cook menus are printed on the inside panel so it is easy to choose your menu before cooking.
We tested the Haier HIL2080EGC across multiple modes to see how it performs and it did very well on all our tests.
Reheating of food was easy with the Instant Start button. The default time for reheating is 1 minute, but you can increase this if you press the Instant Start Button a few more times. Every press of the button increases reheating time by 15 seconds.
We heated food straight out of the fridge, and the 1 minute time was adequate. If you want your food hotter, or if the centre of the container still has cold food, increase heating time to about 1:30 and that would be enough.
We tried the Defrost function next. There are 3 Defrost modes – meat (Ad-1), poultry (Ad-2) and seafood (Ad-3). We tried the poultry mode with about 500 gm of frozen chicken. Halfway during the time, 3 beeps sounded to remind us that we had to turn the food over for even defrosting. This was a very handy feature for people who tend to get busy elsewhere once the food is in for defrosting. Unless you turn the food over, the top gets slightly cooked and the bottom still remains hard while the time counts down to 0.
As with any good microwave with defrosting function, the Haier defrosted the chicken from inside and recommended a standing time of 15-30 minutes for evenness. However, the defrosting was not as good as we had expected at the default time, and we had to manually defrost the chicken again.
There are three power modes for the Conv. Combi/Grill.Combi function – G for only grilling if you are using thin slices of meat, G1 for alternating grill and cooking modes for thicker food with even browning and G2 for higher heat in the G1 mode.
We grilled a chicken breast for about 4 minutes in the G1 mode. At the end of the cooking time, the chicken breast was nicely grilled with even browning at the edges.
Convection required preheating and it was set to a default 15 minutes. The cake we baked was moist and completely cooked through. We inserted a knife at multiple points on the cake and it came out clean. The top seemed a little too browned, but it did not alter the taste.
C2 is for combining convection and microwave cooking. We cooked a chicken breast at this setting and it was still juicy at the end of the cooking time.
C3 is for getting results similar to C2 but there is more heat circulated in the oven for crisping the food as well as cooking it. We used it to bake a 15-mm pizza for about 35 minutes, and the result was very satisfying.
The Haier is geared towards an Indian kitchen with as many as 40 Auto Cook menus for Indian food.
The Popcorn setting for example, is a waste in most microwaves, but on this one, it performed well with very few unpopped kernels. For the other recipes too, we simply had to prepare the food with desired ingredients and place it in the microwave with the desired Auto Cook menu. We tried making a tomato soup (A5), an Upma (A6) and a chicken curry (A7) with the auto-cook menus and they were all done in a jiffy. The kid’s menu at A11 was also very good and our Moong Dal ki Khichdi was perfect for the little ones at home.
Of course, you can’t expect the food to be as tasty or as nicely textured as done on gastop cooking, but the Auto Cook on this microwave worked well enough.
We tried out the Multi-sequence mode on the microwave for a Tandoori Fish dish. It required convection/combi cooking at the beginning and grilling in the end. It required microwave cooking for about 2 minutes, followed by a 3-min grill. Pressing the Microwave button and setting the time followed by choosing the grill mode and setting the time was all it took to input our choices in the microwave menu. The Haier auto-shifted to grill mode at the end of microwave cooking to finish the cooking process.
The Haier HIL2080EGC’s owner manual comes with a list of easy to cook recipes that you can try in the microwave. We tried some of these as well as other recipes we found online, and everything turned out perfectly without any dryness or uneven cooking.
There are 5 power modes in the microwave – 100P, 80P, 60P, 40P, 20P. Of these, the first two are for cooking, 60P for steaming, 40P for defrosting and 20P is used for the Keep Warm function where the food is kept warm in the microwave. Additionally, the microwave uses 1000W for convection, 800W for grill and 700W for microwave cooking.
The Haier microwave emits a sharp pitched series of beeps at the end of cooking time. This is to remind you to take the food out of the microwave. If you miss the first set of beeps, the microwave continues to emit beeps after every 3 minutes. The beeps are loud enough to be heard outside the kitchen so if you have left the kitchen, you will probably still hear it when the cooking is done.
The Child Lock function is very useful if you have children who may press the buttons or rotate the dial when the microwave is in use. Pressing child lock renders all buttons and dials inoperable on the microwave until the feature is turned off.
Ease of Use
Once you learn how to use the microwave’s different features, it should be easy to operate even by the elderly. The Auto Cook menus are extremely convenient for those who don’t want to spend much time cooking, or have no prior experience in cooking. The buttons are clean with clearly written labels so they are easy to see. Since these are physical buttons rather than touch-sensitive tabs, there is no ambiguity and anyone really can operate the microwave.
The Haier HIL2080EGC left us pretty impressed. It is a well-rounded microwave, and excels in convection cooking, and this is one unit that you can actually use for purposes other than reheating your food.
The convection setting, oil free menu and appealing looks on the Haier would make it a great utility addition to your kitchen. Price-wise, it is competitive, and we’d say, it makes excellent value for money with what it offers.
Who is it for:
Small families/bachelors who want quick microwave cooking, home bakers
1 year on product and 3 years on Magnetron
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Vijay Sales (Delhi): N/A
|Capacity (litres):||20 Liter|
|Net Width x Height x Depth (cm):||462x367x261|
|Gross Width x Height x Depth (cm):||510x394x304|
|Net Weight / Gross Weight (kg):||11.7/12.5|
|Nominal Power microwave:||700w|
|Nominal Power grill:||800w|
|Nominal Power convection:||1000W|
|Microwave Power levels:||5|
|Grill Power levels:||2|