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This Philips Airfryer has me convinced that my oven is gaslighting me
Consistency, crispness and certainty worth savoring.
Even in its extra-large variation, the Philips Air Fryer can't match my oven in terms of what it can handle. However, if you're not looking to feed a family or a feast for your friends, that's probably fine. It trades size for smarts, but might not satisfy everyone.
The year is 2023, and I am utterly convinced that my convection oven is gaslighting me.
I mean this in a metaphorical way, as well as a literal one. As someone with a passion and penchant for baking, my best intentions often seem to fall short of reality for reasons I can't quite explain other than to point at my oven and ponder.
It's happened often enough that I longer trust the temperature dials perched on the outside of the appliance. I'm certain they're lying to me, and I'm starting to think that an air fryer like the Philips Essential Connected Digital Airfryer XL might be able to prove it.
How much does Philips Essential Connected Digital Airfryer XL cost in Australia?
Aussies looking to cook up a storm with a connected air fryer can expect to find the Philips Essential Connected Digital Airfryer XL for a price of approximately $399.
Compared to some of the other options, this makes it slightly more expensive than the average air fryer of this size in 2023. The build quality and features here might be slightly more refined and expansive, but you're clearly paying a little more for it.
Still, if you know where to look, you can save a buck or two. Check out the table below for a round-up of Australian pricing for the Philips Essential Connected Digital Airfryer XL.
Philips Essential Connected Digital Airfryer XL - Setup and features
I added a lot of different appliances to my kitchen over the course of the pandemic, but part of the reason I've been so reluctant to rev up on the idea of an air fryer over a traditional oven is that the limited number of settings you have to tinker with on the latter can feel more of a pro than a con.
The strength of all ovens is that they are simple to use and universal in their applications. When you read over a recipe, you're rarely left wondering whether your oven will have the ability to replicate it. The same can't quite be said of air fryers, which come in all shapes and sizes. Rational or not, the Philips Essential Connected Digital Airfryer XL veers towards validation of those fears at first glance.
Similar to something like a slow cooker, this side of the air fryer is adorned with a motley of increasingly specific buttons. Since these controls are touch-based in nature, they're a little less tactile than I would have liked. That said, they are comprehensive. There are dedicated shortcuts for cooking pies, steaks, chicken and everything in between. It's a little hard to know where to start and more than a bit overwhelming at times if you've not used an appliance like this before.
Thankfully, there's an app for that. You don't have to use the Philips NutriU app every time you want to fry something up, but the case made by the features here is strong enough that you might want to anyway.
Beyond setup, the app allows you to remotely control and check in on your air fryer while it's at work. There's also a relatively rich library of built-in recipes. More than just a read-only resource, these are integrated such that you can directly beam segments of each step directly to your Philips Airfryer as needed. This isn't a game-changer, but it can save you a little bit of time and give you fresh ideas on new ways to use your air fryer.
Simplicity and ease of use really are the name of the game here. While the library of recipes offers up diversity and depth, the degree of control you have over the Philips Essential Connected Digital Airfryer is sometimes painfully limited.
You dial in a temperature, you set a timer and you let the routine run its course. There's a 'keep warm' function but frustratingly little room for variation. For instance, you can't program recipes that require temperature changes in the middle of it. It's the kind of smart kitchen appliance I often found myself wishing was just that little bit smarter.
The other big constraint that's worth discussing is the size involved. Despite the name, the Philips Essential Connected Digital Airfryer XL takes up a lot of space but rarely feels like it gives you all that much to work with.
While the hardware here boasts a capacity of 1.2kg, the reality of how you tend to use an air fryer does mean that you're rarely going to use up that much space within it. You might technically be able to cram a smaller roast chicken inside this thing, but you're not likely to for various reasons.
When it comes to baked goods or things that you tend to prepare en-masse like dumplings, the downsides of the compact form factor found with the Philips Connected Digital Airfryer XL are similarly predictable. An air fryer like this one might be able to work fast, but it can only work with so much at a time. This is one area where my oven still has a clear and tangible advantage.
The obvious solution to such anxieties is to look for something even bigger. However, doing so runs against the whole point of this particular appliance. Air fryers aren't so much a replacement for your oven as they are a downsizing of it.
That niche has plenty of strengths, but it's not without its shortcomings. All told, the Philips Essential Connected Digital Airfryer XL does a decent job of showing off both sides of this coin.
Philips Essential Connected Digital Airfryer XL - Performance and maintenance
Fortunately, these physical constraints and practical considerations felt significantly less irksome when contrasted against the results that the Philips Connected Digital Airfryer XL delivered.
So long as whatever I was looking to cook could fit within the confines of the tray and didn't require a temperature greater than 200 degrees, the hardware consistently delivered what it promised to do. The Philips Connected Digital Airfryer XL doesn't work wonders, but it does work fast. It's rarely all that loud in action and proved to be a lot more reliable than my oven ever was. Even if I sometimes wished I could turn the heat up past the limit mentioned above, I never found myself doubting that the temperature on the display matched reality.
Whenever the air fryer had finished working its magic, I'd simply grab the handle, apply a little bit of pressure, and the removable part of the unit would neatly detach from the base. The tighter dimensions of the air fryer's cargo bay meant that removing larger things from inside it was sometimes a hassle, but I wouldn't say it was that much more of a hurdle than handling a larger tray coming out of an oven would be.
That being said, I did encounter a few software hiccups. More than once, the timer on the app and the timer on the air fryer itself seemed to fall out of sync. While this never led to outright disaster, it did cause me some anxiety and it's not hard to imagine how it could cause problems. That said, given the choice I'd much rather tangle with this issue than the one that my oven presents. I can always use my phone as a fall-back to keep things on track, but there's nothing I can do about the phantom inferno trapped inside my oven.
I also encountered a few issues wherever baking paper was involved. While it never caught fire, it did tend to toast a lot faster than any food it happened to be presenting. The interior of the Philips Connected Digital Airfryer XL does come with a non-stick coating. Regardless, if you're looking to crack down on the amount of potential clean-up your options are limited.
Thankfully, there's not much to keep track of here as far as maintenance goes. The part of the Philips Connected Digital Airfryer XL that needs to be regularly cleaned is dishwasher safe, so you can simply wipe it down with soap and water as needed. You do have to wait for it to cool down between using it and cleaning it, but the same can be said of any baking tray.
Philips Air Fryer vs Kmart Air Fryer
If you're looking for a cheaper alternative to the Philips Essential Connected Air Fryer, you might end up looking at the 3.2L one available through Kmart. Given the similarities between the two, it's only natural.
While the latter does offer a smaller capacity than Philips' air-fryer, the difference in price between the two is pretty steep. Since we haven't had the chance to test it properly, we can't speak specifically to how the performance varies between the two models.
That said, it's probably safe to say that you shouldn't expect anything as smart or rich as the app experience offered by Philips' air fryer when it comes to its budget-friendly competitor. If you're looking to dip your toes into the world of air frying, Kmart might be a more affordable option but we're not convinced that it's not necessarily going to give you the best possible place to start in terms of giving you ideas about how you can use it to cook smarter rather than harder.
Is Philips Air Fryer worth it?
In the days before my culinary talents were undermined by the inconsistencies of a certain everyday kitchen appliance, I made fun of the fervour that animated acolytes of the air fryer phenomenon.
I laughed at them. Why would I spend money and sacrifice valuable bench space on an appliance that mostly acts as a substitute for something that most homes just include nowadays as a given? What could an air fryer offer me that an oven cannot?
The answer, it turns out, is a certainty. An air fryer like this one can't replace my oven in every way I'd like, but the avenues it can accommodate are ones that it occupies with cool confidence.
This Philips Airfryer won't give you everything you want, but what it does give you is worth savouring.
How does Philips Essential Connected Digital Airfryer XL compare?
Philips Essential Connected Digital Airfryer XL FAQ
While it's hard to put a number on how many things you can cook with air fryer like the Philips Essential Connected Digital Airfryer XL, the unit does come with seven preset recipes built into the LED control panel, with more available via the NutriU app. Some common things that can be cooked in air fryer include:
- Frozen snacks
- Baked goods
- French fries
- Grilled veggies
Cleaning the Philips Essential Connected Digital Airfryer XL is as easy as removing the frying bay and wiping it down with soap and water. It's also dishwasher-safe.
The Philips Essential Connected Digital Airfryer XL has a capacity of approximately 1.2KG or 6.2L.