Is a washing machine really a gadget? Does it warrant a place on pocket-lint? Of course it does - when it’s the Hotpoint Ultima. Hotpoint has been synonymous with washing machines for more years than I can remember, and it’s a fierce market, considering there’s one in almost every home. You take it for granted, but could a humble washing machine offer more? The answer is yes, but you have to pay for it.
We got our hands on the Hotpoint Ultima in a delicious platinum colour, so it fits right into a modern cutting-edge kitchen. It comes in the standard white as well for a more classical look. The centrepiece of the Ultima is the LCD display. There are no dials or strange symbols. You simply press the buttons for the program you want, and the details are on the screen. The most common wash is the 40-degree cotton cycle - used for 90% of all domestic washing, but with the Ultima you’ll find yourself selecting the cycle you need because it is so simple.
Once you have selected the program, the display will tell you what will happen (pre-wash, rinse, spin etc), give you the spin speed (more on this later) and the piece de resistance - a countdown timer. No more wondering if it will be finished before your mother-in-law arrives. The spin is also important - 1600 is top notch and leaves your freshly washed clothes dryer than slower spinners; many competitors are rated at 1200 or 1400 rpm.
Noise is also an issue with washing machines. Technology drives us forwards, and the Ultima is a blessing - it is almost silent. Of course the spin cycle makes some noise but there is no need to turn up the TV or take the phone into another room as Hotpoint’s Super Silent induction motor really does keep the noise to a minimum. No longer will it be the bain of dinner parties - on the contrary, your guests will watch the machine go round in silent awe.
So what else really makes it stand out? Features, features, features - energy efficient hot and cold fill, quick wash in 30 minutes, the ability to customise each program and save your favourite settings, a single button press to set the level of dirt (ideal for muddy football kit), the list goes on and on. Don’t forget the large door for easy opening, the child lock or the timer that allows you to set the wash to start at any point in the following 24 hours. But is there even more?
The answer is simply yes. This machine is rated by the Woolmark people for delicate handwash items, and it will even tackle your silks and delicate intimate items. Remember to use the appropriate detergent though, and oh yes, the machine has a detergent save feature to avoid wastage. Could you ask for anything more?
We found this machine exciting, not just because of its devastating efficiency and ease of use, but because it will fit so well into a bachelors’ pad. If you have a small city flat, this will make your washing a breeze - quiet, unobtrusive and outstandingly good-looking, it will empower the man or woman about the house.
The bad points? At around £400, you certainly can get cheaper, but there are lesser machines for more money on the market.