Hoover is a brand that is better known for its vacuum cleaners, trademarking the Hoover name and meaning everyone else in the business of floor cleaning wonders call them something else. But it isn't just Hoovers that Hoover do.
In fact, it has been kicking around in the appliance market for over 100 years and earlier this year, the company announced the Hoover Wizard range of appliances, all of which are Wi-Fi enabled. At the London launch of the Hoover Wizard range, that will be available in August, the company said the idea is to bring the "smart kitchen from dream to reality".
Apparently, 20 per cent of consumers that Hoover surveyed would do more housework if their appliance was connected - would you? We explored the range in a little more depth to see what Wi-Fi brings to the appliance world and how it could make cooking and cleaning more fun.
The range consists of six appliances, which Hoover says it would be trying to sell as an entire range rather than individual products. So this isn't about when your oven breaks and you need a new one to replace it. The Hoover Wizard range is about selling you an entire connected kitchen and - ignoring the cost of replacing all the major domestic appliances in your house - we like the idea.
There are both freestanding and built-in options available for most of the appliances in the range consisting of washing machines, dishwashers, a hood, oven, fridge freezer and a hob, all of which are controlled via one app. The one app approach is what makes this appliance range a little more exciting than average.
The Wizard app allows you to control your appliances remotely, but you don't have to open an oven app to start cooking your cottage pie and then open another app to start your washing machine load - it's just about navigating around the singular app into the various categories. From what we saw it was lovely and simple to use, which is great for those who aren't so tech savvy.
There are several features within each appliance category and the app also has an energy wizard that will show you the energy consumption of your appliances, as well as instant updates to tell you if you need rinse aid or if the freezer door hasn't been shut for example. Granted, if you have left for a run and you get the alert that the fridge door is open, it doesn't really help you unless you are prepared to go back, but it is useful to know nonetheless.
Within the individual sections of the app you'll be able to do various things such as select one of your favorite wash programmes, or pre-heat your oven - the latter of which we suspect will come in very useful. It will recommend wash programmes based on how dirty your dishes or clothes are, hoping to save you a few bob and the oven also has a Dynamic Chef feature that allows you to create custom cooking programmes, as well as up to five sequenced cooking functions. We saw a demo mode of this and we loved it. It means cooking a roast becomes much easier as you can set up a programme for your pork loin that consists of 25 minutes at 220-degrees an hour at 180-degrees and 15 minutes at 220-degrees to get your crackling crackly.
As far as the products themselves go, they look good and you wouldn't be ashamed to have them in your kitchen. They offer a very streamlined look and if you opt for the built-in options, you don't even need to see them.
There are a few exciting updates coming to the range in the near future too, including voice activation, although Hoover didn't go into detail as to what this meant and whether it would be compatible with Apple HomeKit for example. But with a bit of luck - perhaps when you shout at the spinning washing machine to shut up - it might actually do it.
The appliances within the Hoover Wizard range include a 13kg washing machine that will allow you to wash colours and whites together on a 20-degree, 59-minute cycle, as well as a 16-place setting dishwasher and a 75-litre capacity oven. In human terms, the 13kg washing machine could wash around 65 shirts, while the dishwasher can hold up to 175 items.
The Hoover Wizard range will go on sale in August and although prices have yet to be announced, we were told at the London event that they will be "affordable" as the concept is about a family of products. First impressions? We wouldn't say no to this range in our kitchen and although you still have to load the washing machine and dishwasher, or put the meat in the oven, we like the concept and it's a great step forward for smarthome.