Breville BOV450XL

Breville BOV450XL Mini Smart Toaster Oven Review by Ellyn Hennessey

Breville BOV450XLReviewed by Ellyn Hennessey on.Rating: 4.5

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Breville BOV450XL The Breville BOV450XL might be misnamed. It’s not really Xtra Large. Unless, maybe, they were referring to the variety of its features and the excellence of its quality. There, it would be hard to argue against.

Basic Design & Features

Like its larger cousins, the BOV650XL and the BOV800XL, the Breville BOV450XL has a retro look that will appeal to many. It also, like those other models, has a range of up-to-the-minute features that surpass toaster ovens of the past.

The “XL” tag isn’t entirely accurate. The case measures a medium-sized 14″ W x 15.5″ D x 8.5″ H. The oven has an interior capacity of 13.4 quarts (0.45 cu ft). Modest, yes, but that’s large enough to fit four big bagel slices or an 11″ pizza.

If you’re a big fan of big casseroles you’ll have to seek out a larger unit. But for those who want to pop in a smaller dish and have it ready in a jiffy, this mid-sized model is ideal.

And, since that interior is nicely covered with a non-stick coating, it won’t be hard to clean up after you finish cooking. The rest of the construction is stainless steel, helping along that “easy clean” theme.

Oh, and there’s a removable crumb tray in the front for easy cleaning of that stuff, too. Some would prefer that the rack swing out automatically when the door is opened. Good point. For that, you have to get the BOV800XL model. Still, it’s a trivial effort to pull out; the parts fit well and the material is sturdy.

Your cooking effort will be faster and more uniform thanks to the four quartz heating elements the BOV450XL houses. They provide ample power – a full 1800 watts – to bake the most demanding dishes. Apart from serious heat their arrangement and controls offer a more precise style of cooking than normal. I’ll save detailing that, though, in the next section.

Element IQ

The BOV450XL offers big power in a modest size, true. But the real value lies in something Breville calls Element IQ. The phrase may be a bit of marketing-speak but it offers something real in this case: smarter cooking. No, it won’t make you a better chef, per se. But its behavior will allow you better “targeting”.

By that word I mean that the elements don’t just heat up and blast away; they come on to precise degrees inside.

The rotary dial that lets you select your preferred mode – Bake, Broil, Roast, Cookies, Pizza, Bagel, Toast, and Reheat – is more than just a temperature selector. It influences which heating element comes on and to what degree. The heating pattern is tailored to achieve the optimal effect for that particular food.

And you can still customize the settings by setting time and temperature however you like. The BOV450XL will even remember your selections from session to session. There’s no permanent memory; they’ll go away if you unplug the unit or have a power outage. But that’s a pretty minor oversight on Breville’s part, I’d say.

You can tailor your cooking a little more by selecting the rack position. There are three positions, designed for different foods. If you want to broil, for example, use the top position.

Controls

I’m thankful that the BOV450XL houses a twistable dial. The underlying components are still electronic. So it still provides precision, reliability, and durability. But I’m glad to see there are still a few functions that haven’t been entirely replaced by buttons – and flat, under-the-plastic- buttons at that. There’s no substitute for the sure feel of a dial.

There are plenty of useful buttons that offer good tactile feedback also, though. The large Start/Cancel button is one, but there’s also a Defrost.

The “A Bit More” button is a fine idea. It gives you a few minutes longer cooking time, and “a few” varies depending on the food being prepared – toast vs pizza, for example. Variations in ingredients, air pressure and humidity, and other factors always introduce a little uncertainty into cooking. Useful when you poke a little cake and discover it’s not quite done yet.

There’s also a fairly unusual button: an F/C selector for Fahrenheit or Celsius. You don’t have to be a scientist to appreciate that one. Find a recipe that lists the temperature in the European / scientific unit and the feature will save a lot of head scratching.

There’s a timer, of course, and an automatic shutoff so you can walk away from your dish and not worry. If you forget for too long, or don’t hear the timer beep, you won’t come back to a burned casserole.

Not hearing it is not likely, though. Some buyers complain about the loudness of the beep, and I’m one of them. My microwave oven has the same annoying sound – and no way to keep it from beeping. But that’s a pretty minor flaw in an otherwise superb toaster oven.

There is one flaw that’s a little more annoying. Unlike the BOV650XL, the BOV450XL has no second dial for setting the temperature. Instead, there is a pair of Up/Down buttons you press and hold until you see the cooking temperature desired appear in the LCD.

Still, those buttons are clearly marked with big black triangle symbols and they are raised. My old toaster oven had the barely-raised, under-the-plastic type and they were much harder to operate.

Accessories

The BOV450XL comes with a 10-inch by 10-inch enamel baking pan that is heavy enough to resist bending and twisting under high heat. It’s also pretty easy to clean up – most of the time. It’s not non-stick so you’ll want to use a little spray with some dishes.

There are a couple of optional accessories available, too. There’s an 11-inch non-stick pizza pan. And, there’s a 10-inch by 10-inch enamel broil rack.

Summary

The Breville BOV450XL is a bit small for my personal cooking style. But for those who want to save a few dollars to get Breville’s smallest toaster oven, it could be ideal. The overall quality is first rate and the Element IQ cooking technology puts it ahead of the pack.

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