When Optimum told us they think they’ve cracked a new formula for a blender that’s quiet and lasts for decades, due to the use of an induction motor and a modern touchscreen control input, it's safe to say that we wanted to try it out immediately - and most importantly hear just how quietly that motor spins?
We wouldn't say that the £700 Optimum G2.3 - Platinum Series induction blender exudes the sophistication that the previously reviewed stainless steel bodied £599 Optimum G2.1 blender does. Nonetheless it’s a smart product that looks sharp, with a bit of a contemporary style thrown in, particularly when looked at from the side to view the tilted touch screen contrasting against the curvature of the plastic body. On the practicality side of things, the rubber grip under the blender secures it safely on all surfaces, even a polished wood finish, when frantic blending is taking place. The 5.48kgs base measuring 45.5cm x 38.3cm x 51.5cm will store snugly out of sight in a cupboard or can be kept on display tucked under a worktop cupboard; although without the jug in place in our case.
Making a familiar appearance is the tried, tested and rather excellent 2L jug (slightly different blade design on this one though) with a rugged chrome-steel bearing. However, this blender comes with a smaller sibling of a 1.5L jug that features a rotating lid - resembling a kindred offering from Blendtec. The G2.3 also doesn't permit any usage of controls until a sensor knows there’s a jug equipped - occasionally this can get in the way when using the tamper tool, as an unintentional mild knock, making the jug unstable for a second, can trigger the mechanism and make the base think it has been prematurely removed, resulting in halted operation.
Optimum have once again provided their marvellous LED touch display panel. Whilst a slightly different layout of options are here than on the Optimum G2.1, it still preserves the same functions and is just as easy to use and wipe down afterwards. The digital buttons and sliders recognise finger input instantly and its clarity isn't impaired from bright sunshine glaring in through windows. The main display, after activating the touch screen power button, shows algorithmic smoothie, sorbet, vegetable and fruit, soup and grind modes. Added to this is a manual speed slider, a pulse mode and a +20 second timer (up to 10 minutes total).
Optimum are standing firmly behind their new 1500W induction motor technology by guaranteeing it for a lifetime! The reasoning is that there are no brushes within the motor to wear away during years of usage. Our experience with other products featuring such motors, like the Ryobi ONE+ Brushless drill we've reviewed, is that brushless does equate to longevity. This style of motor is mechanically more efficient by offering increased torque, but also reduces noise output. Blenders are naturally noisy appliances, but the new Optimum G2.3 does not offend the ears. Normally if someone starts blending within close proximity without prior warning, you will react with some degree of shock! Not so with the Optimum G2.3 blender's purring motor. It’s a uniquely quiet appliance with a projected 75db noise output. It’s quite a breakthrough for Optimum and makes us scratch our heads to question why no one has attempted this before? The only downside is that induction motors get warm in such an enclosed environment and need appropriate cooling - so an independent fan can be heard both when in operation and afterwards too.
Veggie Burgers: Admittedly we’ve never made veggie burgers in a blender before so the only thing we had to compare the results with were previous ready-made frozen versions. Ours were created in the new Optimum rotating jug and were extremely easy to make. We have to praise the rotating jug design with its blunt single blade, because it draws a stuffed blender jug, full of the lighter ingredients seen within this recipe, down towards the blade for a consistent mix in less than a minute. All accomplished with the help of a hand twisting the lid that scrapes the inside of the jug. The burger texture was spot on - they didn't fall apart when frying and when eating no uncertain lumps of unblended produce could be detected. Furthermore, the burgers tasted delicious and were quicker to make than cooking from pre-made frozen creations.
Cranberry Cookies: The true test of delicacy was noted as the blender was set in manual mode speed setting 6 for roughly a minute which seemed most appropriate for creaming butter, sugar and an egg to obtain the base for this cookie mixture. We found ourselves using the tamper tool to assist and disturb the content of the jug for most of the blending cycle (not so with the Blendtec Designer 725 or with the Optimum G2.1), but the combined effort succeeded in creating a velvety mixture. The subsequent stage of this recipe required the remaining ingredients, including the star of the show; the cranberries. We didn't want the cranberries to become paste but instead to be preserved inside the mixture. Thankfully this is exactly what we got, the G2.3 blender blades didn't obliterate them when set at manual speed setting 2; simply mixing at this point.
Peanut Butter: Here, with such dense produce as roasted peanuts, we grew wise to the fact that on paper the Optimum G2.3 blender is 1000W less powerful than the G2.1 model. We would take an educated guess that this is because the induction motor must not get too warm and needs to be cooled appropriately when working hard. So the comparison in speed is one worth noting, because the Optimum G2.1 outruns this model by some way when it comes to devouring a hard produce like peanuts. It did devour the peanuts into a smooth peanut butter, but took a good 3-4 minutes longer than the G2.1 which could complete such a task in 1-2 minutes with little or no help from the tamper tool.
Pancakes: It still surprises us that some blenders have jug designs that restrict the effect of a vortex action occurring within the jar. The likes of pancake batter can leave flour stuck to the jug due to the lack of momentum where the batter whizzes into itself. The Optimum 2L jug is one of the finest designs we’ve used with batters, etc., and combines mixtures like this in seconds. Although, as we’ve discovered, if you take the speed down a little you can incorporate more air into the batter for puffier pancakes (if that’s your thing). The Optimum is definitely capable in this area as a replacement for a stand mixer.
Along with the hoped for longevity of the brushless technology from the induction motor used within the £700 Optimum G2.3 blender it also earns the accolade as the quietest blender we’ve ever reviewed. With that said, the weaker performance compared to the Optimum G2.1 blender, will mean more hands-on assistance from tampers and scrapers. Nevertheless, it does boast high enough performance to tackle the day to day blending tasks when thrown in either the 2L jug or the new rotating jug. We think the latter jug will be the most frequently reached for due to its simplicity and slightly quicker results. Finally, we mustn't neglect to mention that the Optimum touch screen based control input still shines as a fantastically straightforward and easy to use panel and is a blessing to clean too.