A little while ago we tested the Tefal Actifry to see whether you really could make perfect chips with just a spoonful of oil, and we were really impressed with the results. But now Tefal have launched a new product in their ActiFry range - the ActiFry Smart XL, and we were intrigued to see what new features this upgrade offered.
We'd seen adverts claiming that it requires only a spoonful of oil to make perfect chips. Really? We had to try it out. Of course, when you're trying to eat healthier, chips are probably one of the first things to be struck off the menu. So this healthier take on chips had us intrigued.
But the Tefal ActiFry isn't just for chips either, and can make curries, casseroles, stir-fries as well as desserts. Here's what we thought when we gave it a go...
What's new about the Tefal Actifry Smart XL?
Firstly, the new addition to the Actifry range lives up to its XL name, as it is much bigger. With 1.7kg of space, you can cook up a whole lot of food in this handy new device.
But be warned, the extra room for cooking means it is a bulky machine and will take up a lot of room in your kitchen. Made in shiny black it's not unsightly however, so could be left on your kitchen top without too much damage to your decor theme!
There are fancy new technical additions to the new Tefal Actifry Smart XL too, as it comes with a Bluetooth function that allows you to control the cooker from your smart phone or tablet through an app.
This means you can turn the cooker on to make everything from low fat chips to fish, stews and desserts without actually touching the device at all.
While we initially thought this would be a bit of a gimmicky addition that we wouldn't necessarily use that often, it does come in handy if you're cooking different parts to a meal - so you can turn your chips on from the sofa if you've already got everything prepped and your meal will be ready at the same time.
But if you're after a more classic approach to cooking you can just use the two manual buttons available on the machine too - a plus and minus toggle and an on/off button to manage your cooking sessions.
What's more, there are over 200 recipes that you can use in the app - everything from classic chips to roast chicken and stewed apples, so there is plenty of variety available when it comes to using the Tefal ActiFry Smart XL. All the instructions, pictures and recipes are available on the app that you can link up to the machine, and Tefal has promised there are more to come.
The machine itself features a fold down handle along with a removable non-stick pan and paddle, so it's simple enough to wash up after you've created your masterpiece. Plus the lid is see-through, so you can keep track of exactly what's going on in your pan.
How does the Tefal Actifry XL work?To keep things consistent we tested chips in our Actifry, just like we did with the previous edition. This time things were made a little bit more fancy with that Bluetooth technology and we could fit more in, which is never a bad thing when it comes to chips.
How to make Actify chips: Prepping the potatoes
Witha Tefal Actifry chip recipe you pretty much stick to how you would regularly make homemade chips. There's no need to par-boil the potatoes either, so you can skip that step right out if you usually do it. Simply chop your potatoes into medium sized sticks and pat dry. This bit can be slightly fiddly, as the drier your potatoes, the crispier the chips you'll get! We went all in here and dabbed each one with a tea towel until dry, and the results were worth the little extra time we think.
Cooking Actify chips
When it comes to cooking your chips you'll notice the difference between regular frying or roasting and using the Actifry. You'll need only a tablespoon of oil and you simply add that to the fryer, along with the oil before cooking. You can manually select the time at this point, or set up your recipe on the app. We actually thought the app was better than expected, as there's no chance of overcooking your chips.
The timing recommended was 28 minutes, which we think is pretty good for homemade fries.
Actifry chips: The results
Well, what did we think of the final product? As with our test of the classic Actifry we really did think the chips were great. Crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside and because you use fresh oil every time there wasn't a hint of staleness, which you can get from a deep fat frier.
Tefal Actifry Review Verdict: Smart XL EditionSo, what was our verdict on the new Actifry Smart XL? It's a fancy piece of equipment and while you still get those perfectly tasty chips, there are a whole other bunch of functions that make this machine a step up from the classic ActiFry, but at £299.99 it doesn't come cheap and you'll need to make some room on your work top.
Buy it: Tefal Actifry Smart XL, £234.99 from Amazon
Looking at buying the classic version? Here's what we thought of that...
Tefal Actifry Review: The ClassicThe ActiFry comes with a nifty little guidebook that's very simple to follow. After we peeled a kilo of potatoes, we put them in the ActiFry and used the spoon provided to measure out a spoonful of oil to drizzle over the top.
Using the timer, you select how long you want for them to cook - in this case 40 minutes, as recommended by the booklet - then we pressed "go". It was that easy. You don't need to select a temperature or anything else, it's just a case of sticking the food in and choosing a time.
The ActiFry sounds a bit like a muffled hairdryer and with that, we left the chips to cook...
It was 50 minutes later when we came back. How did they turn out? Well, we have to admit, we actually left our chips in the ActiFry slightly too long (we hold our hands up to that one) so they were a little brown round the edges - but they tasted fab! They came out a lot like oven chips, rather than deep-fried chips and were perfectly fluffy on the inside, which is what good chips are all about.
We were so surprised by how little oil was needed to make so many chips AND how much better they were than fried chips. Plus, we didn't have anywhere near as much guilt eating them - if anything, we went back for more, seeing as there's so little oil in cooking...
The ActiFry is super easy to clean too and the removable parts are dishwasher safe, which is a bonus. It is bulky though, so you'd need enough cupboard or worktop space to store it long term.
So our verdict is this; we loved it and we're intrigued to try more recipes in the ActiFry - but going on how easy it was to use and how well it cooked our chips, it's a very promising start.
At £99, it's not the cheapest piece of equiment, but it's worth it as it seems like it could really revolutionise the way you cook, especially if you're health conscious.
Thumbs up from us in the test kitchen!