Phillips Essential XL Connected Air Fryer | £199.99 | Tester: Molly Pickering
Black 6.2L single basket Phillips air fryer with touch screen display and smartphone control
Phillips Essential XL Connected air fryer promises to delivery delicious food thats as crispy as deep frying, find out whether it delivers its promise...
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These days, we can control almost any appliance from our smartphone or device, you can now even control your air fryer (yes, really).
Enter Phillips Essential XL Connected air fryer – Phillips has teamed up with NutriU to launch an app that allows you to sync your air fryer with your device and control the timing and temperature. The app also features lots of air fryer recipes to get you started and can be voice controlled through Amazon’s Alexa.
Additionally, the brand promises its machine can deliver delicious food that is as crispy as deep frying with 90% less fat than traditional deep frying.
We’ve tested the new high-tech air fryer to see if it lives up to its promise.
By at Amazon’s best price (£199.99 *on sale for £149.99*)
- Dimensions: 40.3D x 30.7W x 31.5H CM
- Functions: Air Fry, Reheat, bake, smart control
- Temperature range: 80 – 200°C
- Capacity: 6.2L
- Where to buy: Amazon, Phillips
- Its large capacity basket can cook lots of the same foods at once
- Sleek design
- Quiet cooking fan
- Cooks food fast
- Automatically switches off once the timer is complete
- Lots of recipes on the app
- Good non-stick basket
- The touchscreen display is temperamental
- Have to have a smartphone to access recipes and smart control
- Limited instructions
- Costs almost £200
Phillips XL air fryer. Credit: Vegan Food & Living
How to set up the Phillip XL Connected Air Fryer
As this air fryer has one basket, it’s pretty simple to set up. That being said, the instructions are very limited and too simplified. The steps are in picture form, so if this was your first time setting up an air fryer you might struggle.
There are 7 preset functions available, but again, it would have been better if the instructions explained each of the functions are some of the picture symbols may be hard to understand. The preset cooking functions include frozen chips, homemade chips, baking, vegetables, and 3 other meat and fish options, but we obviously won’t be using those.
Additionally, the touchscreen display is temperamental, especially if you’ve got greasy hands from cooking. It took me a few attempts to select the right settings. This is beginning to be a theme with most touchscreen air fryers that we review.
The guide talks you through the cleaning process, which is pretty simple. The basket and drawer can be washed in a dishwasher or by hand, however, it recommends to not use a scrubbing sponge (I assume this is to avoid damaging the non-stick).
The air fryer comes with separate instructions on how to set up the smart control and access the recipes through the NutriU app.
These instructions were a little easier to follow, but do require a smartphone or device. Once the air fryer was connected, you can control the timing and temperature of the machine from your device and turn it on and off when needed. Pretty cool, huh?
Truthfully, I was a sceptic when first reading about the smart controls – does it really need to be controlled through my device? But I admit that I swallowed my words when I used the app for myself. The smart control meant that I could monitor the timings and temperature of the air fryer without needing to be in the same room. Meaning I could get on with my tasks without needing to hover around the appliance waiting for it to finish.
The NutriU app allows you to control your Phillips air fryer from your device. Credit: Vegan Food & Living
It wouldn’t be a proper air fryer review without cooking some chips. In addition to cooking crispy chips that are golden on the outside and fluffy in the middle, I wanted to test the Phillips air fryer’s capacity and see how it handles big portions. In recent reviews, I found that some air fryers are unable to cook large portions of chips evenly and have had to wait longer than the recommended time.
I chopped 3 medium-sized potatoes into chips and soaked them for 10 minutes in warm water before draining and patting them dry with a towel. Once dried, I coated them with a few sprays of olive oil and placed them in the basket. After a few attempts of trying to get the touchscreen display to work correctly, I used the homemade chips preset which set the machine on for 20 minutes at 200°C.
After 10 minutes, I checked the chips and was delighted to find that they had already started to go golden. I gave them a shake and resumed cooking until the timer went off. My chips were golden brown and crispy as if they had been deep-fried. There were a few that weren’t evenly golden, but they were still fluffy on the inside and edible.
The Phillips XL Connected cooked golden crispy chips without any bother. Credit: Vegan Food & Living
Next up, I cooked a portion of Tesco Plant Chef Meat Free Chunks (frozen). I didn’t bother coating these with any additional oil as they already contain oil.
Following the instructions on the Plant Chef packaging, I manually set the air fryer to 15 minutes at 180°C (recommended for oven cooking). In just under 10 minutes, the meat-free chunks were crispy and ready to eat. I was seriously impressed by the speed of the cooking, especially as I did not need to preheat the air fryer as I would if I was cooking these in a traditional oven, overall saving me time and electricity!
Phillips XL Connected cooked meat-free chunks faster than a traditional oven. Credit: Vegan Food & Living
Finally, I cooked a batch of crispy tofu. I’m a big fan of crispy tofu, however, when I’ve cooked it in other air fryers it sometimes sticks to the basket and can break the tofu up which can be annoying.
I used a pack of Cauldron original tofu (369g) to test again how the Phillips air fryer coped with large portions. I pressed the tofu for 10 minutes to drain the excess water before chopping it into bite-size chunks and coating it in chickpea flour to give them a crispy coating.
I sprayed the chunks with olive oil and cooked them for 20 minutes at 200°C. 10 minutes in, I checked the tofu chunks and they had already started to crisp up and turn slightly golden. I gave the basket a shake to see if there was any sticky and to my surprise, there wasn’t – winner!
The tofu pieces were ready before 20 minutes, all of the chunks had a crispy coated and the centre was still soft and chewy.
Crispy tofu cooks easily without sticking. Credit: Vegan Food & Living
Overall verdict of the Phillips XL Connected Air Fryer
Despite some issues with the touchscreen, I thought that the Phillips XL Connected was a good piece of kit.
The size of the basket is great for cooking for big families, but the air fryer itself isn’t ginormous so it doesn’t take up precious kitchen counter space if you’re limited.
It cooked food efficiently, and most importantly, fast! If I was using a traditional electric oven, I’d expect to be waiting a lot longer than I did with the Phillips air fryer, proving this machine can save you time and money.
It may be my favourite machine to cook chips in. Within 20 minutes, I had 3 portions of deliciously crispy chips without using litres of oil.
I was even a fan of the smart app despite thinking that it was a novelty. Whilst it is an investment with a price tag of £200, I think this an ideal kitchen appliance for bigger families who want to eat healthier.
How we test air fryers
We thoroughly test each air fryer in order to write an informed, useful review that you can trust.
To do this, we follow the same process for every air fryer that we review.
First we unpack the box, look at what you get with the air fryer, and then follow the instructions that come with each specific air fryer to set it up.
The important thing for any air fryer is how it cooks food though, so we test each one at least three times. Firstly to cook homemade chips, then to cook a mock meat, and thirdly to either cook a baked item, or to test the frying ability, depending on the capabilities.
We judge the air fryers on how well they cook the food, how crisp the finish is, how long food takes to cook, how easy the machine is to use, how easy is it to clean, and how many extra capabilities/functions it has.
Each air fryer is then given a score out of 5, and rated on what purpose it is best suited to.
Looking for a double-draw air fryer? Read our Salter EK4548 Dual Air Fryer review next
Feature artwork created by Vegan Food & Living