Review of the N95 and the Forerunner 305

I’ve had a Forerunner 305 for a while now. On the rare occasion I go running, I find it really useful. At first, I thought t would be a great geeky toy that I’d get bored of – I honestly expected it would find its way into a draw and never be used again after the first couple of uses.

However, it’s actually a great running accessory, and I advise this kinda hardware to all by the most casual of joggers. It’s far too easy to run too fast when you’re out running – you can set the forerunner up to beep at you when you go too fast or too slow – obviously you configure these speeds yourself. Recently I ran a half marathon, I did virtually no training for it, and without the forerunner on my wrist making sure I didn’t run too fast or too slow, I’m not sure I’d have finished!

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Brita / Breville Aqua Fountain Review

I’ve recently purchased a Breville Aqua Fountain and I’m not overly impressed with it, so I thought I would put a review here in the hope to put others off buying it.

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I had a desktop water cooler before this, but it recently broke. It was a good cooler, but was reasonably tacky just slightly cheaper then my new Breville Aqua Fountain. The new cooler set me back £55 from Robert Dias.
First impressions were good. It’s got blue LEDs which make the water chamber glow, and has a downward pointing LED highlighting the dispensing area. The unit needs cleaning before use, but that should be obvious to most. It takes the new larger Brita filters – apparently these are much better – however I can’t help but think that it’s an attempt at vendor lock in. The external chamber can hold up to 3 litres (I’ve not confirmed it, but it seems about right) and apparently the internal chamber holds 1 liter – it’s this 1 liter that is cooled.

The unit is quieter then my old cooler, and it has a nice switch on the front to turn it off. Having said all this, I have a few issues with this cooler.

Firstly, you can’t turn the blue LEDs off. They really do give the cooler a nice look, but I don’t actually want them on. They are bright, and I keep this on my lounge, so whilst watching a movie I have to turn it off. To demonstrate how bright the lighting is, click the image on the right. This was taken about midnight from outside my house, nothing is on except the water cooler in that room!

Secondly, the fan seems to be on a lot! My old cooler was very loud when it was activly cooling, but it didn’t do it very often. This cooler seems to spend a lot of time attempting to cool.

Lastly, the water doesn’t appear to be that cold! Various quotes on the internet suggest this unit should cool to between 5 and 10 degrees. I’m reasonably confident it’s not cooling that much, but I intend to get a thermometer to test it soon, and will update this page when I do.

As a final note – how hard would it be to have a variable hemostat on the thing, so I can choose how cool I want it? I don’t think Breville did any tests on Joe Public with this product – it had potential to be fantastic, but alas… it barely hits the ‘good’ rating

Update: Using a Precision Gold N28BJ Infrared Thermometer I measured the temperature of the water. I took a glass (of about medium size, I imagine about 250-300ml) and filled it with water. I then took the temperature of the surface of the water. I ensured that the blue light on the front of the cooler was on, which signifies that water is at temperature. The reading was 10 degrees, so within specification, but only just.

Update 2007-10-30: I contacted Brita about this, asking if they wanted to give me an official response to post – however they have not yet replied.

Update 2007-11-07 Brita have replied!

We are of course looking into the concerns expressed on your blog. As the Brita Breville Aqua Fountain is a joint venture between ourselves and our partners Breville, we are keen to consult with Breville fully before responding to yourself. We look forward to coming back to you within the next week.

Update 2007-12-04 One month later, and no reply.

Update 2007-12-15 Another reply!

Many thanks for your kind offer to respond to your and other opinions concerning the Breville Brita Aqua Fountain water chiller. As with all products, consumer feedback is vital to their continual evolution, improvement and ultimately customer satisfaction and as such we welcome your honest opinion.

Firstly, the vast majority of Aqua Fountain purchasers over the past 2 years have been very happy with the performance of our product. Most are happy with the cooling performance, the convenience and cost over bottled water that it offers. I understand that it is only natural that those who have had an unusual or unfortunate experience are more likely to post opinions than those who are content. For those that are disappointed with the performance of their Aqua Fountain, it is guaranteed for a period of 1 year from purchase date against mechanical and electrical defects.

I also read with interest that your Breville Brita Aqua Fountain has been quieter than your previous water chiller. Also, whilst I appreciate that the water temperature achieved (you mentioned that you measured it at 10 degrees, its correct specification) might not be cold enough for your own tastes, we feel sure that this is ideal for others. Delivering temperatures colder than 10 degrees would use much more energy and time to achieve and so it was felt that 10 degrees would offer water cold enough for most tastes yet with a chilling time/energy use that was acceptable also. We pride ourselves in offering good customer service and genuinely welcome customer feedback as it forms part of our product development programme.

Our customer services team are more than happy to advise on and resolve any issues that are expressed on your website. If you have any other queries, please feel free to come back to our customer care team.

In my opinion, it’s a good reply. My dealings with customer services on this issue were good. Other then the delay in reply from Breville, replies were pretty quick.