When it came to giving it a go, after unpacking the main thing I noticed is that it's one big bastard. Weighing around 1.5kg, it took up a hell of a lot of kitchen counter space.
It's biggest and most advertised claim is that it can cook 1.5kg of chips with just one spoonful of oil so this was the first to be tested. Potatoes peeled and chipped, in they went and 40 minutes later, we had chips. They weren't like ordinary chips though; they had a slightly tough skin and not much of that crisp outer shell that you'd get if you deep fried. A good enough result, but inevitably the deep fried variety are superior. But then that's not such a surprise.
Next to be tested was cooking some meat. Chicken drumsticks and thighs had been marinating in a yoghurt and spice mixture, ready to be cooked and eaten with an onion salad and a bowlful of dhal. In they went, no oil needed and half an hour later, they were done. When they came out they were cooked nicely, succulent throughout and the dried-out nature of the cooking method made the skin crispy and not at all greasy; a rather good result. The amount of fat left behind showed the health benefits of the ActiFry.
All in all, you can see the obvious draw of the ActiFry. For people keeping watch of their fat consumption I'm sure it's invaluable as you rarely have to use more than 30mls of cooking oil for meals to serve 4. For me, the drawbacks though outweigh the benefits; as I mentioned before it's big and takes up a lot of counter space so preparing anything else in concurrence with whatever was cooking inside it was a problem. My kitchen is open plan to my living room and the noise the ActiFry made, while not deafening still meant that you had to crank the TV right up. What's more, I had to do a lot of scrubbing to get that bowl and paddle clean after cooking the chicken - oh for a dishwasher! Perhaps if you have a nice big kitchen, this is the product for you.
The family size Tefal ActiFry costs around £170 and you can buy it here. I was sent one to review.