The Cuisenart mini-prep food processor seemed like a great idea when I bought it for $50. I had been hesitant to buy a full sized Cuisenart because I am usually cooking for myself. I did want to reduce the amount of preparation time and dishes I would have to do ... but didn't want to spend $150 - $200 on a full sized Cuisenart. I was very dissapointed by this food processor.
Recommend this product?
The size is more mini than I had expected and found even making a small dinner was tough because it doesn't have much storage at all. It may be 3 cup ... but technically, it seemed like much less because the food processor will need empty space in order to work.
One of the biggest problems I had with this is how there isn't any 'touch' to it. Meaning that it is very hard to use when you want some loose chopping, etc. I was making salsa and needed a little bit of chopping to chop the tomatos and scallions and leafy vegetables. I used the lowest setting and after a second or two of pressing the button, the motor was so powerful it made everything into basically a cream. There were no chunks or pieces ... it was more like a paste.
The motor is very powerful and this will grind coffee if you want ... the problem is that there are only a few settings and even the lowest setting is too powerful to make things like salsa that require a texture with pieces. Guacamole will come out very creamy but it is very difficult to clear this unit because of the crevices of the container and the way everything snaps together. I found that due to the awkward nature of the pieces, cleaning this was more difficult than cleaning the knives and cutting boards and everything you would use doing similar things by hand.
The feel of this machine is not as well made as a regular Cuisenart. This feels cheap and lightweight. I didn't get the feel that this was sturdy. I will say that the motor is extremely powerful ... to find a machine of this size that could grind coffee at the price is pretty good. However, without a range of settings (a true low to a true high) ... in my opinion, it makes this fairly useless unless you want everything with a soft texture to wind up with a consistancy of guacamole or paste.
This is a small unit and won't take up much counter space. The chord is kind of annoying ... maybe making a unit that charges would be more convenient. The buttons on the unit are easy to press and the operation is good, aside from the fact that it is hard to control the power and speeds. It is fairly noisy and if the cointainer isn't clicked in the right way, the unit won't turn on. It does take some getting used to when you put it together and click the container into the actual base unit. At first it seems like a puzzle, turning and clicking the pieces the right way. But after a while, you get used to this.
Overall, compared to the larger units, I wouldn't say this unit is the same quality as the other Cuisenarts. And the price is fairly low for a Cuisenart but this really doesn't perform like a Cuisenart. This is more like a Sharper Image product. At one time the Sharper Image name stood for innovative, expensive, well made products ... but then a national company bought the name and started mass producing products under that name. That seems the way Cuisenart has been ... now they make everything from coffee makers to kitchen knives and of course food processors. At one time the name Cuisenart was synonimous with quality ... based on this machine, I don't see that anymore.