I remember a few years ago going hands-on with the Philips XXL Air Fryer and instantly warming up to the trend. It was during lockdown, when people really started to look at things like airfryers not only as healthier and faster ways to cook, but ways to distract themselves.
The Philips 7000 Series Combi XXXL Air Fryer is, obviously, bigger, more expensive, and undoubtedly better. Depending on why you need it, of course.
Advanced NutriU connectivity represents a considerable boost in efficiency and ease-of-use, the capacity is massive, and there are up to 22 different cooking functions like grill, roast, bake, braise, slow-cook, toast, dehydrate and defrost. Basically, Philips have set out to create a one-stop-shop air fryer that gives you pretty much everything you need for a punchy price tag.
Plus, there’s an integrated thermometer now to help prevent you overshooting the mark. Not that it’s common for air fryers to overcook anyway; I’ve always found the air fryers I’ve tested to produce fantastic results – especially with crispy-skinned salmon.
The biggest advances over previous air fryers from Philips is that the Combi cooks faster, uses less energy, and is more adept at using its smart features to ensure perfect results.
From my testing, that’s more or less true.
I’ve played around with several air fryers over the past years and while I’ve never been largely disappointed by any of them (except the budget ones – not worth it), the Combi is hands down one of the best I’ve used thus far and proof that this category can still be refined and improved.
Design has been refined, slightly. But it still makes a big difference. The top-of-the-range model now looks cleaner and less rounded, with straight edges for a less of a bucket-esque aesthetic. And it makes a difference. My kitchen isn’t as big as I’d like, and while I’m not exactly begging for space, I could see those with even more limited space appreciating the fact that this could feat neatly in spaces without looking awkward.
Aside from that, it’s a fairly big, black and slick looking machine with a brighter screen and a large silver dial that moves seamlessly. Setting up each cook is an absolute breeze and I’ve found that the tactility certainly helps with the appeal.
The biggest refinement for a design perspective is the bucket. I’m not quite sure what Philips has done to distinguish it; it looks pretty much like any other airfryer bucket. But I’ve found the surface is easier to work with, and much easier to clean.
The features make all the difference. Philips has thrown everything they could at this air fryer in order to justify the higher price tag, and from using it, it seems like what we’ve got here is much more than just marketing fluff.
A swathe of functions goes further in automating the process so really all I needed to do each time I cooked – which was mostly salmon and chips – was adjust the dial and set things right via the connected app. The device simply adjusting cooking time, air speed and temperature depending on what I was cooking. I have used this about 15 times since Christmas and the results have been consistent without any concern that I’ve over- and under- shot the mark.
The appeal of an airfryer, like all ovens, is that the outside is crispy and the inside is tender. I’ve always had differing results using a conventional oven, so the fact that an airfryer has become more reliable for me is a saviour. Not only because it’s healthier – I don’t feel like I need to write about the health benefits of an airfryer anymore – but because it does what all good tech is supposed to do: save me time.
I go through phases where sometimes I have time to cook, but most time I rush through things. I’m not the most careful person in the world when it comes to repetitive tasks, so having a device to basically automate it for me and take out a major source of stress is, quite frankly, worth much more than the price tag.
Like any good coffee machine would save you money in the long run, and an airfryer will start turning time saved into dollars.
The other major part of the performance is just how much effort Philips has put into the NurtiU app. This is clean, easy-to-use and modern with a whole list of easy recipes that basically boil down to chop, place in basket, and turn knob. Things couldn’t be any more simplified, and it’s nice to have an app that feels like something you’d want to download in 2024.
Value & Verdict
I do believe Philips have knocked it out of the park with the Combi. Some airfryers, especially high-end ones, are held back by their design. In order to up the capacity, it seems most companies are content with putting out big, boulbous beasts that you wouldn’t want to look at. Philips is a bit different here, with a clean profile.
The only thing this is missing is compartments. There are some airfryers out there with dual compartments so you can cook two things seperately. With this, you’ll cook everything in one large chamber, but given the perfect airflow, this shouldn’t be an issue.
FIVE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
The Good: A boatload of new features and a comprehensive recipe app, consistent results every time
The Bad: No dual compartments may be a deal breaker for some
The Price: $749