I wish I could give 4.5 stars. The short version: this is a good product, with even better customer support. Here’s the full review… (The Good) We needed either an electric fireplace, or to shell out a significant $$ to completely rebuild a chimney/flu that was unsafe. With young kids and pets in an old house, we opted to go for a “high-end” electric solution that still produced heat. (*of their stand-alone units, one produces heat, the other is visual/sound effect only) MagicFlame’s product checked all our must-have boxes. The best part of the experience was working with their representative. We needed to open up our existing fireplace space in order to fit the unit, and needed exact measurements and guidance before committing to stone/mason work. Over 3-4 phone calls, I was able to get exactly what I need and quickly got the sense that they care about their product *and* customer satisfaction. From the right viewing angles, the Duraflame logs combined with the 3-D fire effect is almost perfect, and could potentially fool someone not looking too closely (or off angle) that they were seeing an actual wood-burning fire. The included components were heavy-duty and well made. Be advised, it needs 2 grounded (3-prong) plugs unless modified. Lots of options to choose from both in terms of visual and audio effects. (The Okay) The metal framed enclosure was well built. The “projector” is a basic Insignia LCD television, w/average to low-quality speakers giving the audio recorded fireplace sound-effect a somewhat treble heavy or “tinny” sound. The logs are Duraflame,(I believe Duraflame 20″ Electric Fireplace Log Set – DFI020ARU) and produce a decent amount of heat, though don’t expect it to warm a large living area quickly. I left it on for most of the first day we had it installed and after about 6 hours I noticed the room was warmer, but you have to be within about 3′ to feel direct-heat. A couple of times I had to get really close to determine whether it was on. Kids weren’t quite as ready to cozy up to it as they have been around a real fireplace of equivalent size. Likewise, the Duraflame logs have approx 3-4 lighted phases that “blink” from effect to effect vs a slow transition, somewhat ruining the realism. This last is personal taste, but many of the fire effect options were roaring gas or outdoor fires and don’t match the small logs. For our family, we really only liked about 3-5 of the optional settings, and often just use the basic logs themselves for a less intense, small fire effect (see pic). (The Bad) The control touch-screen is very bright in a dark room, and at least on our unit, some-what cumbersome. We wound up building a removable enclosure for the fireplace that covers it — but that’s purely an aesthetic choice. (see end of video) I mention the touch-screen in the bad column because for our unit, I am not able to turn on the monitor (ever) using the power buttons, and occasionally while trying to control heat, audio, and fire effects using the touchscreen, it simply blanks for 10-15 seconds before resetting. I’ve found using the 3-different remote controls to be easier, though I’d prefer to use one control, either the screen or a single remote, rather than the clunkiness of managing 4 different input methods. Final notes. Our monitor’s visual effects went out almost immediately after receiving the unit. I called the company and the next day had a replacement unit sent out <-- great customer support. Finally, I would be more forgiving of the sound-quality, remote/touch-screen setup & functionality, and log quality/heat if this were a sub-$1k unit. While this unit looks great, and ultimately we are very happy with it, at $2.5k I expected slightly higher components in terms of display (Insignia), logs (Duraflame), and control options. *Just realized that in the video the flames appear to have a blue-tinted background. This is an effect of my Phone's camera. It does not appear blue when looking at it with the naked eye
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