Although remarkably cheap for an inverter genset even at the 30 quid higher asking price than the later PGI 1200 B2 "Suitcase" generators they were selling in the 2nd week of April this year, it has even more going against it than the 99 quid B2 model which I'd assumed to be its replacement and thus rendering the A1 model totally obsolete.
After checking out this video review on youtube:
and taken another look at this one on the B2 model:
which is worth checking out simply for the extremely informative comments made by dean handley from ten months ago which would have saved me so many return trips to finally track down a working PGI 1200 B2 some seven weeks back, I have come to the conclusion that unless you want to strip out the guts of the A1 and transplant them into a properly designed enclosure of your own (whether portable "suitcase" or just a small brick outhouse), or you simply want to use it for spares, I wouldn't bother unless you're really desperate to get hold of a 1KVA pure sine wave inverter generator having just missed out on April's bargain of the decade in cheap inverter genset technology.
Having said that, it's still superior to a cheap open frame genset. Yes, it may be almost as noisy but at least its 1KW of pure sine wave power can be safely used with electronic kit and even old fashioned sine wave UPSes, unlike normal generators using 'sophisticated' AVR control which will grossly over-volt at the drop of a hat (leading current loads from a few microfarad's worth of capacitance generally being all that's needed ime to send a 2.8KVA 230vac generator going north of the 270vac mark!).
If you're looking for a cheap alternative to buying a few hundred quid's worth of SLAs to boost the autonomy of a 1.5KVA or higher rated UPS by a couple of hours, this could prove a more cost effective alternative, especially as you can get a good 3 to 5 hours worth out of each gallon of unleaded petroleum/gasoline you care to pour into its tank (5 to 7 hours in the case of the PGI 1200 B2).
The only downside, of course, being the noise pollution if you don't already have a suitable brick outhouse to minimise this and both secure and run it safe from the CO poisoning and fire hazard risks presented by such generators. In this regard, it's very little different to the 99 quid PGI 1200 B2 Lidl were selling just a mere 7 weeks ago. For static use, the only downside is that extra 30 quid hit on your bank balance.
Even so, it's a remarkably cheap way to buy into a 1KW standby source of pure sine wave 50Hz 230vac power. Now that I've replaced all the GLS lamps (bar the set of four 35W 12v halogen downlighters in the shower room) with LED lamps, I can keep all the lights on along with the fridge, the freezer, the 4K smart TV, my IT kit and the CH with a mere 1KW of standby power. Admittedly, only at a pinch and by careful power management but if ever the need for sustained emergency power ever arises, this is just exactly what anyone running off emergency power would be having to do anyway.
I'd have preferred a 2KW inverter genset but not only are the cheapest alternatives some four or five times as pricey, they'll burn through emergency fuel reserves faster as well even when only providing the same amount of power as the smaller genset. Limited emergency power is better than no emergency power at all and even if I do push the boat out on a quieter 2KVA inverter genset at a later date, at just 99 quid, I can afford hang onto the Lidl genset as an emergency backup to the 2KVA emergency backup genset. You can never have too many emergency gensets when the price is *so* right. :-)
TBH, I'm quite amazed at the cheek of Lidl in trying to sell an inferior version of the PGI 1200 B2 less than two months later and at an extra 30 quid to boot! Perhaps they're thinking that its "Retro Chic" cheap two stroke portable genset looks are deserving of the extra 50 or 40 quid over a more appropriate (IMHO) 80 or 90 quid price point. :-)
Major points of difference between the A1 and the B2 models are:
The A1 uses a top mounted 4.2l pressed steel gravity feed tank prone to leaking fuel during transportation. Fuel consumption rating at 2/3 power output is 0.88l/hour from its 2.85hp 53.5cc engine (4.77 hours run time on a tank of fuel). Considering the use of a gravity feed fuel system, there's a surprising absence of a carburettor float bowl priming plunger to assist cold starting.
The B2 uses a plastic (presumably shatter-proof) 4.5l side tank (which reduces sloshing of its contents) feeding an engine vacuum powered fuel lift pump. Fuel consumption rating at 2/3 power output is 0.68l/hour from its 2.04hp 53.5cc engine (6 1/2 hours run time on a tank of fuel).
The A1 is 200g lighter than the B2 (13Kg). Both produce the same total sound power of 95dBW but the B2 claims to be 1.3dB quieter at the 1 metre SPL test distance (80.2dBA).
Now that I have an actual class 2 SPL meter to test with, I'll be able to confirm just how optimistic a claim this is for myself (give or take 1.5dB of metering error along with other environmental factors that make such tests so less than 'scientific'). At least I'll be able to get base line figures by which to gauge any attempts to quieten it.
 Afaict from pictures - unlike the potted inverter module in the B2, two cermet trimmers do actually poke up out of the hard and shiny black potting compound in the one used by the A1 making it amenable to adjusting for manufacturer's calibration errors, assuming they haven't switched over to using the same inverter part used by the B2 (probably not since the A1 shown still only uses two LEDs to show status using blink codes for normal/slight overload/full overload condition and "Goodnight Vienna" whilst the B2 uses three LEDs).
 The only downside of using a fuel lift pump, aside from the extra complexity over that of a simple gravity feed setup, is the need to spin the engine over several times on the starter cord just to prime the fuel line and the carburettor float bowl when starting from "Dry" (initial commissioning run or else after a long lay up after letting the carb run dry to minimise the risk of fuel gumming up the carburettor's jets during periods of protracted storage).
In this case, it's best to crank the engine over leisurely 4 or 5 times after turning the fuel feed on with the ignition still off and closing the choke for the penultimate pull before turning the ignition on for a full on pull of the cord to actually fire it up without needlessly wasting energy on premature attempts to fire it up before there's even any fuel in the carburettor float chamber.
Where more regular use (say every weekend) precludes any need to run the carb float bowl dry, this won't be an issue. A single priming yank before turning the ignition on and setting the choke should get it running on the next pull of the starter cord.
 I discovered when testing with a 900W toaster and a bunch of 150W incandescent lamps and a few other ses lamps of various wattages that the inverter signals overloading at the 980W mark according to my digital watt meter. I was a little disappointed at discovering this, especially in view of the fact that it would cheerfully run a 1200W test load not for the mere 5 seconds claimed but a full half minute every time before shutting the inverter down.
I realise it's just possible that it's been calibrated to detect overload at exactly 1001 watts and my watt meter is merely under reading by 2% of the +/-3% allowance of its rated measurement tolerance. Still, I'd have hoped they would have erred a little more on the positive side of the tolerance range with their overload setting point, say 1050W before sensing an overloaded state.
This is how I came to discover the complete absence of any means to adjust the output voltage setting or the current overload point to correct such a parsimonious setting. I guess I'll have to do some cross checking with my other "Kill-A-Watt" meter and the analogue watt meter before deciding whether to buy another PGI 1200 B2 the next time they're on offer from Lidl to do a "Pick 'n' Mix" swap out to get the inverter genset I so richly deserve.
Johnny B Good
Johnny B Good