Most helpful positive review
151 of 157 people found the following review helpful
Solid Microwave, Decent (but limited) Oven
on July 29, 2012
There are two points on which to consider this oven. One is the microwave function and the other is the baking tray. The microwave is a good one with a nice stainless steel finish and solid construction. It also has some features that lower end microwaves do not such as the ability to add or subtract 10-second increments while food is cooking as well as a variety of power settings and pre-sets which the standard $30-$50 plastic models sometimes lack. As a microwave, it's solid.
The pizza oven feature is quite good as well, but there are some considerations. First of all, you cannot expect it to function as a normal oven. It does not require preheating, which can be quite a benefit as it saves time and energy. However, if you're used to making cookies or biscuits with a preheat cycle, it can be confusing at first. Also, the tray is relatively shallow and the heat that surrounds your food while it bakes is more concentrated. This allows for more even cooking, but tends to cause more browning on things like cookies. I definitely recommend reducing cooking time, or at least checking at the halfway point to see how things are progressing.
The baking tray is dark which means that the bottoms of biscuits and cookies will get darker, though this does facilitate crispier crusts in "take and bake" or frozen pizzas. I made a small batch of blueberry oatmeal cookies in it, and they turned out well, but the bottoms were a bit too dark. If you want something lighter, it may be best to cover the bottom of the included tray with foil (I know I will next time). Since there is only one baking tray and it is custom fit for the cooking drawer, I do have concerns about the long-term use of the tray. It has a non-stick coating, but if it starts to flake or gets scratched, I imagine you'd have to get a replacement from the manufacturer. I'd recommend only using plastic utensils with it and non-abrasive cleaners. Frankly, I wish it had come with both the metal non-stick and a ceramic tray. The latter would not be easily scratched and would allow for lighter browning.
The bottom line is about value. This oven is trying to give you two for the price of one. To that end, this is an ideal choice for someone who wants to be able to reheat relatively flat frozen food (like chicken nuggets, frozen fries, and, of course, pizzas) as well as do some occasional small batches of baked goods or reheating with browning/crispness. I think it's ideal for college students who might buy frozen cookie dough and want to reheat frozen food. However, it is not designed for serious cooking and I think if you tried to roast vegetables or cook even thin bits of meat, you may find that the heating element would get juices or oil on it and some unpleasant odors would be created. In terms of value, I don't know that it'd be better than buying a separate microwave and toaster oven, though certainly it bakes better than your average toaster oven. It is more compact and likely draws less power than two separate devices, and is very attractive and has strong construction.
Note that this arrives with an extremely tight plastic film covering the metal exterior to protect it from scratches. The film is difficult to remove and I cut myself on metal edges trying to get it off. It also is nearly impossible to clear it from where it is deeply wedged in the cracks. It seems that the plastic was wrapped on separate pieces before the oven was assembled, but it is important to remove it for safety reasons. I wish that the manufacturer had found a less troublesome way to protect the finish.