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Panasonic disappointed me with this model
on September 13, 2008
I just bought the Panasonic NNSD697S Stainless Steel 1300 Watt Microwave Oven, for $100 at Costco. I previously owned an 1,100 watt Panasonic microwave oven that lasted me for 8 years of excellent service before it stopped heating and then started smoking one day. So, I was pretty much pre-sold on the Panasonic brand.
However, this model disappoints me. The LED time display is dim and reads "All 8s"; it is hard to see at any angle other than direct-on. The time has to be entered using a pop-out dial, or by the "1 minute" button. You can't use the two methods with each other; either you use the dial or the 1-minute button. The more/less time button only works with pre-programmed cooking functions, either reducing or increasing the pre-determined cook time by 10%.
The dial adds time in increasingly larger increments; the more time that is entered, the more the time changes with each turn of the dial. At larger time amounts, over 5 minutes, you can only change the time by a minimum of 15 seconds at a time. Over 1 minute, the dial changes the time by no less than 10 seconds at a time. This is not precise enough for my liking. I would much prefer the old cheap plastic covered button press pad for entering exact times. I used to often use "99" seconds.
One advantage of this model is that, with 1,300 watts of power, it heats significantly faster than the 1,100 watt model I had previously. For example, it will boil 24 oz. of water in 4 min. 15 seconds (with a cover on the jar) whereas the 1,100 watt model took 6 mins. or more.
The light inside the microwave does not turn on when you open the door, which makes it very hard to monitor what is going on with the cooking/heating process. I consider this a major design flaw. The light in my previous oven did not burn out in over 8 years of heavy usage.
The door only opens to 90 degrees; it should be openable further in my case because I have the microwave sitting at an angle on the counter and opening the door all the way would allow me to put items in more easily.
This model is not customizable as my previous model was for such things as turning the beep on or off; it is always on, though fortunately it is not very loud.
If this model does not last as long as my previous one, I will not be sorry; I'm already anxious to try another model as my experience with this one really has not been positive. In fact, I hope it fails within Costco's return window policy so I can buy another one.