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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.
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on September 30, 2008
I've had this microwave for about 9 months now. It's quite powerful, doesn't take up too much counter space, and has a decent (albeit not great) look to it. [...]I would agree with the other reviewer about some of its design flaws, namely, the light doesn't come on when you open the door (the light is on only when cooking), and the dial method of entering the time is a bit unconventional, but you do get used to it. If you're looking for a powerful microwave but don't want to spend a fortune, this is a good option if you don't mind its few quirks.
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on June 7, 2009
I had bad experience with this oven. Only after a couple of months of gentle use - it shuts down after 10 seconds of use !!

If you search, you will see many other similar Panasonic models have similar issues:
* The oven will shut down after a few seconds of use
* or the oven will reset
* or the lights on the control panel will behave erratically.

When I called the service number, they asked me to reset the oven by taking off the electric supply for an hour - which helped for a few days but then oven went back to 10 second shut off.

I think there is a software issue with this type of Panasonic models and I will suggest people to stay away from them.
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on April 8, 2011
After a lot of research to choose a model, then a crazy amount of researching trying to find a local (SF Bay Area) place to buy the damn thing (our old microwave was dead and we did not want to wait several days to have one shipped), we got this one. Search criteria: On the small side (<20 in wide, <12 in tall), includes timer, includes quick minute button, holds biggish dinner plate. This unit fits the bill nicely.

Pros:
- Nicely compact, given the size of the interior
- Nice stainless finish
- Heats food well and fast

Cons:
- The knob to set time. I'm a real fan of knobs--there is nothing better, for example, for the volume control on car or home audio. This was a valiant effort on Panasonic's part, well engineered for what it is, but a knob is just not the best way to set cook time. I, like most people I bet, come to the oven with a time in mind--"this plate needs about 1 min 20 sec" --punch, punch, punch, start, and you are good to go with a keypad. The knob requires slightly more effort, you sometimes overshoot and have to dial back. The knob is nicely speed sensitive--a quarter turn on the knob gets you between 7 secs and 1 min time, depending on how fast you spin it. But you also have to fix your gaze on the display to set the time, rather than just trust your fingers on a keypad with a quick display glance at the end. Which brings me to...
- The display view angle problem. Yes, it is goofy that a countertop microwave has a display that washes out if you are up close and looking down at it. Goofy that it has not been corrected after a few years, especially since the display is so important with a knob interface. See my uploaded pics. My theory is that Panasonic signed a bulk contract for 5 million of these display parts, got a great price, and by golly they are going to use them. Is it really a big problem? No. Just mildly annoying. The display actually gets better if you stay at the same distance, but move your head from in front of the oven (where it'd normally be), over to the right of the oven. Go figure.

All in all, I can overlook the issues, and I am happy with the oven.
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on May 17, 2009
My husband purchased this microwave about 6 -9 months ago. I wasn't thrilled with the time entry, but it worked well enough and was powerful, as advertised. I typically used it for heating up water for coffee/tea and reheating leftovers and the occasional defrost, so I was very surprised when it stopped working. Now, it only runs for about 15 seconds before it shuts itself off. Occasionally it displays an error message that indicates that it is overheating. Needless to say, I'm very disappointed and a bit angry that I now have to purchase another microwave to replace this one. I do not recommend this product.
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on April 12, 2010
Pros:
-Has an inverter
-Good amount of power (1300 watts) for its size
-Moisture sensor for auto-reheat/auto-cook
-Aesthetically, I like the colors and look of the microwave

Cons:
-Time display is difficult to see at sharp to semi-sharp angles (although, I don't think it's a big deal)
-I think that no light comes on in the microwave when it's open (again, not really a big deal for myself, since I usually have the kitchen light on, and if I really want to see the item I'm microwaving, I always have just taken the item out of the microwave for inspection, anyway)

Overall, I really like this microwave, especially how powerful it is, which is not always easy to find in mid-sized microwaves. Also, it's not extremely easy to find an inverter in a mid-sized microwave, either.
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CONs:

~~> The knob is a hassle. I thought I'd like setting cook time with a knob, but it's not as quick or easy as tapping a keypad. This microwave has no numeric keypad. Setting cook time is the main event. Why must Panasonic invent a way that triples the time and effort involved? You need to turn the knob a little, then a little more, then oops, back a little, almost there...OK good.

~~> It croaked after 2.5 years (heavy use -- 10-20 min/day)

~~> My previous Panasonic microwave croaked after 4 years

~~> Panasonic's Web site, where I wanted to download a copy of the owner manual: A confusing mess, and when you find it... "Question: How do I obtain a users manual? Answer: The Global Service Center Network may assist you by supplying it on a chargeable basis as long as the product is still being manufactured."

~~> There's no method at their Web site to provide constructive feedback. Not Interested. But plenty of information about their "commitment to people before products" and their vision to "contribute to a ubiquitous networking society that co-exists within the global environment." I know Panasonic has made a lot of good products in the past, but they seem to be losing their marbles.

PROs:

~~> It heated stuff quickly and well for 2.5 years

~~> Conforms to industry standards: 1 year warranty. Door sounds like a percussion instrument from Toys 'R Us. Showroom blather like "INVERTER" and "the Genius" decorate the front. Permanently.

~~> It broke so I could get a new microwave and not have to hassle with the knob anymore. Thanks Panasonic!
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on July 10, 2009
I don't know what wattage this one replaced, but it heats food noticeably faster, and a good deal more consistently than our last one.

Having used it for a month now, I like the spinner to select time. I thought I'd prefer digital entry, but the spinner is pretty responsive to how fast you turn it.
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on December 29, 2011
This exact model died on me tonight after 2 years with VERY LITTLE use as I don't like cooking/warming my food with microwaves. The microwave looks practically new.
Symptoms: the display flickered on/off sporadically and when it is ON, I tried to heat a cup of water, I just heard a "clicking" sound (probably from a relay) and then it died again.

Disconnecting it from the power source and wait a couple hours for the capacitors to discharged, I decided to open it up and do a quick check and everything inside looked OK. Checked the fuse with a multimeter and it was good. I then checked the power-in cable (from the receptacle) and found out that the disconnectors were VERY loose. Pulled those quick disconnectors out and gave them a slight squeeze with a pair of pliers to improve contact, reconnected them and bam, it worked like it should.

Before closing it up I decided to look around to see if something was wrong and lo and behold, there was. On the opposite side of the magnetron, there seemed to be a little sensor (the Genius sensor? Not sure) that was burned up badly. I honestly don't know why a sensor can be burned that bad. Anyway, besides that, everything worked fine. Closed it up and checked again and it still worked. I'll keep my finger crossed.

The reason why I said I won't buy it again was because of the inside construction of this microwave is horrible. VERY flimsy and most things were "Made in China". That probably explains the quality issue. They couldn't make a good pair of quick disconnectors, for crying out loud. How hard could THAT be?
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on July 25, 2010
We purchased this for 100.00 at BJs. I agree with other reviewers that it is annoying that the light does not turn on when you open it up and that you can't set the seconds more precisely after ten seconds. Having said that, this has been a fantastic microwave and if I could give it 4.75 stars I would. It heats everything up so fast (the 1300 watts is great) and does a great job when set to thaw or reheat. For the 100.00 we spent you cannot beat the performance (IMO). I like that it is not huge, but can fit fairly large dishes and has the power of a large microwave. I'd highly recommend it unless you need precise times down to the second, if you can round up by 10 seconds this microwave is great. I hope they still make it when we have to replace it.
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