Top critical review
222 people found this helpful
Update: Unreliable unit. Completely failed in 9 months.
on August 6, 2014
7/3/2015 Update: I originally gave the Panasonic NN-SN661S a five star rating. My review is below. Here is my update and the reasons why I have downgraded it to 1 Star.
After owing this microwave for about 9 months, it completely died. Nothing. No lights on the keyboard. Did I say nothing? I called Panasonic to find out where I should go for warrantee service. This information is not provided online. You must call. I went through the 10 minutes of automated back and forth before I was able to select the option of talking to a real person to access the information I needed. After waiting another 5 minutes, I was told this part of the service department was down and I should call back later. I wish they had said that at the start. I called 2 days later and repeated the procedure. I did eventually connect to a real person, but that took about 20-25 minutes of waiting.
Eventually the person on the line determined that indeed I needed to take my microwave to an authorized repair center. Turned out that the nearest one was about a 2 hour drive away. That adds up to 8 hours of driving. 4 hours to transport the microwave there and go home. 4 hours to pick it up after repairs had been made and go home again.
I decided that amount of driving was not worth the cost of the microwave and asked the person on the line if I could send the microwave to the repair center instead. She responded, "Yes." But she also said I would have to pay shipping to the repair facility AND BACK to my home. That was going to cost around $70 total via UPS.
I asked her is there were any other options to get the unit repaired. She said she was sorry, but no.
So, word of caution. This Chinese made unit, IMO, is not reliable. On top of that, unless you are lucky and happen to live close to an authorized Panasonic repair center, the warrantee is pretty worthless as the cost and trouble of getting it repaired outweigh the value of the unit.
I have a 23 year old (made in 1992) GE Spacemaker II. Made in Korea. Still works fine so I am using it.
Let me start by saying I have only used the Panasonic NN-SN661S for a week. But, I still have such fresh memories of laboriously searching through hundreds of microwave ratings without seeming to come up with any clear cut winner...well, I thought I throw my two cents in here. I hope it makes your search task easier than mine.
1. I did not buy this particular product at Amazon. It was $149 at Amazon and even though I am a Prime member and shipping was free, Amazon now collects taxes for my state (NC) as of a couple months ago. That's an extra $10.50 in my case, bringing up the cost to around $160. This same product was available at my local Best Buy for $139. Of course, they also charge taxes, but the unit was about $11 less at Best Buy when it was all said and done.
2. Some folks have said the unit is quite loud. My last microwave was a Panasonic NN-S431WL. It was manufactured in Sept. 2001, has an output of 1000W, and still runs fine. My daughter is going to take it to college. Compared to the older Panasonic I can say this newer model is VERY, VERY, SLIGHTLY louder. Specifically the fan sounds more robust. But, if no one had ever mentioned anything about the sound level I doubt I would have noticed any difference. I do not find the sound level problematic at all.
3. Some folks have said the keyboard is hard to read. Again, if I had not read that in reviews I would never have thought about it. The new unit is black on white letters and the old unit is white on black letters. If you pushed me to make a choice as to which is easier to read, I guess I would say the older unit. But, for me and my 60 year old eyes, I feel like I'm splitting hairs here.
4. Some folks have said that not having the light on when you open the door is problematic. So far I have found that to be a non-issue. Maybe that is because I have good lighting in my kitchen. Perhaps if I sneak up at night to cook something in the microwave and don't want to turn on the lights in the kitchen I will find the lack of a light when the door is open more of a problem. But, right now, I find the interior light functionality just fine.
5. Even though the exterior footprints of the old and new units are very similar the new unit being reviewed here has more interior space and a much bigger turntable platter. I LOVE that! I haven't had any spills cooking with this unit yet, but if it happens there is much more platter volume to corral the overflow. Also, larger plates and dishes just fit more easily in this new unit.
6. Cooking times appear to be similar between the two units. However, the new unit does cook a bit quicker than the older unit. I cook my oat bran cereal in the microwave. On the old unit it took 2 minutes. On the newer unit it appears 1 minute 45 seconds it optimal. Not a big deal.
7. The new unit is incredibly lighter. That is mainly due to the inverter technology, although it seems that the sheet metal used to construct this unit is thinner than in my older unit. Score one for the older unit IMO.
8. Unfortunately I can't speak to the one issue I consider at the top of the pyramid of importance...reliability. The old unit is now in its 13th year of use and still going strong. If this unit breaks down in the near future I will do my best to remember to post that update. If this unit does not hold up well that undoes a lot of its commendable qualities, IMO.