258 of 270 people found the following review helpful
My original review can be found below beginning with "The bad news is...". However, after writing the review I did a head-to-head comparison with my old school, non-fuzzy logic Aroma ARC-820SW rice cooker (see customer photo). I began cooking at the exact same time with the exact same quantities of Calrose rice (2 cups) and water. I wanted to see if the fuzzy logic machines cooked any better than the old school rice cookers that most of us have used.
The rice was finished cooking in the Aroma cooker probably 15 minutes before the Panasonic finished cooking. You could hear the Panasonic's fuzzy logic constantly cycling the heat on and off during the cooking cycle.
The differences between the two were dramatic. The rice cooked in the Aroma was somewhat dry, very unevenly cooked and somewhat burnt and crispy on the bottom. It was still edible and even enjoyable in a way, but crispy on the bottom nonetheless. The rice cooked in the Panasonic was moist, plump, fluffy and uniformly cooked throughout. I had thought that the differences would probably be subtle. That was not the case. The Panasonic fuzzy logic rice cooker did a much better job than the Aroma without any question. The differences were substantial. Now on to the original review...
The bad news is that the operating instructions manual isn't super clear if you are an English speaker. There's an awful lot of Japanese text and other languages jumbled about and you really have to pick through the mess to find the English and even when you find it, it's mixed in with other languages. Confusing and unclear.
I was also somewhat confused by some of the listed water levels. While white rice cooking instructions were quite clear (ex: fill to the #1 water level for 1 cup of rice), things like sticky rice are a bit, well, stickier. For example, it lists the water level for one cup of sticky rice at 180ml. What is 180ml? Certainly that's not marked on the water scale and I can barely understand ounces! Then, it shows the water level for 2 cups of sticky rice at water level 1 and then in parenthesis (+90ml). What does that mean? Anyway, it's somewhat confusing.
Now the good news. This is an outstanding rice cooker that is generally very easy to use, confusing instructions or not. When I opened the box, I was surprised to see that the time was already set, albeit 2 hours ahead of my west coast time. Apparently, a lithium battery keeps track of the time for about 5 years. That's a nice feature.
But we're most interested in how the thing cooks rice. The answer is, quite nicely. My rice came out absolutely perfect. Not too moist and not too dry. Each grain was absolutely perfect and uniform. Nothing was burnt and no part of the rice was overcooked or undercooked. It also seemed to be more flavorful than what I was previously used to.
The settings are easy to understand, especially if you don't read the manual. You can choose between brown rice, white rice or sticky rice. Just set what you want on the LCD display and press start. Once cooking is complete, a gentle and somewhat soft alarm sounds a few times and the unit goes into the keep warm mode.
There are also modes for porridge, cake (yes cake), steam, quick cook, and slow cook. You can also set the timer to cook for a specific time. You can cook quickly or very slowly over a period of multiple hours.
Inside of the confusing owner's manual are a few recipes with funky and/or somewhat alien ingredients, as least to my American tastes. For example, there is a recipe for spaghetti made with ketchup and another for chicken soup made with sliced green gourd and pickled lemon juice. If you don't care for either of those recipes, you could try cooking the cereal porridge made with boiled Job's tears and boiled Lotus seed. Good luck finding those ingredients.
But the cool thing is that you can actually make things like soup, curry, porridge, spaghetti and cake in this rice cooker. Clearly, it offers a lot of versatility.
You might wonder what's up with its fuzzy logic programming. I too wondered about this and I discovered that most cookers of this type are either on or off. This machine can understand terms like "almost" or "close" and make continual adjustments to make sure that the product comes out just right.
Out of the box, no assembly is required. Just plug the cord into the side of the unit and you're good to go. The only other supplied accessories are a textured rice spoon thingy (I'm sure there's a Japanese name for it), a rice measuring cup and a steamer insert just in case you prefer your Job's tears or green pickled gourd steamed instead of boiled.
But it's a great rice cooker for sure. Panasonic makes fantastic products. I can't tell you how many of their electronic items I've owned over the years. This machine is no exception and the quality of the cooker is quite evident. Makes my simple "on and off" rice cooker look like it's from the stone age. The price is very reasonable as well. You can certainly compare it quite favorably to much more expensive rice cookers.
I wouldn't think to rate it less than 5 stars. If you're looking for a very high-quality rice cooker that can also do much more at a reasonable price, this is an excellent option for you.
75 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 2011
Out of the four rice cookers I've owned (Wolf Gang Puck, an "cheap" model of Zojirushi and two Aromas) this has to be my favorite. I've used it at least a dozen times now to cook rice and every time each grain comes out perfect. The taste of the rice compared to a non fuzzy-logic rice cooker is something you would have to try for yourself to believe. There is absolutely no comparison. I mostly cook sticky rice, as I just generally enjoy the texture of it, and it has come out perfect every time. With the Wolf Gang Puck and Aroma cookers, there would always be random hard grains and a dark brown crust stuck to the bottom of the pan. That does not happen with his cooker.
I know the cake function seems a bit silly, but it's not! I just tried it for the first time, baking a cake from a Vitamuffin mix and the thing cooked to absolute perfection. I baked it for 40 minutes on the cake setting. After about ten minutes of cooling, I fliped the cake upside down on a plate to release it and it came right out - with no residue. So, not only is this an excellent rice cooker, but it bakes great cakes. I'm so amazed, in fact, I'm going to bake my brother-in-law a layer cake in this thing. Just divide the cake batter in two batches and bake the layers separately.
Sure, I could pull out my two Wilton pans and save cooking time, but you know what? I've never had a cake come out of a pan this clean and perfect, so I'd much rather use this cooker. Not only that, but its also convenient! No pre-heating or timing required on my part as the cooker just shuts off when it's finished!
83 of 94 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2011
I didn't really have it in mind to retire our old banged up rice cooker. After all it still worked to some degree. However, when given the opportunity to take the Panasonic Microcomputer SR-DE103 Fuzzy Logic model for a test drive, things changed. After a little over three weeks use these are my thoughts.
Out of the box, this white finished model comes with a steaming basket, measuring cup, rice scoop, instructions, recipes and warranty. After going over the instructions I was ready to begin. Right off the bat, I knew this was no ordinary rice cooker. The programmable menu options allows for making not only rice, but soups, cakes, oatmeal and etc;. The Advanced Fuzzy Logic Technology is not rocket science by any means. Pure and simple it refers to the automatic adjustment of power and cooking time. It easily cooks up to 10 cups of rice.
Some of the features that makes this a keeper besides the programmable menu are the carrying handle, the push button lid release, and the easy on the eyes LCD Control Panel. I like the Dual Cooking and Warming Indicators. The unit automatically switches to the Keep Warm Mode after cooking is complete. I like that this cooker will automatically turn off after cycling through the 12 hour warm mode. The timer works like a charm. I can preset it up to 24 hours.
Someone in the lab was really thinking when they designed this unit. The domed lid design helps prevent water droplets from falling on to the cooked product. Cleanup is a breeze. The power cord is detachable. The pan is aluminum and coated with a black non stick surface. Power wise, cooking rings up about 750 watts. In warm mode, its 52 watts of juice. So far we've made dumplings, soups, vegetables and cakes with great success. It works great at steaming fresh vegetables. Surprisingly the devils food cake that we cooked came out extremely moist.
Overall I found that my older unit did cook rice faster then this Panasonic model. However, my older cooker also required constant monitoring because it usually overcooked and burned food. Time wise, the Panasonic SR-DE103 Fuzzy Logic model is slower then my older unit. I can live with that because the Panasonic model delivers on perfectly cooked food each and every time. Without a doubt, it works as advertised. Its a keeper.
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2013
I bought mine from amazon one year ago. Just wrote an email to their custom service and complain about the issue. The inner cooking pan has non sticky coating. After one year of normal use, I see sign of worn out. I.e. there are small white dots on the surface of the bottom of the inner pan. Underlying aluminum shows white color and the black coating is missing on those spots. We probably have eaten the coating material together with the rice. Again, we are extremely careful when clean the pan, always put water in to fully soak the rice before gently wipe it out. There is no single sign of scratch.
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
I make rice often, from brown to yellow. And I have used several rice cookers through the years. My latest was an Aroma, a pretty popular brand that does the job more than adequately. So I didn't really want to move up the Panasonic. The LCD screen means nothing if it can't do its basic function. Amazingly, the Panasonic makes better rice than the Aroma. It turned out to be more fluffy, moist and even a bit more flavorful. The brown rice had a mild nuttiness that I never tasted before with the Aroma. And I've been using the same brand of brown rice for years. Also, the Panasonic model with its domed lid allowed for a little more room when I wanted to steam a few things. I made a few slabs of salmon and they steamed up amazingly, and no gross, lingering smell of fish.
I'd like to add the Panasonic's footprint is great. I had no issues storing it on a shelf above my kitchen counter. My Aroma's round and sticks out from the shelf far too much for its own good. But I have the Panasonic right next to my cookbooks, saving a nice amount of counter space. All in all, a well above average rice cooker.
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
So far I've tried this rice cooker with jasmine rice and a wild rice mixture. Both products turned out really well and I didn't have to watch over a pot on the stove to stir it and pick it up off the heat when the water began to bubble up. I will not usually cook the full capacity of rice this machine can make, but I went ahead and got the larger size because I do find myself cooking for a crowd at times. The basic recipes for these two rices had a yield of approximately three cups of cooked rice. In the case of the jasmine rice I started the cooker an hour before I planned to serve the rice (it took approximately 40 minutes), with the wild rice mix I started cooking 1 1/2 hours prior to service. Both went into the "keep warm" mode before I used them, but the wild rice did take quite a bit longer than the jasmine. I think I lost track of the time for the wild rice and it probably took closer to two hours for it to be ready. EDIT: I have now also cooked brown rice (yield 3 cups) and that took two hours to cook. It stuck just a tiny bit, but not enough to make the grains hard.)
One of the main reasons I wanted to buy this specific machine was because it has a porridge setting. I love to have the McCann's steel cut oatmeal, but don't like the time I have to spend stirring the pot when starting from scratch. This rice cooker has been a real treasure - up to a point. Because the oatmeal foams and bubbles up so much during cooking, I can only prepare two servings at a time, even though the container for the appliance appears to be quite large. I use 1/2 cup of oats and two cups of water and even that amount causes bubbles to barely come to the top of the machine vent. These two servings take one hour to cook. Now, I can shorten that time considerably by soaking the oats in the water overnight, but that does take away most of the textural feel which I want from the oats. If I'm going to pre-soak the oats, I might as well take the ten minutes necessary to have them fully cooked by doing them on the stove top. The bottom line is, if you only need two servings of oats then this machine is fabulous. Put the oats and water in the machine, go do something else, come back in one hour and stir the oats well (they will appear to have a lot of unabsorbed water - that's not true, they just need to be stirred), and eat them. If my husband and I don't both want oats that morning I put the second serving in the refrigerator and they warm very well in the microwave.
Now let me tackle the problem of the manual which accompanies this machine. It is definitely a translation and can be rather difficult to understand at times. The first thing to remember is that the "cup" the directions and recipes refer to is the small plastic cup included with the machine. It is not a one cup measuring cup, in fact it actually holds 3/4 cup of rice or oats. The lines inside the cooking bowl do not refer to one cup, three cups, or five cups. I used a measuring cup and water to calculate how much liquid would actually be required to get to the indicated lines. In fact, the manual never states if you should put in the rice or the liquid first and that does make a difference if you are using their lines for measurements. I finally settled on using the standard measurements for rice that I would use for stove top cooking because I know I will not exceed the capacity of the machine. Do I think I will ever bake a cake in my rice cooker? Probably not, but then I'm an old school baker. There are, however, several recipes for main dishes included in the manual which are quite tempting. I have not used the timer feature on the machine because that is not something that is important for me. I'm trying to be very careful of the coating on the inside of the bowl because even the manual mentions that it is fragile. I'll want to keep that from getting any scratches on it as long as humanly possible. The beeping sounds which indicate the cooking time is finished are not very loud and could be easily missed. The machine automatically transitions over to the keep warm cycle and that's fine for rice, not fine for porridge. The reason for four stars instead of five concerns the manual. I really do think a company as large as Panasonic could have invested in a manual which would have been easier to understand and which could have been arranged in a less confusing manner.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2014
First, I have never written a negative review in my long history of buying from Amazon. I used to be a Panasonic fan. They used to provide thoughtful customer service. Not any more. This may or may not be a good rice cooker, but when I had a question regarding the indecipherable operating instructions, their customer service representative told me that the unit I just bought one week ago WAS OUT OF WARRANTY. When I told them I just bought it from Amazon a week ago they asked me to prove I wasn't lying to them. How could they claim that a product that I owned for one week was not covered by their 1 year warranty. They could not explain. I am very disappointed. In addition, a huge multinational like Panasonic should be embarrassed by providing such a poorly designed instruction manual. When you couple that with bad customer service, you have losing combination. I have a hard time seeing myself buying another Panasonic product under these conditions. I'm returning this product.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2011
I'd always been happy with our standard Tiger rice cooker, but this fuzzy logic cooker produces rice that is far superior. Better aroma, better texture, consistent quality. If you cook rice often, it really is worth the extra money. This cooker produces 10 cups of cooked rice, plenty of capacity for a family. I can't speak to how this compares to other fuzzy cookers (Zojirushi, etc.) in quality, although it is cheaper than most. Terrific value.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2012
Being from Hawaii, I have quite the appetite for rice, and yet I've been making mine in $20 rice cookers for as long as I can remember. They have their quirks... they burn your rice if you leave them on warm, you have to wait a while after 'cook' pops to 'warm' because your rice isn't actually cooked yet... but in the end, after some love and experimentation, you can have pretty decent rice.
At the same time I've long been jealous of my Chinese and Japanese friends who have Fuzzy Logic rice cookers constantly going in their houses with hot rice ready at a whim. So I finally took the plunge... and now I'm spoiled.
- Perfect rice, white or brown
- Keep Warm function maintains hot, delicious rice for hours
- Accurate countdown timer (10 minutes away from being done)
- Easy to clean (just wash the pot, and wipe the top of the cooker)
- Doesn't spill rice goo everywhere while it cooks
- Much cheaper than Zojirushi alternatives
- Brown rice takes almost 2 hours to cook using the 'brown rice' setting. However, I have been cooking a lot of it using the normal white rice setting and it still comes out great.
This rice cooker also has options for porridge and steaming, but I have not used them. However, if they are as good as everything else in this little machine, I'm sure they work splendidly.
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2013
I purchased Panasonic SR-DE103 5-Cup (Uncooked) "Fuzzy Logic" Rice Cooker stopped working in Jan 2013 and cooked mostly brown rice in it about as rarely as two-three times a month. In August 2013 it stopped working. It heats up but not to the point of cooking rice, just a nice warm bath kind of thing.
I called Panasonic and they referred me to several "item under warranty" repair places, none in the area where I live so I have to ship it there at my own expense. The first number I called happened to be TV/Video repair center. Another number produced busy line. I am yet to call the third one but not before I post this review and express my disappointment with the product and Panasonic customer service.
Update: Changing for one star.
I paid for shipping to send rice cooker to the repair center. A new (or repaired one?) came back in a month or so. After one (!) successful use it started doing the same thing: it would warm up water but would not cook.
Thank you, Panasonic, for lousy product and nonexistent customer service.