Top critical review
144 people found this helpful
It would have been so easy for them to do much better!
on January 19, 2007
This cooker makes good rice. I don't find it especially slow--mostly because I'm used to planning ahead for my brown rice already (80 minutes rather than 60). The rice has great texture and flavour. An excellent nonstick pot means you get the rice skin in your food rather than having it stick to the pot (sufficient rinsing minimises this); in some circles the skin is a delicacy. Basically, not bad.
The product is not particularly difficult to clean day-to-day. The pot is easy. The cover is attached via an annoying rubber ball and socket: it pops on and off easily enough but looks like a hack (for example, compare to Zojirushi's NS-ZCC10, in which the pot cover snaps in and out of a sturdy latch, and won't let you close the cooker if you forget to replace the pot lid after cleaning). The Sanyo's steam vent is a finnicky little ball vent: you have to pop off its enclosure and then unscrew the two halves. Fortunately it doesn't need to be cleaned often. The Zojirushi is better in this regard.
But the electronics are pathetic. Given how easily Sanyo could have done better, I'm harsh in my criticism:
First: there is no audible notice when your rice is done. It cooks for a while and then it stops. It only counts down the last thirteen minutes (it does not know initially how long the rice will take because more rice takes longer and it has to sense how much rice there is). But this means that you can't even reliably set a kitchen timer! Not that you should have to--there's electronics in there, and it would add no complexity and little hardware to make it beep like everyone else! But no, you just have to watch the unit.
Second: there is a nice "steam" feature (this is an uncommon and welcome feature on fuzzy logic rice cookers), but it is not possible to use that with a timer. The manual helpfully advises that you time steaming by hand, which is difficult because while the machine knows when the water starts to boil, it doesn't tell you! You have to watch or listen for steam. In fairness, most of the things I steam are done when I can stick a fork in them, but the occasional exception irks. At least the "slow cook" feature lets you time things (in increments of a half hour; think all-day stew).
Third, I'm partial to 24-hour clocks, but I'm used to 12-hour clocks. This unit has neither: it mostly follows 12-hour conventions, but noon is 0:00, not 12:00. This is more logical (a numbering system that goes from 0 to 12- rather than from 1 to 13- as is the convention) but I've done double-takes a few times because 0:00 is midnight in the 24-hour world. Why Sanyo thought it a good idea to use _neither_ of the standard clock formats, but rather invent their own, is a mystery.
Fourth (only for the somewhat absent-minded): the unit does not shut off when you open the lid. When your rice is cooked the unit enters "keep warm" mode, which is great, but even when the lid is opened and the bowl removed the unit stays in that mode until I start to wonder why my kitchen feels warm. The "keep warm" light is probably more obvious if you're not as tall as I am, and I suppose some people will serve some rice, close the unit, eat, go back for more rice... at least an audible warning that the unit is still on upon lid open/close would be nice.
Fifth: The control panel resets to its default ("white rice") after each use. There's a battery backup for the clock and I leave mine plugged in anyway, so the machine could easily remember the last thing you did (I almost always cook brown rice), but it doesn't.
Sixth: of course a holster for the provided spatula wouldn't be a bad idea (most rice cookers seem to do this), but that's minor.
In summary: it makes very good rice, but Sanyo cut many stupidly trivial corners.