Customer Reviews: Panasonic NI-E650TR Steam/Dry Iron with U-Shape Titanium Coated Soleplate
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VINE VOICEon December 24, 2011
Format: Misc.|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I am a rumpled person. The iron and I are not BFFs. It lives in the closet and only comes out for occasions where being rumpled could cost me a job or make my mom yell.

I picked this iron because of the retractable cord, the vertical steam function, and because it's Panasonic, the same company that made my TV, which actually IS my BFF. Man, I'm really painting a flattering picture of myself right now.

Anyway, I tested this iron on a cotton dress shirt and on heavyweight silk/cotton blend drapes (using the vertical steam function).

- The retractable cord is everything I wanted it to be. The cord is 7-8' in length, and retracts into the base at the push of the button.
- Super fast -- heats up in 1-2 minutes.
- Strong "Jet of Steam" feature injects a powerful burst of steam into wrinkled fabric. It worked to smooth the crooked seams on my shirt in 2 passes.
- Pretty easy to fill under the sink.
- Smooth ironing experience, good heft without being tiresome to move. Very "glidey."

- Awkward placement of control dial under the handle. The dial is really flat, maybe 1/4", and it's hard to maneuver under the sloped handle to get the setting you want.
- Not very good for drapery or larger vertical steam needs. The manual says you have to stretch the fabric taut while passing the iron vertically very close to the surface, but not touching. To do this, one would need a third hand. Since I only have two hands, I couldn't stretch the drapery fabric while also directing the steam, so I just grazed the surface without touching the fabric. It was not very effective, though it would probably be OK for light weight garments or spot treatments. Or if you had that third hand.

My main issue was how the iron would recalibrate temperature every minute or two (to do vertical steam, you have to use the "Jet of Steam" feature, which requires cranking it to the highest setting), so I had to pause while the temp got hot enough again. If it's not hot enough, it won't make steam and you might get water drops on the fabric. This isn't a big deal when you're ironing a shirt, but when you're holding the iron vertically, your wrist gets tired, and you remember why you live a rumpled life.

- Solid base (it doesn't wobble when I set it down), but a tad clunky in the rear while ironing because of the retractable cord. I think it's well worth the trade-off, but just FYI. Iron got back.
- I got this in "violet," which I put in quotes because the color is closer to magenta. More iMac strawberry than grape. I don't mind, but if you have your heart set on a regal-looking purple iron, this is not for you.

In conclusion, I hate ironing a little less now. This is a very good iron for the price, even with the two quibbles I mentioned.
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Format: Misc.|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
10. They talk a lot about the U-shaped design. That's supposed to help steam circulate to more places, giving you more steam for your buck.

9. It's purple! That makes it easy to spot and sometimes it even makes me smile when I'm ironing.

8. It heats up quickly. No waiting around for the iron to be ready. It's ready to go.

7. It's light and handles easily. The term "iron" implies heavy, and of course, early irons were, well, made of iron and HEAVY. This is apparently not made of iron and glides around like a little ice skater on your wrinkled shirts. Apparently it has a titanium finish that helps with the gliding thing. Ice skaters may want to look into that.

6. A retractable cord. Yep. That sucker zips right back into the iron. Always hated wrapping the cord around the handle and then trying to stand the iron upright and having it fall over because the cord made the bottom all lumpy.

5. A nice long cord. I can set the ironing board up in the kitchen, plug in the iron by the espresso machine, and iron my clothes for work while brewing an Americano. The cord also rotates, which keeps it from getting tangled in, say, your espresso machine or that cup you left on the counter.

4. It doesn't require special water. You don't need to haul a jug of distilled water home from the store and then try to find a place to store the bottle that you purchased only to fill your iron. Even better, you don't need to empty it each time. AND you can eyeball the water level through the little water window. It even has an anti-calcium system that keep gross clumpy things from forming in your iron.

3. A burst of steam feature that can be adjusted for heavy fabrics vs. light fabrics. (Note to self: do not use the heavy steam option for silk). The bursts of steam, they claim, also help keep the steam vents clean. I'll take their word for it.

2. Adjustable temperatures that actually adjust quickly. There's a little light to let you know when the desired temperature is reached, though I admit it's pretty hard to see with bifocals.

1. It turns itself off. If you suffer from CRS Disease and wander off, your iron will know and shut itself off so that, five hours later, when you're at the office, you don't have to smack yourself in the forehead and wonder if you turned the iron off and burned your house down. Because even if you didn't, it did.

Big disadvantage? It doesn't actually take your wrinkled laundry out of the dryer, iron it, hang it on hangers, and place it in your closet. I'd be willing to pay a little extra for that.
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on November 29, 2011
Format: Misc.|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm a quilter so my iron gets a lot of use. By "a lot", I mean 2-3 hours a day, 5-6 days a week. My last Panasonic is still working after two and a half years, even after mistreatment. I don't empty the water after each use and I've gotten the sole plate sticky (that dang fusible web!).

This one is as easy to use as the other one. Manufacturers have finally figured out to place the fill opening so the iron can be filled vertically without spilling. It glides smoothly over fabric, something you'd take for granted until you had an iron that doesn't.

The only thing I don't like is that (compared to my other Panasonic), there's a "wobble" when I place it upright. I think it's because this iron is a bit large for its base, and the balance doesn't seem quite right. Another minor quibble has nothing to do with performance: Manufacturers need to stop putting a plastic film on the sole plate. It's too easy to turn the iron on without looking at the sole plate, which I did. I'm thinking "What's that smell?" The film curled but didn't melt, so I didn't have to clean melted gunk off the plate.

I like the retractable cord, and the dial is easy to read and in an accessible position. The water empties without mess. I'll edit this review after I've used the iron awhile longer.
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VINE VOICEon December 2, 2011
Format: Misc.|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I hate to iron but I like to look "crisp and sharp" when I go out so that means the iron must come out for my shirts. I have been using a top of the line Rowenta for about 3 years now that has served me well and is my benchmark to compare to this iron.

I had this out of the box and up and running in about 3 minutes. The Panasonic has good fill placement and is easy to stick under the faucet for filling so there is no need for an additional filling container. After plugging the iron in and setting the temperature the base was hot and producing steam in just about 1 minute. It takes 2 or 3 passes to get a section of the shirt pressed with a natural motion. The iron produced and distributed steam evenly without any spitting or bubbling. Panasonic claims the U shaped soleplate makes better steam distribution and I would have to agree. Buttons for steam and spray worked as expected. The Panasonic soleplate did not offer any advantage for me over the non-stick bottom of my Rowenta but it works well and the iron slides reasonably smooth. I would give an edge to the non stick bottom if push came to shove but putting a hundred dollar bill in my pocket and getting 99% of the performance with this iron seems much smarter to me. I actually like the lighter weight of the Panasonic. The cord placement is good and stays out of the way when in use. It retracts nicely as you would expect. Even when I "tested" (actually I didn't mean to do it) over extending the cord, it still retracted like a champ.

Every iron I have seen these days has an auto-shut off including this one which I would consider an important safety feature for absent minded bachelors.

I think this does exactly what you would expect at a great price and is a top choice for an iron.
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on July 26, 2013
I'd like to point out that I absolutely loved the iron and retractable cord until it started leaking water. After only 2 uses, my wrinkled shirt remained wrinkled AND wet. It may be just my particular iron, but I sure hope I get a replacement or a refund.

UPDATE: Called Amazon, received a promotional credit and a free return. THANK YOU AMAZON! While it is impossible for any merchant to guarantee the quality of all of the products that they sell, but Amazon's customer service ensures satisfaction for every buyer. Just imagine the service you'd get at Target or Walmart if you were to attempt returning an item that you have previously used and purchased over 4 months ago. They would laugh at you and cite you a corporate policy that has zero common sense.

Love Amazon, hate this iron (still). Purchased 'Black & Decker D2030 Auto-Off Digital Advantage Iron' instead.
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on December 23, 2011
Format: Misc.|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A thorough review of the iron, along with a comparison to a similarly priced iron.
a very helpful way to choose and see this iron from all angles.
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on February 7, 2013
I love this iron. It has a large fill hole, A large heel and the retractable cord is thin so it adds very little weight to the iron. It's well balanced and lightweight. The controls are within comfortable thumb reach. All in all I'd say it's much better than my old Rowenta.
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on March 2, 2012
Great iron, produces lots of steam. I was worried I wouldn't be able to find an iron as good as the one this one was replacing, but this one is so much better. The reservoir doesn't need to be filled as often, but paradoxically it produces more steam than my old iron (an old Black & Decker that isn't made anymore). I used to have press the steam button to get enough steam, but this one does fine without needing the extra boost. The sprayer feature works well to and produces a nice, directed stream. Love the retractable cord feature. This iron is much more of a purple color than the picture indicates.
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on September 20, 2013
I got this particular iron based on the many positive reviews, of which I read. Basing my purchases on ratings and reviews tends to yield good results, but this was a rare occasion. The 4 things that bug me about this iron after owning it for more than 6 months:
1. This unit is compact, but I'd rather have more surface area in order to iron faster. The shape of it also just doesn't do it for me, the hot plate is teardrop shaped so it's widest only in the middle of the hot iron. I'd rather have a straight edge on the back.
2. The unit barely stands safely on it's own. The rear part where you can let it stand up is just not stable enough because it's small. I'd imagine it would be super wobbly on a heavily padded ironing board. I guess this shouldn't be much of a problem if you have a non-flammable pad to rest the iron while it's not in use.
3. Because of this iron's weird dimensions, it doesn't fit in an ironing board/iron closet holder. As mentioned, the back end is too small to fit neatly and then the back end of the hotplate doesn't catch because it's rounded due to it's teardrop shape.
4. The roll up cord needs babysitting when pushing the button. At this point it has gotten so bad I have to force feed the cord back in.

The spray and steam action work just fine and are probably the best performing feature on this iron. I'm sure there are worse irons out there but this one doesn't seem to fit the reviews, based on my experience. I think I'll go with a Rowenta or even a different panasonic model.
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Format: Misc.|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This inexpenisve Panasonic iron gives my more expensive one ($100) a run for its money. Even though this iron is 1200 watts vs. the expensive one's 1800, it heats up quickly, stays hot and irons almost as well. I say almost as well because the more expensive iron has almost twice as many steam vents, gets hotter and its titanium soleplate is surrounded by ceramic, which allows the iron to easily glide over clothes. The Panasonic has a titanium soleplate coating, but does seem to drag a bit while ironing. The upside? The Panasonic weighs a lot less. So it boils down to preference--easy but expensive gliding ability in basically one iron pass with a very heavy iron, or lightweight convenience requiring a few more pressing passes. Both produce well-ironed clothes, although my discerning eye notices slightly better pressing performance with the higher priced iron--probably negligible to the average ironer and certainly not worth the added cost.

Some Panasonic features outshine the expensive model, and they're important safety issues. The Panasonic has a nice broad base and cord placement is conveniently located off to the side of the handle, which doesn't interfere with ironing or present a safety hazard. The retractable cord is an added bonus. Unlike my retractable hand mixer cords, this one works perfectly and makes storage a snap.

There does seem to be a slight water leakage issue, although I have noticed it only after automatic shutdown (ten minutes after the iron has not moved on its heel rest). A phone call interrupted my ironing. After returning, I waited for the iron to reheat. The indicator light went out and I restarted ironing, only to find water spitting out the vents. Since I wasn't sure if it was something I did, I tried duplicating the situation. Each time water leaked from the steam vents producing about a 4" x 4" water spot. My more expensive iron has never leaked under any circumstances. To me, it's still not a big issue because it's only water, I typically don't leave the iron unattended and after the initial water spitting, the Panasonic iron behaves just fine.

Both irons work as dry irons, vertically, and have scale prevention systems built in. Sometimes more expensive appliances are worth their money, but maybe that's not the case when it comes to irons. This one works satisfactorily and is certainly safer than my higher priced one. The Panasonic U-shape iron is functional, pretty purple and very affordable.
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