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Takin' one for the team - - - quick first review - EDITED
on October 6, 2011
I've only had this 2 days, but I thought I'd get a quick review up on it.
This oven is so new, even Panasonic didn't know about it. I called them up, and their customer service knew nothing. A search on the Panasonic website came back blank.
So, what the heck, I bought it. It appeared to be very similar to the SD688 models, with one exception. The digital display got panned on the 688 as being hard to read from a normal standing angle. I guessed that this fancy blue display was their answer to that, and I was right! The bright blue display is very easy to read up close without bending over., and from an angle.
I rarely cook in a microwave, so all of the fancy button options are moot. "Inverter Melt", "Popcorn" "Inverter Turbo Defrost". If I have to keep the manual handy to use my microwave, I'm not likely to use that feature.
I did try the "Sensor Reheat" feature on some boneless chicken. It stopped it at the right time.
I like the dial feature, it's very intuitive. The one minute button is nice.
One thing a Microwave does, is it sits there on the counter most of the time doing nothing. This does that very well. The SS finish and the square lines look really good. At 20" wide, it just right for my counter. It's taller than my old oven, so I can fit my salad dressing cruet in there.
Another thing a microwave should do is last for years. We'll have to see on that one.
I will update as more details become apparent.
More observations 10/12/11:
I tried the Sensor Reheat a few more times. It seems to work pretty well. It's weird though if your timing your food prep, setting the table, or whatever, because there's no preset time.
The 'Inverter Melt' function works quite well. Here is where the inverter technology makes a difference - it actually heats at low power. Conventional microwaves just cycle full power off and on to achieve 'low' power.
I tried 'Sensor Cook' with some potatoes. I set it on 3. Silly me - 3 is for omelets. For potatoes, use 7. Fresh vegetables - 8. There's no explanation what the different settings actually mean. Forget it.
So with all this fancy technology, Panasonic could have added one basic non-technological feature:
The light. It only comes on while cooking. But not when you open the door. Really? That's enough to almost give me buyers remorse. It never occurred to me that this feature, that's been around for 30 years, would be missing.
Edit 2/18/12: After 4 months and prompting by a fellow reviewer, I'm bumping this to 4 stars. Mechanically, the engineering is excellent. The inverter technology is extremely useful, making it a more versatile and valuable tool in the cooking process.
Still, the software side is gimmicky and borderline absurd . Take the Melt & Soften button, for 1 example. I can melt butter by setting the power to 1 or 2 and 30 seconds. Or I can use the Melt & soften button, saving me several whole button pushes! I have a choice of 15,16,17,and 18. But,it would be nice to know which power setting that button selects, instead of "Butter, Cream Cheese", etc. Imagine if your conventional oven had settings for Ham, Chicken, and Turkey, but didn't tell you the temperature if you use them. I just don't get it. Panasonic, please just tell us what these programs really mean.