I bought this Panasonic microwave about 3 maybe 4 years ago and payed about £80 for it. It Is 800 watts and white, it has the defrost function which is the main reason I went for this at this price. It has two switches on it, the top one is for the settings which include defrost, low, medium, high and the bottom one is simply the timer which is in minutes.
I find it really easy to operate, because of it's simplicity the defrost function works well for me as I use it to defrost meat esp chicken also things I want to cook in the oven but get a head start like jacket potatoes. I have not had any problems with food not being cooked properly or anything like that. I put the defrost on for 5 mins for meat and it sounds a bit noisy, but I just go out the room.
As far as cleaning is concerned the glass plate comes out and cleans very easily, and I steam clean the inside by putting a bowl of water in there and putting it on full for 5 minutes and leaving the door shut - then I clean it in 2 minutes this has kept it working fine.
I just realised I got up from doing this to use my microwave - to reheat my coffee ! I just put it in for 20 seconds, I also reheat a lot of snacks and food for 1 or 2 minutes and heat plates with some water on so they do not crack. So I use it a lot and it has not let me down.
my niece recently showed me that she does scrambled eggs in the microwave, so I have added that to the things I can do with it, as I thought they would explode !
Pan free cooking...
I certainly don't like washing up, and not having the space for a dishwasher means everything gets washed by hand in our house. Microwave meals are of course lazy and usually nutritionally poor value, but once in a while (or if I'm tempted by an M & S dine in for 2 offer) all good intentions go out of the window. It's not all bad though. The plastic trays the ready meals come in can now be recycled so at least I'm not adding to the landfill problem.
This is an 800 watt microwave, which means precious little to me except that it heats (or cooks) food quicker than those which are only 700 watts. In a practical sense, this shaves anything from 15 seconds up to a couple of minutes off the time it would take me using a 700 watt microwave. In the big scheme of things it's hardly an energy saver but it does save on the tedium of waiting.
.. With a sonic ping
It does have other uses besides making my dreams of hot chocolate sponge puddings become a reality. The defrost function proves very handy for occasions when I've forgotten to defrost food in advance. I prefer to let food defrost naturally, but I can't say I've noticed any difference in the taste whenever I've defrosted food in this microwave.
In it's favour I prefer steaming vegetables in this microwave than in a pan on the hob. In the distant past I've been distracted for long enough to have the saucepan boil dry whereas setting this microwave to cook for a set time is child's play.
This has a capacity of 20 litres which seems pretty standard for domestic microwaves. I have a fairly large steamer which is capable of holding enough vegetables for a family of four, and that fits inside nicely.
Looks wise, in all honesty, it's not overly impressive. It has a shiny metallic silver finish which belies it's age (around 7 years old) and a white acrylic interior. It's easy to wipe clean inside and out and if it looks slightly dated at least the exterior doesn't have one of those glossy surfaces which show any sticky fingerprints.
Aside from being easy to clean, this microwave is also easy to use. There are only two control dials down the right hand side together with the door release pad.
The dials are a good size and its settings are easy to read. The top dial is the power and defrost selection. I've only ever switched between the full power (800 w) and defrost options, although there is also the choice of medium and low power (600 and 440 watts respectively). The bottom dial is the timer selection which goes up to 60 minutes.
What you'll also get with this microwave is a small manual. Aside from the lowdown on it's technical specs, Panasonic have also included a fairly useful selection of recipes. Everything from soups and fish and meat dishes to some desserts is included, for those who still want to eat relatively healthily without resorting to using an oven. Although they sound relatively easy meals, I haven't tried them.
~ A few niggles ~
Although I'm in favour of the simple design, you'll probably gather that this Panasonic lacks some of the features or functions that other microwaves may have such as auto weight cook programmes or a grill function. I can't say that these are something I miss as I would still opt to cook any meat and fish dishes in my oven. Another point worth mentioning is that I think basmati rice tastes better if it's been cooked on my hob than in this. That's just a personal preference and to be fair to Panasonic I don't think it's a fault with this particular microwave but more the way that the rice gets cooked.
One thing which may bother some people is that it doesn't have an Lcd display and the timer isn't digital. I don't find this a problem as it's easy enough for me to position the manual dial accurately and I know from experience how long various things will take to cook.
Something else worth mentioning is the cost of replacing the glass plate this comes with. It's easy to remove and clean although being naturally clumsy I'm especially careful I don't drop it whenever I take it out. A friend dropped and broke hers (not a Panasonic one) and found a replacement plate cost almost as much as a new microwave.
~ Is it energy efficient? ~
Writing this during Lent, I'm conscious that chocolate is high on the list of delightful things some people may have forsaken. Worry not. I'm still eating enough chocolate for all of us. That includes a very delightful M & S melting chocolate sponge pudding. Heated up in this microwave for a matter of seconds, once it's removed from its tray the gooey chocolate looks and smells divine. Why wait an infinity for it to cook in the oven?
I don't think microwaves in general are very energy efficient, with this one coming in behind the kettle and hairdryer for energy usage in our house. Being on an Economy 7 tariff, the only way I could practically save any energy would be if I wanted to eat the pudding after 12.30 at night or before 7.30 in the morning. Now there's a thought.
Mostly it gets used for making porridge, hot chocolate drinks and occasionally those sponge puddings I've already mentioned, though rest assured not all at the same time. Together with defrosting meat I've found it works a treat and I'd happily recommend this microwave to anyone wanting a simple to use one.
The Panasonic NN-E232M 800 Watts Microwave Oven has a capacity of 0.7 cu / ft / / Short name: Panasonic NN-E232M