Panasonic Microwave Reviews
If you have read any of my household appliance reviews you'll know that you can easily prove what I own from the information I include and when it comes to microwaves, my last Panasonic NN-E281BMBPQ purchased in November 2011 is still a great saver to the large combination John Lewis "Panasonic" oven my late mum bought in 2010 ... and is STILL waiting for the part to arrive. Well, I couldn't wait any longer - I've put up with NINE months waiting for the specialised magnetron cover and internal parts to arrive for the John Lewis microwave that uses a Panasonic design, thus apart from no help whatsoever from John Lewis UK (and a surprise since their customer services are pretty good) when the oven was supposed to come with a 4 year guarantee but purchased end of 2009 and only came with a 3 year guarantee has seriously questioned my loyalty to the premium franchise. Thus, I made up my mind there and then never to consider John Lewis again for their own brand name microwaves- and a warning to others to always read the small print. How have I managed in the mean time? Well, apart from endless microwave dinners, I have been using my slow cooker to get by for the longer baking of foods and casseroles. Since my late mum and I relied heavily on the previous combination oven by Panasonic nee John Lewis, I decided to research the market for a suitable replacement as well as looking into an alternative, like a budget fitted convection oven.
As before however, what I needed was a large oven cavity to accommodate the kinds of cooking I do, from baking to meat dishes, roasts and the odd full size family chicken, of which I use the bones and carcass thereafter for soup, as all good traditional cooks do. The oven would have to be compact and combination in design, really only be suitable for one or two people using it even though at the time with a secondary microwave oven already located elsewhere in the kitchen, my mind was swayed between a Hotpoint convection fan assisted built in oven to replace the old Bosch, or a combination microwave, but using the oven most of the time. After looking at alternatives by Sharp, Sanyo and Delonghi, my money went on the Panasonic NN-CF778S. For the fact that it comes with a limited time 5 year guarantee upon registration and for the other fact that it has a drop down door - bringing back good memories of our first Panasonic microwave back in the 1980's that lasted for 15 years, - and its drop down door taking up less space than conventional side opening doors.
At cost the Panasonic NN-C778S cost me £249-00 from Scottish Hydro and elsewhere online, this appliance commands a high price of between £250 to £300. For your money you get a top spec combo microwave unit sprinkling with features like generic Panasonic's Inverter technology, three different levels of their preset Chaos defrost functions and amidst cooking programs and a four attachments to be used with the oven, all of it is wrapped up in a shiny silver and brushed stainless steel design that looks utterly professional and high class.
==Nar2's Quick Skip Product Spec==
* Model: Panasonic NN-CF778S 1000 watt convection microwave oven.
* 27-litre family size capacity.
* 2 shelf cooking facility & clip on drip tray.
* Inverter technology & flatbed design with drop down door.
* Energy save function & Chaos defrost.
* Stainless steel exterior & interior.
* Comes with flat bed glass tray, metal grill pan tray, arcing ring & slotted grill tray.
* 6 Power levels, auto weight cook functions, 3 heat setting grill option.
* 1300-watt grill element & clip on drip tray.
* Energy efficiency rating A, maff setting E.
* Size: 53cm by 53.5cm and 33cm height.
* Limited registration 5-year warranty offer.
* Cost price £249-00 from Scottish Hydro, £280 to £300 online from sellers (example £285 from Tesco.com).
When it comes to design, quality and features, it may help to read the user manual that comes with this product even if you have owned a combo microwave oven before. The Panasonic NN-C778S kind of moves the game on where microwave design is concerned, even if it is a little at a time. You won't find a turntable in this model for example, which I found disconcerting at first and reminded me strongly of a Samsung microwave that first came to the market in 2001 lacking a turntable with a great tendency to burn food or not even properly cook it without a turntable rotating a plate whilst the microwaves cooked the food. I recall the seething reviews that the Samsung got, forcing the company to eventually pull that microwave off the market! Decked out in brushed stainless steel, the Panasonic NN-CF778SBPQ certainly looks professional enough.
The basic and general layout of this Panasonic oven is simple to use though and it is relatively easy to forget what you might be used to where glass plates are concerned. This time you get a glass plate for sliding into the base of the Panasonic's flatbed oven and it has walled sides, almost reminding me of a square Pyrex brownie glass tray, but made of clear glass as opposed to Pyrex's generic orange tint. By pressing activation buttons on its smooth black touch control panel to the right hand side of the main control panel and then twisting the seamlessly smooth jog control dials for increment timings or adjusting the temperature of the oven, depending on the choice you are using, it doesn't exactly inspire new technology if you are used to sole buttons on past ovens. To Panasonic's credit however, the two main jog dial controls beautifully press in and pop out for safety as well as provide difficulties for inquisitive little fingers and even though there is the default Panasonic child safety lock built in as standard, the two dial controls strongly remind me of the "solid state" radio controls from Sony products from the 1970's and my last Delonghi combo microwave oven a few years ago had the same kind of control mechanisms - Is a step back to two-stage controls compared to press buttons, the right direction to take?
Where general performance is concerned, this appliance gets easier every time you use it, but it still takes a good read of the user manual if you're not sure. After nearly a month's ownership I am still reading the user manual every so often and still treating the Panasonic with kid gloves. This is purely because of the previous experience with the Panasonic John Lewis combo microwave and note that a few other things have changed. Outside the product, the Panasonic NN-CF778S comes well recommended by the Good Housekeeping Institute and recently won a "Best Buy," from Which?
As a microwave, the Panasonic NN-CF778 is plain sailing, even if you still have to cover every open vessel with a cover to avoid boiling over or splatters. Cooking, reheating and defrosting can be done to a high and reasonably quick standard - but even with its claimed 1000 watts of heat power, I don't find the Panasonic to be any better than my budget Panasonic microwave only model and when it comes to the lower power of my budget Panasonic microwave that lacks "Inverter" technology! The inverter technology that Panasonic promise here links up with a more compact heating inverter that supposedly heats up food faster and more equally, especially on lower heat levels. This doesn't just mean you still get simmer, low, warm, medium and high heat levels but also counteracting the three stage defrost levels that equally offer up an extra three heat levels idea for reheating foods like bread, meat or fish.
Panasonic also claim that Inverter technology takes 3kg off the weight of the product in question - but if all of this was so true, the rear of this oven wouldn't suffer so much in so far as endless bits of metal and fan vents that has been placed as an after thought with no regard to making the actual rear of the Panasonic's exterior that little bit more compact. As for the weight, well it was muggings that had to carry it into the home in the box and out of the box; this oven weighs in excess of 20kg, which hardly moves the game on, when Panasonic's so-called Inverter technology promises their appliances to be lighter.
However, I can't but feel a little disappointed for the £250 I've paid. From its look, the Panasonic NN-C778S certainly looks professional enough, but when it comes to using the fan assisted oven, the preheat function often confuses me because, as with the microwave function you still have to press a button and dial something before starting. In oven model, you have to dial the temperature in first and then dial in the time duration for cooking. However as handy and large as the green LED's are in the display, the NN-C778S tries to take over with the preheat function if you look at the display intentions showing up. Forgo that and you can dial the temperature in and press start to get cooking, rather than preheating and pressing start before the actual cooking prep - and with only 250° centigrade as its total heat output on offer, it takes the Panasonic a couple of minutes to preheat the cavity before food can be cooked. A micro pad of all buttons would be far quicker to programme here than the nonsense of pressing a single button and then having to use the dials - and over the use with a convection fitted oven with a single control dial - the Panasonic here isn't as quick to operate no matter how bling the whole thing looks - even if the food I've cooked comes out sizzling and well cooked.
Panasonic would like to think they have reinvented the interior for example, but I was surprised to find that the interior doesn't have the easier to keep clean black enamel paint in my budget oven, but rather all shiny silver stainless steel. It makes little difference with the light that stays on throughout operation, only making the interior look that little bit brighter once the door is opened, revealing gleaming, shiny walls whilst food stains are relatively easy to take off with just a damp cloth and a little gentle washing up liquid. The back of the oven has a self cleaning catalytic coating, so there's no need to further clean it although the top of the oven shows off flush fitting grill elements that Panasonic suggest you turn on once in a while for them to burn off any deposits of old food sticking to them. To those with the traditional microwave oven with a turntable, the whole process of use eventually becomes easy with the lack of a turntable and whilst the flat bed is easy to use, the glass tray that Panasonic include can be optionally used, making it easier to use just the plate that your food is on - provided that it is microwave safe and relatively heat resistant in the first instance.
There are particular further restrictions in using the Panasonic as a convection fan assisted oven once you open the drop down door and there's an outer PVC black drip tray that is supposed to be included with this oven, which I didn't find in the box to counteract any steam water evaporation through use (although it did arrive today in the post). Although the flat sides of the oven allow a good capacity, the metal slotted shelf grill you get can only be put in two height positions, the tallest having only a 6cm depth between it and the elements at the top. At a push you can put frozen chicken or fish fillets in, but use tinfoil instead of using the grill alone as you'll find food sticks to the metal grids. Nothing new there that you would find in a conventional oven alone - but I would have liked to see more rung height adjustments here rather than the two that allows the slotted grill and the grill pan underneath to slide into. Also the drop down door is light enough to pull down and shut back up, but it isn't weighted, so you can't place any food or implements on top of the door - so unlike our past 1980's drop down door on our old Panasonic - whilst the hinges are thin to the eye and don't inspire longevity.
So if you use the Panasonic for a few good hours with one food preparation, you may expect to find the exterior panels really hot to the touch. This isn't helped by copious air vents that allow the fan oven too cool down - the Panasonic may well be high tech when it comes to cooking foods, but the design of its body is far from modern when it comes to exhausting the hot air afterwards. As such it isn't the kind of oven that will fit properly in an enclosed space - unless you give it enough space for the hot air to circulate.
When it comes to the multi-cooking stages that the NN-CF778S offers, the Panasonic doesn't really bring anything new to the table. This is where the combination cook menus become overly complicated in theory - but not complicated once you get used to it. The Panasonic's helpful large display LED screen helps out a fair bit here as a bit of a bonus whenever one programme selection is made with decals lighting up showing me what I need to do beforehand in so far as the different trays are concerned. But in all honesty, it's a bit of a faff still having to remove the grill and all matter of metal for microwave cooking, then removing the glass plate before adding the grill pan and slotted grill as well as the arcing ring should you use further metal in the oven when in convection mode, and then after all that, stand about asking the Panasonic to restart its cooking procedure - as well as having to recheck the food when the Panasonic beeps intermittently - and just like past models, this one will beep 7 times after it has been used - or any seconds lower than this if you are impatient to get the food out and just open the door!
There are a couple of further downsides though. Although the glass plate that comes with the Panasonic as standard is dishwasher safe, neither the slotted metal grill or enamel metal pan is dishwasher safe, begging me to ask why when in this day and age, most ovenware is dishwasher safe!
The auto cook programs featured are much better thought out even though you'll still be left with doing combination cooking, using the enamel tray provided and swapping it around back to glass when required to do microwave cooking. There are no less than 19 programs featuring generic foods that microwave have been known to cook well and the English only user manual has loads of great recipes as well as very helpful charts to gleam info from. From fresh vegetables to jacket potatoes, breaded fish, chicken pieces, frozen and fresh pizza, whole chicken and even pastry programs, the Panasonic is never left wanting with its built in auto weight cook programs. However to go through with these programs, this oven isn't exactly "auto cooking" in its process, especially if you have to chop and change with the different settings and continuously weigh foods before you cook them as well as later standing nearby when the Panasonic stops intermittently for you to check the food as it cooks.
One further downside is that despite the huge number of recipes that the user manual gives, the operations section is brimming with warnings and tips. Therefore whilst it is handy to have the recipes, Panasonic should look at ways in which the user section could be easier to read and better thought out.
Finally, for all the Panasonic is compact to look at, it isn't really. You will need quite a large space to accommodate this oven and as such, although it is slim and flush fitting to the eye from the front, Panasonic have made little attempt to produce an oven here that is space efficient - especially when viewed from the side.
So, when all things are considered. although pricey at cost, the Panasonic NN-CF778S combination microwave oven has a few good design features and cooks to a reasonably high standard without being overly noisy and some may well love the pop up jog controls. The more you spend time with it, the more it becomes intuitive to use and if you are looking for a microwave combo unit that can accept large plates, the Panasonic NN-CF778S is super at accommodating them due to its rectangular flat bed design. The controls are very easily labelled with a large LCD screen that is clear to see and easy to understand.
However good the quality is on this model, elsewhere online, the NN-CF778S has been met with criticism where quality is concerned and I can see why. Panasonic have started to use lesser quality metal finishes on their microwaves and this is evident from online reviews by other buyers slating the door hinges and a perceived quality drop from previous Panasonic models. Although I haven't had problems as yet, I can foresee that the guarantee with this product may well be used before two or three years is up, if going by past experience. The perceived quality issue is a bit worrying however and that prevents me from awarding full marks for the Panasonic NN-CF778S. Certainly over the appeal of a larger cavity that a more conventional fitted convection oven offers, the Panasonic NN-CF778S is certainly worthy of more compact considerations - especially for one or two people as opposed to a family who would get the best out of a bigger built in unit. As a compromise to the latter type of appliance, this combo microwave oven isn't exactly perfect - and for a pricey Panasonic oven, it should be! Thanks for reading. İNar2 2012.
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We had been thinking about getting a new microwave for some time. The microwave that we had was only a cheap and basic model and quite recently due to our work commitments I have found myself using my microwave more and more to heat up meals that I have already cooked as well as using it as opposed to putting the hob on. After looking ... around we opted to purchase the Panasonic microwave and grill, model number CT569M. There are a number of reasons which I will explain in the review which swayed me to buy this particular model but I have been pleased so far and I have been using the model for around 4 months now.
The microwave will cost you around the £90.00 mark. We saw that it was available in Argos but we made our purchase from the Amazon store, the cost being the same but it was great having the microwave delivered to our home address. The microwave is part of the Panasonic family and we have had a couple of appliances from them before and been pleased so we had our fingers crossed that the microwave would work out ok.
It came well packaged and upon opening it was very clear that there was very little installation required. There was a black electrical lead and plug attached to the back of the microwave, just fewer than 120cm so we had lots of room to get it plugged in. We put ours on the worktop and even though it was sturdy, it still felt as if it was lightweight to move around. It is 13.5kg in weight The design is very sleek and modern and fitted in well with the design and layout of our kitchen. There is a control panel on the front and this allows you to get the microwave to cook and grill the foods as well as defrost.
There is 1000 watts of power output and the microwave has 9 power settings. The actual dimensions of the microwave are 31x52x40cm (HxWxD). The microwave has the panel on the right hand side and there is an LCD clock at the top. There is a button at the bottom that allows the door of the microwave to be opened and closed. The glass allows you to look inside to see what is cooking. There is a glass plate that fits onto the turntable as well as the microwave coming with a removable grill.
I guess it was not that hard to cook the simple things in the microwave, I cooked some baked beans and it was a case of using the start button and the clock button and a couple of minutes alter the beans were done. For things that are cooked relatively quickly, the microwave is so efficient and much easier in my opinion than having to cook a meal on the hob. The next test came when I needed to defrost some mince ready to make a lasagne! I am not normally a fan of the quick defrost, I prefer to take something out of the freezer the night before but this was a time when the microwave came into its own! The cooking settings are easy to navigate around and there is a timer that you can adjust to allow how long you want to set the defrost process for.
We have not used the grill that much with the microwave but I have used it on the odd occasion when warming some rolls through, the sort that need grilling both sides and as opposed to putting my cooker on, it was easier to use the microwave and I was impressed with the results.
I guess the idea of any microwave is that it is efficient and reduces certain cooking times and processes. This model manages to cook all foods really well and when in motion it is quiet and there is a distinctive ringing of the bell when it is done, three pings in fact! The turntable and plate are good, I have never had the plate catch at all and I can put the glass plate in the dishwasher when it needs a clean.
In summary, I am sure you have guessed that I would be happy to recommend my microwave. It is quite important in our household to have one and this one works really well and fingers crossed it carries on that way!
4 out of 5 from me on this one
Thank you for reading
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~ Panasonic Combination Microwave ~ If I could simply say this review in one word it would have to be ... Amazing! But I can't so I will go on .... My previous microwave was a combination microwave that I had off my mum, therefore as she had already thrown away the instruction manual the microwave was used simply as ... that ... A microwave!
One day whilst browsing online I found that Panasonic were looking for testers for the microwave I am reviewing and after putting my name forward I was immensely happy to receive an email a few weeks later saying that I had been chosen and to expect a phone call to arrange delivery. And before long the call came through and I eagerly anticipated the delivery.
On the day of delivery I was also expecting another parcel which was nothing special if I am honest so I was disappointed when the first knock of the door resulted in the 'not so special' parcel, as the day was getting on I was thinking that maybe Panasonic had decided against sending the microwave after all and I was quite disappointed but then a knock at the door had me getting all excited ... Yes it was finally here!
Oh the shock I had when the driver brought it from the van! It was packaged in black wrapping and was absolutely humongous! I was looking at this huge black box thinking to myself how big could a microwave be, when I realised I must have been thinking aloud, as the delivery driver asked why was I so shocked at the size? I said it's a microwave ... He was pretty much crying in laughter and said are you sure it's not actually a cooker? Great!
After getting over the initial shock of the size and calling my hubby to lug in the huge parcel, I got about unpacking it. The wrapping was rather thin so the size of the parcel didn't change by very much at all, I got into the box and for once I was pleased to see a nice covering of polystyrene, this obviously meant the microwave was definitely not as big as I first thought ... Pheww!
Nestled in the box, amongst the protective packaging was a gorgeous shiny new microwave. I had my hubby to pick it up out of the box as it was rather heavy and he sat it in the place the previous microwave once sat. It was quite a bit bigger but luckily it wasn't under any cupboards so was fine where it was. I have read some reviews on this microwave where people have needed to re-shuffle the kitchen in order to make it fit somewhere, I think I was quite lucky here!
Now there are two really big differences between this microwave and any other microwave I have ever seen. The first one is the door. Rather than opening outwards and swinging open, the door on this one just pulls down, I really like this feature. The second is the fact there is no turntable/plate inside as it is a flat bed microwave, again this is another feature I really like it really makes a difference to how much you can cook inside it.
More features include shelves like in a conventional oven, the microwave comes with a wire shelf, an enamel shelf, a glass baking tray and an anti-spark ring - more on this later.
As a tester I was required to obviously test the microwave ... Duh! And in doing so I decided to try and make a roast dinner, very adventurous! I placed a joint of meat directly onto the enamel shelf, I then placed a few par-boiled potatoes onto the glass dish, inserted the meat onto the lower shelf setting and then placed the wire self onto the top shelf, onto this I put the glass tray and set the microwave onto the Convection option by pressing a button on the side, selected my temperature and time by turning the two control knobs. It really was that easy.
As this was my first attempt in using the microwave I kept popping back to check the meal was cooking, and it was, to perfection.
At the end when the time was up, the microwave beeped to let me know. Upon checking I saw that the LED panel was flashing and telling me to ' Open the door ', I did, and was pleased to find everything looked perfect. I had also popped in a few par boiled carrots towards the end and these roasted perfectly too.
The meal was soon devoured and everyone said how nice and moist the meat tasted.
So far so good!
So enough of the cooking, lets get back to the microwave.
The casing of the microwave is in a stunning brushed steel which is quite neutral so should fit in with any kitchen. It looks classy and smart.
The door like most other microwaves has a simple rectangle of glass which allows you to see inside. The handle to open the door runs along the top of the glass part, the handle is silver, slightly curved and feels very sturdy, like I have mentioned above this is a door that drops down rather than swinging outwards and as I have said I do like this. I like it because it gives you more options as to where you put the microwave.
On the right hand side of the door is the control panel, this is a nice sleek black panel and has nine different options on here to choose from.
4. Turbo Bake.
These are set on a nice touch pad that runs down in a line and looks really neat. Next to these you will find the LED panel and two knobs. These knobs can be pushed in when not in use and makes it looks very sleek, when you want to use them you simply lightly press the button and the knob will pop out. Under these is the little Start button.
Technical information -
1000w (IEC) Output
Flat Oven Technology
Stainless Steel Finish
Width - 531mm
Height - 328mm
Depth - 534mm
As previously mentioned, this microwave has no turntable and I have found that this allows me to cook larger items as they fit in easily. It offers a lot more space which is very handy. Of course this increases cooking flexibility.
When I first looked through the instruction book I noticed that it is recommended that you cook empty for five minutes before the first use to allow any lubrication oils to be burned away before the first use.
The instruction book is brilliantly detailed with so much written information as well as pictures, it also has useful guidelines to allow you to see what temperatures you may need to use, for instance a fruit cake would be cooked on either a gas mark 1 or 225f in a conventional oven yet in the microwave used on convection it would be a temperature of 140c.
I have the book really useful and am very grateful for the amount of information Panasonic have provided.
The book also has a nice selection of recipes and also tells you what every pad option does and how you can do it, you can combine cooking methods and the book shows you the simple process in doing so.
I have made a Victoria Sponge cake in the microwave and am really impressed with the results. I love to bake anyway but compared to using my gas cooker the cakes came out so much more fluffier in this.
I will be totally honest and say that since receiving this my cooker has been made pretty much redundant as this does everything and more!
It has a RRP of around £299, but Amazon currently have it on sale for £230 (ish).
Using it has been a dream. What with having four children I am grateful for anything that will offer to cut cooking times and this has lived up to that.
I am so impressed with it.
I would see this as an ideal item for students and for any small kitchens. It really could replace the need for a conventional oven as it does everything you would need it to do. With it being a microwave as well it's an all in one multi-function machine.
Thanks for reading :o) x
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