Review: Panasonic NN-SD688S Microwave Inverter Oven

To hell with the slow food movement — when you’re drunkenly stumbling home at 3 a.m. and all you want is some overly processed Velveeta on a bed of nachos, there’s no better culinary workhorse than the microwave.

While it can’t match the cook quality of convection ovens, Panasonic’s new 1,300-watt wonder will still quickly infuse week-old pizza slices with a deliciousness you never knew they possessed. Best of all, it’ll handle more nuanced meals too. This inverter oven uses what Panasonic lewdly describes as “targeted soft penetration” to help prevent burnt edges and undercooked centers when slow-cooking your paellas.

Equally nifty is the unit’s onboard sensor, which eliminates the need to set a specific time when cooking or reheating certain dishes. Once steam is detected, the oven lets out two beeps and displays the remaining time based on the amount of condensation. While good for your average baked potato or bowl of oatmeal, this of course won’t work for raw or uncooked food or anything frozen.

For the latter category of vittles, what you will get is an enviable defrosting setting, which gradually and consistently lowers the microwave power over time. This translates into near-instant spoonability for ice cream (and spreadability for rock-hard butter sticks).

Panasonic even makes the dubious assertion that its oven won’t rob your meals of essential nutrients while pounding them with magical microwave energy. Admittedly, this is hard to test. But we will say we could practically taste the riboflavin in Jimmy Dean’s Pancakes & Sausage on a Stick.

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