This Panasonic NN-SD681S microwave's Inverter technology ensures that your food is cooked effectively without overcooking. The Turbo Defrost allows you to quickly defrost foods and the 10 power levels make it easy to prepare a wide variety of food items.
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Initial review: Panasonic NN-SD681S Microwave Oven
Posted by: lixit from: Florida on
I am writing this review the week of purchase. I cannot comment on its reliability or durability, as of yet, but I will re-post a review later on if I do find any major flaws. I recommend that you purchase the extended warranty for this, or any other major appliance, as build quality in these industries has suffered in the last 10 years. Keep in mind that when you purchase a Best Buy warranty, it will start on the day of purchase (not the day that the manufacturer’s warranty ends). It will run concurrent with the standard first-year warranty. Because of this, I recommend the 4 year plan. The two year plan will essentially only give you one additional year of coverage. The warranty is renewable upon Best Buy’s discretion. However, in my personal experience, they will not allow you to renew it. (The conditions noted are for Florida; they may be different in your particular state).
It will reheat a large (24 oz.) mug of coffee to perfection in 55 seconds.
There is no light when door is open, only when the unit is cooking.
When cooking, it’s much louder than comparable units.
It has a huge (13 1/2 inch) turntable that extends fully to all four corners of the interior walls.
The stainless steel finish is a fingerprint magnet, but easily wipes clean with a hand towel.
The buttons don’t have a quality feel. The “click pressure” is uneven between the various buttons.
The matte silver plastic rotary knob feels cheap and doesn’t match the brushed steel look of the control panel. It rubs against the inside of the faceplate and makes a scratching noise when turned.
The black mirror finish on the window glass is a nice touch. Aesthetically, this is my favorite feature and it complements the brushed steel beautifully.
The unit is fairly lightweight, at just over 20 lbs., while remaining “solid.”
It has a sticky footprint and doesn’t move around on the counter, despite its light weight. However, the unit I purchased has a foot which is out of alignment and, with moderate pressure, will wobble on one corner. The feet are not adjustable to compensate for the unevenness.
It sits only 1/2 inch high on counter. Be wary of this if you plan to place the unit on a cart or counter with a raised lip, as it may hinder you opening the door.
The door only opens 90 degrees. This makes placing heavier plates into the unit a bit awkward because you can’t spread you elbows to gain leverage.
The blue LED display is easy to read from 10 or fewer feet away but becomes extremely blurred at farther distances, mainly because of the digit’s close spacing and the fact that blue-on-black color combinations are not very contrasting. It can be read from any angle (360 degrees vertical and horizontal), unlike its green-displayed predecessor.
Maximum cook time is only 30 minutes, but the maximum timer setting is 1 hour and 30 minutes.
The unit sounds-off five “end” beeps (two too many, in my opinion). Volume is acceptable.
Outside dimensions are very compact for its power class. I previously owned a 1997 model year Emerson 1.1 cu. ft. 1000 watt unit which was at least 2 inches taller and deeper, but had less interior space compared to this model. I believe this is because the Panasonic utilizes a more refined and slim-lined internal power supply. The back of most microwave ovens have an extended panel that juts out 2 to 4 inches to accommodate the IPS, but this unit’s panel only extends 1 1/2 inches.
The unit radiates a bit more external heat than I’m used to, especially on top. I would not recommend placing anything heat sensitive near the unit (like a stick of butter or a chocolate bar).
The power cord is thick and quality made but it is fairly short (3 ft. 4 in.).
The instruction manual is highly detailed and the sensor cook “cheat sheet” sticker at the bottom of the inside cavity is a nice reference tool when using this feature.
When using sensor cook, it displays the setting number up to a certain point (in my experience with potatoes, about 2-3 minutes), then it will sound-off 2 beeps and start a countdown (usually 9 additional minutes). It justifies cook time/temperature based on the food’s steam output so it will take a couple of minutes for it to approximate the remaining time. This is a great feature because I can calculate the rest of the meal and not have to worry about cold items cooked by other means due to not having a time reference and them getting cold sitting on the counter waiting for the microwave to finish.
The more/less button is also a well implemented feature allowing you to add or subtract about 10% of the time that the sensor's auto cook pre-established. This frequently comes in handy when I cook potatoes, as the basic sensor setting for potatoes tends to overcook them. I like to use smaller potatoes rather than the 4-8 oz. potatoes that the sensor setting is designed to cook, so being able to adjust the time with the more/less button is a nice feature that allows for more accurate cooking.
It has a “Quick Minute” button that automatically starts the unit and cooks for one minute (or adds additional minutes to current cook time with each press of the button), but a “Quick 30 Seconds” button would be much more useful as anything that would need to be cooked for one minute can easily be accomplished in 30 seconds with this more powerful 1200 watt oven.
It has a handy “Recipe Store” button which allows you to store one commonly used cook setting (user programmable). For instance: I need to soften a stick of butter about 3 times per week (Power 3 for one minute), so having this program preset into the microwave saves a bit of time - not having to navigate the power levels and cook time for a setting which I use often. However, it would be more useful if it saved, in my case, at least three settings: One for the butter, one for reheating my coffee (Power 10 for 55 seconds), and one for softening a bowl of ice cream (Power 4 for 35 seconds).
59 out of 62 found this review helpful.
Solid, durable and performs very well.
Posted by: lixit2 from: Central Florida on
Okay. It's been three months since purchase and I am updating my initial review of the Panasonic NN-SD681S microwave oven. (lixit)
All is well with the oven in terms of durability and cook performance. This microwave is incredibly precise. It accurately cooks, reheats and defrosts, and I have yet to screw anything up. The sensor cook feature is brilliant. If you've ever "nuked" food before when you just meant to thaw it, you'll appreciate sensor cooking. By sensing the steam emitted by the food being cooked, it will automatically regulate its power to quickly thaw frozen food, but without turning it into rubber. It performs just as well when cooking and reheating. The only downside to the sensor is that you can't cover the food as it will cause inaccurate steam readings. But... I do have some nitpicking to do now that I've had some time to "live with it."
First off, it drops my wifi signal every single time I cook something or, at the least, it slows the network dramatically. I know, I know... FCC regulations state that it is normal for the device to receive and/or emit interference, but I've never owned a microwave that actually did that until this one. All in all, it's just a nitpick; not a flaw.
Secondly, the door is truly a pain to open and close - mainly opening. I have to really press the button hard to get the door open. Closing the door is not nearly as difficult, but I have to slam it - as if I were mad at it, but I'm not. This door just likes it rough, I guess.
Thirdly, that *gorgeous* brushed steel finish gets so dirty so very quickly. I have to wipe fingerprints off of it every single time I use it. If you are obsessively clean like myself, go with a different finish - TRUST ME!
And lastly, it's very loud. So obnoxiously loud. I can be standing in my driveway next to my idling car and still hear the oven humming. Though, that may be blessing, because not many quiet appliances these days ever get awards for long-term durability. Usually, those only get the "best initial quality" or "most innovative" awards, then quit working two years later when the vanity wears off. So, for that reason, I'm kinda glad it's loud. With it's growling electronic hum, it's probably just trying to tell me, "I'll just be sitting here, anxiously awaiting to cook your dinner for many, many years to come... Besties forever, ol' friend." And I'm like, "Back at ya, Mike." Then I give it a wink.
28 out of 28 found this review helpful.
Worked fine until it died
Posted by: gljpe from: Ann Arbor, MI on
I was happy with this microwave for 6 months. Then it stopped working. The display went dark and it was completely dead. I took it to the closest Panasonic authorized repair shop to have it repaired. Though this was the closest it still took an hour to get there and back. It took over a week for them to fix it. I had it home for a few days before it was dead again. Back to the shop. After 10 days in the shop, I got it home and it worked for another few days before dying again. Panasonic tells me that they will not replace it until the repair shop says it is unrepairable, but after 4 hours of driving back and forth and being without a microwave for so long, it is going into the dumpster.
21 out of 21 found this review helpful.
This microwave does what they say it will
Posted by: LocoJimmy from: New Caney, TX on
This microwave works like one should. The inverter auto re-heat control heats food evenly to perfect temperature without burning the edges and splattering inside. It does take a little longer to finish than you would think but the results are great - Just right every time. The dial control is different but once you get used to it, it is very cool. The real stainless front will show finger prints, but I have seen other appliances that are "stainless finish" that say they don't when in reality it either isn't stainless or the stainless has a protective plastic layer that can be damaged easily. If you want a stainless finish microwave then you probably have other stainless appliances and therefore stainless cleaner. It is easy to wipe it off with a dab of cleaner on a rag. The door open button has to be pressed rapidly with a little more force than cheaper units but it is solid and does not feel cheap. It may loosen up after a little use. This is a great microwave. Some said it is noisy but it sounds like any other one to me. Keep in mind it is more powerful than most others in it's size class 1200 watts. One guy complained about a coffee perculator that was too loud - GET SOME THERAPY! This is a great microwave. I like the real buttons as opposed to a membrane type touch pad.
14 out of 14 found this review helpful.
best on the market for all the above needs
Posted by: iDog from: Anchorage, Ak on
I replaced a 30plus year old Panasonic that finally gave up with a bolt. They don't build them like they used to. It seems tinny and not built to last 30 yrs oh well it didn't cost as much and it has new technology although I have yet to see better performance and when I close the door its like a tin box and not solid like my old one. Weighs less and does more. I did notice the smears that show on the steel finish but that's not a problem for me. I could have saved a few bucks if I had bought from Amazon but this way it is an easier return if I find a big problem which I didn't. So far a good choice for a Microwave for all the above needs.
15 out of 15 found this review helpful.
Great new generation of microwave
Posted by: verypicky9 from: Colorado on
My wife and I are crazy about this microwave, especially sensor reheat. We can put room-temp, refrigerated, and frozen food all in a bowl together, without having to make or enter any estimates on a keypad (which this microwave doesn't have) and without having to cover the food, hit sensor reheat, and all of the food in the bowl is cooked just right with nothing over- or under-cooked. Typically the ceramic bowls we use are just hot enough (from the food) to keep the food warm until we finish eating it. When you do want to cook something a set amount of time, the selector button works very well--better than the old keypads ever did.
10 out of 10 found this review helpful.
Cooks food evenly
Posted by: SoccerMom50 from: Schaumburg on
Has power and cooks food evenly. Quiet. Easy to clean
9 out of 9 found this review helpful.
great microwave for commercial use
Posted by: Uman from: Marshall,MN on
I have purchased several of these for the Res. Halls at a University and only had problems with one going bad in 7 years of use. Has been a good product.
9 out of 9 found this review helpful.
Nice Looking. No hard corners. No light excpt cook
Posted by: labradorlover from: des moines ia on
Beautiful Microwave. Outstanding looking. Very nice size. The sensors and moisture detectors put out a quality of food I havr never had before.
7 out of 7 found this review helpful.
Nice appearance and useful features
Posted by: wj968 from: Columbus, OH on
This product seems to be well-built, but only the front surface is made of stainless steel. It is a nice-looking appliance for this price point, and no defects have appeared in 2 months of use. Controls are simple. Sensor cook and turbo defrost features work quite well. Footprint on counter top is reasonably small given its capacity.