I've purchased a number of Breville appliances over the years, and despite having had a varied results with product reliability, I took a chance and gave this microwave a try. To begin, this is not a convection microwave. It is not new technology. It is a regular, relatively underpowered microwave at only 900w. The "crisping" feature is nothing more than a round metal pan with a non-stick coating that sits inside the microwave. If you want foods to remain crisp on the bottom, you have to place them in the metal pan, turning them over mid-way through cooking. At least, that is how it is supposed to work. In reality, this crisping pan does not crisp anything at all. I've made numerous attempts, to no avail. Basically, the microwave makes the pan get really hot. I'm not impressed. Like many others, no doubt, I was lured in by it's attractive design. Speaking of the design- there is no numeric keypad to enter the amount of time you want to cook something. Instead, there is a rather delicate metal looking dial. You twist this dial, and there are little clicks. The screen increases the cooking time with each click. Unfortunately, this dial malfunctioned right out of the box on my first unit. No matter how slow or how fast I turned the dial, the time on the screen would increase to about 1 min, then all of a sudden jump to 7 mins, or 5 mins. Very erratic and extremely annoying. Setting the cooking time is the most basic of features, and this unit fails miserably at it. I returned the first microwave, and received a replacement unit, which, malfunctioned in the very same way right as soon as I plugged it in. Clearly this is an issue. I contacted Breville USA about this, and was told they have had no complaints, and that this is a sturdy model, which should last at least a year. A year? My old Samsung lasted 15+ years with daily use. What you have here is basically a $99 underpowered microwave, with a $250 metal non-stick "crisping" pan as a gimmick. At least, that is how I see it. it is beautiful to look at, and has some fairly clever features, although some of which are bizarre. For instance, there is a narrow strip along the right inside edge after you open the microwave door, on which there are buttons for pre-set cooking times/heat levels. I have no idea why they put the buttons inside the microwave, other than to have a cleaner appearance on the front. It is very bizarre. You can do much better. Get a regular microwave, and maybe one of Breville's Smart Ovens (countertop oven), and problem solved. In the end, you want a powerful, reliable microwave, with an easy to use control panel. This is not it.
No, I would not recommend this to a friend
Most people have no idea how to correctly use a microwave. They think the highest wattage and fastest cooking time is what is important and that causes all kinds of problems. Breville takes a completely different approach. The problem with other microwaves is you cook something and part of the dish is really hot and another part is cold. Or the food ends up kind of crunchy or rubbery. Or the microwave makes some stuff really well but other stuff comes out like goo. The consistency problem comes from people using them wrong. Americans want everything bigger and faster so manufacturers set most microwaves to turbo, cooking everything way too fast and using too much power so results are often iffy. This microwave automatically reduces the power and adds in pauses during cooking cycles (completely hidden from the user as the countdown is continuous and the interior remains lit) so the temperature of the dish has time to even out and the dish comes out much more uniformly. This works incredibly well and I've never had anything not come out perfectly or nearly perfectly. You can melt butter, melt chocolate, make popcorn, make microwave frozen meals, baked potatoes, warm leftovers, make hot beverages - all just using the preset settings. The reviewer complaining that this microwave doesn't have a numeric pad to enter time is the perfect example of what not to do when using microwaves. Its the same kind of person who cooks stuff for 3 minutes no matter what the dish is and then removes it at 2:45 because of impatience and then complains the food is terrible. Minimal effort = minimal results. So why didn't I give this 5 stars? Two big reasons - first - the build quality does feel kind of cheap. The display and dial are very nice, but the exterior is cheap feeling and you are paying a premium price so it should have a better build. The second reason is a matter of choice between convenience and affordability. This microwave costs substantially more than similar microwaves. Once you figure out that you need to a) lower the power b) cook things slightly longer and c) add pauses while cooking, almost any microwave can cook as well as this one. But, you have to be willing to adjust the settings yourself and, unfortunately, changing the power level on most microwaves isn't intuitive. There are combo buttons to press and you have to enter the commands in a certain order which varies based on make and model of the unit. And you have to know what power level to use and how long to pause for each dish. In contrast, this microwave makes everything super easy. You just turn two knobs to select what you are cooking and how much the item weighs (approximate is OK) and then just wait for perfect results.
I would recommend this to a friend