The Panasonic Genius Prestige NN-SD681S a midsize countertop microwave that combines stainless-steel styling with inverter technology. Experts and owners like this feature, which allows the microwave to adjust its power level without cycling on and off, resulting in very even heating and defrosting. Users also like the Panasonic's accurate cooking sensors. However, they are more divided over its controls, which some find intuitive and others say are awkward.
Very accurate sensors. Professional testers give the Panasonic Genius Prestige NN-SD681S microwave high marks for its fast, even heating and even defrosting. Owners say that the inverter technology really makes a difference for tasks like melting butter or chocolate. Most users say this microwave's sensor settings are also very accurate, reheating leftovers to just the right temperature. We found only one reviewer at Amazon.com who complained about the cooking sensor, saying it does a poor job with frozen dinners. There are a few complaints that this microwave is a bit loud, but most owners don't find the noise excessive.
Looks great. The Panasonic Genius Prestige NN-SD681S microwave oven comes with a plethora of features. It includes 14 sensor-cooking cycles, plus four more for melting and softening. It can be programmed for multi-stage cooking, and includes delayed start, keep warm and a child lock to keep kids from tampering with the microwave's settings. However, the most frequently praised feature is its sleek stainless-steel styling. A few owners warn that it takes some work to keep the stainless surface smudge-free, but when it's clean it looks great, they say. Another plus: With the optional trim kit, you can install this microwave as a built-in.
A few gripes. Unlike most microwaves, the Panasonic Genius Prestige NN-SD681S has a retractable dial for setting the cook time, rather than a keypad. Some reviewers say this feature is very intuitive, but others find it awkward. The sensor-cook settings also come in for some criticism from users, who say it's hard to keep track of which setting is for which food. One feature owners particularly dislike is the interior light, which comes on only during cooking and not when the microwave is opened -- exactly the opposite of what they find useful. On the plus side, the microwave's bright blue display gets high praise from users, who say it's easy to read from any angle.
Seldom breaks, but hard to fix if it does. We did not see many durability complaints for the Panasonic Genius Prestige NN-SD681S countertop microwave. However, those users who did run into problems have many complaints about the difficulty of getting repairs. The only way to have the microwave fixed is to drive it to the nearest authorized service center, which could be hundreds of miles away. Moreover, labor costs for repairs are only covered under warranty for the first year. After that, labor costs plus transportation costs may make the microwave costlier to repair than to replace.
The ConsumerReports.org website has ratings for more than 55 countertop microwave ovens, including the Panasonic Genius Prestige NN-SD681S. Microwaves are rated on how quickly they heat water, how evenly they reheat and defrost food, their noise level and their ease of use.
Review: Recommended Microwave Ovens, Editors of ConsumerReports.org
The Panasonic Genius Prestige NN-SD681S has roughly 280 reviews at Amazon.com, with an overall rating of 4 stars out of 5. Owners praise its accurate cooking sensors, stylish looks and easy-to-read display, but several find that the controls are too complex and not intuitive.
Review: Panasonic NN-SD681S Genius "Prestige" 1.2 cuft 1200 Watt Sensor Microwave with Inverter Technology & Blue Readout, Stainless Steel , Contributors to Amazon.com
We found about 15 reviews for the Panasonic Genius Prestige NN-SD681S at Buzzillions.com, pulled from a variety of retail sites across the web. Owners praise the microwave's even heating, strong power output and stylish looks, but there are a few durability complaints.
Review: Panasonic NN-SD681S 1200-Watt Countertop Microwave Oven - Stainless Steel, Contributors to Buzzillions.com