The Panasonic NN-SD688S is a midsized countertop microwave that earns high marks from several professional reviewers. This 1.2-cubic-foot microwave has a high cooking power of 1,300 watts, and it includes inverter technology, which is designed to heat food more evenly. Other features include a cooking sensor to prevent overcooking and a 13.5-inch rotating turntable. Owners appreciate the Panasonic's stainless-steel exterior and easy-to-use controls. However, some reviewers say this microwave is bulky and noisy, and we also saw several complaints that the electronic display can only be read from certain angles. More disturbingly, we read many complaints about this microwave's reliability, including a couple of reports of dangerous overheating. A more reliable choice is the comparably sized Kenmore 6633 (*Est. $140) , which is also less expensive. If you need a higher capacity, the 2.2-cubic-foot GE Profile JES2251SJ (*Est. $275) also earns good reviews.
The Panasonic NN-SD688S has been subjected to detailed professional tests at ConsumerReports.org and the Good Housekeeping Research Institute. Wired also tests and reviews this microwave, rating it on a 10-point scale. The testing criteria are not very detailed, but the review provides good insight into how the Panasonic microwave performs in real-world situations. ApartmentTherapy.com, a home organization blog, also reviews the Panasonic NN-SD688S, and we found close to 150 user reviews at Amazon.com.
1. Good Housekeeping
The Good Housekeeping Research Institute awards the Panasonic NN-SD688S a so-so grade of B-minus. Although editors say the microwave is well made and its sensors deliver "precise results," they also note that it is noisy and uses more energy than other microwaves.
Review: Panasonic Genius Prestige 1.2 cu. ft. Counter-Top Microwave Oven, Editors of the Good Housekeeping Research Institute
ConsumerReports.org currently has ratings for more than 55 countertop microwaves, including the Panasonic NN-SD688S. Testing procedures are very thorough, with results clearly outlined in a ratings chart. Each microwave is rated on noise, ease of use, heating evenness and defrosting performance.
Review: Recommended Microwave Ovens, Editors of ConsumerReports.org
Reviewer Bryan Gardiner gives the Panasonic NN-SD688S an overall rating of 7 out of 10, calling it a "de-icing wonder" and a stylish and affordable choice. However, Gardiner says that the microwave is loud and has a large footprint.
Review: Microwave Inverter Is a Dorm-Room Nuclear Option, Bryan Gardiner, Aug. 7, 2009
4. Apartment Therapy.com
Gregory Han of ApartmentTherapy.com, a home organization blog, is fairly impressed with the Panasonic NN-SD688S, saying it cooks evenly and "pops a mean bag of popcorn." Han also mentions that its "complex interface" has a learning curve.
Review: Re(al)view: Panasonic NN-SD688S Prestige Microwave, Gregory Han, Aug. 27, 2009
Amazon.com has nearly 150 reviews for the Panasonic NN-SD688S, with an average rating of 4 stars out of 5. Most reviewers find it powerful, stylish and easy to use, but many complain that its display can be difficult to read. We also read many complaints about reliability, including a few alarming reports of overheating.
Review: Panasonic Prestige Microwave Oven, Contributors to Amazon.com