In general, over-the-range microwaves are more expensive than countertop models, and the 2-cubic-foot Whirlpool Gold GH7208XR is more expensive than most. However, it is a very versatile machine. In addition to 1,200 watts of microwave power, it has a 1,500-watt convection oven, so it can bake and grill like a regular oven. It also includes cooking sensors, multi-stage cooking and a steam function (a relatively new and rare feature). Both professionals and users praise this microwave's performance and versatility. Reviewers say it heats and defrosts evenly and is very easy to use. However, user reviews for this model are very mixed, with many complaints about poor durability. Others add that the powerful fan, though it provides good ventilation, is noisy. You can get most of the same features, combined with better reliability, for less money by choosing the somewhat smaller Kenmore Elite 8601 microhood (*Est. $730) . If you don't need a convection oven in your over-the-range microwave, you can save even more by choosing the highly rated Samsung SMH9187 (*Est. $280) , which lacks the convection feature.
The best review of the Whirlpool Gold GH7208XR comes from ConsumerReports.org, which conducts very thorough tests of over-the-range microwaves. This model is also rated a Best Buy at ConsumerGuide.com. However, we found few user reviews to back up these professional recommendations, and those we did read are very mixed. Amazon.com has only about 35 reviews, with a low average rating of 2 stars out of 5. The Whirlpool Gold GH7208XR fares better at AJMadison.com, with an above average star rating of 3.7, but it has only about 15 reviews here. Finally, Buzzillions.com pulls about 25 reviews from various sites around the web.
ConsumerReports.org currently has ratings for more than 75 over-the-range microwaves, including the Whirlpool Gold GH7208XR. 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
The Whirlpool Gold GH7208XR is rated a Best Buy at ConsumerGuide.com, with 5 stars out of 5 for performance, value, features and ease of use. The reviewer likes this model's multiple cooking methods (including microwave, convection and steam) and says it also provides great ventilation.
Review: Whirlpool Over-the-Range Convection Microwave Velos GH7208XR, Editors of ConsumerGuide.com, Nov. 10, 2006
The Whirlpool Gold GH7208XR receives only about 35 reviews at Amazon.com, and they are unenthusiastic, with an average rating of 2 stars out of 5. Users like this model's performance but not its durability, with multiple reports of product failures -- within the first few years, the first few months or, in one case, the first 20 minutes -- as well as poor customer service.
Review: Whirlpool Gold: Over the Range Microwave Oven, Contributors to Amazon.com
There are only about 15 reviews for the Whirlpool Gold GH7208XR at this retail site, and the microwave receives a mixed overall rating of 3.7 stars out of 5. Though users say the microwave is attractive and "does everything," we also found complaints about its reliability, noise level and high price tag.
Review: Whirlpool Gold GH7208XR, Contributors to AJMadison.com
Buzzillions.com has about 25 reviews for the Whirlpool Gold GH7208XR, pulled from various sites across the web. Users award the microwave 3.8 stars out of 5 overall, saying it is powerful and attractive but not that reliable.
Review: Whirlpool 2.0 cu. ft. Velos(R) SpeedCook Oven, Contributors to Buzzillions.com