An entry-level machine designed with the smaller kitchen in mind the Panasonic NN-E281MMBPQ has 800W of microwave power and lines up at a compact 25.8cm high, 43.7cm wide and 33.7cm deep with a capacity of 20 litres (0.71 cubic foot). The cavity dimensions (H21.5 x W30.7 x D30.7cms) are fairly typical for compact machines of this size, but mean that some average sized cooking utensils will not fit inside. Not a machine, then, for ambitious dinner party cooking.
The Panasonic NN-E281MMBPQ’s oven has five power settings and nine auto programs including cook by weight and re-heat by weight. These functions are supported by an inbuilt weight sensor.
The touch controls are straightforward and consistent in operation, but one annoyance is that there is no default power setting – on most machines it’s “full power” – which means that the power level has to be set every time the oven is used. The machine is not overly sophisticated or feature rich, but what it does, it does very well, cooking food quickly and evenly with defrost programmes proving particularly effective.
A real lightweight unit at just 11kg, the Panasonic microwave oven can slide around in use, proving a little front heavy when the door is open causing the device to tilt forward. Coming with a child lock to keep inquisitive fingers out of harm’s way, construction is up to Panasonic’s usual standard but the relatively budget price is reflected in the plastic cavity walls and a certain feeling of ‘tininess’. Nevertheless, the Panasonic NN-E281MMBPQ is a decent compact microwave for the smaller family or where space is at a premium.