The Sharp YC-GC52FU-B 25L Microwave with Grill and Convection is a compact combi microwave that is surprisingly spacious and easy to use thanks to its clear control panel and handy time/weight setting knob. While its automatic programmes have a limited range compared with some other models, and the grill here is on the weak side, this combi oven has strong convection and decent microwave functions. The YC-GC52FU-B manages most cooking and reheating tasks well, with a bit of unevenness when it comes to defrosting and grilling. Its manual could do with more detail regarding the auto programmes and the usability of the provided accessories – but it does explain the various combi settings.
- Low price
- Clear control panel
- Cryptic auto programmes
- Weak grill setting
- UKRRP: £169.99
- TypeThis is a freestanding flatbed microwave with convection oven and grill features.
- PowerThis microwave has a maximum setting of 900W.
- Max temperatureThe oven goes up to a maximum temperature of 230C.
Combination microwaves tend to be pricier than regular microwaves because they operate both as an oven and a microwave while often boasting other cooking functions and automatic programmes. The Sharp YC-GC52FU-B 25L Microwave with Grill and Convection shines as a cheaper option.
While it doesn’t have the same range or quality of auto programmes as the more high-end models – and its grill setting is on the weak side – it offers a decent microwave and excellent convection performance, managing to fit in a good amount of food while not taking up too much of your countertop space.
Design and features
- Spacious despite the small footprint
- Control panel and time/weight knob easy to use
- Instruction manual could do with more detail
The first thing you’ll notice about the Sharp YC-GC52FU-B 25L Microwave with Grill and Convection is that it’s pretty compact. While its capacity at 25L is lower than some of its combi competitors’, it can still fit a whole chicken up to 1.4kg and defrost up to 2kg of food at a time.
The YC-GC52FU-B’s design is minimalist, and it’s well-lit on the inside, with a generous window allowing a good view of the cooking process (as long as it doesn’t get too steamy). The appliance has a black metal body with a black glass front and a matching black plastic control panel with touch-sensitive buttons. Both the glass and the plastic do tend to get covered in fingerprints. However, the control panel locks easily for a quick wipe-down.
The controls allow for a nice degree of customisability: in addition to a child lock, the Eco function enables you to turn off the display to save power, and a mute button stops the appliance from beeping. Meanwhile, a preferred setting can be saved under the Favourite button.
Other control panel functions include Auto Menu, Clock/Timer, Microwave, Grill, Convection, Weight/Time Defrost, Microwave + Grill, Microwave + Convection, as well as the Stop and Start buttons, which double as Eco mode activation and add 30 seconds to the cooking time respectively.
The LCD is small but very clear, and having a pleasantly whirring knob for time and weight selection takes the strain out of wrists and fingers.
A flatbed design means there is no turntable here. Yet the baking tray and grill rack provided are both round – purportedly to facilitate more even cooking as, according to the manual, round dishes are recommended because the corners of rectangular tins tend to cook faster than the middle.
Helpfully, there is a little rubber rim around the base of the oven, catching some of the condensation that can gather during steamier microwaving sessions while still remaining easy to clean.
The instruction manual is thin here and omits some crucial information, such as whether the grill rack or baking tray are suitable for any of the combi modes or auto programmes. (Sharp has confirmed they are not suited for combi or microwave-only cooking.) Furthermore, there’s scant detail on how the auto programmes actually cook the food, leaving you listening out for sounds to guess which of the microwave’s three main functions have been activated.
In addition to the 13 auto programmes for heating various foods, the YC-GC52FU-B has two Microwave + Grill (30%/70% and 55%/45%) and four Microwave + Convection (140°C, 170°C, 200°C and 230°C) settings. The microwave function has 11 power levels (from 0% to 100% in 10% intervals), while convection temperatures span 110°C to 230°C, and weight-based defrosting ranges from 100g to 2kg in 100g increments.
- Some unevenness at defrosting but even reheating
- Grill setting not very strong
- Varying success with auto programmes
The Sharp YC-GC52FU-B 25L Microwave with Grill and Convection showed a little unevenness in some tests but thrived at others.
Using the time-based defrost setting, I microwaved two slices of frozen white bread for 1min. This function gradually reduces power from 40% to 30%, then stopping to remind you to turn over the food, before continuing at 20% power. After 40secs, the oven alerted me to flip over the bread. The extremes were already present, with both hot and frozen patches visible on my thermal camera. This meant parts of the bread were already drying out, while some areas were still cold and soggy.
After microwaving two frozen slices at full power for 40secs, flipping them over halfway through, the results were less uneven than using the Time Defrost setting, but certain areas still appeared hot on the thermal camera. I finished defrosting these slices with 15 more seconds on each side. It also became apparent that the left side was consistently colder, so it’s worth rotating the plate as well as flipping over the food.
Interestingly, the grill function here doesn’t require preheating. Placing the defrosted slices on the grill rack for 6mins, flipping over halfway through, the bread came out gently toasted. There appeared to be a hot spot at the back left corner where the bread was more browned – again indicating the necessity of rotating the food in addition to flipping it over.
Turning to Auto Cook programmes, I used the A-06 rice pre-set to cook 300g of rice with 600ml of water. This took 23mins and the rice came out perfectly cooked, requiring no extra standing time or further heating.
Once the same rice was cooled to fridge temperature, I reheated 200g of it with two tablespoons of water using full microwave power. After 2mins, it measured 99°C in the middle, while there was slight unevenness around the edges, which were in the 80-90°C range. Stirring the rice and heating it for another 30 secs yielded an even result.
A raw, fridge-cold 350g potato took 9mins of microwaving altogether. After 6mins of initial heating (having flipped it over and rotated the plate halfway through) and standing for a further minute, the potato’s inner temperature was 98°C. However, when cut open, some harder bits became apparent. These were also visible as slightly cooler patches on my thermal camera. It took another 3mins to reach an appropriate level of softness, by which point the edges of the potato were starting to look white-hot on the thermal camera.
For the automatic jacket potato programme, I had to opt for a smaller (250g) potato, as the manual stipulates a weight limit. I assumed this setting was going to be some kind of a combi mode, so I opted to use a ceramic oven dish (rather than a plate for microwaving or a metal tray for convection/grill). However, this programme only took 5mins (for one potato), and, from the looks of it, only included the microwave function. After letting it stand for a minute, the potato measured 95°C inside and sounded crunchy when poked with a skewer, requiring another 4mins of full-power cooking to become edible.
I then tried cooking a 350g potato using the Microwave + Grill combi setting 2 (as recommended in the manual). After 20mins, the potato was extremely soft on the inside, while the grill hadn’t really crisped up the skin, leaving it wrinkled like a microwave-only potato. I was once again using a ceramic dish, which as the manual isn’t clear on the grill rack’s suitability in the combi mode. This meant the top of the potato was perhaps too far from the grill element. Meanwhile, the bottom of the potato that touched the baking dish crisped up to a leathery consistency – meaning it’s best to flip over the potato halfway through the cooking.
The Microwave + Convection combi mode yielded the best jacket potato. A 370g potato looked crisped up and measured 99°C inside after 20mins at 200°C. However, it was still a little on the hard side when cut open, requiring an extra 5mins in the oven to achieve a fluffy consistency.
The convection-only function, meanwhile, impressed with a short preheating time, reaching 220°C in 3mins7secs, and delivered crispy chips and thoroughly cooked and browned whole chicken.
Should you buy it?
If you want a combi microwave but have a limited budget or are short on space, this is a great choice.
If you’d like a bells-and-whistles appliance that would deliver more than basic cooking tasks, try a different product.
The Sharp YC-GC52FU-B 25L Microwave with Grill and Convection is more compact than other combi microwaves, proving a good option for someone short on space but looking for a microwave and convection in one.
Understandably, the YC-GC52FU-B’s auto programmes are fewer and less refined than those of its much pricier competitors, such as the Sage Combi Wave 3 in 1 and the Panasonic NN-CS89LBBPQ, which also boast an air fryer and a steamer respectively.
How we test
Unlike other sites, we test every microwave we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
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Used as our main microwave for the review period
We use a thermal camera to see how well the microwave can defrost frozen bread, using the defrost setting and any automatic programmes.
We cook a baked potato using just the microwave setting and, if available, another using the combi setting.
If there’s a grill option, we toast bread to see how evenly it cooks.
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This microwave has a maximum microwave power of 900W.
As well as microwave, this is a convection oven and a grill.
Yes: you can put rectangular containers in, as this microwave doesn’t need to spin the contents.