The Smeg MOE34CXIUK Freestanding Combination Microwave Oven is one of the most powerful and largest – but also priciest – combi microwaves available. Its straightforward control panel and the variety of functions and auto programmes make it an easy all-rounder. But it has tough competition among its high-end peers in terms of available functions, auto programmes and accessories. There are limits to using its convection mode due to the turntable, while no suitable cookware is provided besides a wire rack for grilling. The defrosting and grilling tests show a little unevenness, while the appliance thrives at reheating and cooking tasks.
- Wide range of cooking options
- Easy to use
- Could do with an extra pan accessory
- Not enough information on programmes
- Some unevenness
- UKRRP: £449
Even in the world of combi microwaves, which offer convection and grill functions in addition to microwaving, the Smeg MOE34CXIUK is a beast: among the largest microwaves, it boasts an impressive 315mm turntable.
While defrosting and grilling bread resulted in some unevenness, this appliance thrived when it came to cooking or reheating steamier foods, such as potatoes and cooked rice with a bit of water.
Design and Features
- Turntable sets some limits on spaciousness
- Large display is bright and clear
- A variety of functions, programmes and power levels enables easy cooking
The Smeg MOE34CXIUK is a robust microwave with a simple design and hefty footprint. While it’s about the same size and of similar finish to the Sage Combi Wave 3 in 1, the MOE34CXIUK is far more modest in its appearance (as well as in its range of programmes and accessories).
Its large brushed stainless-steel body hides a spacious interior. The turntable is a generous size, but its round shape and need to rotate sets certain limitations on which pans can be used in convection mode.
For grilling, a wire rack on legs is provided, but you’ll have to get your own round oven-proof pan to make the most of the space available for tasks such as roasting. Also complicating the matter are combi programmes – allowing for the microwave and grill and/or convection functions to be activated at the same time. As there is no microwave-safe metal pan provided, your best hope is to find a glass or ceramic one.
The controls are very straightforward to use, consisting of four fingerprint-prone shiny buttons with a knob underneath. The three top buttons have dual functions depending on whether the left or right side of them is pressed. The functions include Auto Menu, Microwave, Grill/Combi, Convection, Defrost, and Stop/Clear.
The fourth button is for starting a programme as well as confirming any settings and adding 30secs to cooking time. Meanwhile, the knob works for setting the cooking time as well as for browsing the menu and choosing the right weight for weight-based programmes.
The screen is large here, although most of it is used for showing which auto programme category is activated: Melt, Soft, Defrost, Speed Grill, Stew, Keep Warm, Cake, Vegetable, Pizza, and More. Within some categories, there are sub-programmes, such as Butter (S-01), Chocolate (S-02), and Cheese (S-03) for Melt, which in turn have various weight options.
The Defrost programme here differs from the time- or weight-based Defrost function because of its focus on specific proteins (meat, poultry or fish). Why some foods are categorised under More is likely to have no other explanation besides running out of screen space. The More category includes a series of microwave-only programmes: Beverage, Potato, Meat, Fish, Pasta, and Popcorn.
There’s a handy guide on the inside doorframe outlining all the Auto Menu sub-programmes, which appear on the display as cryptic letter-and-number combinations.
These are all also listed in the manual, which is, however, thin on other details, such as whether the Pasta programme is meant for cooking or reheating cooked pasta and whether the cooking weight includes water or just dry pasta.
But the manual does outline some key information, such as how to set up multi-stage cooking by combining several functions (such as defrosting and grilling), as well as how to use the convection function with or without preheating.
For combi cooking, there are four different options, covering all bases: Microwave + Convection, Microwave + Grill, Convection + Grill, and Microwave + Convection + Grill.
Strangely, pressing the Microwave button prompts you to choose a power level starting with the lowest at 110W. But, handily, one of the available power levels is 880W, which is a good setting for using food manufacturers’ guidelines, which usually apply for 700W-900W and emphasise a shorter cooking time for more powerful microwaves. Meanwhile, quick microwaving at 1100W can be started by pressing the start button repeatedly to add cooking time in 30-sec increments.
The grill function doesn’t require you to pick a temperature, while the convection offers a relatively limited range of 150°C-200°C. Yet, it’s not really meant to replace an actual convection oven – in its marketing, Smeg describes this appliance as a handy second oven. Preheating the oven to 180°C takes just under 2mins30secs.
A child lock can be activated by pressing the Stop/Clear button for a few seconds.
- Defrosted bread is a little uneven
- Jacket potatoes are cooked, and rice reheated well with a lot of steam
- Grill is a little uneven between the left and right side
The Smeg MOE34CXIUK showed some unevenness when defrosting two slices of white bread. I started with the time-based Defrost function, microwaving the slices for 1min, having flipped them over after 30secs. Although no longer frozen, the result was patchy on my thermal camera, with warm, soggy and cold areas.
The weight-based Defrost gave more even – albeit much hotter – results. I opted for the lowest setting of 100g (while the two slices were about 75g), which meant microwaving the bread for 2mins18secs, with a notification to flip them over with 1min15secs left. The slices felt too warm, and their edges looked white-hot on thermal imaging.
I then placed two defrosted and cooled slices on the wire rack for grilling. After 5mins, having flipped the slices halfway through, they still looked pale. After another 5mins, again flipping the slices at the halfway point, the bread was sufficiently browned. I noticed, however, that one side was consistently paler, pointing to some unevenness with the grill element.
I had more even results when reheating 200g of cooked rice with two tablespoons of water at full power. The cavity got quite steamy, causing a reduction in visibility through the viewing window. After 2mins, the rice came out thoroughly heated – measuring 97°C at the centre and a safe 80-89°C on the edges – while still remaining moist and fluffy.
I also had a very steamy cooking process for jacket potatoes. First, I used the Auto Menu’s More sub-programme Potato (S-02) for 400g, which suggested a cooking time of 8mins29secs. After another minute of standing time, 420g potato measured 99°C at the centre. However, it still went a little firm around the middle when cut open. Having closed it up and flipped it over, I microwaved it for another 2mins at full power to achieve an acceptable texture that wasn’t too crunchy.To test the appliance’s combi capabilities, I opted for setting C-4 (Microwave + Convection + Grill) for a 360g potato, flipping it over halfway into the 20-min cooking time. The potato skin was loosening and ever-so-slightly browning on top. After another minute of standing time, the potato measured 99.8°C on the inside and looked pretty evenly white-hot on my thermal camera. The texture was nicely cooked and still had some bite to it – rather than being too mushy.
Should you buy it?
If you want a large combi microwave with a simple design, the Smeg MOE34CXIUK ticks several boxes.
If you want a basic microwave. It’s a large and pricey microwave for someone not interested in the grill/convection settings and auto programmes.
On the surface, the Smeg MOE34CXIUK is an easy-to-use and powerful combi microwave with a range of programmes. But it doesn’t quite live up to its closest rival, the Sage Combi Wave 3 in 1, which comes with a special crisper plan that can be used in microwave mode for combi functions and also boasts air frying capabilities.
How we test
Unlike other sites, we test every cooker 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 cooker for the review period
We test according to features, which can include steaming vegetables, cooking chips, making a casserole and grilling meat. We use the same tests for the same features on each device.
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It has microwave, grill and convection settings, plus you can use a combination of options.
No, it has a turntable.
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