(Note: This review is part of our participation in the Viewpoints Blogger Review Panel).
I have a love-hate relationship with toaster ovens. On the plus side, the kids can (theoretically) work it, thus (theoretically) reducing the number of “MOM, CAN YOU…?” in the house around mealtime. But then there’s cleaning the thing. Deep inside. Where all those pesky crumbs hide.
When it comes to any household appliance, the thing has to make my life easier, or, well, it’s toast.
When we renovated our kitchen this summer, I sighed a great sigh while tossing our old, black oven in the trash. So I was open to the Panasonic NB-G110 Flash Xpress Toaster Oven making a comeback in our house.
WHAT WE LIKED
The unit has its perks. It’s (relatively) easy to clean – if you use the warming tray rather than heating straight on the rack. It’s lightweight, doesn’t show fingerprints and is roomy inside. And it uses flashy infrared technology that heats up and cooks food fast.
But there are buts, and they’re big. The mechanics may look simple but they’re not – or maybe I’m just simple and they’re too flashy.
There’s an on-off button, an interior light, a timer temperature scale and an assortment of one-touch – random (who came up with these?) – choices: Bread (Toast, Waffle, Roll) and Food (Pizza, Hash Browns).
More flash: Why is there an On-Off button at all? My finger wants to just hit Toast. The extra step is annoying but the real pain is that I keep forgetting to turn it off. And since the interior light comes on automatically during heating, why do I ever need to push it? Then there’s a Frozen and Reheat button for each food. For the life of me, I can’t figure out how to use them.
Worst of all, while food cooks, that fabulous infrared technology means the interior light is like some creepy poltergeist, continually flashing on and off all by itself, and no amount of button-pushing will stop it. Bye-bye kitchen ambience.
Is this toaster oven, priced at a whopping $125, worth the “convenience”? Nah, around here, the regular oven, the microwave and the old-fashioned pop-up toaster will have to do.
PS I’m happy to report that the Panasonic Flash Xpress didn’t go to waste. We donated it to the offices of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto.