The Panasonic NN-CD58JS is a convection oven. It is also a grill. It is also a microwave. And, it does all these things very well. Add them together in combo cooking and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
GadgetGuy is about lifestyle tech, and one wonders why we like to review microwaves, coffee makers,
home and other kitchen appliances. The answer is that if it plugs in, makes life easier
then we will review it – all the better
if there is an app for that.
We are quite expert at microwaves having reviewed LG, Panasonic, Sharp, KitchenAid, Samsung, Breville, Whirlpool, AEG, Miele and more. Our review paradigms have changed over the years. Long ago it was all about which microwave oven could nuke food fastest, e.g. Watts power. Then we saw the addition of steam that left vegetables and meats juicier. Some had auto weight functions and some auto cook.
But the true evolution is in the combination ovens.
Why? As housing gets more expensive, space becomes a premium. Kitchens are smaller – much to Uber Eats and Deliveroo’s delight. Evidence of that is more single draw and half-size dishwashers, two-plate cook tops and often no oven at all – replaced by a fancy built-in combo-one-size-fits-all oven.
Of the four combos last year the Sharp R890E impressed us most scoring 4.3-out-of-5 for overall features, value and functionality. In the second spot was the KitchenAid Bake Assist that while a competent microwave focuses on baking – mmm yummy cupcakes.
In the last place was an under-powered, undersized, overpriced ($2K+), European ‘fashion’ brand that would not be out of place in a swanky kitchen showroom. It was so bad to average at everything we decided not to review it. Yes, we should tell you the brand, but they have powerful lawyers.
First, a word on combo-cooking
For the right people, it can and does replace a traditional /microwave/oven/grill. With a little planning, you can avoid using the big power sucking oven or grill element.
But there are a few observations, and we will compare it with our current favourite Sharp.
Combo cooking is a serial form of cooking. Cook item one, cook item two etc. It
is harder to get everything cooked to serve hot at the same time (but you can
plate and reheat so no big issue). Both brands are on par here.
At 27L it is
at the top-end of equivalent mid-size
units. The Sharp at 25L fits a little less.
It has a
34cm turntable compared to the Sharp with a 31.5cm. These suit a single or
couple – it is not a family sized oven. Don’t try it on a big roast although
the extra 2.5cm (one inch) allows for a little more flexibility.
Combination microwave/fan-forced oven/grill
needs entirely different cooking pans. Both ovens come with a baking pan and a
rack to adjust the height of the food. But you will need to buy more ‘round’
cooking plates and pans to make the most
of turntable cooking.
The primary advantage of a fan-forced oven is
the minimal pre-heat time compared to a full oven of often 20-30 minutes. Panasonic
pre-heats a smidgen faster than the Sharp.
In all other respects use the same cooking time
as you would in a larger fan-forced oven or grill.
The grill will produce crispy golden cheese on
toast a little faster than the Sharp. The upside to both is no preheat time.
And it is possible to use a combination of technologies
to get the result. For fear of oversimplifying a frozen pizza can be microwave
defrosted, oven baked and grilled for a crispy cheese top in the one device.
520 (W), 395 (D) x 310 (H)
It is a little deeper than most due to the ‘baby-bump- at the rear
27 litres or 395 x 352 x 217 mm internal space.
A slightly more usable space
The largest in its class. All cooking uses a rotating turntable.
1000W – 100, 270, 300, 440, 600 and 1000W settings
1300W – 40° (keep warm), 100-220° in 10° increments with pre-heat
1300W – three power settings – no preheat
The grill and oven use the same dual quartz
Microwave and grill
Microwave and convention
Menu button for up to 29 pre-programmed menus (8 for kids)
Auto roast button
Auto cook button
Turbo defrost button
Quick 30 (seconds) button can be added to by further presses
Rotary time dial (easier to use)
Glass turntable, enamel baking tray, wire rack
Stainless steel fascia and full stainless steel interior
A comprehensive manual,
recommended cooking times and cookbook
99.9% of Australians know how to nuke food. What they don’t know is how long to nuke it to achieve the best
For example, my wife cooks morning porridge on full power for three minutes often resulting in the contents overflowing the bowl. A little exploration of the manual’s cooking charts shows setting it at 600W for three minutes is best – Voila.
Note: It also has porridge with milk (or water)
auto-settings that selects the right power and time for perfect porridge.
We tested a variety of fresh and frozen vegetables and times
were in line with any other similar
quality 1000W microwave.
A little exploration of the auto-cook function reveals 29
pre-programmed settings for typical bread,
meats, vegetables (fresh and frozen), takeaway, pasta, pancakes (pikelets), pizza (fresh and frozen) and more.
We tested a 1kg lamb leg mini roast that in a Webber BBQ takes
about 1.5 hours. The Auto-settings produced a perfectly cooked roast in 40
minutes using a combination of 300W
microwave to par-cook and a 180° oven to roast. We did use the grill to
caramelise the roast and vegetables after.
A fresh pepperoni pizza with extra cheese was done to perfection – select preheat oven to
220° and then cook for 10 minutes – Bellissimo.
Just needed some Chianti to go with it.
We tested frozen pies and fresh pies, and all cooked
to perfection at the times/temperatures stated on the package. Pre-heat was nice,
but we found adding a couple of minutes to cooking times eliminated the need
for that. Pre-heat is fast anyway.
The Grill (and convection oven) uses two ceramic elements in the top, and the turntable rotates the foods for even grilling. We only tried cheese on toast, and it was beautifully cooked and brown in around three minutes.
We cooked fresh lasagna (Woolworth’s variety) using Combi microwave 440W and 220° oven. It took 12 minutes for a beautifully browned top and tender pasta.
Panasonic NN-CD58JS – cooking tests passed with aplomb
The oven has a solid feel, and
obvious Panasonic build quality. It will rate marginally better than the Sharp
because of its slightly larger turntable and capacity and foods cook a little
faster. Other than that, they are neck-and-neck.
Panasonic NN-CD58JS has a recommended price of $549 but astute shoppers will find it at places like Myer for $424.15 including delivery, and that is a real bargain.
The Sharp R890E has a recommended
price of $399 (White) and $429 (Stainless), and
you will find that from $349.
GadgetGuys’ take: Is it worth the extra cost for the Panasonic?
The Sharp and Panasonic are both excellent brands and performance wise there is little between them. I bought the Sharp last year and it is perfect for me and my wife’s needs. Had the Panasonic been available at that time I would probably have paid more a for a slightly bigger capacity.