Price (RRP): $399-429
The 2018 Sharp R890E (W/ST/BS) is a mid-size, 1100W inverter microwave. It is also a small fan-forced oven and has a grill element as well. For the right people, it can replace a traditional oven/grill.
GadgetGuy covered the new Sharp 2018 Microwave range here. We found that Sharp is the number one selling microwave brand by volume but its convection series only accounts for about 5% of sales.
We accepted Hans De Jong, Head of Consumer Electronics at Sharp Australia, challenge. “To use a combination convection oven for a few weeks to see what we thought.” In his words and Sharp’s 2018 mantra, “Can you Live Smart, Live Sharp.”
Some microwave history
I bought one of the first consumer microwaves from Sanyo in 1974. As a carefree bachelor then I was looking for anything that could fast-track my cooking. My next purchase was a Breville double griller (a sandwich press on steroids that could cook both sides of a steak at once). The point is that I have been using a microwave oven and a double grill combo for over 40 years and have not starved.
Fast forward to now. I have owned several – mainly Panasonic as it has the highest brand recognition. Recently a very expensive Miele microwave/grill built-in that I don’t consider offers the value or performance that Sharp R890E does.
But like 99% of Aussies I consider a microwave an essential part of the kitchen.
They are part of the kitchen landscape
GadgetGuy has had a lot of experience reviewing microwaves from Panasonic, Samsung, LG, Breville, Whirlpool, Omega, Miele, AEG and more. Some have been straight microwaves (800-1200W), some with steam technology, some with convection, grill, sensors, and turbo bake …
Without exception, we found that Joe and Jane Average use the microwave side 99.99% of the time. Defrosting, heating convenience dinners, cooking vegetables, and reheating beverages like coffee. Oh, and throw in the microwave popcorn craze as well.
All they need is a simple microwave to cook the veggies. It becomes almost like muscle memory. “Honey, how long for the peas?” No fancy on-screen menus needed here.
If that is all you do, then no need to read further. Any microwave will do. You may as well do what 95% of people do. Buy the largest capacity for the lowest price.
But if you are the right kind of single or couple do read on.
That landscape is changing – there are three main trends
Smaller kitchen design in modern high-density apartments has forced a shift to built-in models, not just a freestanding unit poked in a convenient hole. This trend is encouraged by the uber expensive faux-European brands with Hardly Normal marketing budgets.
These smaller kitchens mean a trend to combination microwave/convection oven/grill units to replace ovens at least twice the size. In case you have not noticed there is also a trend to single dish draw/half-width dishwashers and two-hob hot plates.
And finally an understanding that a microwave, especially an inverter, gives a better, more even heating and can provide healthier results even with convenience foods.