Microwaves have come a long way since their inception. Peoples’ expectations of microwaves have also changed. No longer does your grandma think the microwaves will kill your brain cells, or unleash the Commies into your kitchen. Microwaves have also come in leaps and bounds in being able to cook and heat food correctly. A major leap forward for microwave technology was the creation of the convection microwave.
What is a convection microwave?
Convection microwaves are the best of both worlds when it comes to an oven, and a microwave. Previously, if you wanted something heated quickly, you would go to a microwave. Though, the texture of the food coming out of a microwave could leave a lot to be desired. Microwaves also have a tendency to heat the surface of the food to extreme levels, but also leave the inner portions as cold as a mother in-law’s kiss. Ovens, on the other hand, cook beautifully, but can take their sweet time. Not all of us have the time for an oven.
This is where the convection microwave steps in. It eliminates the uneven cooking of a microwave, and the time demands of an oven. What you’ll get is a meal resembling something that’s come out of an oven, but cooked in a fraction of the time. Convection microwaves work by being able to brown and crisp food, as well as heat. Quality convection microwaves also have a fan-forced function to circulate hot air humidity. This gives you a meal that is both quick and tasty.
If you’ve ever bitten into a microwave-heated meal and been surprised at how hot it is on the outside, and how cold it is on the inside, don’t worry; we’ve all been there. It doesn’t leave a good taste in your mouth. If you’re fed up with uneven heating like we are, then look no further than the new convection microwave by Sharp (R995DST). The Sharp takes a convection microwave one step further in heating technology, but is it worth the money? Read on for our review.
The Sharp Convection Microwave
This Sharp microwave is a class leader when it comes to convection microwaves. It’s a high-end unit with a range of features designed to make convection heating the real alternative to cooking in an oven. These features are:
The best of both worlds
The Sharp combines sensor and inverter technology. The inverter technology delivers controlled power during the cooking process. This helps reduce hotspots in your food, and allows for a more evenly-heated meal. The inverter technology means that at 50 per cent power, the Sharp’s 1000W capacity is reduced to 500W. This is beneficial, because in non-inverter microwaves this function is achieved by continuously switching the magnetron from on to off – all the while, 100% of the power is going to the meal when it is on. What’s better – a consistent heat, or a wildly fluctuating heat cycle from burning hot to freezing cold?
The sensor technology also eliminates guesswork in cooking times, and also allows the microwave to measure humidity. This helps monitor moisture rising from food. This in turn determines optimal cooking or reheating times. This can aid in getting your meal just right – no more dryness or a damp sticky mess. Shouts of, “Mum, how long do I zap this thing for?!” will be yesterday’s catchcry – Although we aren’t promising this to go away completely.
The Sharp boasts 21 auto menus, which eliminates the guesswork needed for how to cook a certain food. What’s more is that these menus were developed and tested in Australia in Sharp’s test kitchen. With insider local knowledge, Sharp was able to design the menus to suit our local tastes with local produce.
Mixed cooking functions
These functions blend the benefits of each heating technology with Mix Convection/microwave and Mix Grill/microwave. This allows you to cook with the Sharp similar to if you were cooking with an oven. Cooking sequences have also taken a leap forward; they’re automatic. You can program the microwave to switch from one power level to another with ease. Different dishes need multiple power levels throughout the cooking phase, so this is a handy feature to make sure your dish is cooked optimally.
It’s the little things…
Sharp isn’t just about what’s going on under the hood; they’ve also ensured user experience is pleasant. This microwave features weight defrost, which determines defrost time by the weight of the meat put in. Like an oven, you can also use convection preheat, as well as delay start. For peace of mind, there’s also a child lock so the Commies can’t scare the little ones. Sharp seems like they’ve thought of everything necessary for a pleasant cooking experience, and put it into a microwave.
Is the Sharp R995DST worth the money?
Unfortunately, such a powerful and handy machine doesn’t come cheap. Retailing for $1,199, the R995DST is at the mid to high end of the convection microwave market. There are plenty of offerings well below this price point, but there are also a few that are thousands more. The R995DST is a good hybrid convection microwave, where you can still keep your oven without feeling the guilt of spending over $3000 essentially for a microwave.
The big question is: “Can it replace my oven?” and that’s something you’ll have to determine based on your own cooking needs. For a single or a couple, we would err to the side of “Yes”, because it is convenient, yet powerful enough to quickly cook a meal or two. However, for families and larger groups, we would say to not chuck out your oven just yet. The Sharp R995DST is a good complement to your oven at fairly reasonable value for money, but it may not be adequate enough to replace the oven entirely.