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Panasonic NN-CS894 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £449
inc VAT (as of 12th of June)

A great-looking microwave with lots of features but it struggled with some of our tests which isn't on at this price


Type – turntable or flatbed: Flatbed, Dimensions: 387x488x470mm, Stated volume: 32l, Turntable diameter: N/A, Stated power output: 1000W, Convection oven/grill: Yes/Yes

Buy the Panasonic NN-CS894 now from John Lewis

The Panasonic NN-CS894 combi microwave has a high official internal capacity of 32l; yet it’s not obviously taller or deeper than other, more compact microwave ovens. It helps that it looks good – its stainless steel casing and black glass front gives it a touch of class, which is reinforced by its hefty 21kg weight.

The NN-CS894 is controlled using touch sensitive buttons and a slider alongside a large LCD screen. Although the buttons are labelled only with icons, I generally found them easier to interpret than the hieroglyphic riddles that pass for buttons on some models.

As with many expensive models, the NN-CS894’s door is hinged at the bottom rather than on the left hand side – a move I applaud for ease of access, as hinged doors can be a pain if you’re coming from the left. Unlike most other microwaves, the NN-CS894 has a flatbed design too. The absence of a turntable combined with its cavernous interior means you can fit bigger dishes inside compared to microwaves that do have a turntable.

However, this theoretical advantage is made moot by the NN-CS894’s surprisingly poor grilling and defrosting performance. After ten minutes under the grill, the only evidence of browning on a slice of white bread was a small patch of mild yellowing in the centre. The cost of this unattractive colouring was that the bread had started to curl from the heat. Other microwaves I’ve seen have achieved far more pleasing levels of browning, without any curling, from similar grilling times or less.

The NN-CS894 fared so badly in our defrosting test that I reran it just to be certain. The weight-based defrost program chose a defrost time of 5 minutes. Yet despite running this program three times, an oval-shaped chunk of still-frozen chicken flesh approximately 5cm in length was clearly evident in the test breast.

The defrost program does flash onscreen prompts telling you to flip food over and how long to leave it standing for, but all that is for nought given its alarmingly bad defrosting performance. At least combi grilling worked well. It cooked a chicken breast through in eight minutes with only slight overcooking around the edges. It wasn’t too loud either, managing a consistent reading of 55-57dB.

The NN-CS894 managed an average power output of 493W with the output rising reasonably steadily over the course of the test. Even so, a jacket potato was cooked surprisingly unevenly with the middle scorchingly hot at 94 degrees celsius compared to 78 and 75 degrees for the left and right hand edges respectively.

The Panasonic NN-CS894 does come with a handy array of extras. There’s an enamel shelf, a grill rack and a glass shelf. Plus there’s a plastic steam tray for use with the integrated steamer as well as a generously lengthy five year warranty. Even so, at £500 the NN-CS894 is just too expensive to recommend – especially considering its poor grilling and defrosting efforts. It’s a shame as Panasonic makes some great microwaves, this just isn’t one of them, for alternatives see our Best Microwaves buying guide. 

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Type – turntable or flatbedFlatbed
Dimensions with door open387x488x715mm
Stated volume32l
Interior dimensions220x407x225mm
Turntable diameterN/A
Door hinge locationBottom
Stated power output1000W
AccessoriesEnamel shelf, wire shelf, glass shelf, steam tray
Power and capacity
Convection oven/grillYes/Yes
Max countdown on timer30min
Controls typeTouchsensitive buttons and slider
Buying information
WarrantyFive years RTB
Part CodeNN-CS894

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