Samsung Mid Size Microwave Oven

Samsung Mid Size Microwave Oven

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One Minute to Microwave Nirvana

May 11, 2001
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Ease of Use:
  • Durability:
  • Ease of Cleaning:
  • Style:

Pros:Love that big "One Minute" button

Cons:Too many unintuitive, unnecessary features

The Bottom Line: Great choice if you're looking for a utilitarian microwave that's easy to use and attractive


Microwave companies don't seem to have a clue about how people really use their products. There's a gazillion different "features" on a typical microwave oven these days, 99% of which nobody other than the inventor and the guy who wrote the user guide have ever used.

The Samsung Microwaves are no different than every other brand on the market. They'll zap your food just as well and they'll give you a gazillion buttons that you'll never touch. Even here on epinions, some of the reviews of different microwave oven models rave about the "wide range of features" on some particular model. Who cares? I don't really want a "Whole Side of Beef" button on my microwave. Do you?

Practical Model
I bought the Samsung microwave because it seemed fairly solid and because it was on sale at an irresistable price. At the same time, it is solid and dependable. The door clicks shut solidly, it has a little light inside so you can watch the food cook, and it comes with a rotating glass platter. It's an inoffensive white color with a modern looking plastic membrane control panel and green LED display. What more do you want?

I didn't buy the Samsung for any particular feature, but rather just for its basic functionality, attractive design, and its low price. My only nit is that I wish it were even simpler. As I flipped through the "Owner's Instructions" booklet that came with my Samsung model MW5380W microwave oven, I realized that even the simplest and least expensive models you can buy have too many features. Let's take a look...

Feature-itis
There's a button on the Samsung labeled "Diet Cook". Do you know what that means? I sure don't. I guess that if you're on a diet, and you sneak a slice of pizza into the oven and press "Diet Cook", you'll get half the calories and saturated fat as you would if you just pressed "One Minute". Unlikely scenario? Jenny Craig is sure glad it doesn't really work that way, but she isn't sure what that button does either.

One button that I'll bet my brother-in-law Jim uses is the "More/Less" button. That must get your food more or less cooked. The first time I went to my sister's house for dinner, the meat was still partly frozen in the middle and the bread was burnt to a crisp. But everything was "more or less" cooked -- some things more, some things less. Now that she and Jim have been married a few years, Jim has probably been conditioned to like his food that way. The "More/Less" button is probably the one button that he uses...

Last winter we had one cold day here in Houston -- January 23. I came downstairs and found frost on my car. I pushed the "Auto Defrost" button on my Samsung, but for some strange reason, it didn't seem to work. I still ended up having to scrape frost off the auto before I could go to work. By the way, "Auto Start" and "Auto Reheat" don't work either.

Guess I could read the manual to figure out what I'm doing wrong, but then we wouldn't have a truly "usable" product design, would we?

One Button to Love
The Samsung does have one feature that I love. It's a big button smack dab at the top of the control panel that says "One Minute". Press that li'l puppy and the oven immediately turns on for exactly one minute at full power. It's the only button on this microwave that I've ever used!

Do you think I pull out the owner's instruction book to see how long to re-heat leftover beans? Heck no! I slide the bowl into the oven, press "One Minute" and if it doesn't get hot enough, I press "One Minute" again.

If you're cooking something bigger, like a man-sized portion of lasagna, you press "One Minute" three or four times in a row to get three or four minutes of full power -- faster than using a numeric key pad!

If one minute isn't long enough, you press "One Minute" a couple extra times. If one minute is too long, you open the door, shutting of the oven. Very simple!

Here's a few of my recommendations for practical cooking methods and times for things that Real People cook with a microwave:
Leftover pad thai: "One Minute"
Leftover kung pao chicken: "One Minute"
2 leftover Taco Bell beef chalupas: "One Minute"
Chili cheese dog: "One Minute," but open door halfway through
Slice of pizza: "One Minute," but throw crust to dog as chew toy
Jumbo cup of taco bean soup: "One Minute" two times
Piece of pie: "One Minute"
8-ounce baby bottle of milk: "One Minute," but open door halfway through, then shake (the bottle, not the baby)

Marketers and Doc Writers with Imaginations!
I usually like user guides, but I find them annoying and silly for things like microwave ovens, which I like to be so simple that they can be used as easily as a hammer.

The first time I ever looked at my owner's instruction booklet for this Samsung microwave was about 30 minutes ago. I'm a bit surprised that I even saved the instructions, after all, I figured out how to use the "One Minute" button in about one minute. The instructions are good for a laugh or two though.

Want a real chuckle? Read the section on "Setting Cooking Times and Power Levels". The power levels range from 1 (low) to 0 (high). In between, the guy who wrote the doc came up with some comic gems! Level 9 is called "saute" and level 6 is called "simmer". (I swear I am not making this up.) Have you ever "sauteed" or "simmered" something with your microwave? Me neither.

I guess whoever wrote the instructions figured that Julia Child and Wolfgang Puck were going to be tag-team cooking with the Samsung Microwave.

Then there's a whole chapter about cooking different kinds of food. Who reads that stuff?? More importantly, who cares whether the "recommended" way to cook a can of peas is two to three minutes on power level 7. I sure don't. I cook a can of peas for "One Minute".

Real Microwaves for REAL People
Microwaves are for heating up leftovers and convenience foods, or maybe for reheating that cup of coffee that's been sitting around for a couple hours. No real people actually use them for baking or for doing large meals. It's just plain the wrong tool for the job. Maybe you could cook main courses in the microwave, but you could also hammer nails into the wall with a pair of pliers.

Lots of space is taken up talking about how to cook foods that no sane person would ever cook in a microwave oven.

Does your mouth water at the thought of a nice big juicy steak toughened, discolored, and warmed over for 7 to 11 minutes on high?? Hmm...does it?....like every other person who isn't confined to a padded cell, I'd rather go outside and fire up the old Weber if I wanted to eat steak. Salmon steaks in the microwave for 3-7 minutes on high? I don't think so!

Bottom Line
Most of us REAL PEOPLE just want something simple to use for fast convenient heating. For people like us, the Samsung microwave is perfect!

It's got enough practical features built in -- like a rotating tray that prevents uneven heating -- so that it competes well against every other model in the market, but at the same time, it's fast and easy to use -- just press "One Minute". And that, good reader, is my "One Minute" recommendation to buying and using a good, solid, dependable Samsung microwave oven.


Recommend this product? Yes


Amount Paid (US$): 65

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