Panasonic NN-SD681S Stainless 1200W 1.2 Cu. Ft. Countertop/Built-in Microwave with Inverter Technology Review

Panasonic NN-SD681S Stainless 1200W 1.2 Cu. Ft. Countertop/Built-in Microwave with Inverter Technology

  • Inverter Technology for even cooking and delivering delicious flavor and Inverter Turbo Defrost for quick defrosting
  • Elegant 4-Digit Blue Readout LED Display with Programming Icon Dial and buttons for quick programming
  • 1200 Watts of High Power; One-Touch Genius Sensor Cook and Reheat for automatic cooking settings
  • Dimensions: Outside HxWxD ( " ) 12 1/4" x 20 11/16" x 16 5/16", Interior HxWxD ( " ) 9 15/16" x 13 15/16" x 14 3/8", 25.3 lbs., Stainless Steel face
  • Please note: upper left-corner door has a small indentation to allow the door to open smoothly.
Panasonic has collaborated with the "Culinary Institute of America" to prepare recipes that can be used in a microwave. You can bring that certified master chef skills out with this family size 1.2 cuft capacity microwave. This oven offers Panasonic patented "Inverter" Technology that offers linear cooking the prevents overcooking on the edges and surfaces and gives juicer and tender food every time. The NN-SD681S offers 1200 watts of high cooking power, while its on-touch sensor cook / rehea

List Price: $ 169.99 Price: $ 168.12

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3 Comments on “Panasonic NN-SD681S Stainless 1200W 1.2 Cu. Ft. Countertop/Built-in Microwave with Inverter Technology Review
  1. 399 of 416 people found the following review helpful
    1.0 out of 5 stars
    Died after two months / poor warranty service from Panasonic, December 29, 2012
    Redwood George (Sonoma County, California) –

    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Panasonic NN-SD681S Stainless 1200W 1.2 Cu. Ft. Countertop/Built-in Microwave with Inverter Technology (Kitchen)

    While I liked the idea of the “Inverter Technology” that lets you easily cook at lower power without duty cycling the microwave, that feature doesn’t outweigh Panasonic’s poor warranty policies. My microwave died after two months of use – everything was working fine one moment and then the lights went out, dead as a doorstop. (Being an electrical engineer, I think it’s a safe assumption that the power supply is what died but that’s only an assumption)

    Had this died within the 30 day period, Amazon would have printed out a shipping label, had UPS show up at my front door to pick up the defective unit and most likely cross-shipped a new microwave out to me so I could have a replacement in just a matter of days. Instead, since it was outside the 30 day period, I had to go through Panasonic’s warranty service. Their only option is to have me hand-deliver the defective product to an authorized Service Center; the nearest one is a 90 minute drive from here. That would be understandable if I lived in rural Nebraska but I live in a heavily populated area and would probably pass thirty or forty Starbucks and at least three Best Buys that I can think of on the way to the Service Center. There’s no option to ship the product by UPS; I have to drive it to the repair center. Of course they’re unlikely to repair or replace the microwave on the spot so that’ll be another three hour round trip to get the repaired microwave. This is a somewhat pricey microwave but to have to take six hours out of what little free time I have on the weekends just isn’t worth the trouble. I’ll just chalk this up as an expensive lesson in how not all manufactures are customer-centric and go look for another (non-Panasonic) microwave.

    I can’t comment on the overall reliability of Panasonic microwaves – I only have my own experience to go on. Perhaps out of a thousand appliances only one dies in under three months and I’m just lucky this time around.

    As far as the design goes, some things I liked, some things take some getting used to. The spin knob instead of numeric keypad is “cute” and does the job but it does take some getting used to. It’s pretty easy to overshoot the time you want and have to backtrack to get to your goal. The “always-on” variable power setting is pretty nice – I’d much rather use continuous power than have it cycle on and off to approximate partial power. I don’t think it’s quite linear, though – cooking at half power seems to deliver closer to two thirds power – two minutes at half power is much hotter than one minute at full power. Again, you can get used to it and make adjustments based on experience.

    The “auto cook” feature was a bust. I eat plenty of frozen dinners and the cooking time was a) never right (food came out much hotter than if I’d just followed the directions on the box) and b) took significantly longer (I think it cooks at low power until it detect steam, then a quick blast and you’re done) If the frozen box said cook for six minutes, then “auto-cook, frozen dinner” would take eight to ten minutes. That feature was quickly ignored, sadly.

    Also, there are plenty of gripes here about the light not coming on when you open the door and let me add to that long list. While you don’t -need- the light to put a plate into the microwave, it’s a nice thing to be able to see what’s going on. It’s really a matter of “what were they thinking?” when the designers opted to have a dark, unlit box rather than the (very standard) lit interior. There’s no getting used to that one, it just seems wrong. Not that it’s horribly inconvenient but why did they feel the need to make it even a little bit more inconvenient than necessary?

    Would I buy this unit again (if I hadn’t had reliability issues?) Maybe, maybe not. I can’t say that the features that make this microwave more compelling (variable power, large turntable) outweigh the disadvantages (useless auto-cook programming, no interior light, odd dial interface). There are other microwaves out there that are competitive with this one and there’s no distinct advantage with going with this particular product line…


    Quick update, 24 hours after posting this review. On contacting the Panasonic “Customer Service Center” I discover that it’s a guy fixing appliances out of his home in a residential area! He actually asked me to call ahead before coming down so that he could make sure he’s home – and mentioned that between 8 AM and 9 AM was most convenient for him. I was expecting at least a commercial storefront but this seems awfully small time to be the best that Panasonic could offer!

    Wanting this issue to be over and done with, I went out and bought a microwave from a different manufacturer -…

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  2. 461 of 488 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Takin’ one for the team – – – quick first review – EDITED, October 6, 2011
    A Thompson (Harrisonburg, VA United States) –

    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Panasonic NN-SD681S Stainless 1200W 1.2 Cu. Ft. Countertop/Built-in Microwave with Inverter Technology (Kitchen)
    I’ve only had this 2 days, but I thought I’d get a quick review up on it.
    This oven is so new, even Panasonic didn’t know about it. I called them up, and their customer service knew nothing. A search on the Panasonic website came back blank.
    So, what the heck, I bought it. It appeared to be very similar to the SD688 models, with one exception. The digital display got panned on the 688 as being hard to read from a normal standing angle. I guessed that this fancy blue display was their answer to that, and I was right! The bright blue display is very easy to read up close without bending over., and from an angle.
    I rarely cook in a microwave, so all of the fancy button options are moot. “Inverter Melt”, “Popcorn” “Inverter Turbo Defrost”. If I have to keep the manual handy to use my microwave, I’m not likely to use that feature.
    I did try the “Sensor Reheat” feature on some boneless chicken. It stopped it at the right time.
    I like the dial feature, it’s very intuitive. The one minute button is nice.
    One thing a Microwave does, is it sits there on the counter most of the time doing nothing. This does that very well. The SS finish and the square lines look really good. At 20″ wide, it just right for my counter. It’s taller than my old oven, so I can fit my salad dressing cruet in there.
    Another thing a microwave should do is last for years. We’ll have to see on that one.
    I will update as more details become apparent.
    More observations 10/12/11:
    I tried the Sensor Reheat a few more times. It seems to work pretty well. It’s weird though if your timing your food prep, setting the table, or whatever, because there’s no preset time.
    The ‘Inverter Melt’ function works quite well. Here is where the inverter technology makes a difference – it actually heats at low power. Conventional microwaves just cycle full power off and on to achieve ‘low’ power.
    I tried ‘Sensor Cook’ with some potatoes. I set it on 3. Silly me – 3 is for omelets. For potatoes, use 7. Fresh vegetables – 8. There’s no explanation what the different settings actually mean. Forget it.
    So with all this fancy technology, Panasonic could have added one basic non-technological feature:
    The light. It only comes on while cooking. But not when you open the door. Really? That’s enough to almost give me buyers remorse. It never occurred to me that this feature, that’s been around for 30 years, would be missing.

    Edit 2/18/12: After 4 months and prompting by a fellow reviewer, I’m bumping this to 4 stars. Mechanically, the engineering is excellent. The inverter technology is extremely useful, making it a more versatile and valuable tool in the cooking process.
    Still, the software side is gimmicky and borderline absurd . Take the Melt & Soften button, for 1 example. I can melt butter by setting the power to 1 or 2 and 30 seconds. Or I can use the Melt & soften button, saving me several whole button pushes! I have a choice of 15,16,17,and 18. But,it would be nice to know which power setting that button selects, instead of “Butter, Cream Cheese”, etc. Imagine if your conventional oven had settings for Ham, Chicken, and Turkey, but didn’t tell you the temperature if you use them. I just don’t get it. Panasonic, please just tell us what these programs really mean.


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  3. 108 of 112 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    Stopped working after 3 years. Do not recommend this microwave., January 30, 2012
    J. K. Paasch (Cincinnati, OH USA) –

    This review is from: Panasonic NN-SD681S Stainless 1200W 1.2 Cu. Ft. Countertop/Built-in Microwave with Inverter Technology (Kitchen)

    Update (January 2015)

    Microwave is now dead. After 3 years of moderate use the microwave began acting erratically. The microwave would stop running after 3 seconds or only run on ‘Popcorn’ mode, etc… for about one week before it finally quit running entirely.

    I’ve knocked my rating from 5 stars down to 2 stars. I expected more than 3 years of use from a microwave that was hardly ever tasked with anything more challenging that reheating food on occasion. It was a very nice microwave while it lasted which is why I’ll leave the review with 2 stars (maybe I was unlucky), but I can no longer recommend this unit.

    I’m leaving the original review and yearly updates in their entirety below for the sake of information and posterity. However, I do NOT recommend this microwave.


    (Original 5 star review)

    We’re a family of 4 with two little ones. We don’t actually “cook” with microwaves too often, but primarily use our microwaves to heat veggies, reheat left-overs, etc… With regards to our needs, the Panasonic NN-SD681S has met and exceeded our expectations.

    Coming from a 900 Watt microwave I think our favorite feature is just how much more quickly this 1200 Watt microwave accomplishes its tasks. Steaming vegetables takes about 1 minute less than with our previous microwave. Heating a beverage takes less than a minute now. I will say though that steaming can really kick up alot of moisture inside the microwave. It gets moist to the point of being fairly wet, needing a towel dry.

    I’ve not used the sensor reheat feature on any microwave before this one. Frankly I expected the sensor reheat to be something of a gimmick. However it does an outstanding job of reheating food thoroughly. As a test I reheated a plate of chicken, potatoes, and veggies together and was surprised how each item was more or less ‘appropriately’ reheated. Only a couple of instances over the past few months when something was a little cooler on the inside than outside after a reheat.

    As a parent of young children I appreciate the child lock feature. Which is a code that when entered sets the microwave into an unresponsive, stasis mode. Enter the unlock “code” to reactivate. The child lock is easy to use, and as long as your kids don’t learn the “code”, it should keep the occasional, or habitual button masher from accidentally turning the microwave on when you’re not looking.

    This unit is loaded with a variety of features and settings. Some of which may not be familiar to all users. Fortunately Panasonic provides a pretty straightforward users guide that does a good job explaining the various features and their functions.

    Wireless users be aware, this microwave, located in about the center of our 600 sq ft first floor, decimates the wi-fi signal for the entire floor when running. Music, movies, downloads, anything that requires a wireless signal stops shortly after we begin using the microwave. Changing router locations (located on the 2nd floor) did not help whatsoever. Not a deal breaker, but those whose smoke/CO2 detectors are interconnected via wi-fi should probably make note of this. I’d guess this is a potential problem for most microwaves, so I won’t knock Panasonic for this.

    Unfortunately this microwave does not have the best alert/reminder system. It beeps 5 times after finishing its cycle. That’s it. I haven’t noticed it providing any follow up warning of completion beyond that. Our previous unit had a steady, 4 second beep and would beep every couple of minutes thereafter until it was opened. A much better system in my opinion.

    Other thoughts. It turns out that no light when opening the door isn’t such a big deal for me. The blue LED screen is easy to read. Stainless steel is a very sleek and modern look, and it does pick up prints easily. This unit is a space saver compared to similar units. Coming from an all push-button microwave, I appreciate the retractable knob control more than I thought I would.

    Looking at the whole picture in terms of price, features, and performance, and I feel the NN-SD681S is a solid value and would recommend it to anyone currently in the market for a microwave.

    Update (April 2013):

    The microwave continues to perform well after more than a year of moderate use. We barely notice it’s there, which is a testimony to its effectiveness.

    Two things I have noticed:

    1. It’s loud. Forget having a conversation with someone across the room when this thing is on. Though given that we don’t run it for more than a few minutes at at time (boiling veggies for example), it’s not a big hindrance to us.

    2. The door…

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