It may seem as if there isn't a lot of potential for innovation when it comes to microwaves. For years, microwave ovens have been essentially the same, only offering us choices between different types of buttons. But the Panasonic Prestige Microwave Oven incorporates the Inverter technology pioneered by Panasonic, offering a definite upgrade from the typical microwave. The Inverter system offers the opportunity to cook entire meals in the microwave, with gourmet flavors and textures you wouldn't normally expect from a microwave. I've even poached an egg in the Prestige Microwave Oven--a technique that is rarely possible with traditional microwaves because most older appliances do not provide continuous heat, instead spiking heat on and off again.
The same system that allows the Prestige Microwave Oven to provide continuous heat also allows it to offer a warming function. If you have a cup of gravy, for instance, that you want to keep warm until the rest of your meal is ready to go, the microwave will keep it at an even temperature by pulsing very low microwave power. You won't have to keep reheating the gravy to keep it at a consistent heat and risk changing the flavor significantly. In the Prestige Microwave Oven, the Inverter Turbo Defrost setting uses the Inverter system to speed up defrosting: the continuous low power setting provides a better method of defrosting even entire meals than the on-again-off-again system employed by most microwaves.
The Panasonic Prestige Microwave Oven is available in both countertop and built-in models. It offers 2.2 cubic feet of oven capacity, with 1250W of cooking power. It's fully programmable, with 10 power settings and an automatic Genius Sensor, which will adjust power levels and cooking times as your food cooks. The microwave is priced at $279.95.