CNET First Look
Sharp Convection Grill Microwave R-820JSThe Sharp R820JS gets it right half the time, but half the time isn't worth $289.
Hi. I'm Katie Pilkington for CNET, here with the review of the Sharp R-820JS. One of the first things you may notice about this microwave is its coating. It's got a silver coated metal outside. I wish they would have just made it stainless, it would have looked more durable and a little bit more elegant. It's a 0.9 cubic foot interior and it has a 12.75- inch turntable. The Sharp is a 900-watt microwave which makes it the lowest powered microwave of any of the four we tested in the set. The Panasonic claimed that it made really excellent omelets with its Inverter Technology and yet we found the Sharps to be the best. They were fluffy, evenly cooked and not overdone. One of the things that were important for us to test when we said about assessing microwaves and their various performance capabilities were their presets and how accurately those worked. The popcorn preset with the Sharp was probably the most abysmal failure. Of all of the presets that we tested, there were times that it only popped 40 kernels, leaving vastly over 400 kernels unpopped. It's a pretty disappointing bag of popcorn if you ask me. But if you follow the popcorn manufacturer's directions, it popped a bag of popcorn that more resembled what we were expecting with between 69 and 80 unpopped kernels. So, again, it's not about microwave, it's just the present doesn't really work very well. This was true, frozen dinners and potatoes, but basic core microwave functions aren't really what Sharp is selling here. They're selling their Grill Technology and their convection. Convection ovens use a fan to circulate that hot hair throughout the inside of the oven rather than just letting it radiate and bounce off the walls, and it works pretty well. It comes with a grill rack that we use to grill burgers and chicken while it was better in terms of texture and overall juiciness. The product wasn't so vastly superior to the other microwaves product that we felt that it was really worth the difference. We defrosted chicken, the defrost works about the same as a lot of other microwaves, it's inconsistent, it won't defrost all the way through most food items without beginning to cook thinner parts or the parts that are coming in contact directly with your cook wear but we wanted to put the grill rack in the convection to test again with all of that defrosted chicken and we put some chicken drumsticks on the grill pan and it made okay chicken in 17 minutes but for that amount of time you could make great chicken on your traditional grill outside. So, what's the lesson here? My takeaway from this was that the Sharp's presets are not necessarily optimum but that doesn't make it a badly performing microwave. However, for a price of $289, you want a really well performing microwave but for our intends and purposes, testing all of its functionality including those presets and sensors, it just didn't hit the mark. With this, the little microwave that almost could, the Sharp R-820JS, I'm Katie Pilkington for CNET.