So if you read my Cuisinart TOB-260N1 review, then you probably know how much I value a toaster oven. To reiterate, if built right, they can be a replacement for a full blown oven, provided of course you’re not cooking for more than 2 to 3 people max.
So what did I think of the Panasonic FlashXpress. Mostly good things. Very positive things in fact. However, there are a few shortcomings that make it fall short of competing with my top pick, the Cuisinart TOB260N1.
So keep reading my FlashXpress review to find out.
Model: PAN-NB-G110PW or PAN-NB-G110P
Available: July 2013
Summary: If you’re looking for a reheating tool without the compromise of microwave sogginess, this is it. But don’t be lead astray, this is not a chef’s machine thanks to its small size and limited timer and functionality.
What We Liked
- Ultra fast heat up, seriously
- Excellent at reheating food and making small meals
- Small footprint makes it ideal for dorm rooms and tiny apartments
What We Didn’t
- Quirky operation, no cancel button once a mode is started
- Max cooking timer is 25 minutes
- Small interior space limits what you can cook; can’t roast a chicken
- No broil option
Panasonic FlashXpress Specs
|Interior Cooking Space||4″ x 10″ x 11″ (0.255 ft)|
|Max Temperature||525° F (as tested)|
|Near and Far Infrared Cooking|
|Dimensions||13 x 12 x 10.2 inches|
There is no other way of saying it: the Panasonic FlashXpress has a very Japanese like design. Take a look at the buttons and the use of iconography. Compared to other toaster ovens, especially in the US market, and it’s hard not to say that the FlashXpress looks more like a microwave than a toaster oven.
…the FlashXpress looks more like a microwave than a toaster oven.
Moreover, there are no knobs, just rubberized buttons that emit a nice, but fairly old school “click” when pressed and depressed. Mind you once they’re pressed, you’re stuck in that mode, unless of course you push the power on/off button. You read that right: there is no cancel button. So if you press the “reheat” button but want to toast a few pieces of bread, you’ll need to power down the machine.
If you can’t tell from the images, the FlashXpress is small, all things considered for a toaster oven. Less so in the height department, and more in terms of width. It measures a scant 12 x 13 x 10.25 in. Compared to the Cuisinart TOB-260N1 it’s almost half the width and 5 inches shallower. So arguably this toaster oven is taking center aim at small apartments (aka NYC or Tokyo) or dorm rooms. In fact, I think this might be the best toaster oven for a dorm room, but I’m getting off topic.
The interior space measures 4″ x 10″ x 11″, which equates to 0.255 ft of cubic interior space, less than a third of the size of space compared to the Cuisinart offering I previously reviewed. However, you can still fit 4 pieces of bread on its rack, which is just two less than the aforementioned unit.
The interior space measures 4″ x 10″ x 11″, which equates to 0.255 ft of cubic interior space…
Lastly, the window of the machine has those black dots you see on microwave doors. I had to do some digging, but it turns out they’re used to prevent the radiation from escaping. Good for health, bad for view-ability. In other words, while those dots seem to serve a protective measure, they make it difficult to view what is happening on the inside while your food is cooking. I found myself shifting my head from right to left to create a single image that negates the interfering dots.
Cleaning the Machine
There is a standalone crumb tray and as you’d expect there is a separate slot to do this. However, it feels anything but premium, as it’s a thin metal tray that slips in and out of the base of the machine and feels anything but premium. But hey, this thing sells for less than $120, so I’m not one to quibble too much about this shortcoming.
Wiping down the the interior, at least for the parts that are easily reachable, isn’t too difficult. Though, there is a slight ledge just past the door that will collect crumbs and whatever falls off, so you’ll need to remove the rack to gain access to this area.
You might think to yourself: isn’t this a given. Sure, it’s a toaster oven, but not all toaster ovens are created equally. And as you can see, the FlashXpress slightly misses the bottom of the SaraLee white bread that is closest to the door. However, this is still solid performance, especially considering it took just under 2.5 minutes to toast 4 slices.
Next on our test list was determine the time it takes to reach frequently used cooking temperatures. We also left the FlashXpress running to see what it’s true max temperature was. To do measure all of this we used the Taylor External thermometer.
- 3.5 minutes to reach 350° F
- 4.5 minutes to reach 425° F
- 6 minutes and 50 seconds to reach 500° F
- 9 minutes and 10 seconds to reach 525° F
Needless to say, the FlashXpress is extremely fast when it comes to preheating.
There is no question that the Panasonic FlashXpress is the fastest gun on the market today. It heats up ultra-fast thanks to its double infrared heating elements, made of ceramic and quartz. I’ve done some research, and to be candid – waiting on a response from Panasonic regarding this matter – I’m not sure which element is which.
Cold pizza? No problem. Just toss it in, hit the preheat button for 4-6 minutes and whamo, the pizza is transformed
Nevertheless, one element does far and one does near infrared cooking. It’s my assumption that the near element is the bulb that turns on, doubles as a light, and instantly emits an immense amount of heat instantly upon being activated. It’s super impressive and perhaps explains why the FlashXpress doesn’t require any preheating.
While I didn’t find the FlashXpress to be as accommodating for all around cooking as the Cuisinart TOB-260N1, largely because of its limiting interior space, it was far and away the best toaster oven I’ve tested for reheating food. Cold pizza? No problem. Just toss it in, hit the preheat button for 4-6 minutes and whamo, the pizza is transformed from my congealed sogginess to crispy bubbly delight. Side note: it’s because of this I’ll never reheat pizza in the microwave.
As for other food products, it’s great for frozen items. But again, I have to stress that I turned to the Cuisinart offering because of the space and cooking modes when it came to making a roast chicken, baking brownies, as the FlashXpress is more about convenience and less about culinary crafting.
You probably know where I’m going with my final thoughts: I love this toaster oven. Or I should say “I would love this toaster oven” if it weren’t for its quirky operation, small capacity, limited timer, and lack of cooking functions. However, I’m one to be drawn to a great all arounder, which this is not.
But that’s not necessarily a bad thing if you’re looking for a machine that is great (and fast) at toasting bread or reheating food. It just simply won’t satisfy the needs or use cases of anyone looking to roast a chicken, broil a steak or bake a cake.