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PLEASE NOTE-this product is nearly identical to the R953 I'd previously owned and reviewed. My Review here is somewhat different mainly because of my experience with the product has been more positive so pls read on...
My R953 Microwave had always proved to be something of a mixed bag as my previous review had stated, technologically impeccable but with some erratic results. However after some 5 years of use (and abuse c/o my neighbours in the bedsit I used to live in) the door handle had broken and the Display had disappeared. I was quoted over £120+VAT for a repair. Er thanks but no thanks...
So It was off to town for a replacement. I was cautious about buying another Sharp after the idiosyncracies I'd experienced with the R953. However the competition was limited to Panasonic which was retailing at about £270 and a Sharp equivalent. I popped into several stores including Currys, Apollo 2000 and Comet on the St John's Retail Park, Tylers in the Wulfrun Centre and Beatties in Victoria St, Wolverhampton. Tylers was ruled out as it had very little in the way of Combination Microwaves and I was buying on the day. Currys was the same. Apollo had a fair selection but seemed to br promoting the Panasonic model heavily. It had one major drawback-an exposed grill element., something I don't like.
This led me back to Comet who had the Panasonic and the Sharp models available. A quick peek on the Internet showefd me that I could purchase the Panasonic for £194.95 and the Sharp for £164.95 delivered from Empire Direct.-considerably cheaper than Comets £179.95 and £269.95. A quick glance over the Sharp revealed this was essentially the same Microwave as the R953. So I was about to purchase an equivalent product to one I'd grown to love despite it's foibles. I decided on the R958 on the basis of me being familiar with its operation and the facillities offered. As I was about to pay for the product, i mentioned I could purchase cheaper via the net and reminded the Store Manager that Empire Direct had a branch in Merry Hill, Dudley.. So I got a price beat of £163.45. What A deal!
On getting it home (Probably the heaviest Microwave I've ever carried), I opened the box to find the contents as described.
1x R958 SLM Microwave in Silver. 1 x Low Stand 1X High Stand 1X Ceramic Turntable 2 X Wire Shelves 1X Set of Instructions.
Setting up was easy. Remove the protective plastic sheet then plug in and press "CLOCK" to set the time. Then set the oven to 250 C use for 20 mins with no food in place then set the GRILL on for 20 mins-this is important as it removes the chance of smoke/fumes ruining your first meal being cooked in the microwave.
The Sharp R958 SLM is a fully Combination Microwave which has a Microwave/Grill and Convection Oven facillity. These fuctions can be used independently or together as deemed necessary.
It has a 1.4cu ft Stainless Steel Interior and a large ceramic turntable.
The Microwave is a 900w Catergory E type and is one of the most powerful available. It can be easily set via the relevant MICROWAVE button to 100% than 70%, 50%,30% than finally 10%. The Convection Oven has settings for 250 C , then 230 C, 200 C, 180 C, 160 C, 130 C, 100 C 70 C and 40 C. This is activated by pressing the OVEN button, selecting the relevant temperature then entering the time-straightforward once the instuctions have been intitially consulted.
The Grill has one Power setting and can be used to grill food such as Joints and Chops by using the supplied High or Low stands to hold the food.
The R958 SLM retains the brilliant EXPRESS COOK function of the R953 where frozen meat can be placed on the relevant stand and literally cooked from frozen. There are settings for ROAST BEEF/LAMB, PORK or POULTRY. The relevant setting is made, the display will ask for the weight to be entered in (aither lbs/Ounces or Kilogams/Grams-a minimum weight applies of 750g also) and the Microwave displays instructions for every relevant step automatically stopping and beeping when the joint etc needs to be turned over. and the results would do, as stated in my previous review, Antony Worral-Thompson proud.
There is also 9 Auto Cook Programs and an Express Defrost Progamme facillity.
In practice I found the R958 SLM easy to use. It had a clearer Light Green LCD Display than the R953 and the Auto Cook Choices had changed slightly to incluse Cakes and Crispy Food ( eg Frozen Fish Steaks).
And the results?
In total contast to my old R953 the temperatures and cooking times were as stated. I can totally depend on the information given and cook nearly flawlessly eash and every time.
In my opinion the Instructions are still necessary to obtain the maximum benefit out of the R958SLM, the protruding handle juts out and isn't to everybodys taste and there is a fair amout of noise in operation.
But as a Combination Microwave in it's own right and especially as a repalcement fror the R953 it is an outstanding acquistion, especially at a £75 price reduction.