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Nostalgia RMO4AQ Review

If you are looking for a product that will look great, delivering an art-deco flair to your kitchen, you won't be disappointed
Nostalgia RMO4AQ
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Price:   $170 List | $129.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Stylish in a retro way, good with frozen items
Cons:  Pricey, lacks some features
Manufacturer:   Nostalgia
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Jan 13, 2022
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58
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 12
  • Heating - 40% 4.8
  • Frozen Foods - 30% 6.7
  • Defrosting - 20% 7.0
  • Ease of use - 10% 4.6

Our Verdict

If you're searching for a solid microwave that fully embraces the retro look from the '50s, then we think the Nostalgia RMO4AQ is worth your time. This cool throwback appliance delivered solid results across most of our microwave testing metrics and looked great while doing it. It did particularly well with frozen foods and defrosting and is a fairly easy-to-use appliance. It might not be the best you can get, but it looks awesome and gets the job done.

Editor's Note: This product review was updated on January 12, 2022 to provide extra comparison info and purchase recommendations.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Nostalgia RMO4AQ
This Product
Nostalgia RMO4AQ
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $170 List
$129.99 at Amazon
$120 List$170 List
$136.30 at Amazon
$75 List$110 List
$119.95 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Stylish in a retro way, good with frozen itemsExcellent with packaged frozen foods, compact, very easy to useExcellent at defrosting, convenientInexpensive, above-average performance, compactGood at defrosting meat
Cons Pricey, lacks some featuresSo-so with mixed leftoversLarge, expensiveLow power, Amazon Alexa device required for some functionsNot the most convenient to use, heating performance could be better
Bottom Line If you are looking for a product that will look great, delivering an art-deco flair to your kitchen, you won't be disappointedFor those with limited kitchen space, this is the best compact model we testedAn excellent all-around product with a large capacity, this model has convenient features and is exceptional at defrostingThis compact model is a great value, offers good performance, and features smart home integrationThis product pairs average results with an average price, failing to stand out from the competition
Rating Categories Nostalgia RMO4AQ Kenmore 70919 Toshiba EM131A5C Amazon Basics Micro... Panasonic NN-SB458S
Heating (40%)
4.8
6.0
5.5
6.1
6.2
Frozen Foods (30%)
6.7
8.3
7.0
7.4
6.7
Defrosting (20%)
7.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
7.0
Ease of use (10%)
4.6
6.9
8.1
6.4
5.5
Specs Nostalgia RMO4AQ Kenmore 70919 Toshiba EM131A5C Amazon Basics Micro... Panasonic NN-SB458S
Wattage 800 watts 900 watts 1100 watts 700 watts 900 watts
Size 0.9 cu. ft. 0.9 cu. ft. 1.2 cu. ft. 0.7 cu. ft. 0.9 cu. ft.
Dimensions 19.0"W x 11.0"H x 15"D 17.7"W x 11.0"H x 14.5"D 20.5"W x 12.8"H x 17.1"D 17.3"W x 10.1"H x 14.1"D 19.1"W x 11.5"H x 14.8"D
Turntable Diameter 10.5" 11.2" 12.4" 10.0" 10.6"
Internal Dimentions 13.5"W x 7.8"H x 12.5"D 13.6"W x 9.3"H x 12.4"D 15"W x 9.5"H x 13.1"D 10.9"W x 6.9"H x 10"D 13.9"W x 8.1"H x 12.4"D
Child lock Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
45 Sec Heating Temp Rise 75 F 83 F 111 F 70 F 89 F

Our Analysis and Test Results

If you like the look of the Nostalgia RMO4AQ, be prepared to pay a premium for it — it costs quite a bit more than some other comparable products. We expect anyone purchasing this product is doing so for the aesthetic and less so for performance features.

Performance Comparison


Nostalgia RMO4AQ microwave - if you love the vintage look, then this is the product for you.
If you love the vintage look, then this is the product for you.
Credit: Laura Casner

Heating


Our first round of evaluations for this kitchen appliance looked at how the Nostalgia RMO4AQ did at heating — or reheating — leftovers, soup, and pizza, as well as how fast and evenly it heats overall, using a heat map and a time trial with a controlled volume of water. Overall, this product scored on the lower end of our heat metric, although it did well in the pizza and soup tests.

The Nostalgia RMO4AQ didn't get off to a great start, earning some lackluster results in our heat map test. The inner ring of the marshmallow fluff was barely cooked, while one part of the outer ring was almost burnt. We also noticed a few cool spots about the size of a quarter interspersed throughout the outer parts of the ring.

The marshmallow heat map ready to put into the Nostalgia.
The marshmallow heat map ready to put into the Nostalgia.
The Nostalgia RMO4AQ is very inconsistent in heating (even worse...
The Nostalgia RMO4AQ is very inconsistent in heating (even worse than it looks). The center is just slightly browned, but the inner ring is barely cooked at all, almost completely white. Then the outer ring on one side is close to getting burnt.

In our speed test, the Nostalgia raised the temperature of 125 mL of water by 74.9°F after 45 seconds of heating, one of the lower temperature changes when compared to some models that knocked it out of the park.

Nostalgia RMO4AQ microwave - this appliance delivered decent results in our speed heating test.
This appliance delivered decent results in our speed heating test.
Credit: Laura Casner

The Nostalgia RMO4AQ also failed to do a great job of heating the leftover sausage, green beans, and potatoes. While the average temperature of each type of food was relatively close to each other — within about 15°F — there was a massive spread within each type of food. For example, some of the sausage was as low as 135°F while other pieces were as high as 160 °F

Nostalgia RMO4AQ microwave - the nostalgia yields different temperatures for different foods, so...
The Nostalgia yields different temperatures for different foods, so it's not great for leftovers.
Credit: Laura Casner

However, the Nostalgia RMO4AQ redeemed itself somewhat in our final two tests, reheating both the soup and the slice of pizza very consistently. One edge of one slice of the pizza was slightly cooler, but it was barely noticeable.

Nostalgia RMO4AQ microwave - this product definitely has some visual appeal that others lack.
This product definitely has some visual appeal that others lack.
Credit: Laura Casner

Frozen Foods


Our next round of tests looked at how the RMO4AQ performed when faced with cooking prepackaged frozen food items, specifically a personal serving of lasagna, a Hot Pocket, and a small burrito. It heated all three pretty well, earning it an above-average score.

We assessed performance by using a series of digital thermometers in a grid to measure each frozen item's temperature in different regions. The RMO4AQ did amazingly well with the frozen burrito, only showing an average of 3°F difference between the left, right, and center.

Nostalgia RMO4AQ microwave - the middle of the hot pocket came out just a bit cooler than the rest.
The middle of the Hot Pocket came out just a bit cooler than the rest.
Credit: Laura Casner

This appliance continued its strong showing with the Hot Pocket, heating it almost as evenly. The average difference between the three zones was again very tiny, with our temperature measurements only showing a mean variation of 5°F.

Nostalgia RMO4AQ microwave - the temperature gradient is easily visible.
The temperature gradient is easily visible.
Credit: Laura Casner

Regrettably, the Nostalgia RMO4AQ couldn't carry this performance into the lasagna test, heating it quite unevenly. Our biggest complaint is that there were some unacceptably cold spots along with some vast temperature differences between the six different thermometers.

Nostalgia RMO4AQ microwave - this product is definitely unique compared to the rest when it comes...
This product is definitely unique compared to the rest when it comes to looks.
Credit: Laura Casner

Defrosting


For our defrosting metric, we based the scores for each microwave on how well each product performed when it came to defrosting a one-pound block of frozen turkey. We used the recommended defrosting settings for each product, then weighed the amount of meat that was no longer frozen to determine scores.

The Nostalgia RMO4AQ delivered one of the better results of the group here, earning it a great score. It beeped multiple times throughout the process to notify you to flip the meat.

Nostalgia RMO4AQ microwave - this appliance did manage to defrost over 75% of the ground turkey.
This appliance did manage to defrost over 75% of the ground turkey.
Credit: Laura Casner

While this was a bit more labor-intensive than some other models, it defrosted just a bit less than 13 ounces. The remainder was also easily broken apart, even if it was just a bit frozen.

Nostalgia RMO4AQ microwave - this product does lack some of the user-friendly features that other...
This product does lack some of the user-friendly features that other models have.
Credit: Laura Casner

Ease of Use


Our final series of tests compared and scored how easy the Nostalgia RMO4AQ is to use. We assessed things like one-touch buttons and quick features, whether or not there was sufficient light to illuminate your food, if the microwave slid around on the counter when opening the door, and if the preset cook functions worked well. This product delivered a so-so series of results, meriting it an average score.

The RMO4AQ has a + 30 seconds button — labeled "Express" — but that's about it for quick features and functions. Its internal light isn't the brightest, and this appliance can't be used as a standalone kitchen timer when not heating food. However, we appreciated that it solidly stays in place on most surfaces when you open or close the door or press a button.

Nostalgia RMO4AQ microwave - the popcorn preset on the nostalgia left a decent number of kernels...
The popcorn preset on the Nostalgia left a decent number of kernels un-popped.
Credit: Laura Casner

We found the preset function for our test case — popcorn — to be decently effective, though it left a bunch of kernels unpopped. It scored points for not burning any, though.

Should You Buy the Nostalgia RMO4AQ?


If this aesthetic speaks to you, we'd say go for it, but don't expect the outstanding performance offered by some of the other products in our test suite. It's also somewhat expensive, and we believe the look is what you're paying extra for here. Nostalgia makes a full line of kitchen appliances with a similar appearance if you want to go all out with a coordinated retro kitchen.

What Other Microwaves Should You Consider?


The Nostalgia RMO4AQ is a great choice if you love this look, but otherwise, you might be better off with some of the top-tier models that sell for around the same price, notably the Toshiba EM131A5C or Kenmore 70919. If it's within your budget, the Panasonic NN-SN67KS is also a standout performer, particularly with frozen foods.

David Wise and Austin Palmer
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