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Nostalgia RMO4AQ Review

This product looks great but doesn't necessarily have the performance to back it up
Top Pick Award
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Price:   $130 List | $93 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  ⋅  Aug 19, 2020
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60
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 10
  • Heating - 40% 5
  • Frozen Foods - 30% 7
  • Defrosting - 20% 7
  • Ease of use - 10% 5

Our Verdict

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

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Unfortunately, we did find that the Nostalgia RMO4AQ can cost a bit more than some other comparable products, so it isn't the best bet if you only care about performance, but we do like it if you place decent significance on the appearance of your appliances.

Performance Comparison


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.

Heating


Our first round of evaluations looked at how the Nostalgia RMO4AQ did at heating — or reheating — up 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. This product did decently well, earning middle-of-the-road marks.


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, while one part of the outer side of the 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 underside of the heat map after testing.

This product's performance improved in our speed test, raising the temperature of 125 mL of water by 74.9°F after 45 seconds of heating.

This appliance delivered decent results in our speed heating test.
This appliance delivered decent results in our speed heating test.

The performance of the Nostalgia RMO4AQ again dropped a bit with the plate of leftovers, failing to do a great job of heating up the 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

We weren't fans of how large the temperature differences between different types of foods in this test.
We weren't fans of how large the temperature differences between different types of foods in this test.

However, the Nostalgia RMO4AQ did redeem itself a bit 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 a tiny bit cooler but it was barely noticeable.

This product definitely has some visual appeal that others lack.
This product definitely has some visual appeal that others lack.

Frozen Foods


Our next round of tests looked at how the Nostalgia RMO4AQ did with prepackaged frozen food items, specifically looking at how this microwave did with a personal serving of lasagna, a Hot Pocket, and a small burrito. It heated all three up decently well, earning it an above average score.


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

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.

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.

The temperature gradient is easily visible.
The temperature gradient is easily visible.

Regrettably, the Nostalgia RMO4AQ couldn't carry this performance into the lasagna test, heating it quite unevenly in our minds. Our biggest complaint is that there were some unacceptably cold spots in addition to some very large temperature differences between the 6 different thermometers we probed the lasagna with.

This product is definitely unique compared to the rest when it comes to looks.
This product is definitely unique compared to the rest when it comes to looks.

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, earning it a great score.


This microwave beeped multiple times throughout the process to notify you to flip the meat.

This appliance did manage to defrost over 75% of the ground turkey.
This appliance did manage to defrost over 75% of the ground turkey.

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

This product does lack some of the user-friendly features that other models have.
This product does lack some of the user-friendly features that other models have.

Ease of Use


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


The Nostalgia RMO4AQ does have a + 30 seconds button — labeled "Express" — but that is about it when it comes to quick features and functions. It doesn't have the brightest internal light and can't be used as a standalone kitchen timer when not heating food but we did like that it solidly stays in place on most surfaces when you open or close a door or press a button.

The popcorn preset left a decent number of kernels unpopped.
The popcorn preset left a decent number of kernels unpopped.

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

Value


While this product looks great, it is a little pricey in our minds relative to its performance, making it hard for us to think of it as a budget buy.

Conclusion


The Nostalgia RMO4AQ is a great choice if you love the look but otherwise you might be better off with some of the top-tier models that retail for about the same price and scored a bit better in our tests. However, we do think it's an awesome microwave if you love its unique style.

David Wise and Austin Palmer