Nostalgia RMO4AQ Review
Pros: Stylish in a retro way, good with frozen items
Cons: Pricey, lacks some features
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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