Nostalgia RMO4AQ Review
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|Pros||Stylish in a retro way, good with frozen items||Excellent at defrosting, convenient||Good at defrosting meat||Easy to use, relatively inexpensive, excellent with prepared frozen items||Good at reheating, does well with premade frozen foods|
|Cons||Pricey, lacks some features||Large, expensive||Not the most convenient to use, heating performance could be better||Struggled to defrost the ground turkey||Didn't defrost frozen turkey well|
|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 disappointed||An excellent all-around product with a large capacity, this model has convenient features and is exceptional at defrosting||This product pairs average results with an average price, failing to stand out from the competition||This product had mixed results overall, failing to distinguish it all that much from other products||This larger product did decently well but we don't think it quite matches the performance of the top-tier models|
|Rating Categories||Nostalgia RMO4AQ||Toshiba EM131A5C||Panasonic NN-SB458S||Toshiba EM925A5A||Black+Decker EM031MB11|
|Frozen Foods (30%)|
|Ease of use (10%)|
|Specs||Nostalgia RMO4AQ||Toshiba EM131A5C||Panasonic NN-SB458S||Toshiba EM925A5A||Black+Decker EM031MB11|
|Wattage||800 watts||1100 watts||900 watts||900 watts||1000 watts|
|Size||0.9 cu. ft.||1.2 cu. ft.||0.9 cu. ft.||0.9 cu. ft.||1.1 cu. ft.|
|Dimensions (WxHxD)||19.0" x 11.0" x 15"||20.5" x 12.8" x 17.1"||19.1" x 11.5" x 14.8"||19.2" x 11.5" x 15.9"||20.2" x 12.1" x 15.6"|
|Internal Dimentions (WxHxD)||13.5" x 7.8" x 12.5"||15" x 9.5" x 13.1"||13.9" x 8.1" x 12.4"||13.7" x 8.7" x 12.3"||14.5" x 9.1" x 13.9"|
|45 Sec Heating Temp Rise||75 F||111 F||89 F||89 F||83 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.
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.
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 the top-ranked microwaves.
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
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.
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.
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. Our biggest complaint is that there were some unacceptably cold spots along with some vast temperature differences between the six different thermometers.
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.
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.
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.
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. If it's within your budget, the Panasonic NN-SN67KS is also a standout performer, particularly with frozen foods.
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