Panasonic FlashXpress NB-G110P Toaster Oven Review by Ellyn Hennessey
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The Panasonic FlashXpress is well named. It represents something a little different. This toaster oven offers technology that puts it about halfway between a microwave oven and a traditional unit.
The NB-G110P, as the Panasonic FlashXpress is formally known, doesn’t look all that different from a normal toaster oven. It’s attractive but you wouldn’t guess just by looking that something unusual lurks within its silver exterior. Unfortunately, that exterior is not stainless steel. A white version is available as well – look for model name NB-G110PW.
The oven measures a modest 13″ W x 12″ D x 10″ H with an interior space of just 10.2″ x 9.8″ x 4.1″. You’re not going to cook anything really large (like a whole chicken) in this unit, anyway.
There is a very nice convenience feature not offered by all toaster ovens: an auto-eject rack. Open the door and the rack slides out as you do. Not the most important feature, for sure, but a highly appreciated one by most buyers, yours truly included.
On the downside, and it could be a serious one for some buyers, the rack is not adjustable. I assume that’s required because of the unusual heating technology but that’s just a guess. Panasonic might have wanted simply to lower design complexity or manufacturing costs by a tiny amount.
FlashXpress – What the heck?
What’s inside is a quartz ceramic heating mechanism that actually produces low-infrared radiation. That certainly sounds exotic – and it is – but first a little caveat.
In truth, almost all ovens work by producing infrared radiation. That’s what ordinary electric ovens produce, whether full-sized or toaster oven. When you pass electricity through a wire, it makes the little atoms jiggle very fast and that makes them give off energetic infrared waves. Those invisible waves cook your food.
That little diversion into the physics of heat isn’t there to intimidate or bore you, though. It’s just to point out that Panasonic hasn’t done anything crazy new here. New, yes; crazy, no. And not all that new, either.
In truth, the first FlashXpress model came out more than 15 years ago, but it was off the market in the U.S. for a while. Still, the way the FlashXpress operates is unusual and you can see that when you actually use it. Some will love it, others will say “What the heck?”
Turn on the NB-G110P and it will heat up to your preferred temperature almost instantly. That’s the “sort of a microwave” aspect I mentioned above. Incidentally, microwave radiation isn’t entirely different from infrared. Heat is heat and in both cases produced by invisible “light” waves.
Anyway, the nice thing is this thing heats up right away. There is virtually no pre-heat period at all. Stick in your food and start timing. You will need to adjust that timing, though. Many foods will cook much faster than you expect.
The thing that might disturb some buyers is this: watching this thing cook can be a little weird. That “flash” part of the name is accurate. The inside flashes when the heating element is doing its thing. It’s not on continuously and it doesn’t go off and on gradually like a normal toaster oven. In use it looks a lot like a camera flash. That’s not harmful but it’s not intended to be stared at either.
By the way, I don’t claim to know everything about the design but, by definition, infrared light is invisible to humans. However it works, the flash itself isn’t doing the cooking. That unusual infrared technology does have a big advantage – surprisingly even heat delivered right away. It gives new meaning to the old phrase, “a watched pot never boils”. In this case, the pot will boil even faster – up to 40% faster than conventional toaster ovens.
But, at least in this model, it also has a limitation. It will only produce so much heat. The NB-G110P is rated a very modest 1300 watts to begin with. And, the unit isn’t designed to tackle the more heat-hungry dishes. There’s no “Broil” setting, for example.
Controls & Display
There are six pre-set cooking modes, so if the FlashXpress suits your cooking style you’ll use it often and happily. Some of them are unusual, too. There’s the standard Toast, Pizza, and Reheat. But there’s also Waffle, Roll, and Hash Brown. That, in my view, is a very helpful addition.
There is also a pair of controls for Toast shade. They have a nice visual indicator. I don’t usually like the flat button style of some toaster ovens and microwaves. Here, they felt pretty good.
A larger issue, and a big personal downside for me, is the timer setting control. Here again is the common “tap repeatedly (or hold it forever)” type of control. I dislike having to do that with the TV remote volume control but that’s now universal. Fortunately, there are still a fair number of toaster ovens that offer dials. Still, that’s a matter of personal preference and may be utterly unimportant to you.
Oddly, the temperature control uses flat buttons, too, but I don’t mind that one so much. It operates much like the Shade control and simply isn’t as hard to operate. Maybe because the range is smaller and it sets quicker. The display is rather primitive by comparison to what many models offer these days.
The lights for the temperature sub-display are tiny. The timer is larger but still small and looked out of date 10 years ago. Still, they’re not that hard to see if the oven resides in an eye-level nook. On the counter, you might have to struggle a bit unless you enjoy bending over to set everything.
The Panasonic NB-G110P toaster oven is definitely not for everyone. For one thing, because of the flashing during cooking, you can’t monitor your food for browning or done-ness level. It’s also a little on the small and low-powered end of things. On the other hand, if you want super-fast cooking from a small toaster oven and lots of unusual preset options, this model could be ideal.