Yes, it's serviceable as a microwave, but uneven heating and sensor issues left us rather cold. Fortunately, some truly excellent convection cooking performance means the EW30SO60QS could still be a good supporting actor in an upscale kitchen. If you're too scared to buy a high speed oven—like the GE Advantium, Miele M-Touch Speed Oven, or Electrolux E30SO75ESS—this built-in will do the trick.
Design and Usability
A microwave that doesn't look like a microwave
With its clean and transitional look, this microwave should match perfectly with Electrolux's existing lineup of ranges and wall ovens.
The EW30SO60QS also makes use of the same Wave-Touch control panel found on several of the company's other high-end appliances. The panel only displays the options that are available for the active cooking mode, so you spend less time blindingly jabbing at buttons figuring out what's relevant. When not in use, the display is turned off, leaving you with a simple black panel that blends in with the microwave door.
We should point out that the EW30SO60QS looks considerably larger on the outside than it is on the inside. The broad exterior doesn't feel so expansive anymore when you discover this microwave only has a 1.5-cubic-foot capacity.
On the subject of that drop down door, how you feel about it will likely depend on where the oven is installed. Doors like this make perfect sense for a range or wall-oven, as they tend to reside at or below eye level. However, considering most consumers place microwaves like the EW30SO60QS slightly higher—especially if it's located above a range or stove—the drop down door could be one more thing to reach over.
A boon for bakers
The most attractive appliance in the world isn't worth a thing if it doesn't perform well, and initially we were a little worried that the EW30SO60QS would turn out to be the Emperor's New Clothes of microwaves. Sensors enthusiastically overcooked our test potato, the default power options resulted in unevenly heated macaroni and cheese, and the defrost setting struggled to do just that.
Fortunately, the EW30SO60QS succeeded with aplomb in a few crucial areas: The popcorn setting was more than capable of heating kernels to perfection, and water boiled in a flash.
Most importantly, the microwave's convection setting resulted in some of the most perfectly uniform and consistently heated cookies we have ever seen.
Save Your Money for a Speed Oven
What does $1,649 get you, exactly?
The EW30SO60QS has a lot going for it. It's easily one of the best looking microwaves around, and makes excellent use of Electrolux's high-end features. However, its inconsistent performance leaves a lot to be desired. For a premium product with a great user interface, eating the food that comes out of it should be more of a treat.
The impossible-to-ignore elephant in the room is, of course, that $1,649 price tag. That kind of money can get you a pretty impressive oven, let alone a 1.5-cubic-foot microwave. Retailers serve it up for as little as $1,239, but even a $400 discount is hard to swallow given the machine's spotty performance.
If it were our money, we'd splurge on a speed oven—like the Miele M-Touch, GE Advantium, or the Electrolux E30SO75ESS—which sells for just under $2,000. Such devices add additional heating methods, and can cook tender meat, steam vegetables, and still work as a traditional microwave.
The EW30SO60QS did extremely well in our popcorn test. Once the cycle was complete, only 52 kernels out of a possible 300 remained unpopped, and we found none burnt.
Sensor cooking modes are often hit-or-miss with microwaves, and the EW30SO60QS's was predictably disappointing. This setting overheated our test food by 14°F and—when measuring the temperatures throughout our cooked potato—we found a number of hot and cold spots.
The convection setting, however, proved impressive. The tops and bottoms of cookies we baked were so uniformly even that they resembled a well regimented military brigade. Also, there was no noticeable difference when comparing the tops and bottoms of individual cookies, neither side was over- or undercooked compared to the other.
The EW30SO60QS is one of the quieter microwaves we've seen, largely due to the fact that it's a built-in model. We recorded 57.7 dB during normal operation.
Heating and Defrosting
As is often the case with modern microwaves, the EW30SO60QS blasted through our basic water heating test. The appliance took only three minutes to heat a cup of room temperature water to 210°F.
We reheated a portion of macaroni and cheese using the EW30SO60QS's default power levels. While the food was sufficiently heated overall, there were a couple of cold spots. A good mix mid-cycle should resolve that.
We saw similar results in our defrosting test. At the completion of the seven minute cycle, we found a large portion of our food was still frozen. Fortunately, very few sections of our somewhat-thawed ground beef were overcooked, which means you should be able to extend the cycle without too much worry.
Meet the tester
Aside from reviewing ovens and cooktops, James moonlights as an educational theatre practitioner, amateur home chef, and weekend DIY warrior.
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