If your most important qualification for a microwave is that it matches your range, the 80373 will do. Otherwise, you should keep shopping.
The Kenmore 80373's popcorn setting was not up to the challenge. Once the cycle was complete only 31 unpopped kernels (out of a possible 300) remained behind, and we found 21 burnt kernels. This isn't a terrible result, but burnt kernels are a bad sign.
On the other hand, the 80373's sensor cooking mode was excellent. We measured only a 3°F difference when testing the temperature of sections of our test potato, which was cooked thoroughly throughout.
The convection setting was another matter entirely. We tested this setting by baking a batch of cookies, and found a total lack of uniformity from one cookie to another. Other microwaves had no problem here.
The Kenmore 80373 sports a crisp transitional aesthetic. It is available in white and black, but we think the stainless trim is worth the extra money.
The pressure sensitive control panel doesn't deviate from the standard microwave template, and the extractor vent is controlled by physical buttons found just below the cooking controls.
The 80373 was louder than most over-the-ranges we've tested. We recorded a sound level of 55.6 dB during normal operation, and 62.2 dB when using the exhaust vent.
Sensor aside, not much to write home about
Straight away, the 80373 impressed with a sensational sensor setting. Microwave sensors promise a new level of cooking convenience, but the 80373's fast, accurate and consistent sensor actually delivers on that promise.
Apart from the stellar sensor, however, the 80373 offered only mediocre performance. The microwave's high wattage was evident in the fairly fast water heating times. However, as we have discovered, power is a double edged sword, and the popcorn setting resulted in a few burnt kernels. The microwave's convection setting proved inadequate, as well.
One of the worst things about defrosting or cooking food in a microwave is when parts remain frozen while other sections are blisteringly hot. That was the case with this Kenmore: Reheated food definitely needed to be stirred throughout the cooking process, while the Defrost setting left large portions of the food still frozen.
Most microwaves can, at the very least, heat a cup of water, and the 80373 was no exception. The appliance took only three minutes to heat a cup of room temperature water to 208°F.
We reheated a portion of macaroni and cheese using the 80373's default power levels. The resulting food was a minefield of uneven temperatures, alternating between barely warm and scalding hot. Our advice: Be sure to give your food a good stir before taking the first bite.
Similarly, the defrost setting struggled to thaw our test food. At the completion of the five minute cycle, a number of frozen clumps were left behind, but fortunately very few sections of the food were overcooked.
It all depends on what you value
Despite its high MSRP, we found the 80373 on sale for $517.99. Despite its good looks and stellar sensor, even that price may be too much for this Kenmore.
Considering that we found the better performing, larger, and more powerful Kenmore 80353 on sale for only $457.49, there's little reason to go for the smaller 80373, unless space in your home is at an absolute premium.
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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