"The design of the FlashXpress is what helps it to stand out as a fantastically unique toaster."
If you like having a toaster that can do more just toast, then the Panasonic FlashXpress may just be the kind of versatile appliance you need in your kitchen. Utilising Panasonic’s FlashXpress Instant Heating Technology, the FlashXpress may change your whole view on how toasters should perform. With six pre-set cooking modes that allow you to do anything from reheating a pizza to baking a cake, it's rare to see a toaster that simply does so much. Of course, some features are more effective than others and you may find that the more conventional methods are better for certain methods such as baking, though this toaster gives you more choice than almost any other on the market. Despite giving you the ability to do so much, the FlashXpress still has its very own unique streamlined and lightweight design that could fit in well in any kitchen. While at $125-$135 you can certainly find more modestly priced appliances, you are unlikely to find many toasters quite as powerful and efficient as the Panasonic FlashXpress.
For a toaster that can cook up to 40% faster than most normal toasters, I’m not sure you’d expect the Panasonic FlashXpress to have such an interesting and unique design. However, with its fully button based range of options, along with its sturdy, compact exterior that comes in three different colours, the FlashXpress has somewhat of a retro look to it and looks more like a microwave oven than a toaster. And weighing just 10.6 pounds with dimensions of 12 x 13 x 10.2 inches, it’s hard to imagine this streamlined toaster being so powerful. However, with its six pre-set cooking modes, you can cook anything from a basic slice of bread to an actual (small) pizza using this toaster oven. The size of the interior gives you more options in regard to what you can make with the toaster, allowing you to cook up to toast up to four slices of bread at once, and the inside of the toaster features an interior light enabling you to witness the cooking process first hand.
In terms of the cooking itself, the double infrared heating at the front and back of the toaster allows for ultra-fast heating to be achieved, though there is still very little heat radiated externally, making the FlashXpress an efficient option. While the design of the toaster only allows for timed cooking of up to 25 minutes, Panasonic have argued that most users will not need to cook anything for longer than that. Unfortunately, this is not ideal when using the appliance for baking purposes, though many have argued that this is not a wise idea anyway. Another somewhat odd design feature is the mandatory use of an on/off button, which could potentially be dangerous for anyone that forgets to turn off their toaster. For the most part though, the design of the FlashXpress is what helps it to stand out as a fantastically unique toaster.
One of the Panasonic FlashXpress’ very best features is the Instant Heating Technology that has become a staple of some of Panasonic’s most accomplished kitchen appliances. The double infrared heating elements and the 1,300W of power allow the toaster to reach maximum temperatures in short periods of time, making the FlashXpress possibly the fastest toaster available today. As you’d expect, this toaster, which can cook up to 40% faster than many normal toasters, is especially proficient in its ability to cook toast. The toaster's ability to quickly cook food has also made it especially useful when cooking from frozen.
On the other hand, the FlashXpress is not entirely perfect when it comes to all of its modes of cooking. Anybody looking to use the toaster for baking purposes should know that there are much more effective methods of baking than using this particular toaster. Aside from the fact that the 25 minute timer limit makes baking generally much more difficult to actually do, the ultra-fast heating of the FlashXpress tends to cook baked goods all the way through, doing a rather shoddy job of making cakes pleasant to actually eat. The Panasonic FlashXpress is also not too successful in its ability to broil foods such as burgers. While this is not ideal, the toaster does tend to succeed in the more necessary areas of success for a toaster oven; most notably the ability to cook toast well and reheat food very quickly.
Ease of Use
For the most part, the Panasonic FlashXpress is a pretty easy and straightforward toaster to operate. The retro-style control buttons, while somewhat fidgety, are clear and very easy to follow, allowing you to spend less time operating the toaster and more time cooking. However, there is no button on the toaster that allows you to cancel any mistakes you made with the settings, meaning that the whole appliance must be switched off in order to rectify any mistakes made. This can cause some frustration if you are to hit the wrong buttons occasionally, but it is certainly not the end of the world.
The temperature options on the FlashXpress may also cause some annoyance, since the pre-set temperature options may not allow you to cook at the temperature that you may have been told to. Aside from this, the toaster comes with a useful removable crumb tray as well as a non-stick interior that make cleaning a much easier process, even if the tray can sometimes be a bit of a pain to remove. Despite the high temperatures that this toaster can reach in such a short period of time, very little of this heat is transferred to the handle of the toaster and there is very little risk of burning yourself using the FlashXpress. Small but useful features such as this, make the FlashXpress a very convenient appliance to have, and its rather small design can make it a great fit in any kitchen environment.
Overall, the Panasonic FlashXpress may just be one of the fastest toaster ovens available. The double infrared heating technology means that it can cook food at a rate that many other toasters simply cannot match, and it manages to cook most food very effectively, even if it comes up short in areas such as baking. While the retro aesthetic of the FlashXpress’ interface is a nice touch, the use of buttons can be fairly frustrating, especially when it comes to the lack of more specific temperature options as well as an off button. But for a price of around $125-$135, the Panasonic FlashXpress offers a convenient and mostly efficient toaster oven that is always likely to do a good job in key areas such as cooking toast and heating food from frozen.