Retro Friday: Dial-Operated Microwave Ovens
An instance of where modern technology got it really, really wrong is with microwave oven controls. This a very longstanding complaint from countless people, yet idiot manufacturers still to this day produce ovens with baffling controls when all we want to do is heat up coffee and soup in the quickest way possible.
The thing to remember about a microwave oven is that it’s an oven first. Anything else it does takes away from the job it’s supposed to do. What this means is that if you have to even think for a second how to operate a microwave oven, that’s confirmation you’re dealing with a poorly-designed appliance. You should never have to think nor ‘get used to’ how one of these ovens works.
Can we be saved from this misery?
Yes. The answer is to go retro and purposely seek out a microwave that uses dial controls instead of a membrane keypad (which almost all do).
First, a modern microwave:
You see a whole bunch of buttons (most of which you’ll never use) and a clock that has to be reset each time the power goes out and when Daylight Savings kicks in. This is a microwave that needs to be programmed just to work, and that’s stupid. Remember, it’s an oven first.
Here’s a microwave still made new (thank God) that uses dial controls:
You see two dials and only one button for the only thing that matters: to open the stupid door.
The top dial is for heat power, the second for cook time. That’s it. No clock. No programming required. No need to press ‘Start’. As soon as you turn the cook dial, the oven is on; it doesn’t get any easier than that.
If you hate-hate-hate your current microwave, purposely seek out one that uses dial controls. You’ll love the simplicity, ease-of-operation, and the fact you’re not required to preset anything other than heat and cook time.
“It’s weird to see a microwave oven without a digital display.” No, it isn’t. You’ve been fooled into thinking an oven needed a digital panel just to work. It doesn’t and never did. Two dials and a door release is all you ever needed.