Amazon Echo News

Cooking with Alexa: Amazon Heats Up the Smart Microwave Scene with New Offering

Announced in September, the Amazon Smart Oven auto-cooks food based on presets downloaded from Alexa, making this a definite step up—even if a bit pricey—from the AmazonBasics Microwave.

When Amazon announced the AmazonBasics Microwave ($59.99) in 2018, the industry appeared to offer a lukewarm reception to the newly-released smart microwave. The thought of asking Alexa to heat up your mac and cheese rather than pressing a button seemed marginally useful. 

New for 2019, Amazon’s latest Alexa-enabled Smart Oven ($249.99), takes it up a notch by adding new features in-demand by those in the kitchen: air-frying, food warming, and enabling use as a microwave and convection oven.

Announced at its fall hardware event in September, the Amazon Smart Oven predictably enables Alexa to do just about everything with your microwave oven–plus more. The device comes with presets for common microwavable foods like popcorn or boxed dinners, and Alexa promises to let you know when it’s time to flip or stir food, and when it’s ready to eat. 

You can also use Alexa to scan hundreds of pre-packaged food items (including many sold by Amazon-owned Whole Foods). Once scanned, Alexa will set the Smart Oven to the correct temperature and cooking time. You can also use voice control to preheat the oven.

Smart Oven Design

Amazon could do better with the design of the Smart Oven. 

By all appearances, you can’t tell it apart from other standard, non-Alexa enabled microwave ovens. 

You’ll find your typical microwave touch panel on the right side of the device and a standard microwave door on the left. We do like that it has a smooth metal exterior with complementary black accents. 

Bottom line: it’ll go well with any modern kitchen, though it could stand out a bit more in further iterations.

Compatible with Alexa

Like last year’s AmazonBasics Microwave, the Smart Oven doesn’t come with Alexa built in. Instead, it’s controlled through an external Alexa smart speaker. If you want to use Alexa to heat up that bacon baked potato, you’ll have to summon Alexa through an Alexa-enabled smart speaker, like the Amazon Echo Dot, which then sends the command over to the Smart Oven. Press the ‘Start’ button on the device to start the cooking.

Another new feature worth noting: if you’ve connected the Smart Oven to an Alexa device that comes with a camera, you can use it to scan the barcode for pre-packaged foods (see: Whole Foods), and the device will relay those instructions to the Smart Oven.

Amazon’s Smart Oven vs. June, Tovala, and Brava

The Alexa-connected Smart Oven joins several other players in the smart cooking space. This includes the June Smart Oven ($499.99), the Brava ($1,095) and the Tovala meal service ($299.99). While Amazon’s option lacks the impressive list of features like June’s food recognition or Tovala’s full-service meal ordering program, it’s by far the least expensive and easiest to use.

The Amazon Smart Oven is currently available for pre-orders and will ship on November 14th. Getting the oven will score you an Echo Dot.

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