Think about innovation in the tech that's part of our daily lives and a flying car, bendy tablet or wireless TV that sticks to your wall with suction cups may come to mind. (Or maybe any of these wacky, futuristic or trending gadgets.) But at CES, the world's largest consumer tech show, it was a humble item that often has pride of place on a countertop in the heart of the home, that got me truly excited: the Kitchen Aid rival GE Profile Smart Mixer. My colleague, CNET Senior Editor David Watsky, called it "low-key genius," and I agree.
The 10,000 foot view is that the GE Profile Smart Mixer is a stand mixer with some genuinely smart and thoughtful design elements, and tech that makes sense for a home cook like me. More than that, this is the first time we're seeing these smart features in a stand mixer, a kitchen workhorse alongside other "smart" appliances like refrigerators, ovens (also this), sous vide circulators and air fryers. Smart tech belongs in the kitchen for everyday people -- this roundup of smart kitchen tech reflects that -- and this GE Profile Smart Mixer is a first for a category that has passionate users worldwide.
I also love that the GE Profile Smart Mixer is a real device you can buy today at Crate & Barrel for $1,000 (it'll make it to other retailers in the coming months). It's not just some faraway concept that may or may not materialize, or a hokey attempt to "smartify" perfectly good equipment with apps and Bluetooth. Here's what I liked.
GE Profile Smart Stand's tech features make actual sense
First, a disclaimer: There were working models of the GE Profile on a ballroom table with pretty spotty Wi-Fi, I didn't have a chance to bake anything with the stand mixer myself. But I did mash a bunch of buttons to turn a paddle over some butter, lift the bowl mechanism and snap several attachments, like a balloon whisk, in and out.
Here's what impressed me. First, GE didn't just slap an app on a stand mixer and call it a day. The mixer's mechanical and "smart" designs felt useful, from the way the attachments most easily click (versus rotating) into place, to the built-in scale that reads weight out to you in the unit of your choice, so you don't have to grab a separate food scale and bowl to weigh precise ingredients before dumping them into the stand mixer. Time and dirty dishes saved!
Now for the "smart" parts. There are several. In addition to the integrated scale is a built-in timer. You rotate a dial at the top to select your speed. When the timer stops, the mixer stops, too. And by the way, the speed goes to 11 -- a power setting that GE says gets you close to emulsion.
When you fire up the app and select Auto Sense mode for guided recipes (like for meringue), the GE Profile mixer will sense the viscosity and stop when it "feels" you've achieved stiff versus floppy egg white peaks.
Then there are the voice commands for Google Home and Amazon Alexa. Right now, you can just tell the stand mixer to turn off, but other commands are in the works.
As for the other tidbits?
- The GE Profile has a reverse mode to spin counterclockwise, like if your tough dough gets stuck or you missed a spot.
- The work bowl easily raises into place with two paddle levers in the front. (I've had to wrestle with the KitchenAid in the past.)
- The paddle, whisk and dough hook attachments snap in (versus twist in), and there's a quick-release motion to cleanly get them out.
- You can use KitchenAid attachments through a standard "port" on the top.
- Work bowl and attachments are dishwasher safe.
I'm looking forward to putting the GE Profile Smart Mixer to the real test: attempting to whip up a batch of vanilla macarons for myself.