The Good The $3,200 SMEG C30GGRU gas range's cherry-red finish and compact design would be a showpiece in any kitchen. The cooktop is also a stunner when it comes to boiling water.
The Bad The oven churned out a wide range of terrible food, from undercooked biscuits to dry roasted chicken. The knob controls were tricky to use, and the simple design left out important features like a preheat indicator.
The Bottom Line This SMEG range will earn you a lot of cool points because of its appearance, Italian origins and air of exclusivity. But pass on this unit if you really want to use your oven.
A mediocre oven hiding behind refined Italian design
Not to disrespect to the other products I've tested, but I'd never called an oven "cute" until I unboxed the SMEG C30GGRU. This compact, fire-engine red range made me smile, especially since I work in a test kitchen full of hefty stainless-steel appliances. The bright color, plus the sleek Italian design and the $3,200 price (about £2,247 or AU$4,517, converted directly), gave me high hopes about the cooking I would do with this high-end gas range.
But when I began testing this SMEG oven, I realized that using this range was like opening a bag of Cheetos and discovering that it's only half full: the outside held lots of promise, but the interior was a big disappointment. The oven managed to both under-bake and over-cook in my bake tests and often took a long time to do so. And finicky control knobs made using the decent stovetop difficult.
Now, the SMEG's cooking wasn't all bad; the stovetop did a good job at boiling water and holding a steady temperature when I cooked tomato soup on low heat. Unfortunately, it just wasn't enough to redeem this range. The SMEG shows the downside of holding premium appliance brands on a pedestal; sometimes, you pay a lot of money for looks and prestige, and not actual cooking capability.