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Dacor DYRP36D review: A gadget for gadget's sake

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More technology, more problems

The Dacor's tablet interface is intuitive and works well when you're using it to operate the oven and manage its bounty of features. But as a plain old tablet, there wasn't much to cheer about. With the exception of the iQ Cooking app, the tablet feels like an afterthought on the oven.

Let's start with the logistics of an oven tablet. It's a shame that you can't remove the tablet from the oven, a feature that would add more versatility to the whole product. Instead, you're stuck in the kitchen if you want to use your tablet. It lies flat above the oven in line with the burner knobs, but the screen tilts to a 50-degree angle so you can get a better view. However, the top of the tablet's screen is always cut off by the cooktop's ledge, so you can't see the full display. This meant a lot of bending over to access apps and features. But the bigger headache is the neck ache you get when you're using the tablet for an extended period of time. I'm 5'3", and the screen came to my waist. I imagine the more vertically blessed among us would have an even bigger problem than I did. The least painful way to use the tablet was to just plop down in a chair right in front of it so it was closer to eye level.

The 7-inch tablet's home screen looks like any other Android tablet.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Then there's the tablet's outdated Android 4.0 operating system. The current version of Android is Android 6.0 (aka Marshmallow), with version 7.0 (Nougat) due out later this year. Google hasn't issued an Android 4.0-specific software update since 2015, which means a lot of potential headaches with downloaded apps.

Many of the apps I tried, such as YouTube and Google Voice Search, crashed repeatedly. At one point, the tablet restarted itself while I was in the middle of using an app. For such an expensive appliance, I'd expect the hardware to be able to keep up with the latest software. Though Dacor does update the iQ app, it's not enough to make up for a glitchy, outdated operating system.

I found the Dacor app that you use on your smartphone to control the oven remotely had its own set of problems. One of the most promising features on the app is voice controls, so you can give simple commands. But the voice recognition understands commands about as well as a hard-of-hearing 90-year-old. The app often didn't catch the entire request or would misunderstand the command -- "Set bake at 200 degrees" turned into "Greece" in the app, along with the digital assistant telling me it didn't understand my request. I know my Southern accent is strong, so I enlisted fellow CNEt editor Andrew Gebhart, a Michigan native with a clear, booming voice, to help. The Dacor app didn't understand him, either.

On the bright side...

As a cooking appliance, the Dacor DYRP36D handled food well. Though there was some uneven baking, the overall performance was what we've come to expect from the brand: slower than the competition, but delicious in outcome.

The highlight of the cooking tests was the roast chicken. Like other Dacor ranges, this is where the oven excelled. Crisp skin? Check. Juicy meat? Check. Delicious? Heck, yeah.

Another impressive cooking feature was the burners' ability to hold a steady temperature over low heat. Like other gas cooktops, the Dacor kept the temperature of the tomato soup fairly consistent when I set the burner to low.

Things began to take a turn during the baking tests. The oven's convection bake feature is powerful, and bakes two racks of biscuits quickly. But the result was uneven browning.

The biscuits that baked on the lower rack (bottom left picture) were browner than the ones that baked above them (top right picture). The pictures on the right are color representations of the biscuits' browning.

Chris Monroe/CNET

The time it took to boil 112 ounces of water was comparable to what we've seen from other, more expensive ranges like the $4,649 KitchenAid KDRS407 or the $7,130 Dacor RNRP36GS -- slower than freestanding, lower-cost units with gas cooktops like the $1,400 Kenmore 74343 or the $1,600 LG LRG4115ST.

Large burner boil test (gas models)

SMEG C30GGRU
10.37
LG LRG4115ST
10.43
Dacor DYRP36D
14.85

Note:

Time to achieve rolling boil, in minutes

The Dacor also broiled hamburgers at a slower rate than we've seen using other ranges with an electric oven. It took an average of 19.12 minutes to cook six hamburgers at a time, almost 7 minutes longer than the fastest broil times we've seen.

Hamburger broiling test (electric models)

Note:

Time to achieve 145 degrees F, in minutes

Final thoughts

The evolution of the smart kitchen has always been leading toward the introduction of more powerful, connected and interactive large appliances. We've seen a tablet work well built into a refrigerator, so it only makes sense for an oven to have one, too. But the Dacor DYRP36D dual-fuel range is not the oven/tablet hybrid we're looking for. This collision of a high-end appliance and an outdated Android tablet has too many problems to justify the $8,999 investment. Save your money and splurge on a dual-fuel range without the tablet, like the $6,320 Dacor ER30DSCH or the $4,649 KitchenAid KDRS407.

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