GE Artistry Series Electric Range review: Retro looks for design-minded cooks with the GE Artistry Series

Smudges aside, from a usability standpoint, there's really not much to complain about with this oven. With such a simple design, there isn't anything stopping you from jumping in and sautéing vegetables or baking cookies.

With other, more feature-rich ovens I've tested, including the Electrolux Touch-IQ range , I felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of presets, settings, and unnecessary button presses that stood between me and my dinner. That oven costs more than twice as much as the Artistry Series, and I definitely prefer GE's approach.

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This brings us to the Artistry range's performance, which was simpler to test than with more complicated ovens. With no convection settings, no specialized presets, and no gimmicky-sounding cooking features to speak of, the Artistry Series range is about as basic as ovens get. At $600, I really don't think you can be too disappointed with that.

All you're really hoping for here is performance that doesn't disappoint, and in this sense, the Artistry Series did a great job. Throughout all of our tests -- roasted chicken, single- and double-rack biscuits, broiled hamburgers, and more -- we never saw a result that I'd characterize as wonky. The chicken tasted fine. The biscuits didn't burn. The burgers broiled as expected.

Without a convection fan, you can't expect even results from double rack baking. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

A closer look at the data shows us that the Artistry Series range held a slightly less consistent temperature than other standard ovens we've tested, including GE's own JB650SFSS. You're really splitting hairs, though, as both put out food that looked and tasted more or less indistinguishable.

Of course, with no convection fan, you aren't going to get ideal results from multi-rack baking. With two sheets of biscuit dough in at the same time, the one on the upper rack browned nicely, but blocked the bottom rack from taking advantage of the upper heating element. That leads to biscuits that come out "done," but not done well.

Still, at $600 it's hard to hold that against the Artistry Series range, as most decent convection ovens cost at least $800. For what it is -- a very basic, standard oven -- it performs about as dependably as you could expect.

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The verdict

The GE Artistry Series Electric Range is a legitimate design upgrade over other $600 ovens, and even ovens that cost more. You aren't getting any advanced cooking features, and with flimsy-feeling knobs, the build isn't perfect. Overall, though, it's a simple and stylish standout in its class.

If you're willing to spend more, you'll find ranges that offer greater functionality and more feature-rich designs. Decent convection ovens typically retail for at least $800, and you'll likely need to spend well over $1,000 for something with unique cooking capabilities, like the FlexDuo oven from Samsung . With the Artistry Series, you can upgrade your kitchen for a lot less, and that makes it a solid value.