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GE PHB920SJSS review: This GE induction range lets Alexa be the boss

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The Good You can use voice control to operate some parts of the Wi-Fi-enabled $2,000 GE PHB920SJSS induction range thanks to compatibility with the Amazon Alexa digital assistant. The induction cooktop cooks food fast, and the oven bakes and roasts evenly.

The Bad The voice commands can get convoluted, and the wrong wording choice throws off Alexa.

The Bottom Line The GE PHB920SJSS is a good oven on its own, and its Wi-Fi connectivity and integration with Alexa make this appliance a great choice, especially if you're interested in smart home technology.

8.2 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 7
  • Usability 8
  • Performance 9
Tyler Lizenby/CNET

You're oiling down your Thanksgiving turkey, and the recipe you're using calls for you to adjust the oven temperature right before you put the turkey in. This salmonella-laden scenario typically means you'll have to stop what you're doing and wash your hands to make the adjustment. But what if you could just yell at a virtual assistant to preheat your oven without a pause in turkey prep? It's possible with the GE PHB920SJSS ($1,990 at Best Buy) induction range.

This $2,000 stove is one of GE Appliances' Wi-Fi-enabled products that works with Alexa, Amazon's virtual assistant. Thanks to a new Alexa "Skill," you can tell Alexa what you want your oven to do, and she'll handle the rest. For the most part, Alexa followed my voice commands and controlled the GE PHB920SJSS. The stove's integration with Alexa did create some frustrating moments, though. You have to be very specific with your voice commands; variations of the same statement can leave the virtual assistant stumped. Alexa can't control certain parts of the oven, such as the broiler or cooktop burners. And you have to hit a "Remote Enable" button on the oven's control panel before you use voice commands, which undercuts some of the hands-free appeal.

Fortunately, the GE PHB920SJSS is a great stove, even without the flashy Wi-Fi features. The induction burners can boil water quickly and the oven circulates heat evenly. At $2,000, it's one of the least expensive induction ranges we've tested (the $1,700 Kenmore 95073 takes top honor for lowest-cost induction range).

If you're in search of an electric range, buy the GE PHB920SJSS. GE's integration with Alexa is a useful addition that helps rather than hinders (as we've seen with some smart stoves and ovens). But most importantly, this stove's cooking performance borders on flawless.

GE loads this oven up with useful features

The GE PHB920SJSS is a humble-looking oven that's more powerful than it appears at first glance. Its profile is pretty standard: 30 inches wide, stainless-steel finish, freestanding, smooth glass cooktop. But its specs are impressive.

The GE PHB920SJSS's Wi-Fi and integration with Alexa is, by far, the most notable part of this range. The oven works with a GE app where you can set and monitor its temperature without any help from Alexa. But if you want to voice control the range, you have to use an Alexa "Skill" (sort of like an app for Alexa that connects the platform's voice capabilities to smart devices and apps) called Geneva.

To do so, you'll first connect your oven to your home's Wi-Fi network (the company's app walks you through the simple process). Then, you have to download the Geneva Skill from the Alexa app and enter your GE online log-in information. I had to attempt this several times before my accounts linked. After you complete set-up, you hit the "Remote Enable" button on the stove's control panel. If you have an Alexa-enabled device such as an Echo smart speaker, you'll be able to tell Alexa to tell Geneva to complete a task or provide you with a status update. So, if you want to preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, you'd say, "Alexa, tell Geneva to preheat the oven to 350."

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