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

I used this Amazon Echo Dot to test the oven's compatibility with Alexa.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

I used an Echo Dot to test the Alexa/GE integration. The Skill was helpful during testing, especially when my hands were full or coated in chicken juice. During my cooking tests, I yelled for Alexa to preheat the oven while I arranged biscuit dough on a baking sheet. I asked her what the oven's temperature was as I trussed a chicken. But Alexa and Geneva can be pretty picky about how you give them commands. To that end, GE offers a list of the commands to which Alexa and Geneva will respond. When I deviated from the exact wording, it would often confuse Alexa, and she'd tell me she hadn't learned how to do that task yet. And the digital tag team can only do so much: Alexa and Geneva can't control the oven's broiler or the cooktop.

GE and Amazon need to stay on top of updating and improving this Skill, but as it currently stands, it's still a useful addition to the kitchen. It's not tech for tech's sake, as we've seen with the Dacor DYRP36D, an oven with a built-in but outdated Android tablet, or LG's superfluous inclusion of near-field communication on its ovens. Geneva is helpful, and alleviates a real problem rather than creating new ones.

Wi-Fi aside, this oven knows how to cook

Thee range's cooktop has a warming zone and four induction burners that use electromagnetism to cook food without any flames or direct heat. This type of cooktop is efficient and fast; it took an average of 5.93 minutes to bring 112 ounces of water to a boil. That performance is comparable to other induction cooktops we've tested and nearly three minutes faster than the speediest electric cooktop without induction (8.68 minutes on the Kenmore 97723).

Large Burner Boil Test (Induction and Electric Models)

Note:

Time to achieve rolling boil, in minutes

The oven also handled food well. The convection fan that circulates heat more evenly in the oven was effective and efficient in producing golden, roasted chicken and turkey that had crisp skin and moist meat. The same even circulation was evident when I baked two pans of biscuits. We tend to see one pan of biscuits cook lighter than the other, but the GHB920SJSS evenly browned both racks.

The broiler wasn't as swoon-worthy as the other parts of the GHB920SJSS's cooking performance. It took an average of 14.33 minutes to cook six hamburger patties, a time that's respectable, but not nearly the fastest.

Hamburger Broiling Test (Electric Models)

Note:

Time to achieve 145 degrees F, in minutes

Final thoughts

I'd like this oven even if it didn't have Wi-Fi. Its induction cooktop is fast and efficient at cooking foods. Its oven evenly bakes and roasts. And its $2,000 price is comparable (if not better) than other induction ranges like it. Add in the Wi-Fi and integration with Alexa, and you're looking at a very solid choice for the tech-savvy kitchen, albeit one with a couple of snags that GE and Amazon should address.

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