GE adds Bluetooth connectivity to new ranges and microwave

GE's Chef Connect feature will pair a new line of ranges with an over-the-range microwave to automatically light the stovetop, sync the clocks, and turn on the vent fan.

Ashlee Clark Thompson Associate Editor
Ashlee spent time as a newspaper reporter, AmeriCorps VISTA and an employee at a healthcare company before she landed at CNET. She loves to eat, write and watch "Golden Girls" (preferably all three at the same time). The first two hobbies help her out as an appliance reviewer. The last one makes her an asset to trivia teams. Ashlee also created the blog, AshleeEats.com, where she writes about casual dining in Louisville, Kentucky.
Ashlee Clark Thompson
2 min read

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The Chef Connect feature allows new ranges in GE's Profile line to communicate with a Bluetooth-enabled over-the-range microwave. GE

GE will use Bluetooth technology to connect a new line of ranges with an over-the-range microwave for "a more unified experience in the kitchen," the appliance manufacturer announced Monday. The appliances will be available beginning this fall.

GE's continuing foray into wireless technology shows that the manufacturer is eager to strengthen its foothold in the connected kitchen appliance marketplace. GE previously incorporated Wi-Fi capability into its Profile line of freestanding ranges and wall ovens , and the company recently integrated its connected appliances with the online automation service IFTTT. GE first introduced Bluetooth technology to the kitchen in early 2015 with its sous vide accessory, a project that was a collaboration between the manufacturer and its engineering collective FirstBuild. However, GE's latest venture into Bluetooth increases the price of the over-the-range microwave while offering limited features that eliminate only minor inconveniences in the kitchen.

GE's new ranges will be part of the company's Profile brand. The ranges will use Bluetooth technology, which GE calls the Chef Connect feature, to communicate wirelessly with the over-the-range microwave to perform the following three tasks:

  • Sync the clocks on the range and microwave.
  • Turn on the lights beneath the over-the-range microwave when a consumer turns on a burner.
  • Turn on the microwave's vent fan when the stovetop is also on.

Chef Connect features strike me as more "nice to have" than "must have." The addition of Bluetooth only eliminates flipping switches for the light and fan, tasks that haven't cast a heavy burden on my home cooking experience. It's also not too hard to set all the clocks in your kitchen to show the same time, so the time sync feature only solves a minor kitchen quibble.

The ranges in this Profile series, which GE will release in August 2015, are competitively priced with an MSRP of $1,100 for electric models and $1,200 for gas. But the Bluetooth technology puts the over-the-range microwave at the high-end price category for this type of appliance, which can start at less than $200. The MSRP for a black or white microwave model will be $449, and a stainless steel or slate model will have an MSRP of $499. I'm eager to see if GE can elevate the capabilities of the Chef Connect to match the price in future models.