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GE PGS920SEFSS review: GE's luxurious gas range has surprisingly little appeal

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MSRP: $2,800.00

The Good The $2,800 GE PGS920SEFSS gas range has an attractive design and can broil a tasty burger fast.

The Bad Shockingly bad convection bake results, a counterintuitive touch screen and limited features damage this pricy model's credibility.

The Bottom Line Save your money -- this costly gas range doesn't offer much more than a pretty face.

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6.3 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 6
  • Usability 6
  • Performance 6

The $2,800 US-only GE Profile PGS920SEFSS Gas Range is a beauty. But peer past that luxurious-looking front control panel and stainless-steel facade and there isn't a whole lot going on. Yes, you'll be able to cook a fine meal on its five-burner cooktop or in its midsize oven, but this high-end model's performance, features and usability don't come close to matching its inflated MSRP.

Save some cash with midprice gas models like Samsung's $1,699 NX58F5700 or KitchenAid's $1,649 KGRS306BSS . They may not have the same design appeal, but they are significantly more well-rounded. You might even want to hold off for our review of the $2,799 Samsung Chef Collection NX58H9950WS Slide-In Gas Range ; it's in the same price range, but seems to offer more in terms of features.

All looks, little depth

GE's PGS920SEFSS has near-optimal design. It's the type of range that has a commanding kitchen presence, a model that gives off a decidedly professional vibe. Sturdy gas knobs surround its well-appointed front control panel and the whole thing is wrapped in generous amounts of stainless steel -- GE definitely didn't skimp on the finish and it shows.

Three large cast-iron grates protect the gas burners underneath. This cooktop also comes with a very hefty two-sided griddle accessory that could easily double as a weapon in the zombie apocalypse -- or be stowed in the warming drawer below when it isn't in use.

Its burner BTUs range from 5,000 to 20,000. The less expensive gas models I've reviewed recently have topped out at 19,000 BTUs, so GE's PGS920SEFSS has a bit more power. And, where some center burners are small and not suitable for evenly heating a griddle, this model features a large oval burner with 10,000 BTUs.

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The large oval burner. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

GE's oven has 5.6 cubic feet of space. That isn't small, but it isn't mega-capacity either. It has six adjustable rack positions and comes with two standard flat racks and one "roller" rack that glides open like a drawer. This model also comes with a probe and a related "probe" mode for cooking meat to temperature.

These are solid specs and features, but they don't deviate much from what you can get for $1,000+ less.

Consider the $1,699 Samsung NX58F5700. It isn't quite as nice to look at, but it has a larger oven and a comparable cooktop. It also comes with a griddle and a wok accessory, a few different racks and extra oven modes like defrost, dehydrate and proof. That leads me to question whether or not this expensive range adds any value -- aside from its obvious design enhancements.

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Samsung's Chef Collection gas range. Sarah Tew/CNET

The GE PGS920SEFSS also has some tough competition in its own price range. At $2,799, Samsung's Chef Collection NX58H9950WS Slide-In Gas Range promises similar BTU power and comes complete with a griddle and a wok attachment to satisfy all of your stir-fry needs. Its "Guiding Light" control panel, pictured above, looks more sophisticated than GE's touchpad and its oven boasts 5.8 cubic feet of space and seven rack positions (that additional 0.2 cubic feet won't be noticeable to most, though). It also comes with three racks and a temperature probe and you're supposed to be able to set "Healthy Cook" and "Favorite Cook" presets for quick access to commonly-used recipes.

At the very least, I expected GE's $2,800 gas range to outdo what's available at the midprice tier, but that just wasn't the case.

The PGS920SEFSS's touchpad was also fairly frustrating. The number pad and cooking mode buttons were responsive, but the start button and a few other options had slight delays. I can't make sense of this from a usability standpoint. This feature allows for a delay on a small number of buttons, making you question whether those specific buttons are working properly.

The timer was also a little problematic. If you set something to cook for 45 minutes, it will only show "45" on the display. That way, you won't know if it's actually counting down until a minute has passed and it shows "44." Since the start button has a weird delay to begin with, it isn't easy to confirm that the timer is actually working. Instead, you simply have to wait a minute for that "44" -- or another custom time setting -- to appear.

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