We've reviewed our fair share of midprice ranges. Some models emphasize; others look utilitarian but . And then there's a small subset of above-average units that manage to strike a nice .
The $1,600 Maytag Gemini MET8720DS may offer two ovens for the price of one, but it doesn't fit into any of these categories. It suffers from inconsistent performance, few advanced features, an unresponsive display panel without a number pad, and a mishmash of stainless steel and cheap-looking plasticky accent pieces.
It isn't exactly a bad range, but you can find something better for roughly the same cost.
Here's the thing
Maytag's Gemini MET8720DS looks like a budget range with a few well-placed slabs of stainless steel thrown into the mix to serve as a distraction. We've seen elegantly-appointed midpriced models, like the $1,700and even standout entry-level options, like .
That's not to say that the Gemini completely misses the mark, but it's an odd hybrid of nice-looking, stainless-steel-wrapped double ovens with cheap plastic-looking painted metal handles and burner knobs.
And you can forget about extra features. For your $1,600, you get a 2.5-cubic-foot top oven and a 4.2-cubic-foot bottom oven -- that's it. There's no broiler pan accessory or special sliding oven rack. It's all very basic, including the display panel, which abandoned the idea of a number pad for setting times and temperatures in favor of space-saving plus and minus buttons.
That wouldn't be so bad if the touch pad were more responsive, but it's quite stubborn. I wouldn't go as far as saying that you'll risk a very minor finger injury trying to press down each button, but it definitely takes more effort than I would have expected.
Getting to the good stuff
Since the double oven is the main feature of this range, I decided to kick off testing with a frozen pizza in the smaller top oven and a whole-roasted chicken in the larger bottom one. I'll get to the chicken in a minute, but for now, let's all just take a moment to appreciate the cheesy goodness that's happening in the picture above.
You really can't go wrong with pizza. It's such a staple of the American diet that it would be irresponsible not to include it in this round of testing. That's especially true since the 2.5-cubic-foot upper oven is perfectly sized for a single rack -- of anything really -- but I immediately thought of frozen pizza.
The instructions say to preheat the over to 400 degrees and to cook it for 22 to 26 minutes. Fortunately, this oven handled the DiGiorno "Italian Style Favorites" pizza without complaint, finishing the pizza within the allotted timeframe. It was a welcome and tasty introduction to the Maytag Gemini.
While the upper oven was busy baking a pizza, the lower one was simultaneously roasting a chicken. It turned out quite well. That's the main advantage of this range over any single-oven model we've tested to date -- it offers up much more multitasking potential. I opted for two "main courses" with the pizza and the chicken, but you could just as easily cook a side dish up top and an entree below or an entree on top oven and a couple of racks of cookies underneath. What's better than tasty food? Tasty food that you can cook quickly and efficiently.
In addition to the simultaneous food tests, I also calculated how long the upper and lower ovens each took to reach 350 degrees in traditional bake mode. As you would expect, the upper oven reached 350 degrees in less time -- 11 minutes and 51 seconds -- while the lower oven took 13 minutes and 33 seconds. This isn't a huge difference, but there's a definite time and energy benefit to sticking with the top oven for single-rack cooking.