We got to spend some time with the $1,899 Flex Duo range, model number NE59J7850WS, when Samsung debuted it at CES earlier this year. Sincegot high marks when we reviewed it back in 2013, we weren't exactly sure if this new, less-nice-looking model would bring anything special to the lineup. But its reasonable price and uniquely hinged upper oven door give it enough appeal to put its recommendability in the ballpark of its pricier predecessor.
Flex Duo, explained
This Flex Duo range won't make sense for everyone. For starters, it has a pretty unremarkable design. Yes, it looks fine, but it definitely doesn't have the same eye-catching appeal as. That said, if you're looking to spend less than $2,000, it looks roughly the same as every other stainless-steel-wrapped electric model in that price range.
Electric models tend to make less of a statement than their gas counterparts. Take the. That gas range comes with sturdy cast iron grates, a wok accessory and a griddle. Its slightly oversized burner knobs also give it an almost-luxury chef look, even though it's midpriced. It's a challenge to do something similar with the understated smooth ceramic cooktop that defines most medium- and high-end electric models.
That said, this NE59J7850WS unit looks nice enough and it's easy to use. I like that it has four knobs for accessing the main burners -- you can access the fifth warming burner from the display panel. You can also adjust its powerful 3,000W burner to accommodate 6-, 9- or 12-inch pots and pans.
While the Flex Duo does have some unique oven modes like bread proof, dehydrate and slow cook, the removable divider is a key feature. Without the divider, the oven capacity is 5.9 cubic feet. Add it in, and you get a 2.7-cubic-foot upper oven and a 3-cubic-foot lower oven. The oven has subtle arrow indicators that tell you where to add the divider and it will chime when it's installed correctly.
New to this model, and arguably its most uncommon feature, is a latch that lets you open a smaller door on the top oven without letting air escape from the lower oven. The last Flex Duo we reviewed didn't have that feature, so you had to open the entire door -- even if you were cooking in the top and the bottom oven and only wanted to check on the food on the top oven. That's a vast improvement over the previous iteration, although it would be nice to be able to access the bottom oven separately, too.
An oven for every cooking quandary
If you've read some of our other oven reviews, then you know that . That means that we do multiple rounds per cooking mode and type of food so we can tell you what to expect from each and every model. It's a tough job, but someone's gotta taste-test all that deliciousness.
Biscuits are typically our first stop when it comes to oven testing. We test single and double racks of buttermilk biscuits in both traditional and convection modes. The collage above shows traditional double-rack biscuits (top row) and convection double-rack biscuits (bottom row).
Like many biscuits before these, the traditional double-rack biscuits were cooked on the top rack and undercooked on the bottom rack. In many cases, the top rack is overcooked, but this Flex Duo model managed to keep that at bay. The convection double-rack biscuits look much more uniform and are about as close to the "biscuit ideal" as you can get.
The single-rack biscuits had the reverse problem. The traditional mode biscuits, pictured above on the left, look near-perfect, whereas the convection mode single-rack biscuits were seriously overcooked. I'd suggest using convection mode for multiple-rack baking and traditional mode for single-rack baking.