Samsung NE58H9970WS Slide-In Induction Chef Collection Range with Flex Duo Oven review: Samsung's stylish induction range boasts futuristic cooking power

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MSRP: $3,699.00

The Good The Samsung Chef Collection Induction Range has plenty going for it, including futuristic cooking capabilities, flexible oven controls and killer good looks, all packed into a compact 30-inch slide-in size.

The Bad The expensive price tag and the lack of a dedicated griddle pan may give all but the most dedicated of induction fans cold feet.

The Bottom Line If induction cooking, sturdy and attractive stainless steel construction, not to mention almost having two ovens in one is high on your wish list, the compact Samsung Slide-In Induction Chef Collection Range will satisfy. Otherwise you're better off with a less exorbitant induction or gas range.

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8.8 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Features 9
  • Usability 8
  • Performance 9

Priced at a cool $3,699 and sitting at the pinnacle of Samsung's elite kitchen appliance brand, the Samsung Slide-In Induction Chef Collection Range comes with all the bells and whistles a well-heeled customer might have on his or her checklist.

Besides high-performance induction cooking surfaces, Samsung's oven comes with a dual-fan, twin zone convection oven. Labelled Flex Duo technology by Samsung, which we loved in the Chef Duo's electric predecessor , it comes very close to offering the flexibility of a double door oven but from a compact single-cavity machine. The range also includes a clever touchscreen interface plus sturdy front-mounted knobs. This range flaunts Samsung's Virtual Flame system too, distinctive blue LED lights which reflect against cookware to imitate the appearance of gas flames and provide a safety-oriented visual indicator to the induction cooktop.

Sure, close to four grand is a lot of money to blow in one place, especially since plenty of gas ranges provide many of this appliance's enviable features at a fraction of the price. That said, if you have your heart set on induction, especially shoehorned into a compact package, the Samsung Slide-In Induction Chef Collection Range is tough to beat.

A real looker of a cooker

To say the Samsung Slide-In Induction Chef Collection Range (model NE58H9970WS) is handsomely appointed would be a gross understatement. With plenty of sleek lines, sharp angles and a premium stainless steel exterior, not to mention an elegant black-ceramic cooktop, this Samsung range is a poster child for modern appliance styling.

These good looks help this induction range oven convincingly play the role of luxury appliance, which is exactly the market segment Samsung is going after with its Chef Collection series of products. Encompassing most of the major home appliance categories such as refrigerators, dishwashers and microwaves, the company confidently describes its fancy household lineup as "inspired by world-class chefs." To drive its point home Samsung has even signed on big-name celebrity chefs to promote the brand, most notably successful restaurateur Daniel Boulud.

The NE58H9970WS also sits at the top of both the Chef Collection range series and Samsung's line of induction stoves. No doubt to differentiate the pricey appliance from its own less expensive induction ranges that use basic back-mounted touch controls, Samsung equips this unit with four large front-mounted burner knobs. Despite their appearance, they're actually made of plastic, but they still feel well-made and sturdy.

The Samsung Induction Chef Collection range flaunts big, sturdy, front-mounted knobs. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The burner knobs are spring-loaded as well and naturally tend to settle on one of their 10 power level settings (1 through 9 plus P boost). I also appreciate how the dials spin all the way around, clockwise or counterclockwise, without a hard stop in either direction. The benefit here is greater flexibility and enhanced control, since you have the option to spin up or down using the fewest knob clicks possible. Keep in mind you must first push knobs inward to unlock it from their off position, a nod toward child safety that will at least thwart some younger kids.

What really sets this range (as well as other Chef Collection stoves for that matter) apart visually, however, is a massive touchscreen panel that Samsung calls its "Guiding Light Controls." A long, wide and glossy black rectangle on the oven's front face, this command center is decidedly futuristic. Indeed, the panel is designed to only display menu options pertinent to the cooking task at hand.

The Guiding Light touchscreen only shows what you need to know when you need to know it. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

I found the screen easy to operate and interact with, even if its white and blue text and symbols seem more at home on a piece of home theater equipment than a kitchen appliance. Another issue to consider is because the Guiding Light panel uses touchscreen technology (most likely capacitive) similar to what you'd find in smartphone screens, you need to operate it with bare hands -- not gloved. This is a minor quibble but keep in mind that turning the oven off using oven mitt-covered fingers won't work.

Below the large touchscreen you'll find the main oven cavity, which offers a roomy 5.8 cubic feet capacity. The oven door itself is framed in the same luxurious stainless steel as the rest of the Chef Collection Induction's other metallic surfaces. The same goes for the solid and gently curved door handle. I also like how the big oven door window uses glass with an extremely dark tint, which lends the entire facade a clean, sophisticated look. Of course when you activate one or both of its pair of bright oven lights the inside of the appliance becomes quite easy to view.

You get 5.8 cubic feet of oven space. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Other nice extras bundled with this very tricked-out oven include not two but three metal racks. The first is the standard flat multi-purpose wire rack, which has been a traditional staple for decades. The second cooking apparatus Samsung provides is a nifty gliding rack that can extend completely out of the oven while its anchors remain securely in place. It lets you expose pots, pans and cookie sheets to open air without worrying about decreased stability of the rack. The third major oven implement is a recessed rack designed to accommodate large roasting pans.

Two ovens in one

The most interesting and useful feature this oven boasts is Samsung's Flex Duo technology. Essentially it's a fancy way of saying that you can slide in a special divider which effectively splits the oven cavity into two separate cooking zones. We tested this ability when we reviewed the Slide-In Induction's electric sibling and found it very useful. The Flex Duo partition slips into the fifth oven rack position from the bottom (number five of seven, or conversely the third from the top). Impressively the oven will automatically detect when you insert the partition and enable you to choose distinct cooking modes, including temperatures for the upper and lower cavities.

The Flex Duo divider turns one oven into virtually two. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

There are some minor trade-offs to using the oven with its partition installed. The most notable being that both baking and roasting modes top out at 480 degrees Fahrenheit. By contrast in the single oven configuration the maximum temperature reaches 550 degrees Fahrenheit.

Slide the Flex Duo partition to split the oven into two effective cooking zones. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Mitigating this slight shortcoming is the fact that the Slide-In Induction Chef Collection Range packs two convection fans, one each for the upper and lower sections of the oven.

With so much cooking flexibility, this oven also includes a dizzying array of cooking modes and functions you'll need to navigate. For example there's Bake and Roast modes, which both use convection. A Chef Bake setting, on the other hand, switches off the convention fans for more conventional baking performance.

You can control each oven zone independently if you wish. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

There's also a "Healthy Cook" mode designed to whip up lighter fare such as fish fillets, steamed veggies and rice. You can also save often-used oven settings by hitting the "Favorite Cook" button. The Chef Collection oven comes with its own temperature probe for checking the status of meats and large roasts in real time.

Induction, induction, how does it function?

As you might guess, beyond an expensive appearance and flexible oven abilities, the Slide-In Induction Chef Collection Range's real draw is its state-of-the-art cooktop. One key difference with Induction technology is that it doesn't rely on open flame (as in the case of gas) or metal heating elements (electric ranges) to transfer heat to cookware.

Instead induction stoves uses electrical power to create a localized magnetic field within its cooking surfaces. This field then excites ferrous metals within magnetic pots and pans, thereby "inducing" heat. The upside of this approach is efficient heat creation (only the pot and its immediate surroundings gets hot), and markedly increased burner performance and responsiveness. Ideally when using induction to cook you should experience quicker boil times than electric or even gas ranges can deliver.