Most connected ranges have apps that only allow you to control the oven, but not your burners, which seems like a much harder task to make hands-free (though it's not impossible). Samsung's Smart Home app, however, takes a baby step toward cooktop control by including a notification to let you know if you've left a burner on.
The Smart Home app works with Samsung's latest Wi-Fi-connected ranges that have started making their way to major retailers. We got our hands on the NE58K9850WG, a black stainless steel electric slide-in range with Wi-Fi. You can use the Smart Home app to set the oven's temperature and cook timers, along with turning the oven off and on. The app also includes an illustration of the cooktop; burners that will turn blue on the screen if one of them is on in real life. The range also has one of Samsung's Flex Duo inserts that lets you have two oven cavities for cooking food simultaneously at different temperatures.
I'm still reviewing the appliance at the CNET Smart Home, but the app is quick and responsive when it comes to detecting a burner that I've turned on. The app also lets you choose which oven cavity you want to use if you have the Flex Duo insert in place, so you don't lose the flexibility of dual cooking just because you're away. But you do have to press a "Smart Control" button before you can control the range with the app, a safety measure that is more of an inconvenience if you forget to enable the feature.
Samsung doesn't have the lock on smart ranges and ovens; brands such as Whirlpool, GE and Jenn-Air have added Wi-Fi to ovens and ranges, and manufacturers have also tried out other types of wireless connectivity, such as LG's ranges with NFC (near-field communications). But Samsung's inclusion of cooktop information is an ambitious move to give you insight into your entire appliance while you're away.
Check back next week for the full review of the Samsung NE58K9850WG.