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Smart Home

Whirlpool Smart Over-the-Range microwave takes voice commands

The internet-connected microwave, which also has touchscreen controls, will work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

The Whirlpool Smart Over-the-Range microwave can also act as a convection oven.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Voice commands make sense in the kitchen. The technology lets you bark commands at your smart speaker, which will in turn control your internet-connected appliances if your hands are full. But do you really need hands-free control of the microwave? Whirlpool thinks so.

The microwave doesn't have a tradition handle -- you open it with a pocket handle on the side.

Chris Monroe/CNET

The company's Wi-Fi-enabled Smart Over-the-Range Microwave will work with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa beginning in spring 2018, the company announced Monday at CES here in Las Vegas. That means you can give commands to a smart speaker with one of the assistants built in to control your microwave. 

The voice-control capabilities on this $619 (roughly £455 or AU$790) microwave don't apply to every function. You'll only be able to use the voice controls to operate the microwave when you use its convection baking mode (that means a heating element and convection fan cook your meal rather than microwaves).

Fortunately, the microwave's other features make up for the limited voice commands. The microwave's touchscreen control panel keeps track of what you're cooking so it will eventually begin to predict what you'll cook next. For example, if you use the oatmeal preset cooking mode for breakfast every day, the appliance will put that option front and center on the control panel in the morning.

Whirlpool has also included a Scan-to-Cook feature in the microwave to help you cook convenience items. You use the Whirlpool mobile app to scan the bar code of a frozen meal, and the app will use Wi-Fi to send the heating directions, temperature and cooking time settings to the microwave. 

Features

  • You can start the microwave from the Whirlpool app
  • Works with the Yummly recipe app so you can select a recipe and send the cooking instructions straight to the microwave
  • Multistep cooking feature lets you select different cook modes to prepare a single dish
  • 1.9 cubic feet of cooking space
  • Opens with a pocket hand located at the side of the microwave door
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