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Microwaving with Alexa is great, but GE's scan-to-cook feature doesn't feel done

by Patsy Monroy (2020-06-22)

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ICT in 2015 and beyond \u2013 I is for Innovation | eir Business NI

The GE Smart Countertop Microwave with Scan-to-Cook Technology wants to make it easier than ever to cook a quick snack or a frozen dinner. With the GE Appliances Kitchen app, you can scan the barcode on your prepackaged food of choice. If the food is in GE's database, the app will send the proper cooking times and settings to your microwave so you can simply toss in your food and hit Start.GE's smart microwave also works with Amazon's digital assistant Alexa, so if you have a smart speaker like an Amazon Echo ($100 at Amazon), you can say something like "Alexa, add 30 seconds to the microwave" and it'll work. Unlike Whirlpool's microwaves with a similar scan-to-cook feature, which cost $640 and up, GE's microwave packages in all of its smarts for a reasonable $140. You can find plenty of higher-end "dumb" microwaves for roughly the same price.  While I love the idea of the "scan-to-cook" feature in theory, in practice, it won't actually save you much trouble. The feature won't convert a recipe's cooking time if it's recommended for a different wattage than this microwave. GE claims that it has 3,000 meals in its database, but I still found lots of frozen meals from big brands that didn't work. As a whole, the feature and the app still feel as though they're in beta. The Alexa skill works well, but even though this microwave is reasonably priced, I'd wait to make a purchase until GE has a little more time to develop its primary feature.

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