Monogram ZET1PHSS Electric Single Wall Oven Review
Upscale looks with everyday conveniences.
Sitting at the top of the GE product pyramid is Monogram, an upscale, low-volume lineup meant to compete with the likes of Thermador, Sub-Zero, and Viking. Unlike mass-market GE appliances, Monogram products are designed for different consumers, frequently built in different factories, and often sold through different retailers.
Now, Monogram appliances don't even share the same monogram as other GE products, as a recent rebrand dropped the "GE" from the logo.
The Monogram ZET1PHSS (MSRP $3,799) single wall oven with convection is the bread and butter of the line. It's a 30-inch single wall oven with a 5.0-cubic-foot capacity cavity, true European style—convection, self-clean with steam cleaning, a 10-pass broiler, as well as a 10 pass baking element. Unlike many other high-end ovens, this one has a comparatively progressive approach to controls: Alongside a fairly standard dial-and-button setup, this oven can also be controlled with a smartphone using GE's WiFi Connect app.
Cooking with this Monogram, we felt that it didn't feel as rock-solid as some of its competitors. We didn't get any time savings from convection roasting, but we did find some hot spots in the oven. On the plus side, our tests did uncover some excellent roasting evenness, a fast broiler, and a bevy of convenient features.
The look is better than the feel
Design-wise, the ZET1PHSS fits nicely into the professional aesthetic with its thick sturdy oven handle and physical dials. If you'd prefer a more streamlined look, check out the ZET1SHSS. It's the same product, but lacks the beveled stainless trim around the window and adds a thinner towel bar handle instead of a chunky pro-style one.
Though it doesn't factor into our scoring, we think it's important to mention that—compared with similar products from Wolf, Thermador, and Viking—the ZET1PHSS just doesn't feel as high-end.
Yes, it looks great, and all the correct elements are in place, but the individual components feel less substantial than other upscale appliances we've tested. It doesn't feel cheap by any means—just cheaper. For instance, the dials have very shallow indents—a little too shallow in our opinion—and are easy to turn and offer very little resistance between settings.
The left control dial determines the oven settings, while the left dial sets the temperature. Available settings include: Remote Enable, Bake, Convection Bake 1 Rack, Convection Bake Multi, Convection Roast, Convection Broil, Low Broil Crisp, High/Low Broil, and Clean. A thin ring around the base of the dials lights up when in use. While this may sound a bit tacky, the effect is extremely subtle, this is accentuated by the light blue color of the light itself.
For the more tech-savvy amongst us, GE has fitted the ZET1PHSS with its smart home connectivity system. This allows users to control oven operation using an app installed on any smartphone. The app needs to be paired with the oven before use—once paired, you can monitor your food from anywhere.
Between the two oven dials is a central LCD display panel, and below that are controls for Oven Lights, Timer, Cook Time, Delay Cook, Set Clock, Probe, and Proof. These settings are adjusted by a small dial on the left of the display. The process of adjusting these settings is pretty intuitive: Simply select the setting and adjust using the small dial. Unfortunately the dial itself was extremely unresponsive. The movement felt sluggish and it was difficult to set individual digits when setting the timer or clock.
Inside the oven you'll find one standard rack and two full-extension racks that slide completely out of the cavity, which makes moving heavy dishes in and out of the oven considerably easier. The oven cavity is framed by two vertical LED oven lights that do a great job of illuminating the oven interior, although we found their operation a little jarring. The lights turn on immediately when the oven door is opened and then slowly ramp up. Conversely when the oven door is closed the lights slowly dim until they reach about 20% brightness at which point they immediately shut off, which detracts from the effect somewhat.
Speaking of lights, the ZET1PHSS has a notification light between the top lip of the oven door and the control panel. As the oven preheats the light pulses, then once the oven has reached the target temperature it stays steady. It also acts as a timer display that you can glance at from across the room: As the timer runs down, the lights fill up from left to right. Overall, we are a little torn with the inclusion of notification lighting. Yes, it's useful, but it also takes away from some of the spartan aesthetic of a pro-style wall oven.
The GE ZET1PHSS doesn't offer much in the way of customizability. However those hoping for a more modern design could instead choose the ZET1SHSS. The ZET1SHSS features a transitional aesthetic and it shares the pretty much all the features found in the ZET1PHSS. It also has a towel rod door handle as well as a un-recessed door window.
Similarly the ZET9050SHSS shares most of its DNA with the ZET1PHSS insofar as its features, capacity, and versatility. The ZET9050SHSS differs in that it features a towel rod style door handle, a contemporary oven window and a glass touch control panel.
The proof is in the baking
Our tests showed that the 5.0-cubic-foot oven was adept at baking, with some minor caveats. For instance, preheat speeds were fairly sluggish, and the oven took 13 minutes to reach 350°F in the standard Bake mode and 16 minutes in the Convection Bake mode. The ten-pass dual broiler, on the other hand, was pretty snappy. After only three minutes it was ready to go.
We baked multiple cakes and several sheets of cookies in the ZET1PHSS, and then measured their doneness and evenness. We found that the standard Bake setting was the best choice when it came to thicker baked goods like cakes. The cakes we baked using the standard setting were pretty much perfect, while the cakes we baked using the Convection setting were not as evenly baked.
Though cookies baked using both settings had overdone bottoms, that isn't a problem—just turn down the heat, or adjust the recipe so that the cookies are done sooner. What was an issue? The cookies also had a number of overdone sections around the outer edges of the cavity, which is indicative of hot spots.
The Convection setting alleviated this problem somewhat, but not enough to make it the go to setting for your baking needs.
The meat and potatoes
To test the roasting capabilities of the ZET1PHSS we cooked two loins of pork: One using the Standard Roast setting and one using the Convection Roast setting.
Both the settings resulted in food just shy of perfect. Both cuts of meat remained succulent after cooking, with minimal moisture loss, and both settings took—on average—33 minutes per pound of meat to cook the food to the correct temperature. We were only concerned by some some color inconsistencies on both roasts, with the left portion proving darker than the right.
While we are impressed with the results of both tests, the parity between the two does call into question the necessity of the convection setting in the first place. It didn't speed things up, and it didn't make for more even roasting.
A Solid Choice
Where luxury meets value
Compared to similar professional-style offerings from Wolf, Viking, and Thermador, the GE Monogram ZET1PHSS is attractively priced and attractively styled. For around $3,799 (and likely less if you buy it as part of a package), you get a high-end professional aesthetic and an absolute bevy of high-tech features.
Unfortunately, despite excellent roasting and broiling, the ZET1PHSS lacks some of the polish of its higher-priced competitors—including handles that lacked resistance, and a few hot spots in the oven that our baking tests uncovered. It's not the best oven we've ever tested, but it can certainly hold its own.
If you're looking for a professional-style wall oven that doesn't eschew features like steam cleaning or connectivity, it's still worth checking out.
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