GE announced that its latest range and microwave will talk to one another in order to make cooking just a bit easier for the most fastidious home chefs.
The Profile-branded range and companion microwave will use Bluetooth to synchronize a few minor aspects of the cooking process, including turning on task lighting and ventilation. While the added functionality is rather limited, it's the first time such technology has been available on relatively affordable appliances.
Called Chef Connect, it's designed for a setup where a combination microwave and vent hood is installed directly over the range. Turn a burner on, and the microwave's built-in task lighting will automatically shine down on your food. This shortcuts the step of turning on your own light when using the stove. It only saves a second or two, but it will at least keep greasy handprints off the microwave.
Second, the clocks on each device are automatically synced, so that setting the time on one automatically sets the other—which my more compulsive coworkers assure me is an actual source of anxiety. GE Appliances product manager Heather Koyama assures us that the "nagging one-minute difference between the microwave and the range will be a thing of the past."
Finally, Chef Connect provides consumers the option of setting their vent fan to turn on automatically as soon as the range is engaged. Like the microwave light, this setting provides further connectivity and again eliminates one step that otherwise might leave behind fingerprints and hog a second or two of your time.
We wouldn't pay a major premium for such minor conveniences, but it appears that the Bluetooth functionality won't cost any extra.
GE's Over-the-Range Microwave will feature a 2.1-cubic-foot capacity, and will come in four design options: stainless steel ($499), slate ($499), black ($449), and white ($449). It will be available in September. The freestanding Profile Range will come in both gas (MSRP $1,200) and electric (MSRP $1,100) configurations, and will hit retail in August.