Home appliance giant Whirlpool has unveiled a new countertop oven that uses a built-in camera and object recognition to identify the food inside it and set the temperature and cooking time accordingly. The Smart Countertop Oven, released by the corporation’s sub-brand WLabs, is similar in functionality to the June oven, but $200 more expensive, with a sticker price of $799.
Both of these devices promise to take some of the thinking out of cooking, but with tech like this the proof is very much in the pudding. Will the algorithms recognize your food? And will they pick the right cooking settings? It’s hard to say without testing. Whirlpool doesn’t share exactly how many types of food its algorithms can recognize, but it does say they’re accurate enough to tell the difference between frozen and thawed items.
Otherwise, the convection oven offers 11 different modes (bake, broil, convection bake, convection roast, toast, reheat, proof, dehydrate, air fry, slow cook and keep warm); has a built-in food thermometer to check whether your meat is done; and can update you on your cooking status via in-app notifications. Oh, and, of course, it’s Alexa and Google Assistant-compatible, meaning you can use voice commands to control it.
The best function though? You can actually access the oven’s internal camera via an app, allowing you to watch your food roast in real time. It sounds ... mostly pointless, but also a fun novelty — especially if you’re into slow TV.