Usually, when the term ‘smart kitchen appliances’ are mentioned, it means they are controlled by an app on your smartphone, tablet, or on some other type of remote control. Amazon, however, is stepping things up a notch as it releases the AmazonBasics Microwave Oven.
The AmazonBasics Microwave is a low-power (700 Watts) microwave oven with support for Alexa voice commands. Albeit you would require an external (read: separate) Echo device like the Amazon Echo, the AmazonBasics Microwave can receive voice controls to perform operations like making or reheating food. And while one would expect this appliance to be super pricey, the microwave is ridiculously affordable when compared to regular low-power microwaves with zero support for ‘smart’ functionalities that don’t perform as better.
While you might not exactly need a microwave that’s voice-controlled, the AmazonBasics Microwave would be a great buy if you own an Echo speaker or you want to rack up your home smart gadget collection. So, how does the AmazonBasics Microwave works? What does it look like? Where can you purchase a unit? How do you use it? Find out below.
AmazonBasics Microwave Key Specs
- Dimension: 17.3” x 10.1” x 14.1” (439 mm x 256 mm x 358 mm) (Width x Height x Depth)
- Weight: 21.9 lb (9.9 kg)
- Cavity Size: 0.7 cu. ft.
- Rated Power: 700W
- Power Levels: 10
- Wi-Fi connectivity: 2.4 GHz only, 802.11 b/g/n.
- System requirements: Alexa App – compatible with Fire OS, Android, and iOS devices. Echo device needed for hands-free voice control.
Despite being a ‘special’ type of microwave, the AmazonBasics looks pretty basic — like every other regular microwave you can pick up at any electrical/electronic store. Available in only Black color option, the AmazonBasics, of course, is made with a mix of metal and plastic material. The rear and sides are made of metal while the door is made of a window with perforated insulating layer so users can see what is being cooked by the microwave.
With a dimension of 10.1 x 17.0 x 11.6-inch, there is a panel on the right side of the door that houses the control buttons and LED display The buttons are flat, moderately sized and can be used to manually control power levels, input time, select operations etc. Below the number pad are three buttons: the Pause/Start key, the Start/+ 30 seconds button, and between them is a special function “Ask Alexa” button.
But how does the AmazonBasics Microwave works? How does it take voice commands to cook or reheat food?
How it works
Firstly, you need to have the AmazonBasics microwave paired with an Echo speaker. Afterwards, you can either press the ‘Ask Alexa’ button on the microwave or simply send commands to the microwave through the connected Echo device. You should know that the AmazonBasics doesn’t have any microphone built-in, so you’d require an Echo device to control the appliance.
There are no microphones built into the food-heating machine. Instead, when you press the button or call on Alexa, the microwave wakes up a nearby Echo device and uses it to listen to your voice command.
You can get the microwave to work via voice using the Alexa wake word or the Ask Alexa button. For example, you can either say “Alexa, reheat the rice” or simply press the Ask Alexa button on the microwave and say “Reheat the rice”. Not sure if the voice command makes it more convenient or more fun but being a first-of-its-kind, that makes it an intriguing reason to try it out.
The AmazonBasics microwave comes with a special “Dash Replacement” feature that makes sure you never run out of popcorn to eat. Using Amazon’s Dash Replacement system, the microwave keeps track of how much popcorn you have consumed and how much you have left in your pantry. Whenever your popcorn is close to exhaustion, the Dash Replacement system orders more popcorn at a 10 percent discount.
That said, you should know that the popcorn replacement feature works perfectly only if you use voice commands to cook and order through Amazon Dash, a consumer goods ordering service introduced by Amazon in 2015 which uses a proprietary device for ordering and timely replacing products.
Price and Availability
The AmazonBasics Microwave is small and may not be the best microwave for a big sized family or kitchen. But if you are a student or someone who barely cooks large volume of food, the AmazonBasics would be a perfect buy — especially if you own an Echo device. The dull and super basic design is another downside and the voice commands aren’t exactly perfect either. However, for the price it sells for, those cons are a worthy compromise.
The AmazonBasics Microwave was first listed on Amazon on September 12, 2018 and is available for purchase for $59.99.