Sharp’s new Alexa microwave is much more complicated than Amazon’s – Gizmodo Australia
When Amazon released a cheap microwave with built-in Alexa integration, most of us scratched our heads for a second and then quickly moved on. But now Sharp has developed its own microwave powered by Amazon’s digital assistant, and somehow it’s even more confusing than the original.
Unlike the $ 60 ($ 80) Amazon Basics microwave with Alexa, Sharp’s microwave has a much more luxurious design and a higher price point. The Sharp Smart Countertop Microwave Oven comes in two sizes: a 30-liter model for $ 150 ($ 201) or a 30-liter US170 ($ 228) 40L version. Even for the cheapest model, that’s almost three times the price from Amazon, which is a significant amount of frozen chickens.
Many people may find adding a digital assistant to their microwave to be pretty objectionable, or at least a minor annoyance, but the idea of being able to control a microwave with your voice isn’t quite as silly as it seems.
The traditional mindset is that voice controls don’t add much to the equation since you still have to physically microwave food. However, the real benefit of voice control in a microwave is that it bypasses the typical clunky and often arcane interfaces that microwave manufacturers have tried out over the past three decades. Often times, controlling microwaves is so unintuitive that the only features that are used regularly are Time Set, Add Minute, and the fucking popcorn button.
Using voice controls via Alexa, the Sharp microwave isn’t just a potential boon for accessibility. According to Sharp, the intelligent microwave offers 30 different voice commands with at least 10 different food presets such as “Fresh vegetables for the microwave” or “Defrost two pounds” of meat. “And for anyone who has recently tried either of these two functions in a regular microwave Executing keys, voice control sounds like a better alternative.
There’s some confusion, however: the smaller 1.1 cubic foot option is said to have 30 voice commands with at least 10 food presets available by voice, while the larger model has 70+ voice commands and 50+ food presets. Now I understand that the larger model can potentially hold a wider variety of foods, but having five times as many voice activated food presets seems very strange.
We reached out to Sharp for more information on their intelligent microwave conduction. However, because the initial information is so limited, it’s hard to say why the range of voice commands is so different between the two models, or how the number of voices Sharp’s microwave commands are comparable to an Amazon Basics microwave.
Another important caveat is that Sharp’s smart microwave, like the Amazon Basics microwave, does not have a built-in microphone. You must therefore rely on WiFi and a paired Echo device or the Alexa app to support voice control.
The other standout feature of Sharp’s intelligent microwave is that it has been “specially formulated” with Orville Redenbacher’s microwave popcorn to achieve “optimal pop” results. This could be a little bonus for anyone who is really dedicated to Big Poppa Pop.