Microwave ovens are all about simplicity: just tap a button or two to quickly reheat leftovers, defrost a steak, destroy a packet of frozen vegetables, or heat a cold cup of coffee. The Sharp Smart Carousel SMC1449FS ($ 169.99) lets you do all of this and more using Amazon Alexa voice commands. This countertop microwave oven has a built-in Wi-Fi radio that connects to your home network and allows you to pair it with a compatible device for up to 70 Alexa voice commands to defrost, melt, heat and cook Variety of foods without having to touch a button in use. It costs $ 30 more than Sharp’s standard version of the machine and is far more powerful and attractive than Amazon’s own model. This makes it a great buy if you’re looking for a smarter way to reheat your food.
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Slim and strong
With its brushed stainless steel and glossy black surface, the SMC-1449FS beautifies any kitchen worktop. The 1,000 watt oven measures 12.4 x 21.3 x 16.1 inches (HWD) and has a 10.0 x 15.4 x 15.4 inch cooking chamber that provides 1.4 cubic feet of cooking space. The interior is white and contains oven lighting and a 12.8 inch wide clear glass turntable that rests on the rotating carousel roller guide. Connectivity is via a 2.4 GHz WLAN radio. For comparison: The AmazonBasics microwave is much smaller and less powerful at 10.1 x 17.0 x 11.6 inches and 700 watts.
The oven door opens to the left and has a 12.1 x 6.5 inch viewing window with a built-in microwave-safe screen. To the right of the door is the glossy black control panel. At the top of the control panel is a backlit display that shows you the current time, your cooking time and your cooking performance. The control panel has 29 buttons, including a 0-9 number pad, stop and start buttons, timer and clock buttons, a Wi-Fi Connect button and several Sensor Cook and One-Touch Cook buttons. The sensor buttons include Potato, Frozen Entrée, Frozen Vegetable and Sensor Reheat. The one-touch buttons include popcorn and drinks (more on cooking with sensor and one-touch at the same time).
There is a Power Level button for selecting one of ten Power Level settings, a Time Cook button for setting the total cooking time, a Time Defrost button for defrosting various foods and three Auto Defrost buttons for defrosting meat, poultry and seafood by weight. With the 30-second button you can set the heating-up times in steps of 30 seconds. For example, you can use the Melt / Soften button to melt or soften chocolate, ice cream, and butter. Just above the clock display is a WiFi status indicator that flashes during setup and stays on when the oven is connected to your network.
You can use the Time Cook and Power Level buttons to cook and reheat food, or use the Sensor and One-Touch cooking options. Sensor Cook detects the steam that comes out of the food to be cooked when it is heated, and then automatically adjusts the cooking time and power level to the measured values. The remaining cooking time is shown on the display so that you do not have to enter the weight or the amount of the food being cooked. The sensor reheat button works the same way and can be used for a wide variety of foods. A heating table with different types of food can be found in the operating instructions.
With one-touch cooking, you can cook or reheat food at the touch of a button. The popcorn button is optimized for use with Orville Redenbacher’s microwave popcorn packs. Just put a Classic (3.3 oz) or Mini (1.2 oz) bag in the oven, hit the popcorn button once for Classic or twice for Mini, and you are left with a perfectly cooked bag Popcorn rewards. You can also use the beverage button to easily heat coffee, tea, hot chocolate and soups without having to set the cooking times. Press the button once to heat one cup (7 ounces), twice for two cups (14 ounces), and three times for three cups (20 ounces).
If you’d rather not bother with buttons at all, you can cook, defrost, and reheat food and drinks using Alexa voice commands. However, you will need your own Alexa device like the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, or Echo Show. The same goes for the AmazonBasics microwave.
The SMC-1449FS supports 70+ Alexa voice commands that allow you to cook and defrost specific foods by name. For example, you can use Alexa voice commands to start, stop and pause cooking, defrost a certain amount of meat, seafood or poultry, cook a potato or frozen appetizer, reheat chicken wings and much more. All you have to do is put the food in the oven and tell Alexa what you want.
The microwave does not have its own mobile app. So you can’t set timers, select power modes, or receive notifications with your phone. You’re also missing out on the preprogrammed recipes you get with some other smart cooking devices like the Instant Pot Smart WiFi.
Easy setup and voice commands
Setting up the SMC1449FS for the first time is easy. I just plugged in the oven and tapped the Wi-Fi Connect button. After a second or two, the display showed Pair and the Wi-Fi status indicator started flashing. I opened the Alexa app on my phone, tapped the plus icon in the top right corner of the device screen, tapped add device, and selected Microwave from the list. After 10 seconds, the Alexa app found the oven, my Echo speaker announced the SMC-1449FS had been added to my Alexa device list as a microwave, and I was ready to go.
Alexa voice commands worked as intended. I put a mini bag of Orville Redenbacher’s cinema butter popcorn in the oven, told Alexa to microwave a single bag of popcorn, and the SMC-1449FS cooked the bag for 1 minute and 10 seconds. The popcorn tasted great, but I had a good handful of unpopped grains. As it turns out, there are different sizes of mini-bags: the oven is optimized for 1.16-ounce bags, but the bag I use holds 1.5-ounce. So make sure you know what size you are using. I tried again with a 1.16-ounce mini-bag of Orville’s SmartPop Butter Popcorn and it came out perfect.
The Sensor Cook option also worked well. I added a few teaspoons of water to a bowl of frozen broccoli, covered it with plastic wrap, poked a vent hole through the top of the wrap, and pushed the frozen vegetable button. After three minutes I had a nice hot bowl of broccoli that was firm (the way I like it) and cooked evenly.
While the clock display is adequately lit, none of the buttons are lit. The use of gray lettering on a black background is easy to read in broad daylight or with the kitchen light on, but much more difficult to see in low light. Lighter lettering or simple backlighting will make a huge difference when you want to warm up some chow without having to light up the entire kitchen.
A smart microwave for Alexa users
The Sharp Smart Carousel Microwave Oven SMC1449FS is well suited for anyone who already uses Alexa voice commands to control their connected devices. It’s an attractively designed microwave with more than 70 Alexa voice commands that you can use to start and stop cooking cycles, for example. Cooking and defrosting meat, seafood and vegetables; Melt or soften cheese, ice cream and butter; and reheat almost any type of food. We’d love to see a dedicated mobile app and keyboard backlight, but that doesn’t change the fact that the oven works well and is easy to recommend as it is.