Post Publication Date: 11/20/18 – It was announced weeks ago, and now the Alexa microwave is finally shipping—just in time for holiday shopping! Note that this is an Alexa-compatible device but it does not have Alexa built in: you must own at least one other Alexa device (e.g., Echo, Dot, Spot, etc.) to issue voice commands to this microwave. As with other Alexa products, I expect it will be coming to other Alexa regions following a successful launch here.
The Budget-Priced AmazonBasics Microwave: Now With Alexa Compatibility!
You’re probably wondering why Amazon thought to add Alexa compatibility to a microwave, but when you think about it the idea is a good one.
Also available in a bundle with an Echo Dot, see product page.
The main benefit here is that Alexa is pre-programmed with lots of cooking routines you can activate using voice commands. From the product page:
AmazonBasics Microwave simplifies cooking by letting you microwave using your voice and an Echo device. Just say, “Alexa, reheat one cup of coffee,” and Alexa will start reheating with the appropriate power and time settings. Quick-cook presets mean there’s no need to guess cook times or heat levels when you’re defrosting vegetables or microwaving a potato. Plus, Alexa is always getting smarter and adding new presets.
There’s also an option to sign up for a popcorn replenishment program, where Alexa keeps track of how many bags you’ve used and automatically re-orders with a 10% discount when you’re close to running out, but this doesn’t appear to be a very popular feature so far. As for what are the popular features, here are some excerpts from customer reviews:
Although the Alexa integration seemed a little gimmicky at first, I quickly changed my mind after realizing how simple it was to use. Traditional microwaves have a million features, but honestly, do you even know how to use half of them? Gone are the days of pushing a button and looking at cryptic abbreviated text on the numerical LED screen, wondering what input it is expecting…The 0.7 cuft cooking volume is on the smaller side for microwaves, but its perfectly appropriate for a dinner plate or cup of coffee, and doesn’t use a ton of counter space.
…And for those wary of Alexa turning the microwave on for 90 hours instead of playing music, I have found it has quite a few safeguards. First, it will only turn on for reasonable amounts of times (my attempt to microwave tea for 10 or 100 hours did not work). Second, it is aware of how long ago the door was opened. If it has been too long, it will let you know this and not start. This will prevent the microwave from turning on inadvertently with nothing in it.
If you are the person who reads the directions on a frozen food box, throw the box in the garbage, only to dig said box out of the garbage a few minutes later to reread the directions on the box or if you microwave guess and stick your finger in the food to see if it’s hot enough, you will probably see the benefits of Alexa’s very helpful heating advice.
A Big Help For The Sight-Impaired
As with other Alexa and Alexa-compatible devices, the ability to use voice commands makes life easier for the sight-impaired. One customer says:
My mother has Macular Degeneration Disease. This microwave is perfect for her. Since it is voice controlled with short simple commands she has no problems cooking the food. Being an “echo” owner, she is familiar with the voice commands. Prior to this type of microwave, she had many problems finding and pushing the correct buttons to prepare the food to the point that she wouldn’t use the microwave. The voice activation has returned some autonomy for her!
Remember: It’s A Compact Microwave
This first take on an Alexa-fied microwave is a small (.7 cu ft), budget model that’s best suited to apartments, office kitchens and dormitories, and some customers have complained it’s not large enough or powerful enough to suit them. If the launch is a success however, you can be sure Amazon will be looking to branch out into larger microwaves and possibly other kitchen appliances as well.
If you’re not sure whether this microwave will suit your needs (or the needs of your intended gift recipient), I suggest you click through on the linked product image above and check out more of the reviews on the product page.