Panasonic has entered the smart kitchen space with a multi-purpose microwave oven that can be used alongside a home's existing Alexa speaker.
Revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show taking place in Las Vegas this week, the company's first smart microwave - the NN-SV79MS - can be controlled using voice commands directed at an Alexa-equipped speaker, which it's estimated that 69.7% of US smart speaker users already have at home.
Perhaps the most convenient new launch to enter the automated home sector in a while, this bit of kit means you can create meals while having your hands full, or by barking orders from another room.
'We understand from our own cooking experiences that there are moments in the kitchen when you need to move quickly or have your hands full meal prepping,' says Hiroko Watanabe, Appliance Group Manager at Panasonic. 'Partnering with Alexa was a natural choice knowing their devices are already in the homes of many consumers - including our own. We are thrilled to partner with Alexa to help make consumers' cooking experience easier.'
Immediately, this launch is going onto our list of best Alexa-compatible devices.
What commands can the Panasonic NN-SV79MS understand?
There are a total of 100 commands that the Panasonic NN-SV79MS smart microwave is able to understand, including "Alexa, reheat for 30 seconds", and "Alexa, make popcorn in the microwave".
The Panasonic NN-SV79MS does not come with in-built Alexa smarts, so you will need to already have something like the Amazon Echo or an Alexa speaker from a brand like Sonos (for more, read our guide to the best smart speakers), but these range from very affordable to luxury so it doesn't need to be a big added cost.
And this, unsurprisingly, is a high-end kitchen appliance all on its own. The NN-SV79MS boasts 1,200W inverter technology, ten power levels for everything from defrosting to keeping the dinner warm while you get to other things. There are also specific controls for things like achieving perfectly popped popcorn. You can even delay the start of cooking - who needs to know the best Alexa skills when it can now do this?!
Will the Panasonic NN-SV79MS work without Alexa?
While the device is being touted as the ultimate microwave for smart homes, you don't actually need Alexa to be able to use it. This means that, should your Alexa be unplugged for any reason (such as an occasional need for privacy), the microwave won't suddenly be unusable. The NN-SV79MS operates just like any other Panasonic microwave, with or without the added smarts.
Does the Panasonic NN-SV79MS have any other features?
The appliance is smart in more ways than one, with Panasonic's Genius technology also on board to help out. This feature uses built-in sensors to measure the humidity levels of food and so is able to more accurately thaw or reheat. There are 20 pre-programmed options, so you can wave goodbye to frozen middles and soggy leftovers.
How much will the Panasonic NN-SV79MS with Alexa cost?
As you can imagine, this isn't a cheap appliance you'll need to replace after a couple of years, and so will be more of an investment than your average. However, you will be able to pick up the microwave for a very reasonable $299.99 from Best Buy and Amazon US starting in March. Not bad for such a handy kitchen device.
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Caroline is the smart home ecommerce editor for Livingetc, covering everything tech for the home, from smart speakers to air purifiers and everything in between. She is passionate about the role that technology and smart devices can play in daily life, enhancing the home without sacrificing personal style and carefully chosen interiors. In her spare time, she can be found tinkering with bulbs, soundbars, and video doorbells in an effort to automate every part of her small home. Previously, she lent her expertise to the likes of Expert Reviews, IT Pro, Coach, The Week, and more.
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