For a while there, in the early 2000s, induction cooktops were deemed the Next Big Thing in kitchen appliances. They were revolutionary: stoves that looked like minimalist electric burners and behaved like full-blown gas ranges. The contraptions use a still-futuristic method of heating — namely, induction, wherein the metal in the pots and pans themselves help create the stove’s energy by creating magnetic resistance with the cooktop. The stoves rely on the cooking vessel — there is no heat without them. The result is a safer, more energy-efficient way to cook, a method that’s as quick to heat and responsive as gas (without having to use gas) and that fluctuates far less once the heat is set.
And yet, here we are in 2014, and the concept still hasn’t fully taken off. Induction stoves occupy a relatively minuscule slice of the American market — partly, it’s fair to say, because they’re not exactly user friendly. Samsung’s latest aims to change all that.
The Korean tech juggernaut has a new induction range that tries to make the space-age science a little more personal. Their NE58H9970WS actually produces “Virtual Flames” (in the form of LED lights) when the stove is on, providing the visual input of gas burners — a helpful cue for home chefs who want to feel like they’re cooking with gas. (It also discourages any children present from reaching up and touching the stovetop; most induction ranges offer no visual warning that the element might be hot.)
But this culinary trompe l’oeil isn’t this range’s only bit of technological cunning. Flex Duo technology splits a 5.8-cubic-foot single oven in two, allowing you to cook two things at different temperatures without having to install a second oven in your wall somewhere. There’s also a warming drawer at the bottom, where your third course can wait at temperature — a nice touch in an already thoughtful piece of equipment.
Burners: 4 (11 x 7 x 7 x 6 inch) full induction with virtual flame technology
Oven Capacity: 5.8 cubic feet (2.6 cubic feet upper, 3.1 cubic feet lower)
Convection Bake Temps: 175°F (80°C) to 550°F (285°C)
Length: 29 13/16 inches
Width: 26 5/16 inches
Height: 36 inches to 37 1/8 inches (adjustable)