November 29, 2020 – This GE Convection Toaster Oven with Air Fry, model G9OAAASSPSS, currently $220, and exclusively (today) at Best Buy, is an evolutionary multi-function countertop product.
At its price point, it hits all the right notes with upgrades not found on others in its class.
** WHAT’S IN THE BOX? **
- 1500 Watt Convection Toaster Oven with Air Fry
- Air fryer basket
- Baking pan
- User manual (HERE) with warranty statement, product registration card
** SETUP **
Easier than any multi-function countertop I have experienced – this is my 5th, starting with an inexpensive combo toaster over/convection oven.
This setup went as follows – Empty the box, wash the air fryer basket, baking pan and rack. Plug it in, select the mode, temperature and time, and go. It could not be easier to use.
There are just two knobs and one button. How elegantly simple!
- Air Fry • Bake • Toast • Broil • Roast • Warm • Proof • Convection
Within each mode are sub-settings of temperature and time options.
Warm – 105º – 140º
Proof – 85º – 140º
Convection – 180 – 450º
Air Fry – 180º – 450º
Bake – 180º – 400º
Broil – 300º – 400º
Roast – 180º – 450º
Before first use, I followed the instructions to run it empty for about 30 minutes to get the newly burn-in smell out of the way, not unlike first of the season forced air heater use, except that this is a one-time only use.
The rest is as simple as pressing the power button, rotating the left knob to the desired function, press the right knob to select the temperature, press right knob again, select desired time, then press the power/start button to begin. That’s it. A praiseworthy, intuitive user interface.
** FROM THE HUMBLE TOASTER TO THIS **
How things have changed! First, someone cleverly devised an oversized, horizontally oriented toaster capable of toasting four slices at once. Then, someone thought about what else can be done in that large cavity. Simply put, combining temperature and time, then adding fans for the convection process has created a worldwide phenomenon in countertop appliances.
Since their humble beginnings, combination countertop ovens have become commoditized, with all the popular brands getting into the act with their me-too products, adding more functionality.
Call it what you wish, but broiling is nothing more than cooking from above. Baking applies heat from top and bottom, though better technology will modulate more baking heat from the bottom than from the top. And so on for each mode.
I encourage each reader to look up the differences between all modes and their relative benefits as regards what it is you want to do with this or any other countertop oven. Another benefit from such research will come from managing realistic expectations to avoid disappointment BEFORE purchase.
** WHAT MAKES THIS SPECIAL, BETTER THAN MANY OTHERS? **
With all-digital controls, just three simplified adjustments are required to accomplish all settings. In particular, digital timing allows precise to-the-minute settings. On knob-based timers, significant effort is required to turn the timing knob to its approximate setting. Is it 20 minutes, 18 minutes, or 22 minutes? That physical effort is notable by its absence, and immediately remarked upon by one of my testers who has loss of strength and grip due to a mild arthritic condition. Second, the lack of precision in a timer setting with an analog knob is also notable and appreciated by its absence here. Precise, digital settings make a huge difference for the better.
The feet pads are giving and grippy, creating a feeling of stability when placed on the counter.
The oven door pulls down and stops short of slamming into the countertop below. What’s more, the door’s motion is damped along its travel, a sign of thoughtful design.
Most countertops in my orbit have a bottom crumb pan accessible from the inside of the oven. Here, the tray and its large, full-width handle with GE emblem slides on a slim, dedicated track, and the tray has an indent to capture the crumbs without easily allowing the debris to escape before being discarded.
At its retail price point of $220, I can find nothing comparable.
** PUTTING IT TO THE TEST **
Every operation has been according to plan, without significant surprises.
Accustomed to air frying, cook times are in line with other air fry-capable countertops tested. The plus with this one is the precise digital time setting. No others I have tested have been digitally controlled. I like it. When instructions call for 20 minutes, dialing in precisely 20 minutes is easy.
The best feature, by far, is the digital temperature and time controllability. This alone almost makes it worth the price.
The top and sides remain comfortable to the touch during use.
Reheating, baking, broiling have proven effortless with expected and anticipated results. Set times need to be adjusted for preheating. For example, I wanted to broil a piece of fish, figuring it would take 10 minutes, so that was the timer setting. Once I touched for Start, the display showed “Preheating.” A look at the manual confirmed this preheating cycle, which, I will assume, provides higher heat to get it to its set point quickly, but the timer still counted down. Lesson learned. Let it preheat, re-set the timer and put the food in for the cycle.
Convection roasting a whole four-pound chicken at 350º resulted in crispy skin, juicy meat in about 40 minutes.
Baking a frozen apple pie by following package directions gave us a perfectly baked dessert in the allotted time.
Preparing packaged savory little potatoes made with chicken drippings according to directions worked perfectly.
Reheating traditional savory Thanksgiving stuffing at 260º with a little bit of added chicken stock mixed in gave us what we wanted, still-moist, slightly crispy leftovers.
A 12-inch frozen pizza with self-rising crust came out perfectly on the convection bake setting.
In large part the credit for success comes from the precision offered by the digital controls.
** NEGATIVES? **
I wonder how much better this could be with 1800 Watts of power as other top performers in the category have. I wonder why the maker does not prominently feature its wattage as do others in the category. I cannot answer. Nor can I quantify and measure for heating evenness. Nor can I determine if this is smart enough to apply more or less heat, top and bottom with integration of convection fans. With 1800 Watts of power, could the highest temperatures be 500º instead of 450º on this oven? Would there be five instead of four heating elements at the top?
I know that Warm can also be used to dehydrate fruits and veggies, as can Proof.
I wish the manufacturer offered more information in specifications and suggestions for use, including options for each setting.
Explore the settings and use your own creativity!
Sure would be nice if it had a non-stick interior and an interior switchable light.
** CONCLUSIONS **
I like it more than any other countertop multifunction oven I’ve tried. My other testers agree. Rotating this product in place of the others, all of us agree that this is the one we want to leave in place for regular use on the kitchen counter. But we still prefer to use a plain old toaster with bagel setting to toast bagels.
** WARRANTY **
This GE Digital Air Fry 8-in-1 Toaster Oven is covered by the manufacturer’s one year parts and labor warranty.