First Truly Smart Resfrigerator
According to Samsung, the Family Hub name was chosen because the refrigerator “reconnects families.” I’m not so sure about that, but it is very cool with plenty of useful features.The 21.5-inch, 1080p touch screen on the right door is powered by Samsung’s Tizen operating system, though given the styling of the buttons below the display, it sort of looks like a gigantic Android phone. Unlike the older Samsung refrigerator we reviewed, the display doesn’t seem like a tablet that just happens to be tacked on. Instead, it looks and feels like an integral part of the experience.
Using the touch screen, you can post notes for your family, share calendar reminders, display art, or pin photos, just like you would on a real fridge, only without the wrinkled edges. But it also does a lot more than that. With a screen this large, you can basically use it like a TV (there’s a built-in speaker, which the earlier Samsung smart fridge we tested lacked), so you can watch along with a cooking show while you’re actually cooking.
But here’s the coolest part. There are three cameras on the inside of the refrigerator door (pictured above), and they capture an image every time the door closes. Thanks to built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, you can access see the most recent picture from the inside of the fridge no matter where you are (like the grocery store) through an app on your smartphone, which can help prevent you from buying more of something you already have (or forgetting something you need). Check out the picture below.
You can just drag and drop time stamps to keep track of how long things have been sitting, which will give you a much better idea of when it’s time to chuck that old pint of milk.
And if you don’t feel like going out for groceries, you can use the refrigerator itself to order what you need, which might just be the most meta thing I’ve ever heard. It comes loaded with a MasterCard shopping app that lets you order what you need from FreshDirect or ShopRite to start, with more retailers promised for the future.
In addition to the touch screen, the refrigerator will also work Alexa, the voice assistant, though it isn’t clear how advanced the integration will be just yet.
The fridge itself is a four-door model, with the top two doors for refrigeration and the bottom two for freezing. If you don’t need all that freezer capacity, Samsung’s FlexZone feature lets you switch between freezing and refrigeration to suit your needs.
The Samsung Family Hub Refrigeration is expected to start at around $5,000 when it becomes available this spring. It will come in counter depth and full depth models, in stainless or black stainless color options. I’m looking forward to getting one in our test lab for a full review. I’m not sure if it will make the PCMag editorial crew feel like an even closer family, but it will make it easier to look inside the fridge from afar to see if anyone has left their lunch inside a little too long.