Only recently did Samsung launch the Food Showcase design in refrigerators in India, and admittedly, it is a very stylish side-by-side, with classy, recessed handles and a slick LED display.
The Food Showcase feature takes the centre stage, of course. The recessed handle on the right opens into two sections. The top section opens the fridge as usual, but the lower showcase section opens the front panel on the door, showing the in-door shelving and the food held within. And this is without opening the entire door!
Many of these shelves slide out like drawers, making it easy for you to access the food held within. The lower drawers have a drinks case and a snack case, so if you have children, these can be very useful spaces for storing juice boxes and chilled snacks.
Apart from specific use cases such as that, the Food Showcase feature has the feel of newness and novelty. But does the Food Showcase feature offer any more advantages or convenience over a standard door refrigerator? We do not think so.
From what we gathered, the feature feels more like a design element with a new way to display exterior styling. But beyond that, we do not see how the Food Showcase door can change how you use your fridge.
The interior of the Samsung side-by-side is quite spacious, even more so than most in the class. But the interior, while still great, does not quite match up with the high-end exterior. For a fridge worth Rs. 2,15,000, it has a rather standard build, lacking simple features like humidity controls for drawers or flexible positioning of shelves. However, there is one Slide and Fold Shelf to store taller containers, and the shelves are spaced out well enough so if you are looking to rearrange things, you still have good space to hold containers.
But although the space inside the Samsung fridge is large, the shelves are deeper than they are wider, and more often than not, you will need to move food around to access the back of the shelves. Users looking to reconfigure the space within will be disappointed because you can only slide and fold away one shelf and the others can be removed but their location cannot be changed.
The fridge has a 4.5-litre tank built in so you can get chilled water and ice without the need for installing any additional plumbing for it – a feature that can be extremely useful because additional plumbing to connect the fridge to a water source can work out to be pricey and add to the overall purchase price of this already expensive Samsung fridge.
In terms of the features, the Food Showcase is really the star of the marketing plan. But while it looks good at the showroom, we aren’t sure it offers much extra convenience for the price. In fact, competitors have more functionality in their door-in-door fridges, and they even cost less than the Samsung. Also, Samsung itself sells another version of the Food Showcase fridge for significantly less, and so the RH77J90407H Food Showcase fridge needs more than its door-in-door feature to justify its asking price.
How it Works
We moved each of the shelves around, and many were easy to get in and out. But the Food Showcase shelves, which sit flat on grooves were a pain to move around. Also, you do not get too many grooves, which limits the amount of customisation you can do in the fridge.
The shelves are a spill-proof design, which means that the raised edges will contain any spill to the shelf on which they occur. This is a definite advantage over some competitor models which offer a flat panel of glass with no raised edges on the sides.
The door bins have adequate space to hold a variety of sizes of bottles. On the inside too, a wine rack can hold up to 5 bottles horizontally. The adjustable storage shelf folds and lifts away to make space for tall containers or even stacked containers if you need more space. The Ice Master compartment is built into the door, therefore freeing up freezer space to hold other items.
The produce drawers are significantly deep, so if you are a family that buys in bulk, this is an excellent feature to have. There are multiple boxes, so you can keep your fruits and vegetables separate without any mixing of odours.
We filled the fridge with some regular and common items to test the capacity. The Food Showcase section had no trouble at all with plenty of room remaining for more items. In the fresh foods section tried to squeeze in a cake plate with a lid, regular food storage containers, a pitcher, a casserole and a small pizza box and the fridge still had room for more, which is an excellent factor for a large family. However, if you have even more to store, you will be disappointed because there is no option to tweak the positioning of the shelves.
On the freezer side, the space was standard as in most side-by-side fridges. There’s plenty of room to keep standard items and frozen foods, but you cannot really put anything out of the ordinary. For example, if you have a party going, you cannot store more than only a couple of large tubs of ice cream. But a few containers of fish or meat divided by the day will fit in the freezer comfortably.
During our periods of testing, the interior of the fresh foods section ran warmer than the target temperature. The in-door shelving, especially at the bottom cooled much slower than it should. Even when we ran the tests at the lowest temperature settings, the main shelves were spot on in terms of cooling, but the in-door shelves and the bottom drawers ran warm.
The freezer section performed better with the cooling though, and maintained consistent temperatures through our test. Opening the freezer door raised the temperature significantly but it fell back to normal within minutes. This and the main shelves adhere to Samsung’s All-Around Cooling technology, but the same cannot be said about the lower drawers and the door bins.
The Food Showcase compartment also did well with cooling, but it might have more to do with the metal cooling adjacent to it rather than inherently better flow of air. Also, the opening and closing of the Food Showcase did very little to disrupt the interior temperature of the fridge.
Controls are on the outside with an old-school LED readout above the dispenser.
Users have access to multiple features including the freezer and refrigerator temperature, the LED panel’s lighting controls, the door alarm and the ice maker (which can be disabled if you want to save power and water). The capacitive touch buttons add to the luxury feel of the refrigerator, and are simple and responsive.
Given how the door-in-door models of LG have been a hit with consumers, the Samsung Food Showcase range comes at a good time to provide some competition to LG. Samsung does this well too, with an extremely stylish exterior and the in-door accessibility but it is less impressive when you are actually using the fridge.
There is a lot of storage space, but relatively few features and scope of customisation do not let you take full advantage of it. The performance is inconsistent too – good in the freezer and the Food Showcase, but too warm in the drawers and the door bins.
Rs. 2,15,000 is too much to spend on a side-by-side fridge, even if it looks as good as the Samsung fridge. At that price, you deserve a more flawless fridge, which, sadly, this one is not. If you care about value as a customer, you are better off giving this one a miss.
What We Like
- Attractive exterior
- Quick access to door shelves
- Adequate interior space
- Intuitive controls
What We Don’t Like
- Interior arrangement cannot be reconfigured
- Bottom of refrigerator did not cool to target temperature
Who is it for?
If you are a large family, the fridge has 765-litres of space to hold your food. For families that entertain a great deal, the space inside the fridge is adequate to hold frozen or made-ahead food. Also, if you value aesthetics over real value for money, this Samsung fridge is a great addition to your home decor.
Samsung provides a one-year parts and labor warranty on the entire appliance, which is supplemented by a five-year parts and labor warranty on sealed refrigeration components and a 10-year parts and labor warranty on the condenser. It is advisable to buy extended warranty for a purchase this expensive because repairs can get very expensive at a later stage, should you need any.
- LG GC-M247CLBV Door-in-Door Refrigerator
- LG GR D34FBGHL Side by Side Frost Free Refrigerator
- Samsung RH80J81323M Food Showcase
- Samsung RS58K6417SL SBS with Digital Inverter Technology
Samsung Website: Rs. 2,15,000
Amazon: Rs. 2,05,000
Croma: Rs. 2,06,200