Whirlpool's new connected fridge offers smart features and smarter storage

The Whirlpool Smart French Door Refrigerator (groceries sold separately).

Sarah Tew/CNET

Reports of the death of the smart fridge were premature. Case in point, the debut of the Whirlpool Smart French Door Refrigerator at the Consumer Electronics Showcase in Las Vegas. Along with a re-designed interior built to optimize storage, the $3,800 appliance boasts Wi-Fi connectivity and compatibility with the Nest Learning Thermostat.

Whirlpool claims this fridge is packed full of good ideas. The one Whirlpool is most proud of: a compartmentalized, pantry-inspired layout that promises a place for everything. Whirlpool's team claims that the design yields up to 30 percent more usable space through smarter organization, with modular shelves that slide and flip out of the way as needed. With 32 cubic feet of total storage space, you shouldn't have any trouble fitting in enough groceries for the whole family.

The fridge also features a Party Mode that promises to fill the ice bin faster for your guests, and automatically dial the temperature down in anticipation of repeated openings. That seems like an objectively cool feature, and one that we'll be sure to test out for ourselves in the coming months.

The gliding "Infinity Shelves" slide out of the way to make room for taller items placed below.

Sarah Tew/CNET

On the smarts front, the fridge will sync with an app on your phone over Wi-Fi, and notify you if the fridge ever loses power or needs a new filter. If something stops working, you'll see an error-specific code in the Whirlpool app to help steer support in the right direction.

That's the same sort of basic smart functionality we've seen in previous generations of smart fridges. Back then, that smart functionality wasn't enough in and of itself for the things to catch on with buyers. That might largely explain this smart refrigerator's additional focus on interior design.

Whirlpool's fridge also syncs with Nest via Nest Rush Hour Rewards. Take advantage, and your thermostat will tell your fridge to hold off on the defrost cycles until off-peak hours. That's a nice little extra for Nest-users, and one that's been a long time coming for smart fridge fans -- Whirlpool was first announced as a "Works with Nest" partner back in 2014, but has only supported smart laundry integrations until now.

The Whirlpool Smart French Door Refrigerator is expected to start selling in the US this May, with a starting price of $3,800. Whirlpool tells me it'll come in black, white or fingerprint-resistant stainless steel. We'll be sure to get our hands all over it for a full review in the coming months.

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Where to Buy

Whirlpool WRF995FIFZ Smart French Door Refrigerator

Part Number: WRF995FIFZ

MSRP: $3,800.00

Visit manufacturer site for details.