Fridges aren't usually the epitome of high technology. They keep stuff cool, guard meat against premature decay and if you're lucky they'll even dispense the odd bit of ice. But that's not all these icy white monoliths are capable of.
We wouldn't describe ourselves as fridge-spotters, but we'll be damned if we haven't seen some funky ice boxes over the last 12 months. The following is a list of the coolest (sorry), most technologically advanced and most desirable refrigeration systems of the year.
Gawk in disbelief at the LG Side-By-Side! Reel with shock at the sheer audacity of its espresso-making, beer-dispensing, video-playing brethren! Click through as we count down the techiest fridges in the world -- there's photos and everything. -Rory Reid
#5: Siemens CoolMedia KG39MT90
Go have a look at your fridge, then come back and look at the CoolMedia KG39MT90. Now tell us which one's better. Is it yours, with the creaky hinge, food stains and rotting lettuce? Or is it the CoolMedia, with its flexible bottle rack, twin krypton lights (!) and built in 15-inch LCD TV? No rush, we've got all day.
Honestly, we don't wouldn't mind if this fridge didn't keep food cold at all. The fact it lets you watch Jeremy Kyle in the kitchen is good enough for us. It even has Scart and aerial sockets so you can hook it up to a DVD player, satellite dish or better still, a games console. Just imagine vegging out in front of Super Mario Galaxy with cold beer within arm's reach.
Only one small problem: the Siemens CoolMedia KG39MT90 costs a whopping £2,800.
#4: LG Side-By-Side
Want something to impress your geek friends? Have a butchers at this. It's the LG Side-by-Side range, which you can customise with either an LCD TV or a minibar.
The TV part is self-explanatory, and pretty cool, but we're more interested in the minibar aspect. The door in the middle hides a chilled section, where you can stash all manner of booze, then prepare them on the flip-out shelf. Think of it as a sort of crisper, but for beer instead of lettuce.
LG says not having to open the main door means the fridge wastes less energy, and can save you money. We're pretty sure that horse bolted when it made a fridge the size of a walk-in wardrobe. Whatever -- just so long as it keeps the beer cold and has an optional telly, we're good.
It's yours for £1,199. See here for details.
#3: Whirlpool Espresso fridge
Why nobody's done this before, we have no idea. It's a fridge that also dispenses coffee! It virtually eliminates the need for an actual kettle. Unless you fancy a cup of tea, or hot chocolate, or a Pot Noodle.
Having a special booze hole is one thing, but having a full-on anti-hangover device in your kitchen is the height of decadence. It'll be available in early 2008 for an as-yet-unconfirmed price.
We salute this fridge, but it's not a patch on the next one...
#2: Asko HomePub
Sweet mother of Heineken! It's a kitchen-mounted beer dispenser! Just grab a glass, yank the lever and presto -- an ice-cold pint of your favourite brew in seconds.
The HomePub has a special compartment behind the door for housing a 5-litre beer keg, so it doesn't reduce the storage capacity in the main compartment. Your microwave meals and left-over pizza will have just as much space as ever.
Other features include an anti-bacteria system, auto defrosting, solid cast transparent freezer drawers, and left- or right-hung doors. And beer, obviously.
If you think the HomePub might be a slippery slope to alcoholism, think again. The guy in the picture is fully capable of enjoying a pint for breakfast and even bakes his own bread as he enjoys the morning paper. That's something we should all aspire to.
The HomePub is available now for £450 from Asko.
#1: Samsung Smart Zipel Refrigerator
It was a close call between the Smart Zipel and the HomePub. On the one hand, the HomePub can pump beer directly into your face, but on the other, here's a fridge that has a full-on computer inside it.
We'll give the coveted top spot to the Zipel, but only because the HomePub doesn't have a vodka dispenser as well. The Zipel, on the other hand, is one of very few fridges in the world that lets you put your groceries away without missing a bid on eBay.
You can use the Smart Zipel to browse recipe Web sites, watch us jump out of planes, check emails and even chill food.
Now... if only they'd start selling this outside of South Korea.