Samsung's family ofgot a little bigger this year, with a total of 10 models to choose from, up from four last year. At an event in New Jersey last night, Samsung's team "introduced" the new models, despite the fact that they first introduced them at CES 2017 in Las Vegas.
What is new, however, is that the new Family Hub models are on sale now at major retailers across the US. Available now for the first time in French three-door and four-door variations, each of the new Family Hubs includes the same king-size touchscreen as the originals, complete with Samsung's year-two software refinements. The new entry level cost? $3,299 -- thousands less than what the original Family Hubs debuted at. That's still a lot to spend on a fridge, but it's basically on par with top-tier models from competitors like GE and Whirlpool.
All of the new models share the same smart features and fridge apps as their predecessors, including the trio of cameras hidden inside that snap a picture of your groceries each time you close the door. You can view those images on the refrigerator's touchscreen and drag timers over specific items to help track expiration dates, or just pull the feed up on your phone at the store to check and see if you do, in fact, need to buy more orange juice.
You can also view recipes and cooking videos on the touchscreen, shop for online grocery delivery, stream music from Pandora or Spotify, manage your schedule on a shared family calendar or sync up with select smart home gadgets like theand the to control them from the fridge. You'll also find the Samsung Connect app on the fridge itself now -- you can use it as a dashboard for controlling compatible smart home gadgets and appliances.
Also new for year two: voice controls. The original Family Hubs promised this was coming when they first debuted, and Samsung initially told us that the fridges would ultimately play home to Alexa. Plans changed, though, and Samsung abandoned its Alexa plans in favor of installing its own voice assistant, Bixby, into the fridge. That delayed things on the voice control front, but this year, you'll be able to open and control certain apps using voice commands, or ask Bixby to read a recipe out loud to you as you cook.
Expect to possibly see the new Family Hubs for yourself the next time you stroll through the appliances section at Lowes, Sears, or Home Depot, where the entry level three-door Family Hub currently enjoys a debut discount price of $2,200. That's an aggressive sale price that probably reflects growing smart fridge competition from the likes of LG, Whirlpool, Kenmore, and others. We'll be testing all of them out in the coming month -- stay tuned.