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Simple style with this affordable Samsung top freezer

With an elegant design and a couple of clever features, this $850 Samsung top freezer feels more expensive than it actually is.

1 of 12 Chris Monroe/CNET

This is the Samsung RT21M6213SR. It's one of the first top-freezer fridges that Samsung has ever sold in the US, and you can get it for less than a thousand bucks. Click through to see everything that is has to offer.

2 of 12 Chris Monroe/CNET

Elegant build

Samsung's top freezer sports a minimalist build with sturdy, recessed handles and the option of a black stainless steel finish for an extra $100 -- a rarity in the top-freezer class.

3 of 12 Chris Monroe/CNET

Look inside

Inside is a total of 21.2 cubic feet of storage space, 15.4 of which are allocated to the fridge.

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Slide & Reach

There aren't a lot of extra features inside, but you do get a "Slide & Reach Pantry" drawer up at the top.

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Stoop & peek

One quibble: you can't really see what's in that Slide & Reach drawer unless you stoop down.

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Twin Cooling

Like a lot of Samsung fridges, this one offers "Twin Cooling," which means that it has separate, independent cooling mechanisms for the fridge and freezer compartments.

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Up top

You'll see that same Twin Cooling branding up in the freezer, along with the fridge controls, which are hidden along the top of the frame.

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Touch controls

You can use those controls to adjust the temperature of the fridge and freezer, or activate a feature called "FlexZone" to change the freezer into a second fridge.

9 of 12 Ry Crist/CNET

FlexZone performance

FlexZone worked well, but it took about 30 hours to make the change, and the bottom shelf didn't quite rise above freezing.

10 of 12 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Heat maps!

Here are the average temperatures from that Flex Zone test. Watch the numbers in the fridge as we go to the next slide...

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Default setting

This heat map shows the refrigerator's performance at its default setting. Compare it with the FlexZone heat map (previous slide), and you'll see that the temperatures in the fridge compartment are more or less unchanged. That's strong evidence that Twin Cooling works as promised.

Still, it's not a perfect result. You can forgive the hot spots in the butter bin and the bottom of the door, but those crisper bins really ought to be below 40 degrees F.

12 of 12 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Coldest setting

Finally, here's how the fridge runs at its coldest setting. No more hot spots, except for the butter bin, which is supposed to be a little warmer than the rest of the fridge to keep your butter soft. And look at the freezer -- the numbers are virtually identical to the previous test, where the fridge wasn't running so cold. Again, Twin Cooling seems legit.

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