Up close with Samsung's Family Hub Refrigerator

With a 21.5-inch touchscreen, ingredient-tracking cameras, and a stunningly good-looking design, this smart fridge wants high-profile placement in your kitchen.

Ry Crist
Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a writer, a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. A CNET editor since 2013, Ry's beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, broadband and home networking.
Ry Crist
1 of 28 Chris Monroe/CNET

The Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator is a new high-end smart fridge with unique, futuristic features you won't find anywhere else. Click through to take a quick tour of everything it can do.

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Four-Door Flex

The Family Hub fridge is one of Samsung's "Four-Door Flex" refrigerators. The build divides the fridge into four quadrants, with a French-door-style fridge up top, and a pair of freezer compartments down below. The freezer compartment on the right is the "FlexZone" -- you can switch it between various freezer and fridge modes.

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Huge touchscreen

The Tizen touchscreen is 21.5 inches from corner to corner, and comes pre-loaded with apps.

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Cameras on the inside

You'll also find a set of three cameras on the refrigerator's inner door flap.

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An eye on your groceries

Those cameras snap a picture of what's inside your fridge every time you close the doors.

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View inside

You can tap the "View Inside" button on the touchscreen to see the latest photos. Up top, you'll find icons you can drag and drop over top of your groceries to keep track of expiration dates. You can check the camera feed on your phone while you're out at the store, too.

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There's a lot more you can do with that touchscreen. StickiBoard is an app that syncs calendar data from sources like Google and Outlook, then merges everyone's schedule into a shared family fridge calendar.

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Music streaming

You can also pull up Pandora to stream some music, or use TuneIn to listen to podcasts and internet radio.

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White Board

The White Board app is just what it sounds like -- you'll use it to sketch a quick doodle, or write a message to Mom.

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Touch typing

The touch controls aren't quite as snappy as you'll get with a high-end tablet, but they're comfortable enough to draw, write or type.

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You can open the Club des Chefs app to watch instructional cooking videos, or use AllRecipes to find something new to make.

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Groceries on demand

You can also order groceries for delivery using the InstaCart or Groceries by MasterCard apps.

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You can also set timers on the touchscreen to help you out as you cook.

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Web browsing

And yep, you can browse the web on this fridge, too.

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TV Mirroring

If you have a current-gen Samsung smart TV, you'll be able to mirror the feed to the refrigerator's screen.

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Fridge settings

You'll also find all of the fridge settings on the touchscreen, including temperature controls.

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Storage tests

Four-door models like this one typically offer a little less fridge space than their French door counterparts, and the Family Hub fridge is no different. Still, we were able to to fit all of our test groceries and all six of our large-sized stress-test items inside.

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Ice maker

You'll find the ice maker up on the top shelf in the body of the fridge, which eats up a bit of space.

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Door shelves

The upper door shelves stayed cool during testing, meaning you could store perishable items up there without worry.

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Lower shelves

The lower door shelves ran a bit warmer, though. They'd be a better spot for beverages and for preservative-heavy condiments and kid snacks.

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Sliding shelf

You can move a few of the shelves in the fridge to help make space for tall items. The upper shelf next to the ice maker flips up and out of the way for tall items below, while this shelf slides in for the same purpose.

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Just like that, you've got a good space for tall-sized items.

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Crisper bins

The bins slide smooth as well, and offer a good amount of storage space for fruits, veggies, meats and cheeses.

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Down below

With a four-door design like this one, you get a double door freezer down below. The right half is called the "FlexZone." You can dial its temperature up and down between freezer and fridge modes.

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At the default, 37-degree setting, temperatures were very consistent in the body of the fridge, with only a couple of very minor hot spots in the lower door shelves. It's a good result.

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Coldest setting

The fridge performed fine at the coldest setting of 34 degrees F, as well. Temperatures in the fridge didn't actually come down all that much, though -- I suspect it's because I dialed that FlexZone up into its fridge settings for this test.

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Here's the graph of those FlexZone fridge settings. There are three of them in addition to the two freezer settings. I started at the coldest fridge setting (Meat & Produce), then bumped the setting up once every 24 hours. Temperatures were accurate and steady, and always stabilized within 10 hours of switching, which is a very good result.

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A dream fridge?

Samsung's Family Hub Refrigerator has a starting retail price of $5,600 (you'll pay $200 more for black stainless steel, and another $200 for a counter-depth build). For what it's worth, it's currently discounted to $4,300 at major retailers. That's obviously still an awful lot to spend on a fridge -- for more on whether or not it's worth it, read our full review.

(The Family Hub fridge isn't available outside of the US yet, but the starting price comes out to about £4,200, or roughly AU$7,500. Similar-looking four-door Samsung models without the touchscreen or cameras retail at outlets like Currys, John Lewis, and Appliance City in the UK for about £2,800 and at Harvey Norman's in Australia for around AU$5,500.)

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