Why doesn't every fridge have built-in Bluetooth speakers? After all, plenty of us like to turn on NPR or a podcast as we're cooking breakfast or washing dishes -- packing speakers into an always-powered appliance seems like an obvious way to clear up precious counterspace.
All of which is to say that I like the LG LFXS30786S, a high-end French door model that does exactly that. It's another one of LG's Door-in-Door refrigerators, with a button on the right door handle that lets you open the door's front panel to access the in-door shelves without actually opening the refrigerator. And, like most of the rest of LG's Door-in-Door fridges, it's expensive, retailing at a cool $4,000.
It's a very good refrigerator, though. You can't get it in black stainless steel unless you downgrade to a similar-looking, equally expensive model that doesn't have a built-in speaker, but it still looks decent and feels sturdy to the touch. Speaking of that speaker, it's convenient and easy to use, and its sound quality passes the ear test, at least for kitchen listening. Cooling performance was impressive, too, with fantastic accuracy and consistency in the body of the fridge, and better-than-average temperatures in that Door-in-Door compartment. Simply put, there's a lot to like about the LFXS30786S, and not a lot of notable weaknesses. If a speaker fridge sounds like a smart upgrade to you, it deserves a look.
Design and features
The LG LFXS30786S looks like the rest of LG's fleet of French door fridges. That's not a bad thing per se, but given that LG hasn't made any major design tweaks to its French door lineup since the debut of Door-in-Door a few years ago, it's a look that feels slightly stale. Certain high-end LG models have started offering black stainless-steel finishes, which helps -- but not the LFXS30786S.
Still it's a decent design that feels well-built inside and out. The touch controls look classy and understated, with white LEDs that shouldn't clash with your kitchen decor. The 19.5-cubic-foot fridge interior is spacious and well-designed, with drawers that glide smoothly in and out and spillproof shelves that were easy enough to rearrange for me to do it one-handed. Even the entire bottom shelf slides out to help you reach items stashed in the back -- an especially nice feature for a fridge that's as deep as this one.
I'm a fan of LG's "Slim Spaceplus" ice maker, too. It's packed entirely inside of the door -- a nice differentiator from competing French door models like the Samsung Food Showcase refrigerator, which stick it up on the top shelf. That approach costs you storage space, and also typically means you'll have an unsightly bulge in the door to catch the ice that falls from above. In a lot of cases, those bulges block off the door shelves below them. No such problem with the LFXS30786S.
As for the Bluetooth speaker, you'll find it on the front of the refrigerator's top rim. There's a single button on it -- give it a press, and the speaker will go into pairing mode, allowing you to discover it on your phone and sync things up.
The speaker runs the near-width of the fridge, but the doors close over top of it. I was worried the sound quality would be a bit muffled as a result, but that wasn't the case. Voices came through crisp and clear as I listened to a podcast in our fridge testing lab, and music sounded good to me, too (and to my co-workers when I sought out second and third opinions). You won't quite get the rich fidelity and depth of sound that you'd expect from a larger, fancier speaker, but it sounds a lot better than you'd probably expect from a refrigerator, and certainly good enough for casual kitchen listening.
Performance and usability
LG fridges have fared particularly well in our performance tests, and the LFXS30786S was no exception. At the default, 37-degree setting, the main shelves were dead-on, holding to an average temperature of 37.4 degrees F. That's about as good a result as we've seen, and one that's well below the FDA's food safety benchmark of 40 degrees F. The drawers and the left door shelves performed well, too, averaging out to 36.6 and 37.5, respectively.