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Samsung RF32FMQDBSR review: Samsung's $4,000 fridge: Mediocrity never looked so good

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Samsung RF32FMQDBSR

(Part #: RF32FMQDBSR)
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The Good The Samsung RF32FMQDBSR offers Chef Collection-level looks for $2,000 less. Despite the lower price tag, you still get a few high-end features, like the ability to switch one half of the freezer into fridge mode.

The Bad This model wasn't as solid a performer as the Chef Collection, or as comparable French door models that cost slightly less. Also, the storage-minded features inside of the fridge were hit and miss.

The Bottom Line There's obvious appeal in such a good-looking fridge, but keep in mind that you can find better features and performance for less.

7.0 Overall
  • Features 7.0
  • Design 9.0
  • Performance 6.0
  • Usability 7.0

If you want Samsung's top-of-the line Chef Collection fridge, you'll need to shell out six grand. If that's too much of a cold, hard number for your tastes, then you might consider the Samsung RF32FMQDBSR, a four-door model that looks just like it -- but costs two thousand less.

That's a much better price for exquisite design, but the rub is that the RF32FMQDBSR isn't as feature-rich as the Chef Collection fridge, with none of that model's chef-inspired luxury features. We like the Chef Collection's interior and cooling performance better, too. You'll also get more fridge bang for your fridge buck with a better performing, less expensive French door model like the LG LMXS30786S or the GE Profile Series PFE28RSHSS . Still, none of the Samsung model's shortcomings undercut the gorgeous design, so if it's a hankering for high-end looks that's motivating your buying decision, be sure to keep it in mind.

It looks the part

Like the Chef Collection model, the RF32FMQDBSR is a four-door "t-type" fridge, which basically means that it's split into four quadrants. You get the usual French door approach up top, and the same two-door train of thought down with the freezer, too.

It's also an undeniably good-looking appliance. The recessed handles maintain the flat-front aesthetic while also highlighting the unique four-door design, same as the Chef Collection model. That fridge really hit it out of the park with its eye-catching looks, so I don't blame Samsung for doubling down and offering the same selling point here.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Still, the RF32FMQDBSR is more of a fraternal twin to the Chef Collection fridge than an identical one. It's a bit smaller, for starters, offering 30 cubic feet of storage space instead of 34. Also, with the Chef Collection model, the front LED display lights up through tiny pinholes when in use, then disappears when you're done. No such trickery in the cheaper version. You get a touch panel, instead -- more of a standard approach, and less of a seamless one.

Many of the Chef Collection's features are missing in this model, too. You won't find the stainless-steel Chef Pans built to marinate things in the fridge and then go straight into the oven and dishwasher, nor will you find the Chef Basket that holds things like chopped veggies and grated cheese and then lifts out onto your countertop for Taco Tuesday. The sparkling water feature is gone from the water dispenser. Also gone: the Chef Pantry, the bottom drawer that runs the width of the Chef Collection fridge and offers adjustable temperature settings.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The CoolSelect+ compartment is still in play, though. It's the bottom right quadrant of the refrigerator, and while you'll probably use it as the right half of your freezer, you get the option of dialing the temperature up and using it for extra fridge storage. That's a very nice high-end feature, and of all the Chef Collection's bells and whistles, probably the first one I would have wanted to see in a cheaper version.

You won't control it in quite the same way, though. In the Chef Collection model, the CoolSelect+ controls were hidden on a touch panel on the top of the CoolSelect+ door. The cheaper model went ahead and relocated them to the touch panel on the front of the fridge. I'm not sure I mind that -- the Chef Collection controls required you to hold the door open in order to use them.

No touch controls on top of the CoolSelect+ door -- instead, they're on the front of the fridge. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

You also get some of the Chef Collection's storage-minded features inside of the fridge. There's a shelf that folds up and out of the way, and another that slides in, giving you two good spots to store tall items. Other features are new, like plastic dividers that split the in-door shelves across the middle to help section things off and a plastic egg bin insert. Neither one of those actually seemed that helpful -- the dividers actually made it more difficult to store bulky items, and the egg bin doesn't fit a carton of eggs, nor does it stop loose eggs from rolling around when you open and close the door.

There are also a few basic features I was surprised not to find in this fridge. There's no butter bin, for instance -- the usual spot in the top of the left door is designated for eggs, instead. You also won't find humidity sliders for the crisper drawers.

In sum, it all comes down to looks, this refrigerator's strongest suit (at least on the outside). If design is most important to you, then it deserves strong consideration -- but only if you're comfortable with a slightly sub par slate of features. Though they aren't nearly as eye catching, both the LG LMXS30786S and the GE Profile Series French door have more to offer on the inside, and both cost less.

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