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GE CFE28USHSS review: GE's Cafe Series fridge dishes out K-Cup coffee on demand

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For that reason, I think that I prefer the Autofill feature that comes with some of GE's Profile Series refrigerators. With Autofill, you can set your container down, tell the fridge to fill it up, then do something else in the kitchen while it works its magic. No such water wizardry with the Cafe Series.

As for the interior, it's essentially identical to what you'll get with other Cafe Series and Profile Series models in this price range. With 27.8 cubic feet of total storage space, it's exactly as big as the slate-finished Profile Series fridge that we reviewed earlier this month. As with that fridge, we were able to fit all of our test groceries and larger stress-test items inside, but the squeeze was tighter than average for a refrigerator in this price range.

Chris Monroe/CNET

The cool factor

The CFE28USHSS performed well in our cooling tests, coming in with acceptable temperatures in the body of the fridge at the default setting of 37 degrees. The only real hot spot aside from the butter bin, which is designed to be a hot spot, was the central shelf on the right door, just below the butter bin. It came in with an average temperature of exactly 40 degrees F, which means it only earned its orange tint in the heat map above by the slimmest of margins.

Performance was steady at the coldest setting, too -- those temperature spikes in the light green line represent the shelf behind the brewer heating up a bit whenever I would make coffee.

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It's slightly better performance than we saw from last year's Samsung RF28HMEDBSR, which has the same $3,300 asking price, and significantly better performance than what we got out of the Electrolux EW28BS85KS, which retails for $3,350. However, it wasn't good enough to knock off our top-performing models, including the $3,600 LG LFXS32726S.

I also tested the fridge at its coldest setting of 34 degrees. Again, the temperatures were, on average, a degree or so higher than the target, but more or less consistent. During this second round of testing, I also made sure to brew a cup of coffee twice a day to see if the heat had any effect on performance. There were tell-tale spikes of 7 or 8 degrees in the door shelf just inside of the brewer each time I fired it up, but that's actually low enough to suggest some pretty impressive engineering, given that the water is getting heated to a near-boil.

I was also impressed with how accurate the water dispenser was. Precise Fill hit the bulls-eye in my tests, dishing out the correct amount of water each time I tried it out. As for the hot-water smarts, which let you dial in to a precise temperature using the app, things were always just as hot as I wanted. Precise Fill and the hot-beverage smarts are both marquee features for this fridge -- good on GE for getting them right.

Chris Monroe/CNET

The verdict

At $3,300, this GE Cafe Series model isn't inexpensive, but it gets enough right to justify being priced on the high end. The cooling performance is sound, and the extra features built into the water dispenser are the sorts of practical "little things" that I could imagine using in my own kitchen day in and day out.

If the K-Cup brewer is all you care about, then consider GE's Profile Series variation of the Keurig-friendly fridge -- it costs $100 less, and comes with a more modern-looking design. If it's cooling power that matters most, then you'll want to take a cold, hard look at the LG LFXS32726S, a comparably priced French-door model that's one of our top performers. Still, the Cafe Series has a lot going for it, and likely belongs on your list if you're in the market for an upgrade.

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