There's a long list of things to consider when you're picking out a fridge for your kitchen. Cooling performance, capacity, style -- all of it should factor in before you plunk down thousands of dollars for what will be one of the most visible and oft-used appliances in your home.
So, when I tell you that you should consider GE's $3,100 Profile Series French door fridge because it has a really great water dispenser, I don't say it lightly. Capable of dispensing the exact amount of water you need, or of simply filling up your glass, pitcher or pot automatically, it's easily one of the smartest and coolest fridge features I've ever tested, and it's just one of several tricks up the Profile Series' sleeve.
Bells and whistles aside, the Profile Series fridge isn't perfect. Its cooling performance is solid-yet-unspectacular, and the seemingly sizable 18.5 cubic foot capacity in the fridge compartment feels more cramped than it actually is. While I wish it were stronger on those two fronts, they aren't serious weaknesses, and they definitely don't undercut the overall appeal. If you want a high-end appliance that's packed with features, the Profile Series fridge offers plenty of bang for your buck.
Modern French door fashion
The GE Profile Series fridge is a modern-looking French door model with the expected stainless steel finish and a solid feel to the build. With its LCD touchscreen front and center on the left fridge door, it looks appropriately high-end for its price.
Of course, with stainless steel comes fingerprints, and while the Profile Series isn't the smudgiest fridge I've ever smudged, it's definitely no exception. A finish that's a little more fingerprint-resistant, like the one you'll find on, would have been a welcome addition.
Though I'm generally skeptical towards refrigerators with touchscreens, the one on the front of the Profile Series makes plenty of sense. With a multitude of features packed into that water dispenser, it offers simple, easy-to-use controls without a clutter of additional buttons and dials -- though I appreciated that you still get physical buttons dedicated to basic functions, like switching between crushed and cubed ice, or turning the LED light on and off. If you're so inclined, you can also upload photos from a flash drive to play as a slideshow when the screen isn't in use.
Open the Profile Series up, and you'll find 18.5 cubic feet of storage space inside the fridge compartment. You'll also find the icemaker packed into the inside of the left door. It isn't the largest icemaker I've seen, but fear not -- should the need for extra ice arise, you'll find a second icemaker stashed away in the freezer.
Below the pair of adjustable crisper bins sits a third temperature-controlled drawer that runs the width of the fridge. You can choose between three settings: Meat, Beverage and Deli. As you switch from one to another, the drawer's LED lights will change color. Those colored LEDs will light up each time you open the fridge, reminding you of what you've got stored inside.
All in all, it's a good-looking interior, though some of the shelves feel overly plasticky to the touch. The dishwasher-safe black slipmats at the bottom of each in-door shelf are a good addition in theory, though they don't sit flat, and feel a bit cheap as well.
A fridge full of features
For your $3,100, what you're really buying here is this fridge's impressive slate of features. You get quite a lot of them, from basics like spill-proof shelving and LED lighting to the aforementioned touchscreen, dual icemakers and a temperature-controlled drawer. The true star of the show, however, is the water dispenser. With a couple of nifty tricks up its sleeve, it's by far the brainiest one on the market, and a killer feature for the Profile Series overall.
First up is "Precise Fill," which dispenses the exact amount of water you need with just a few quick button presses -- a handy way of giving your measuring cup a rest. You can measure your water out in cups, milliliters, or ounces, and if you're using a large-sized pot, the shelf pulls out to help reinforce the extra weight.
The "Auto Fill" feature is even cooler. At the touch of a button, the dispenser can fill up any glass, pitcher or pot until it's nearly full, then shut off automatically. I tested it again and again with containers of all sizes. It never spilled or stopped short once. Even when I repeated a test with ice already in my glass, the fridge knew just when to stop. It honestly feels a bit like magic, and I'm pretty sure I'd never get tired of it.
One quick side note: you'll also find the Precise Fill feature in GE's Cafe Series French door fridge, which also retails for $3,100. However, you won't find Auto Fill -- GE swaps the feature out for hot water presets for things like tea and soup. Personally, I think I prefer Auto Fill between the two, but those hot water smarts are pretty appealing, too. It's a shame that it's an either/or proposition -- all three features in one fridge would be a near-slam dunk.
The Profile Series vs. comparable models
|GE Profile Series PFE28RSHSS||Samsung RF28HFEDTSR||Frigidaire Professional FPBS2777RF||LG LFX31925ST||Electrolux EI28BS80KS|
|Total Capacity||27.7 cubic feet||28.1 cubic feet||27.0 cubic feet||30.7 cubic feet||27.0 cubic feet|
|Refrigerator Capacity||18.5 cubic feet||18.9 cubic feet||19.0 cubic feet||20.7 cubic feet||18.9 cubic feet|
|Flex Cooling Zone||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Dual Ice Maker||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Door in a Door||No||No||No||Yes||No|
|Unique Features||Auto Fill, Precise Fill, Drop Down Tray||None||Smudge-Proof Finish||None||Luxury-Design Shelves, Luxury-Close Drawers|
You'll find more features inside of the fridge, including a "Drop Down Tray" that nestles beneath the butter bin. Pull it down when you need a little bit of extra space in the door. There's also an adjustable shelf in the body of the fridge with a front half that slides back and out of the way beneath the back half to make room for tall items on the shelf below. That's a handy feature, but it's not all that unique. You'll find some sort of adjustable shelving in most high-end French door models -- though not all of them.
Feature for feature, the GE Profile Series fridge stacks up quite nicely against the competition, and even against much pricier models, like the $6,000 Samsung Chef Collection refrigerator. Unless you're a fan of door-in-a-door models like the ones we've seen from , , and , there really isn't much of anything that's missing here, feature-wise.
Hit and miss performance
The GE Profile Series fridge isn't the best performer that's passed through our climate controlled test chamber, but it was far from the worst. Over the duration of a three-day test with the fridge compartment set to 37 degrees, averages in the body of the fridge stayed right on target, with roughly a 2-degree swing from the coldest average to the warmest. That's a pretty small amount of wiggle room from one region to the next.
However, things get a little wigglier (in more ways than one) when you look at the minute-by-minute results from the same test. The blue lines are arguably the most important, as they represent the three shelves in the main body of the fridge. While they all average out fairly close to the target temperature, there are a couple of key spikes during the defrost cycles -- particularly that big one, where the top shelf (the dark blue line) rises up above 40 degrees (a food safety benchmark set by the FDA) for just over 2 hours.