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Refrigerators

A see-through fridge might be the coolest thing at IFA

The very clever motion-activated front panels on Haier's Smart Window fridges light up and reveal what's inside as you approach. It might be the coolest thing we saw in Germany this week.

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BERLIN -- As a member of the CNET Appliances review team, I've seen a lot of fancy fridges. The Haier Smart Window Refrigerator, spotted this week at the IFA tech conference in Berlin, makes them all look like cheap toys. Walk up to the thing, and the front panel of the fridge door will automatically light up, offering a sudden translucent glimpse at the groceries stored inside. Close the door, and the translucence disappears. It's a jaw-dropping delight.

Smart Window trickery aside, it's one of the best looking luxury fridges I've seen. Available in both a side-by-side model and a four-door "t-type" design, the Haier fridges sport an attractive and unique checkered carbon pattern that resembles Kevlar. It's not just there for looks -- the material lends itself to the two-way section in the door of the fridge that goes clear when the inner lights go on.

Those lights turn on thanks to motion sensors in the fridge -- they'll also turn the LED display off automatically when motion stops. Both fridges are door-in-a-door models, too, letting you open the front panel of the door to access the shelves within. Similar to the LG , you'll push a button to open that compartment on the side-by-side model; on the fancier four-door model, you'll push a capacitive touch button that's integrated into that checkered pattern. It's downright slick.

The Smart Window Refrigerators will undoubtedly come priced at a premium when it hits the European and Asian markets next year, starting at a few thousand euros or more, per a Haier representative. That's actually not the most unreasonable number I've heard for a high-end luxury model (that LG fridge costs more if you convert the price), but still, if you want the x-ray powers offered by those Smart Windows, start saving. And if, like me, you live in the US, start hoping that the feature makes its way across the pond soon.

For more from IFA 2015, check out CNET's full coverage.

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