LG found some success with its Door-in-Door models -- fridges where the front of the door comes open to let you access shelves hidden inside. Samsung followed suit with its line of "Food Showcase" refrigerators that do the exact same thing. Both lines are expanding, so the question is, which manufacturer makes the best door-in-a-door fridges?
Samsung's latest stab in the category is an expansion from the debutmodels into French-door territory. That's been LG's turf thus far, with marquee Door-in-Door French door fridges like the . At a list price of $3,300, Samsung's French 3-Door Food Showcase fridge offers nearly identical functionality -- and is the more affordable of the two. (Both fridges are currently available for considerably less from some retailers.)
Still, I'm not convinced that this fridge beats LG at its own game. Door-in-a-door functionality aside, the Samsung Food Showcase French-door fridge wasn't as steady a performer in our cooling tests, and it doesn't make good use of its own storage capacity, with a number of shelves that border on useless due to poor design. Make no mistake, this fridge gets a lot of things right, but overall, it seems like less of a complete package than its top competitors.
A less flashy Food Showcase
Thewas a side-by-side model with one of the best-looking designs I've ever gotten my hands on. Its elegant, recessed handles ran flat down the front of the fridge in a stylish stainless-steel groove, giving it the feel of a modern luxury.
This French-door version of the Food Showcase fridge isn't nearly as much of a standout. Gone are the recessed handles, replaced with more traditional curved steel. Instead of splitting the entire fridge door into standard and Showcase sections, the French door model incorporates a secret trigger on the bottom half of the right door handle. You'll need to squeeze it in order to open up the Food Showcase section and expose the condiments, beer and whatever else you've got stored in those in-door shelves.
It's a standard appearance for a high-end French-door fridge -- not a bad one, just not as unique as Samsung's proven itself capable of making. In a police lineup of French-door fridges, it'd be a challenge to pick out the Food Showcase model as the one guilty of door-in-a-door functionality. Of course, I could say the same about the, which also looks pretty typical for its class.
Open the Food Showcase fridge up, and you'll find a grand total of 27.8 cubic feet of storage space, 18.9 of which are allocated to the fridge. That's a good number in and of itself, and one that falls in line with most French-door models in the $3,000 to $4,000 price range.
To help you make use of that capacity, Samsung did an admirable job of filling its Food Showcase fridge with storage-related features. Many fridges offer shelves that fold up and out of the way, shelves that slide out to help you reach items in the back or shelves that slide in to make room for tall items stored below -- Samsung included one of each.
Samsung doesn't squeeze the entire icemaker into the door, the way some French-door models like the LG Door-in-Door anddo. Instead, it sits in the top left corner of the body of the fridge, with a mechanism that feeds the ice down through the door and out the front. It eats up a decent chunk of space up on the top shelf, but to Samsung's credit, it's slimmer than most icemakers like it. The icemakers in comparable models from and run about 8 inches wide -- the Samsung icemaker comes in at less than 6 inches.
There's something else to keep in mind when you've got an icemaker inside of the fridge, and that's the in-door shelves. The inside of the door needs to be angled up to catch the falling ice and feed it out through the front, and that can create a bulky overhang that blocks the shelves below it. Sure enough, the middle shelf inside of the Food Showcase fridge's left door is practically unusable.
It isn't alone. Open up the Food Showcase door, and you'll find a tiny shelf at the very bottom. It tilts out toward you for easier access (and even slides right out of the fridge altogether if needed), but it's simply too narrow to fit much of anything. A similar shelf in the Electrolux Wave-Touch French door fridge was more impressive, as you could actually fit a few cans of soda or a couple of kid-friendly snacks in the thing. No such luck with the Food Showcase fridge.
Drawer-wise, the Food Showcase fridge boasts a pair of crisper bins with adjustable humidity sliders. LG omitted those sliders in its Door-in-Door fridge, which was a bit head-scratching, so points to Samsung. There's also a third drawer called the CoolSelect Pantry that runs the width of the fridge. It offers three temperature presets to help you keep things a little colder or a little warmer than the rest of the fridge, but you'll get even more presets from similar drawers in the French door fridges from LG, GE and Electrolux.
For an additional $600, you can get a four-door version of the Food Showcase French-door fridge that makes the CoolSelect Pantry its own, separate drawer between the fridge and freezer. If that feature tempts you more than door-in-a-door functionality, then consider the $3,700 , too. It's a non-Door-in-Door French-door model with a fourth, temperature-controlled drawer, and a very solid fridge overall.