Samsung RF28JBEDBSG review: Samsung hits the sweet spot with this Food Showcase fridge

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The Good The slick-looking Samsung RF28JBEDBSG was a strong, steady performer in our tests -- especially the luxurious "FlexZone Drawer" and its four dedicated temperature presets. The "Food Showcase" compartment did a better job at holding cold temperatures than competing door-in-a-door models.

The Bad There's no evidence that the Food Showcase compartment has any positive impact on performance, and its overall convenience is questionable at best. The ice maker also takes up too much room inside of the fridge.

The Bottom Line With an average sale price well below $3,000, this likable, luxurious fridge is a legitimate bargain.

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8.1 Overall
  • Features 8
  • Design 9
  • Performance 8.5
  • Usability 7

Last year's fridges are often this year's bargains. Case in point: the Samsung RF28JBEDBSG. Clad in a classy black stainless-steel finish, it's a modern-looking French door model with compelling features and terrific performance. And, while it was originally priced at $3,700, you can pick one up right now at major retailers like Best Buy and Home Depot for a very reasonable $2,500.

Simply put, there really isn't much I don't like about this fridge. Yes, I continue to question whether door-in-a-door features like Food Showcase are anything but a gimmick, and I've made my aversion to Samsung's clunky ice maker design perfectly clear. But at $2,500 -- or at any sale price below $3,000, really -- I'll still recommend it without reservation for anyone in the market for a kitchen that's a little more modern and luxurious.

Design and features

Refrigerators are evolving. Competition at the high end is fiercer than ever, and smart fridges continue to trend towards norm and away from exception (LG's even making Wi-Fi a standard feature across every refrigerator it sells). In that landscape, the RF28JBEDBSG sits short of the cutting edge. There's no Wi-Fi here, no radically unique design, and no ginormous touchscreen in the door, either.

Chris Monroe/CNET

But this is still a very nice refrigerator, and one that falls right into a happy, modern medium between entry-level luxury and high-end smarts. It makes excellent use of black stainless steel, and it offers both a door-in-a-door "Food Showcase" compartment and a dedicated "FlexZone Drawer" with its own distinct temperature presets. It's got more than enough going for it to get you excited about adding it to your kitchen.

Open it up, and you'll find a total of 27.8 cubic feet of storage space, and while that's not quite enough to call this thing king-size, that's still plenty of room for a family's worth of groceries. In my tests, I had no trouble fitting our entire load of test groceries inside, complete with room to spare for our bulky, large stress-test items. If you need to cram a cake or a leftover pizza into this thing alongside your groceries, you shouldn't have much trouble.

The refrigerator's two movable shelves -- one that slides in and a second that folds up and out of the way -- are a nice touch here, helping make room for tall items on the shelves below. The FlexZone Drawer makes an impact, too, adding an extra 3.8 cubic feet of room for groceries in addition to the 15.7 cubic feet you already get in the fridge.

Now playing: Watch this: What the heck is this shelf in Samsung's fridges for?

Still, it isn't a perfect design. My main gripe? The ice maker, or "Ice Master," to borrow Samsung's branding. It sits up on the top shelf, eating up a little over a half cubic foot of precious space. When you need it to dispense a couple of cubes, it'll drop them down through an angled chute in the door. That chute blocks off the door's narrow, poorly designed middle shelf, wasting even more space. Packing the ice maker entirely into the door, like LG and GE have figured out how to do, would free up that space on the top shelf and make that door shelf easier to use.

The other key feature is obviously the titular Food Showcase design. All it really does is let you pull a little trigger on the right door handle to open the door's front panel without opening the door itself. That lets you access thinks like drinks, condiments, and butter from the in-door shelves without actually opening the fridge. The compartment's bottom shelf also slides out like a drawer, which is a nice, new touch.

I've long been skeptical of these kinds of door-in-a-door compartments, but the one in this fridge is at least easier to use than competing models from LG that inexplicably block off those in-door shelves from the inside. And I might be in the minority here, given that door-in-a-door compartments are an increasingly popular feature (both GE and Whirlpool are introducing models with the feature this year).

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