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Samsung RF23M8090SG Counter-Depth 4-Door French Door Refrigerator review: One of the best French door fridges we've tested

With an attractive new design, compelling features and near-perfect performance, this fancy fridge feels like a legit luxury.

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Ry Crist
Ryan_Crist2.jpg

Ry Crist

Senior Editor / Reviews - Appliances

Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. A CNET editor since 2013, Ry's beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, and home networking.

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5 min read

If you're thinking about upgrading your kitchen appliances for the holidays, Samsung hopes you'll consider the RF23M8090SG, one of its newest and fanciest French door models. Priced at $4,200, the fridge features an updated design with metallic accents, an autofilling water pitcher and a slick-looking exterior with a dedicated "FlexZone" drawer and recessed handles.

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8.6

Samsung RF23M8090SG Counter-Depth 4-Door French Door Refrigerator

The Good

The Samsung RF23M8090SG is a good-looking fridge with useful features like an auto-filling water pitcher and a temperature-adjustable "FlexZone" drawer. It was a near-flawless performer in our cooling tests.

The Bad

The "polygon handles" on the fridge are a meaningless gimmick. The crisper bins feel a bit flimsy.

The Bottom Line

This is a very good refrigerator, and worthy of a splurge if you're looking for a modern-looking upgrade.

All of that adds up to a fridge that looks and feels like a modern luxury, and to Samsung's credit, the RF23M8090SG performed brilliantly in our cooling tests, too. 

Yes, the suggested retail price is a staggering $4,200, but suggested retail prices don't actually mean very much in the world of appliances. In fact, the RF23M8090 is currently on sale for $2,600 at a number of major retailers, including Best Buy and Home Depot. That's a pretty decent value for a fridge as nice as this one.

A new design, sans salsa moat

Yep, you read that header right -- the salsa moat is gone.

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You'll find an autofilling water pitcher and a butter bin-style compartment where the infamous "salsa moat" once sat.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Let me back up a bit in case you're (rightfully) somewhat confused. Previous generations of Samsung's high-end French door models have all shared an annoying design quirk -- a narrow little shelf in the door that sits directly beneath the bulging ice maker. We couldn't figure out what you were possibly supposed to fit in such an awkward shelf, so I took suggestions from Twitter. The winner: loose salsa for easy dipping. The salsa moat was born.

Well, now it's dead. Samsung stripped it out and replaced it with a butter bin-style compartment and a dock for the new autofilling water pitcher. The new compartment is still a little cramped, but it's definitely an improvement -- I could even fit a whole, unopened jar of salsa inside (sort of).

As for the pitcher, it's a pretty nifty new feature (or new-ish, anyway -- GE started selling fridges with autofill pitchers over a year ago). Just dock the thing into place inside the door, and the fridge will automatically fill it back up with fresh, filtered water. When it's full, the flow of water will automatically stop.

A new design helps this Samsung French door fridge shine

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After several test fill-ups, I never saw it spill a single drop. I also appreciated that Samsung found a spot for it that doesn't take up too much room that you'd otherwise use to store your groceries. By comparison, the pitcher in GE's fridge is larger, and it eats up valuable shelf space in the body of the fridge.

Other design improvements are more subtle. New, recessed handles line the tops of the freezer and the FlexZone drawer, giving the fridge more of a modern aesthetic. For the fridge, you get what Samsung terms "polygon handles," which literally just means handles that aren't tube-shaped (they're more like rounded triangles). They look and feel fine, and they don't detract from the overall design, but they're still a hollow gimmick, and I award Samsung exactly zero fridge points for including them.

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The FlexZone drawer offers an extra 3.1 cubic feet of storage space along with its own, dedicated temperature presets and a sliding divider to section things off.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Inside, you'll find metallic trim around the edges of the shelves and lining the walls, the inside of the FlexZone drawer, and the front of the ice maker. It's a little thing, but it definitely helps this fridge feel less ordinary.

As for capacity, you get a total of 22.6 cubic feet of storage space, including 12.9 cubic feet in the fridge and another 3.1 cubic feet in the FlexZone drawer. That's about what you'd expect from a counter-depth model like this one that's designed to sit flush alongside your countertops. For more space, go with a standard-depth model.

The final feature worth discussing is that FlexZone drawer. Pull it open, and you'll find touch controls for the fridge, along with four distinct temperature presets for the drawer that range from 29 to 42 degrees Fahrenheit. It's a nice place to store delicate foods like meat and cheese that you want to keep a little colder than the rest of the fridge, and it also makes a good spot to stick wine and other beverages that you might want a little warmer than your groceries.

It also tested well in our climate-controlled test chamber, where we put every fridge we review through its paces. But hey, I'm getting ahead of myself, here...

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This is about as close to a perfect heat map as we've ever seen.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Performance

Ah, there we go. So yes, the FlexZone drawer did well as I dialed it up and down in my tests. Each setting held tight and steady within a degree or two of the target temperature, and it typically only took a few hours to dial down to a lower setting. Best of all, changing between those different settings had no detectable impact on the performance of the fridge.

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In this 24-hour test, I dialed the FlexZone drawer (red) from 42 degrees to 29 degrees. It made the switch in under three hours without affecting the rest of the fridge.

Ry Crist/CNET

That overall performance was strong, too. With the exception of the FlexZone drawer, which I intentionally dialed up to 42 degrees while testing the refrigerator's coldest setting, I didn't find a single hot-spot above 40 degrees in the entire fridge at any setting I tested. Most importantly, the main body shelves all averaged within a single degree of each of my target temperatures, and the same can be said of the crisper bins and a majority of the door shelves, which is outstanding. The bottom of each door ran slightly warm, but warmer temperatures in the doors are completely normal for refrigerators at any price.

The freezer also yielded strong results, with identical average temperatures in its main body and the pull-out drawer that sits above it. Those temperatures were essentially a bullseye when I tested the fridge at its default setting of 37 degrees -- at the coldest setting of 34 degrees, the two average temperatures in the freezer were again identical, but they had each risen about a degree and a half in spite of the fact that I'd left the freezer setting unchanged at zero. That's really about as much of a quibble as I can muster.

Put simply, Samsung's fridge couldn't have done much better in my tests. If you're basing your buying decision on performance, you'll have a tough time finding much better than this.

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Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The verdict

Salsa jokes aside, I really like the RF23M8090SG. I wouldn't want to spend $4,200 on it, but I wouldn't have to -- most retailers already have it listed for at least $500 less, and if you catch it on sale like you can right now, you can get it for as much as 40 percent off. 

Performance was pretty close to perfect, and the combination of an attractive design and useful features give it the feel of a legitimate luxury. Considering that most of us use our refrigerators multiple times per day, the RF23M8090SG feels like the sort of splurge that's probably worth it.

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8.6

Samsung RF23M8090SG Counter-Depth 4-Door French Door Refrigerator

Score Breakdown

Features 8Design 8.5Performance 9.5Usability 8
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