The best choice for a counter depth refrigerator

Oct 16, 2010 (Updated Oct 22, 2010)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Even cooling,high tech lighting, Silent motors, Highly useable space

Cons:No dedicated egg drawer,slightly lethargic ice maker,relatively high price per C/F

The Bottom Line: If you are space limited to a countertop depth refrigerator I have not seen a better, more featured refrigerator than this. 

14 years ago there were plenty of choices for counter depth refrigerator freezers. Not so much in 2010. If you are as spatially challenged as I can tell you that you can fix your refrigeration problems with a wad of money and a Samsung 237AARS. 

My old Kenmore was becoming problematic and I was never happy with a side by side feeling that what I got was both a refrigerator and a freezer that were both too small. Cant fit a party tray, Ice maker kills the space in the freezer- the worst of boths worlds in counter depth size. I go into my fridge 4-8X what I go into the freezer so the french door concept makes lots of sense. After a months worth of research admittedly done by the GF, we settled on the Samsung and I rolled the dice. 

I'll admit it I'm an appliance snob. I have a house full of Miele appliances and the old Kenmore was the lone holdout and I've been waiting for it to die. As a self described high end guy the thought of a Korean built appliance didn't exactly have me breathless with anticipation, but my choices were few - just like the annoying 24" wide Oven quest. 
Well after just three weeks of living with it, Im smitten. This is a great addition to the home and a definite upgrade from the old side by side. JD power has rated Samsung tops in Refrigerators and I can see why now. The door mechanisms are clever and smooth allowing either door to open independently while allowing access to each respective sides  fruit/vegetable drawers with the lone door open. Only the mammoth wide pantry drawer requires both to be open. Speaking of... the wide pantry drawer has its own temp setting allow three different temps so you can keep meats cheeses, and or veggies at just the right temp for the longest shelf life. There are three buttons inside to the right on the pantry drawer each with an LED indicator letting you know at a glance where the temp is set. This drawer has a glass cover piece that angles up when you open it allowing easy access- its very nice. 

Above the pantry drawer there are 2 drawers that are opened easily and smoothly at a slight upward angle - each has its own humidity control. I haven't had a chance to test the relative granularity of the settings, but Ill work on that with a humidity gauge from my humidor... 

The refrigerator has enough door space to keep a gallon and a half gallon container in the left door, and 2-1 gallon containers in the right. Above the gallon holder in the right door there is an adjustable jar holder with a clear front piece making jar identification a snap, then above that a very clever can rack that tilts allowing 5 cans right in the door in the space of three wide, and above that is what would normally be and looks like an "egg" drawer- but it isn't wide enough for a dozen egg container so it gets relegated to a butter storage unit in my kitchen- this is slightly disappointing to me from a legacy perspective. However....there is so much more useable space now I simply put the eggs in front to back and have so much room I can easily stack 2-3 dozen. This minor affront to my expectations turned out to be a complete non issue. 
The shelves in the unit are easily adjustable and have a spill resistant "lip" to catch any spillage and are made of glass thats easy to clean. one shelf next to the ice maker flips up allowing for taller containers to fit without laying them down on a shelf, or mingling them in the gallon holders- nice. 
There are 2 shelves on the right side, and 3 on the left. The right side also has a horizontal wine bottle holder. The left side has two trays one small one beside the ice/water dispenser "bulge" that is not adjustable and doesn't really hold much I have three limes in it for example.. and a larger upper one that is adjustable with a glass front face. All in all it gives you a highly useable 23 cubic feet of fridge much more usable space than my prior units same physical footprint. 

The refrigerators LED lighting is absolutely first class fading up from black in about 2 seconds and brilliantly lighting the backs of the drawers, and interior in a cool slightly blueish blaze of glory- Comparisons against older lighting systems make the legacy incandescent stuff look positively archaic. If you cant see it in this fridge its because you blocked it on all sides. 

On the upper right interior panel of the refrigerator there is a built in filter that screws in and out by hand- we'll see how long it lasts, the manual tells you how to reset the filter change light  and how many "litres" its good for. It looks like a "Fram" thats about half the size of my small block chevies filter. Frankly I like the LG's horizontal soda can style filter a little better, but functionally this is just as good and potentially less intrusive. 
With the exception of the pantry controls, the controls for cooling freezing water cubed or crushed ice - are built into the left door above the water/ice opening and of a eye easy backlit blue color. The system has turbo/accelerated cooling of both the fridge and freezer mode for when you have held them open for long periods of time loading unloading or cleaning the units. 
There is also an energy saving mode but there is little documentation I can find to describe what it actually alters, but the manual mentions condensation possible forming at the edges of the door leading me to beleive it cuts the heater that dries or melts ice condensate. The temp controls cycles a moderately wide range on the fridge and freezer in 2 degree F increments. 36 is where I keep my unit, and I keep the meats and cheeses in the pantry at 34. 

The in door water dispenser is different than what Im used to. Its angled inward toward the unit and I get the best results when setting the cup edge in the drip tray and rocking it backwards against the switch. The water jet angles backward as well rather than down. Unusual. 
Thankfully the opening will fit a large 24 Oz. Tervis tumbler the gold standard of cups in my household. 

Calling for ice results in about a 3-4 second delay, then your requested cubes or crushed ice appear. After pulling removing the cup after an ice run you can hear what sounds like a door closing to seal the unit- many units with in door water and ice, do not meet energy star rating and I imagine to qualify there is a seperate "door" that closes the unit off that acts as a secondary insulator. 

Cosmetically the unit is simply great. Big handles and smooth panels and minimalistic.  The Freezer handle/latch operates positively and feels right effort wise. The freezer itself has 2 drawers and the primary drawer has a clever storage rail/tray mounted on the front that tilts to load and I have things like. The upper freezer drawer slides back to expose the bottom drawer the lower unit glides nicely but the upper unit does not have the same smoothness, its not night and day, but it is noticeable.

The Twin motors that cool the unit do so nearly silently- I just cant hear it at all in my environment, but then again I live in the heart of the city and there is always some background noise so in areas of absolute silence there is likely some noise, but very little. 

Performance wise the cooling is very even across the whole fridge things on the shelves and in the doors are all uniformly cold. Since the unit is so quiet its hard to gauge how much it actually runs, but the doors feel room temp. I haven't had any unintended freezing occur. 

If you have the space- the worlds your oyster with hundreds of choices, if you live in an older home thats got a hole in the middle of the kitchen that nothing fits into anymore this is what you want. 

Ill rate the units durability as excellent for now then reduce with later updates if need be. 

"Uncle" Dave

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