Like most consumers decisions these days, buying a refrigerator is no longer the simple task it once was. First you must narrow down your door configuration be it side by side, french door, top freezer or bottom freezer. Next you must then wade through a large amount of manufacturers offering all kinds of different features and price points.
Recommend this product?
Why buy this refrigerator ? There is no question that the french door format is a very user friendly one. French doors mean you have the huge amount of storage space on both doors and a full width interior for oversize items. The model is almost modular in configuration meaning that every shelf can be fully and independently adjusted. One added bonus is that the top two shelves are split in half…this means you can have them at the same level acting as one shelf, or you can vary the height on one side but not the other. This is perfect for accommodating taller items such as two litre pop bottles.
The lower crisper drawers also have a neat feature where there is one more low profile drawer underneath them. This low profile drawer is perfect for large flat items like pizza or wraps and has surprising space. The Freezer is also very spacious and is a two level design where a separate top rack can be pulled in and out to effectively double the storage space. The internal icemaker is also located in this area.
This fridge to the best of my knowledge is the only one on the market to offer internal water and ice features. The ice is self explanatory however the internal water maker is unique. The upside ? More space on the door is a major benefit and the added cleanliness and improved hygiene. No messy drip tray to clean out from an external water dispenser and if you have a stainless finish the constant and inevitable water streaks that are difficult to clean are also eliminated. In short the internal water maker is a very good idea. That said, the ergonomics and execution in this case are are simply horrific. It may not seem obvious; however the right door on this design is actually wider then the left door is. Why is this important? Because the internal water dispenser is located behind the narrower left hand door. That in itself may not seem like an issue however in order to operate the water dispenser there is a switch above the nozzle that must be pressed firmly by hand. As one hand must operate the switch, the other hand must hold your glass – thus this becomes a two handed operation. In other words you have both arms in your fridge on the smaller side simply to get water. It is amazing that the design team did not place the switch below the dispenser thus creating a much simpler one arm solution. It is difficult to believe that a refrigerator that is so well designed in other areas came up so short on this one.
This fridge is incredibly quiet and very capable. The crisper performance is very good, the temperature distribution is very effective, and the electronic temperature control complete with digital temperature read out is very user friendly. There is even a door left open alarm. On the whole the performance is very good.
I should also add that the onboard water filtration system is very capable. We live in a region with poor tasting water and the onboard filter completely overcomes this problem. Depending on where you live this might be a benefit for you.
UPDATE - September 2013 - Given the high cost of fridges these days I have decided to share my long term ownership experiences with this model. Recently a water leak developed - water would accumulate in the bottom of the freezer door, freeze and ultimately leak out onto the floor below making for a very inconvenient mess to clean up that also involved removing frozen ice.
A trip to the local dealer confirmed this was a frequent issue on this model and a repairman was sent out. The repairman fortunately has dealt with this model and problem frequently and as such was familiar with the problem - an internal grommet that inadvertently seals and obstructs the intended water flow. The repair itself is fairly simply however it does require significant disassembly and defrosting of the lower freezer door assembly, including the ice removal. The repairmen states this is a common problem to this model and a long term solution has not yet been found. During the repair the technician also pointed out that the upper plastic door securing part was broken and also requires replacement.
Aside from these issues the fridge/freezer has otherwise performed flawlessly - freeing and cooling performance is very good and the interior temperature remains well cooled and controlled. Overall these are relatively minor issues compared to something serious like a compressor failure however I do believe potential purchasers should be aware of these problems.
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Amount Paid (US$): 1800