by Jane Noble
Sep. 29, 2016
“An appliance or compartment that is artificially kept cool and used to store food and drink.”
Well that’s what the definition used to be, but not any more. Samsung’s new Family Hub aims to make the refrigerator rather than the kitchen table the center of family life. It does offer some very cool and revolutionary features. The first thing you notice is that it has a giant 21.5” LCD touchscreen on the front of the door. Through this wifi enabled screen, you can order groceries, chat online, check the family schedule, watch videos and play music without leaving the kitchen.
Every time the door closes, three built in cameras take a picture of the inside of your fridge. You can hit a button and see what’s inside your fridge without opening the door. You can even see the contents on your phone so that when you are pushing your cart around the supermarket, you can double check to see whether you need milk. A clever idea, but in reality I’m not sure how often I would use it. An additional handy feature offers little markers that you pull down onto a snapshot of your contents of your fridge to remind you when your food is going to expire, e.g 4 days. The only thing is that you do have to keep your food in the same spot on the shelf as the markers can’t follow the food around - yet!
If you feel like skipping the supermarket altogether, you can replenish your larder from the comfort of your kitchen. You can create a list which will sync between the Family Hub and your mobile device - or another family member’s mobile if you want them to do the shopping. If you really don’t want to leave the house, you can shop right from your fridge door. Using the Groceries by Mastercard app you can shop from Fresh Direct or ShopRite and have the groceries delivered to your home.
No more fridge magnets, sticky notes or printed photos. You can display a collage of your favorite holiday pics right on the screen. You can send notes and reminders to family members from apps such as Sticki and they appear on the screen in big letters - Don’t forget to feed the budgie! This is useful for busy families.
If you can manage to sync everyone’s calendar to the Family Hub, you will be able to see at a glance events coming up and possible conflicts. It sounds fabulously simple but everyone has to put all their events in their phones. Well worth training your kids young so by the time their schedules are packed to the brim with after school activities, it will all be there on the motherboard!
How many guests do you have who don’t like hanging out in the kitchen? So why not play your music from the place everyone congregates. You don’t need extra speakers as they are built into the Family Hub door and your fridge can stream your favorite music on Pandora or TuneIn radio. You can also watch videos, browse the internet, chat online and watch the same program that is showing on your Samsung TV.
The touch of a button will connect you to AllRecipes for an endless source of recipes, reviews and mouth watering photos. I always want to cook more when I binge on food photos.
At the touch of a button the bottom right door can change to be a fridge or a freezer depending on your needs. The feature is called Custom Cooling.
All in all the Samsung Family Hub is very impressive and could make life fun and easier for families. Just remember, that when a fridge is this smart, it is a computer and has to be rigorously password protected as if it was your bank account.
Early reviews have remarked that the touchscreen is a little sluggish and clunky and doesn’t function as well as a high end tablet. Considering this is a main selling point, I would want this to work perfectly, particularly since the fridge costs considerably more than a comparable one without the screen. It may be something that needs to be improved but the concept is certainly clever.
The Family Hub revolutionary refrigerator starts at $5,599.