GE GFE28 Refrigerator Review by Cedrick Hirsch
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Once upon a time refrigerators had a top freezer section and a bottom refrigerator section. Then, top and bottom were switched. Then, for a long time, they had a left-side freezer and right-side refrigerator areas.
Now, things have become as mixed as a Caesar salad. Introducing, the GE French Door fridge: left, right, and bottom. What’s next… flying refrigerators? Well, with the technology built into this beauty, that suddenly doesn’t seem like such a ridiculous question.
The GE 27.7 cubic foot (GFE28) is a French Door fridge, the latest variation in a long line of designs.
The goal is more than just to introduce something new for the sake of attracting attention, though. Manufacturers are trying (continually) to solve problems inherent in keeping food fresh amid changing lifestyles. You want a compartment that keeps the temperature low, but not too low. At the same time, you want food easily accessible.
How do you satisfy all those goals at once, especially when different foods require different conditions, and you want them at different times? The latest line of GE refrigerators is one of the best approaches I’ve seen yet.
The capacity is one reason for the high praise. At 27.7 cubic feet you’ve got plenty of total storage space for everything. Total freezer capacity is 9.2 cu. ft and total fresh food capacity: 18.5 cu. ft. But mere volume alone isn’t the solution. Here, it’s divided up intelligently, and chock-full of helpful temperature and humidity controls.
The total height is nearly 70 inches but the top two thirds is refrigerator, a total of 35 3/4″ wide and about 35″ deep. That’s the way fridges used to be long ago, with a freezer on the bottom. It keeps the food that you want most frequently within easier reach, minimizing occasions for bending. Those, like me, with a bad back will be very grateful.
But GE, along with many other fridge makers, have taken things a creative step further by providing two separate refrigerator sections. That lets you put things you don’t want frozen, but don’t access so often, in one section. The other can be used for those you grab everyday.
Equally important, you have total control over the temperature in each section. See below, under Controls, for more details.
Refrigerator Cabinets, Drawers, & Bins
Wise division of space is a good first step, but I also said you want things easily accessible. Convenience is almost as important as keeping things cold in the right way. After all, any fridge will do that. This GE provides excellent convenience, too.
There are three cabinet drawers, one full-width with temperature control, two that offer humidity control. I can’t tell you how often I’ve used a feature like that. It helps keep the lettuce crisp and the tomatoes just right.
There are five glass shelves to support things, plenty even for my well-stocked kitchen. One is full-width, while the others can be adjusted to suit your needs. Thank you, GE.
And one new aspect that manufacturers have finally offered, after a long wait, are spill-proof shelves. Three, in this model. There are also spill-proof mats.
Of course, they don’t prevent the kids from tipping things over, but thanks to the special edges they do keep liquids nicely confined if that happens. You spend a lot less time cleaning up after an accident. No need anymore to pull everything out and sponge around those little corners in the back.
Possibly the most useful interior aspect for me, perhaps for you too, are the bins. There are six in total, two with adjustable space – which hold up to a 1-gallon container. They’ll all get frequent use around my house.
One other thing I’m sure I’ll use often is the drop-down tray. If you need a little extra storage space, it’s there. When you don’t, you just fold it up. And, for those of you who might have a wall that blocks the door from opening all the way, there’s a removable door bin. That will ensure you can open it a full 90 degrees.
The freezer section is no slouch when it comes to storage convenience features, either. It houses two full-width baskets with Ice Bucket.
You can see at a glance that the GE 27.7 cu ft French Door refrigerator is a little different from your mother’s model. The control panel isn’t quite as sophisticated as your tablet or cell phone – yet – but it’s getting there. But first, a few words about some traditional features.
Water dispensers have long been found on fridges, but the one here is considerably better than the one available on mom’s model when she was your age. This GE goes beyond the already-good filtration supplied by Mom’s fridge with an advance that, sadly, has become needed.
There are sometimes trace amounts of ibuprofen, blood pressure meds, and other pharmaceuticals in the city water supply. Old pills are sometimes flushed or leach into the water supply from landfills. Utility companies haven’t yet mastered the technology to remove these at the source. But the GE RPWFE water filter does.
Naturally, the water filter also takes care of all the usual suspects: chlorine, lead, mercury, and other potential water contaminants. And when it comes time to change the filter a light illuminates to remind you. Good to know in my case. I always forget after six months and an old filter is sometimes worse than none. Easy to replace as well with the filter cartridge located inside the door!
On a more pleasant note, an outside mechanism houses sensors that will detect the height of a glass. So, you don’t even need to press and hold the paddle to fill a glass. Equally great, the controls allow you to fill containers to exact volumes: ounces, cups, quarts, or liters by using the paddle.
Dual Ice Makers
The icemaker is pretty cool, too, if you’ll forgive a bad pun. It’s more compact than the one on my old Whirlpool model and has two bins. One is integrated into the door to save space; the other is in the interior.
Ample amounts, too. The icemaker will create about 100 cubes in 24 hours. Clever folks that they are, GE housed it in the leftside fresh food door, so you don’t have to bend to use it.
If that sounds like it takes capacity that you’d prefer to use for storage, you can just leave the door unit turned off and use the space for food storage. If you like your ice crushed, the ice dispenser can provide that type as well.
One of the most welcome aspects of both the ice and water dispensers is the sheer depth and width of the space for your container(s). You can easily get a pitcher under either place. And, you don’t have to fuss with a light to see what you’re doing. It comes on automatically.
The many-featured external panel is just the most obvious aspect of the fine controls on this GE French Door fridge. What they do is what’s really impressive.
Fine temperature control is first and foremost what you want out of the new refrigerator technology, and this unit delivers in spades.
A pair of what the company calls Twin Chill evaporators, along with Turbo Cool and Turbo Freeze, offer more than just marketing buzzwords. They let you get things cold fast. That’s important to me and might be to you whether you realize it or not.
When I come home with lots of meat to freeze and groceries to cool, for example, the doors get opened and shut several times. If you put a thermometer inside, you can observe that a formerly cold fresh food section and the freezer both warm up fast. This GE gets things back to the proper temperatures very quickly.
Inside, you can select separate “climate zones” for different bins. If you have different produce types that benefit from different humidity and temps – like bananas or avocados versus lettuce and celery, for instance – you’re in business.
Also in the interior, the full-width drawer has a separate temperature control. Just as one example of possible use, that’s a great place to slowly thaw out large slabs of frozen salmon. No risk of bacteria building up from leaving them out on the counter, yet they definitely will thaw overnight.
While we’re on the subject of temperature control… consider another aspect.
There are several LED lights cleverly placed around to illuminate well the interior. That eliminates any incandescent or halogen bulb from heating the interior. That heat has to be overcome, costing extra electricity on your bill and wear and tear from more frequent running.
Better still, since those are minor problems in practice, you likely will never have to replace them. LED bulbs last for years and years. I have a few similar ones as automatic nightlights and they’re still going strong after 10 years of all-nightly illumination.
The display section of the door controls offers equally good functionality.
It shows the temperature in either Fahrenheit or Celsuis, useful since there’s a move afoot (again) to get the U.S. to finally convert to the metric system. It also shows the status of the icemakers.
And, it houses an “alarm” that signals when a door is accidentally left open. The audible alarm is adjustable to low or high. It can also be turned off entirely, if you wish.
The display also has a warning light and a numeric “Days Remaining” counter for the water filter. Hallalujah! I’ll never forget again to change it.
While this particular model has no Internet or wi-fi capability, it does have some computer-like abilities. You can insert a USB stick, for example, and upload photos to display on the LCD.
4 Optional Finishes
All that refrigerator goodness doesn’t force you to accept only one style, thankfully. The GE 27.7 cu ft French Door comes in four different finishes.
My personal favorite, and that of many buyers, is the elegant Slate version (GFE28HMHES). The Stainless Steel (GFE28HSHSS) is bound to be a popular version. There’s a traditional White, of course (GFE28HGHWW), as well as a Black model (GFE28HGHBB).
The GE 27.7 cu ft French Door is more than just the latest style offering from a refrigerator manufacturer known for high quality. It’s a full-featured, multi-compartment fridge. GE has considerably reworked the space inside for maximum convenience, and the exterior for maximum control. Well done, GE.