Samsung RF31FMEDBSR Refrigerator Review by Cedrick Hirsch
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There are times when I look at a refrigerator I try to stay calm. It’s just an appliance, after all. But when faced with the Samsung RF31FMEDBSR – one of Samsung’s French 4-Door Refrigerator models – it’s hard not to get excited. Here’s why.
The Samsung RF31FMEDBSR has a very unexciting name. But the design is enough to fill even this old warhorse kitchen designer with renewed passion.
Samsung is relatively new to refrigerators but they’ve clearly incorporated a lot of high-tech manufacturing know-how into this model. It’s a four-door French model filled with bins and compartments, over all of which you have considerable control.
That impressive design starts with sheer size. This unit offers about 30 cubic feet of total storage capacity. That’s divided up nicely to offer a freezer volume of 9.0 cubic feet.
There’s also 16.6 cubic feet of space available for the large pair of top fresh food storage areas. Also, it houses something the company calls a “FlexZone Drawer” (see below) that has 4.1 cubic feet in the center.
The RF31FMEDBSR measures an overall 70″ high x 35 3/4″ wide x 37 7/8″ deep. And, it tips the scales at a hefty 399 lbs. You’ll want some real pros to deliver and install this behemoth.
Bins & Shelves
Beyond the ample capacity, though, it’s how that space is arranged and organized that really makes this model start the heart racing.
Six clear door bins give me lots of spaces to put a variety of different-sized items and still see what everything is. The left door houses three regular-sized ones. In the right door there are three gallon-sized bins. Uber-helpful in my case.
There is a total of five glass shelves. They’re spill-proof, too. The name is regrettable – nothing will prevent a child from tipping over an open liquid or food container – but they do provide much easier cleanup thanks to the raised edges preventing spilled liquids from running off the shelves. No need to reach down into those crevices.
One of the handier organizing areas that popped out at me, almost literally, is the Slide-In/Flip-Up shelf. I often store taller items in the fridge and some I really can’t or don’t want to lay on a side. This feature gives me the flexibility I want without having to struggle to pull any adjustable shelf out of any hook holders. This is perfect for that half-a-pinapple or cantaloupe I want kept out of the way.
Nice to be able to see everything well, courtesy of LED lighting that’s intelligently placed all around. My experience with refrigerators goes way back, probably more than most of my readers. I remember well the days when peering into the fridge, lit by a single clear bulb, was an exercise in jungle-like exploration. By contrast, these new refrigerator lighting designs are a joy.
Also very welcome is the fact that LEDs last practically forever. You’re unlikely to have to worry about finding a bulb of the right size and wattage.
Of course, with the RF31FMEDBSR’s full-width FlexZone Drawer, I really don’t need to worry about places to store half-consumed fruits, not to mention a dozen other things. This section is counter-height, which my aging back appreciates more than I can say.
My stomach appreciates that it has its own separate temperature control. That keeps everything at just the right temp for the specific foods stored. I’m a little surprised it doesn’t have its own humidity control, though. However, if you’re worried about that, there are two crispers that do provide humidity controls.
Another minor complaint… Samsung calls the dividers “Smart Dividers”. They’re attractive, and I do like the flexibility. But I associate “smart” with phones and tablets that have applications with user-defined controls. Not so in this case. Still, they do offer some controllability. The “smart” aspect comes in when you decide what to store in them.
You get four separate spaces, each of which can be set to a separate temperature. Meat and fish will store below freezing (29 F), though I typically use areas like this for slowly thawing my frozen fish or chicken gradually. You can use another section for that white wine you like to keep particularly cold before serving, down to 42 F. Two others offer temps, for super-cold drinks (down to 33 F) and snacks (down to 37 F).
The 9 cu. ft. freezer section, I’m sorry to say, is less impressive. It certainly is a big jump ahead of bottom freezer designs from your grandmother’s day. Nothing will get buried or lost in here, courtesy in part due to the Auto Pull-Out Upper Drawer. But beyond that, admittedly innovative, update there’s not much that’s special here.
I do like the ease of opening of the handle, which is true of all the handles on this model. There’s none of that “tug of war” you might be familiar with from refrigerators of the past.
Still, there might be a weakness in the Samsung RF31FMEDBSR, in the view of some buyers: the ice maker. I say “might”, because it really comes down to a matter of personal style.
This unit houses the more traditional design, rather than the newer “in-door” ice maker. The ice bucket itself does reside in the left-side refrigerator door, however, so you won’t lose any usable space in the interior.
I personally prefer the in-door type. I like the flexibility and space it gives me in the interior. Others might not care. Which type is more reliable is up for debate. It’s really too soon to know for sure. The jury is out on this feature, so go with your feelings here. One thing is for sure; you’re not likely to run out of ice. The RF31FMEDBSR can produce up to 10 lbs in a day. Wow.
Ice and Water Dispenser
Both the exterior ice dispenser and water dispenser are the newest space-providing designs. By that I mean: ample room. You can rest a tall glass under one with ease. As someone who lived with a fridge for years that barely offered enough room to put a coffee cup, that’s a highly welcome upgrade.
Equally nice, the water dispenser is the newer sort that allows you to select the precise amount you want to put in the glass – in ounces, cups, quarts, or liters. Or, you can use the Auto-Fill for different-sized glasses. Just put the glass underneat the dispenser and the built-in sensors will fill it to a safe amount.
No more spills, easy measuring, and no need for busy chefs to stand there waiting ten seconds for a container to complete filling.
By the way, if you’re debating whether to go for the “sparkling water” model fridge (RF31FMESBSR) or this one… don’t pay extra for a model that adds carbonation. The mechanism to generate “Perrier at home” is iffy, and there are separate, small machines that do the job nicely. You don’t want (yet) to be locked into a type that’s built-in. Too much potential for a big repair bill if something goes wrong down the road.
Controls & Display
If there’s any real weakness in this Samsung French 4-Door fridge it’s probably not a matter of personal taste to say it resides in the exterior controls and display. Certainly, even here, buyers will differ. But I can’t help but think most prefer more to less, more sophisticated to less, and more visible to less visible. That’s particularly true as time goes on and buyers who grew up with computers become a larger majority of refrigerator owners.
Samsung, obviously, has long been a major high-tech company in consumer electronics. But there’s little of that well-deserved know-how on display here. The controls are smooth, reliable, and do what they’re supposed to do. But they won’t impress anyone who has used a smartphone or tablet. And that’s a whole lot of consumers these days.
For all that criticism, it’s still true that the display is clear and well-laid out. The two number displays are large enough for even these aged eyes to see without difficulty. And, the LEDs below are helpful indicators along with the Door Alarm. The latter tells you if the door is accidentally ajar.
3 Different Finishes
One other aspect of this Samsung French Door fridge does raise it slightly above some competing models: the finish options.
The stainless steel version (RF31FMEDBSR) is certainly attractive and very popular. More and more buyers are going for this style. It does have a downside many may not have considered fully, though. It’s harder to keep looking new. Stainless steel may sound good, and it is long lasting, but fingerprints show up even more clearly than those on your smartphone.
That’s just one reason I’m happy this model offers both a white (RF31FMEDBWW) and a black version (RF31FMEDBBC). Neither is my personal favorite, but the mere existence of options is always good. As someone who advises those on kitchen remodeling, it’s always helpful to have a choice.
That, and the fingerprint issue is nearly non-existent on the black model. Naturally, they and stains in general will show up clearly on the white fridge, but modern paints are always easier to clean than plain metal. That said, the interior does offer stainless steel trim. It’s nice to have the exterior match it.
The Samsung French 4-Door Refrigerator RF31FMEDBSR isn’t the most sophisticated or impressive model on the market. But it’s a new design, offers much of what the latest buyers are looking for, and comes in a very attractive style, inside and out. It’s large, flexible, and very easy to use. It will suit a wide assortment of buyers very nicely.