Hands-on

Stay connected with the Samsung Family Hub smart fridge

The Samsung Family Hub smart fridge lets you control home appliances that support Samsung's SmartThings smart home platform.
The Samsung Family Hub smart fridge lets you control home appliances that support Samsung's SmartThings smart home platform.PHOTO: SAMSUNG

A refrigerator is usually the hub of the family, with the fridge door a communal spot for sharing holiday pictures, sticky note reminders and magnetic knick-knacks such as a kitchen timer.

The Samsung Family Hub ($7,499) smart refrigerator lets you do all that - digitally - on its 21.5-inch touchscreen display instead.

This fridge also lets you control home appliances that support Samsung's SmartThings smart home platform.

The fridge itself has a four-door configuration, with the top main compartment having two doors and the water dispenser on the left and the touchscreen display on the right.

The lower left compartment is the freezer, while the lower right one is the FlexZone compartment that can be customised depending on your needs. You can set this section to store wine, vegetables or meat. At the Home screen, tap on the Fridge Manager app and select the mode (Frozen, Meat & Fish, Cheese & Vegetable and White Wine) you desire for the lower right compartment.

The Home screen is customisable, too, and you can add widgets, such as a timer one, from any of the 26 pre-loaded apps. You can also browse the Internet for recipes or use the Allrecipes app to whip up dishes.

You can create memos and place them on the Home screen, so the next family member accessing the fridge can read it. You can also upload your vacation photos from your smartphone to the Home screen for display.

The fridge remembers up to six profiles. This way, each family member will be able to input his or her own schedules in the calendar, allowing the whole family to know who is where at what time.

In addition, the Family Hub recognises individual voices and provides personalised information. For example, when a family member asks the Family Hub about his schedule for the day, the fridge will be able to pull out the correct schedule for that person.

The Family Hub has built-in cameras that let you see what is inside the fridge via an app on your smartphone when you are grocery shopping. For example, you can check if there are still eggs or milk in the fridge before you buy them.

On the downside, the Family Hub does not have an app store. Thus, there is no way to delete or install apps apart from the 26 available. So, you cannot download your favourite Chrome browser or games.

Also, you cannot add devices to your smart home network using the Family Hub. Instead, you can do that only via the SmartThings app (available on Android and iOS) on your smartphone.

To use the app, you will need a Samsung account, which you can register for using your e-mail address. Next, add Family Hub to the devices list. Subsequently, every device you add to the SmartThings app on the smartphone will be refreshed accordingly on the fridge.

Once added, you can control the home appliances via the SmartThings app on the fridge.

Thus, using the fridge's Home screen, you can start the Samsung PowerBot robotic vacuum cleaner or see and talk to the person at the door if you are using the Ring doorbell, which has a camera, microphone and speakers.

The Samsung Family Hub is not cheap, despite it being more than just a fridge. But it provides a window to all your smart home needs.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2018, with the headline 'Stay connected with smart fridge'. Print Edition | Subscribe