It would not be CES with out a minimum of a few new linked fridges — this yr, that features the WRFA94CIHN, a brand new $4,400 good fridge from Whirlpool that is available in a gold-tinted “sundown bronze” end. It’s going to search to compete with the likes of Samsung’s Household Hub and LG’s Alexa-equipped InstaView ThinQ fridge when it arrives later this yr.
At first look, the Whirlpool mannequin may look outmatched. In contrast to these different two, which every function king-size touchscreens that span whole doorways, the Whirlpool’s display is just a few inches throughout, sitting humbly above the water dispenser. There isn’t any assortment of fridge apps, both — as an alternative, you get a small smattering of use-case-specific options for issues like cleansing the fridge or internet hosting a celebration.
That purpose-driven approach seems like a good one, though. Rather than overwhelm you with a flood of features you might not need (looking at you, Family Hub web browser), Whirlpool instead decided to stick with simple, fridge-specific features that don’t ask you to rethink the role of your kitchen. Marinating some meat? The screen will show you recommended times for different cuts and ask if you want to set a timer. Cleaning the fridge? Whirlpool will suspend cooling to save energy and also shut the door alarm off so it doesn’t annoy you while you scrub.
In other words, this golden touchscreen smart refrigerator actually shows a surprising level of restraint.
The fridge also features an Amazon Dash integration that lets you put virtual Dash Buttons for your favorite groceries right on the touchscreen (and unlike the actual Dash Buttons, which cost $5 each, the virtual Dash Buttons don’t cost anything). Just give one a tap, and Amazon will send you another order of paper towels, diapers, coffee or lots of other household staples.
On top of that, the fridge borrows a couple of well-liked features from its competitors. For starters, there’s a “Door-Within-Door” compartment that you can open by pulling a hidden latch on the right door handle — LG was the first to popularize that feature, and they did such a good job that everyone else, from Samsung to GE and now Whirlpool raced to copy it.
You can also use the touchscreen to tell the water dispenser to dispense a precise amount of water, a clever trick first found in fridges from GE.
Whirlpool tells us that the new smart fridges will hit retail outlets this spring. We’ll keep an eye out for them and see if we can’t get one into our test room as soon as they arrive.
Check out all the smart home products at CES 2018 (so far)
See all photos