Credit where credit's due: Samsung's Family Hub is an impressive attempt at making the smart fridge a must-have rather than a technological dead end. And the latest incarnation, the Samsung Bespoke Family Hub Plus, is really rather impressive. But then with a RRP of five thousand dollars, it should be.
To be fair, Samsung is currently offering the new Hub Plus for pre-order with $1,000 off (UK pricing and availability hasn't been announced yet). But while it's still a lot of cash to keep your salads crisp and your Coke cool, there's some impressive tech here – not least Matter compatibility for easier smart home control and automation. You can pre-order it in the US now and it goes on sale on the 7th of June.
What's so smart about the Samsung smart fridge?
You can't exactly miss the massive 32-inch display in the front of the appliance. That's 11.5 inches bigger than the current model, and it's a Full HD TV as well as a touchscreen. It's the first Samsung Smart Hub that can act as a Matter controller for your smart home kit, although Samsung promises a software update for existing version 2.0 Family Hub fridges that'll make them Matter compatible too.
The reason Samsung calls this model the Bespoke is because you can customise it: with the exception of the panel with the display in it, you can swap out the standard panels for something more colourful.
I'm in two minds about this. I use screens in my kitchen a lot – for recipes, mainly, but also for controlling music, adding things to my shopping lists and so on – so I'm not going to scoff at the idea of a fridge with a big touchscreen in it. But I'm also very aware that I replace my tablets and phones a lot more often than I replace my fridge, and that would be even more the case if I were dropping several thousand on a fridge rather than the several hundred I usually spend. When even the best Samsung phones only get a few years of updates, how long can you expect Samsung to keep your cooler current?
For me, that's the deal-breaker with the whole smart fridge concept: I don't really want software in my kitchen hardware because that raises issues of how long it's going to be supported and whether, as with the move to Family Hub 6.0, features you've used to using will stop working or be taken away (the 6.0 upgrade discontinued the Family Hub mobile app and removed multiple profiles, animated wallpapers and Voice ID). So for me, no matter how clever the tech I don't think a smart fridge is a smart buy.