Samsung RF23J9011SR 4-door fridge review

What's behind door number four? Samsung's sedan of a fridge is also a transformer

A compartment that transforms from fridge to freezer makes Samsung's four-door fridge insanely versatile.
A compartment that transforms from fridge to freezer makes Samsung's four-door fridge insanely versatile.
A compartment that transforms from fridge to freezer makes Samsung's four-door fridge insanely versatile.

Highs

  • Holds its temperature well
  • Attractive
  • Flexible
  • Switching between a freezer and a fridge is cool

Lows

  • Expensive
  • Design means you’re limited to what you store in the freezer

United we stand but divided we fall might be all well and good for a motto but does it hold up when applied to a refrigerator? Samsung doesn’t seem to think so, as it has a range of four-door flex models, including a newer counter-depth model. Instead of a familiar fridge-on-the-top, freezer-on-the-bottom arrangement, these models give users the option of making one of the two bottom compartments into another freezer or choosing three different, more fridge-like temperatures.

How does it work out? Well, it all depends whether you want flexibility or capacity.

Setup to chill

Though its stainless steel like many of its brethren, the four-door design and recessed handles make it stand out (though not literally). The fingerprint-resistant coating works pretty well, though the doors were frequently smudge-filled. The left door is dominated by the ice dispenser and control panel, which lights up blue when you press it. All the controls are fairly intuitive; you either press something once or hold it down for three seconds, and the instructions are right there. Sometimes when I was switching between crushed and cubed ice, I found myself missing the mark and had to jab at the controls a couple times.

As a counter-depth fridge, things are a little shallower than full-sized models. Still, I had a 14.5-inch-deep box full of produce that I was able to put in there (with the middle shelves removed). The shelves are white plastic and glass, trimmed with silver, and the middle right shelf slides under if you have some tall boys on the bottom shelf. The plastic shelves are also silver-accented.

The right door has three gallon-sized bins, and the middle one can be arranged at two different levels. The left door has the ice dispenser chute, and the bins are configured around it, making for slightly strange shapes. There doesn’t seem to be much use for the middle drawer, which snakes around the chute in such a way that it isn’t wide enough for a hot sauce bottle. Two crisper drawers sit at the bottom of the compartment and have humidity controls. These pull out and slide back pretty easily. There’s an LED light up top and two more along the left and right sides.

You can double your freezer capacity or have a dedicated beverage chiller.

Below the main compartment is the freezer on the left. It has two drawers and three shelves on the door. Next door is the compartment that you can flip between a freezer and a fridge. It looks exactly like its neighbor, so don’t forget which is which! There are four settings for this compartment: freezer (it will mimic the freezer’s temperature), Cool (41 degrees Fahrenheit, though ours averaged 42), Soft Freeze (23 degrees Fahrenheit, but ours hovered around 24), and Chill (30 degrees Fahrenheit, and ours was right on the money). This means you can double your freezer capacity (both have 4.45 cubic feet of space), or make it a dedicated beverage chiller. Of course, what Samsung has placed apart, no man can bring together. You’ll never be able to stick an exceptionally large hunk of meat in your freezer, and I can even see some frozen pizza boxes being a bit big for the space.

What’s colder than ice cold?

You’ll want to keep an eye on where you put your more temperamental food in this fridge. While it averaged a temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit (though I’d set it to 37), some parts of the fridge had wild fluctuations, and the top shelf got up to 41 degrees Fahrenheit at some points during testing. However, the freezer was steady and cold as a block of ice. When it was set to -10 degrees Fahrenheit, it held the temperature well, only fluctuating by about a degree. The right compartment was also consistent; no matter which setting I had it on, it kept its temperature to within a degree.

Though the compartments held their cool, the temperature set buttons on the control panel were actually finicky; I’d set it to 37 degrees Fahrenheit, and it would jump back to 32. The freezer seemed stubbornly insistent on being -10 degrees instead of 0. Some unplugging and plugging back in was required before the fridge decided to cooperate.

Samsung RF23J9011SR Fridge
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

The control panel also had “power freeze” and “power cool” options. These worked pretty well, dropping the freezer by 5 degrees Fahrenheit in about 15 minutes and lowering the fridge’s temp by about 8 degrees Fahrenheit in the same amount of time. The fridge itself isn’t overly loud; most of its noises fall into a “burbling brook” type.

Warranty and service

In addition to its standard one-year parts and labor warranty, Samsung also offers a five-year warranty on the sealed refrigeration system, and an additional five years on top of that for the digital inverter compressor’s parts.

If you’re having issues with your fridge, you can either live chat, email, or call for help. I emailed about the temperature control panel on a Friday and received an answer the next day.

Conclusion

With great flexibility comes reduced capacity. That’s truer in the counter-depth model for Samsung’s four-door fridge with cool select plus, but those used to a wider freezer might find a divided compartment takes some getting used to.

To be sure, everything that goes into making that cool select compartment function both as a freezer and a fridge makes this a premium product with a price to match. Samsung sells it for a whopping $3,999, though you can find it on Amazon for $2,599. However, it does a pretty good job of holding its temperature. If you’re intrigued by the thought of a switchable compartment, you can feel pretty confident your fancy cheeses will fare well. Plus, it’s always nice to have one party trick to show guests at your next gathering.

Highs

  • Holds its temperature well
  • Attractive
  • Flexible
  • Switching between a freezer and a fridge is cool

Lows

  • Expensive
  • Design means you’re limited to what you store in the freezer
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