In Depth

Samsung Family Hub: Do you really need a 21-inch touchscreen fridge?

The kitchen's most humble appliance could soon be managing your groceries and keeping you entertained

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So-called 'smart' devices are quietly invading Britain's homes. Your television set may be a smart TV, for example, that's connected to the internet with interactive web features and has streaming services built into it. There may even be apps you can download for it without you knowing.

You can now buy light switches and thermostats hooked up to the Internet of Things that are linked to your smartphone so you can control everything from the palm of your hand.

Now Samsung wants to introduce a new appliance to the cosy network of devices connected to the web in your home – the fridge. 

Called the Family Hub Refrigerator, it's a smart fridge that boasts features to rival most tablet computers and a screen that puts some television sets to shame. "It's just as ridiculous as you'd imagine", says The Verge.

The futuristic fridge was unveiled earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and according to Pocket Lint it's created quite a buzz. Priced at £4,500, it's an eye wateringly expensive home appliance, but it's also the only fridge of its kind currently on the market.

The site says that the fridge is "quite an extraordinary product in both concept and in the flesh" and that Samsung has thought hard about introducing a new appliance to a market as static as fridge freezers.

For starters, it's hard to ignore the shiny steel build and huge 21.5ins AMOLED Full HD touchscreen on one of the doors.

The screen has many functions. You can integrate it with your smartphone, to push photographs, notes, and calendar dates over to the fridge. This is where the "Family Hub" part of the appliance's name comes into things – it acts as an interactive touchscreen noticeboard for the family.

Stereo speakers are built right into the fridge as well, so you can use the screen to stream music and watch television. You can also browse the web on the tablet interface, the idea being to shop for food and supplies over the internet, right on the fridge door.

The most interesting aspect of the appliance is hidden away, though. Inside are three small cameras facing each shelf. These cameras take a picture of the fridge's contents each time you close the door that you can access on a smartphone. This means you'll know exactly what's in your fridge when you're out shopping.

It's "no doubt a tad on the excessive outrageous side", says Digital Trends, but "if you can stomach the price, you surely won't be disappointed".

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