At a show where spectacle is king and image is everything, Samsung is planning to unveil some unique home appliances that intentionally hide their most important features.
Take, for instance, the all-new ActiveWash washing machine. At first glance, it looks just like any other top-loading washer. But touch a button under the lid, and it opens to reveal a small wash basin for pretreating stains and hand washing delicates.
The technology is already on sale in India, and Samsung decided to bring it to the US after learning that most consumers who pretreat their laundry do so on top of their washing machine. It makes sense—the soaps and detergents are usually right near the washer, and there's a flat surface at the ready.
ActiveWash washing machines feature a ribbed glass basin with a small faucet and drain. When you're done pretreating, just tilt the basin up and it will dump that water into the washer to be drained out.
It adds "Particle innovation to everyday routine," said Samsung executive John Harrington.
The feature will debut at CES, and will be available on mid-range to high-end machines later this year. Samsung says the basin doesn't cut into capacity or performance, and a new Super Speed option cuts wash times down to 36 minutes.
Samsung has a few more tricks up its sleeve. CES attendees will also get a chance to gawk at two kitchen appliances with subtle features that are worth a second look.
First, there's a smaller version of the T9000 four-door fridge. When we tested the T9000, we loved its convertible compartment that can act as either a fridge or freezer, but knew its massive footprint would keep it out of most kitchens. A new model is a few inches shorter and almost 20 percent less deep—a more manageable size for most folks.
The WaterWall dishwasher gets a few internal updates, and users will now be able to download a Chef Collection app that customizes recipes for use on the company's new upscale Chef Collection products.
We're also excited to see the latest iteration of the FlexDuo oven. The technology, which debuted in 2012, lets users slide a divider into the middle of the oven cavity to turn a single oven into a double oven. This is an example of how Samsung is zeroing in on how consumers are behaving in their homes.
The latest FlexDuo takes it one step further, allowing the door to be divided into two along with the oven cavity. If the FlexDuo divider is in place, users can choose whether to open the entire oven door, or a smaller door-within-a-door that allows access to only the top cavity.
Samsung will also be showing off the Virtual Flame cooktop, which surrounds an induction burner with LED lighting to simulate the visual feedback of a flame. We already tested the first range to feature Virtual Flame, and found the flashy technology to be paired with excellent performance.