When we brought the Samsung RF28R7201SR refrigerator(available at Home Depot for $1,998.00) into our labs for testing, we admired its contemporary stainless steel four-door French-door style right away and appreciated the fact that it comes loaded with appealing features. The adjustable cold drawer has four temperature settings and the water dispenser can accommodate tall glasses and water bottles with ease.
But good looks and desirable features don’t tell the whole story. When we tested, we found that the refrigerator’s temperature profile was inconsistent. It didn’t resemble that of any Samsung fridge we tested before, so we decided to repeat the tests on a replacement unit. The temperature profile looked better the second time around, but we discovered a new problem: The freezer on the second test model took more than twice as long to reach the freezing point. So, despite its good looks and strong feature set, we find that the RF28R7201SR’s performance is a concern.
About this refrigerator
Here’s some information you can use to compare this model to other refrigerators you’re considering:
• Dimensions: 35 3/4” x 70" x 36 1/2" (W x H x D)
• Usable space: We measured 15 cu. ft. of capacity overall.
• Dispensers: Water and ice (cubed and crushed) are dispensed through the door.
• Finishes: Samsung offers stainless steel, black stainless, and Tuscan stainless steel (a stainless with a warm brown undertone) in this model.
What we like
This refrigerator is rich with features:
• A sleek, modern design with four doors, easy-open door handles, and a finish that resists fingerprints.
• The versatile cool drawer, which Samsung calls FlexZone, provides four temperature settings to use depending on what you want to store there. Flexible dividers organize drawer space.
• Bright lighting that helps ensure that nothing gets lost.
• Spill-proof shelves contain leaks and splatters.
• The icemaker that the brand says can produce up to 10 pounds of ice per day.
• The water dispenser, which has room to fill taller water bottles.
• Decent energy efficiency, with an estimated running cost of about $47 a year.
• Remote monitoring and control using WiFi and Samsung's digital assistant, Bixby.
What we don’t like
Inconsistent temperatures and time-to-freeze are our main concerns with this fridge.
Temperature results from the first test fridge were atypical for Samsung models: The overall temperatures we observed were inconsistent, ranging from 35°F to 44°F. When temperatures exceed 40°F, food safety becomes an issue. The average temperature was 39°F, which is safe, but we recommend keeping fridges at 37°F. If you owned this refrigerator, you would want to manually turn down the temperature a couple of degrees.
When we tested the second sample, we saw a smoother, more typical temperature profile with fewer oscillations. However, the overall minimum and maximum temperatures were similar to the first fridge, between 37°F and 44°F. You’d still want to lower the temperature.
And when it came time to test the freezer performance, we found that time-to-freeze was far longer than expected in the second test fridge—112 minutes to reach 32°F. Compare that to the test results with the first unit, which crossed the freezing point in just 44 minutes. On fridges we’ve tested over the years, we’ve seen freezing times that range from about 30 minutes to several hours, but reaching the freezing point in under an hour is ideal. Think about it this way: After an installation or power outage, how long do you want to wait to freeze your food? Sooner is better.
Other than temperature, we also found that in both refrigerators, the crisper drawers don’t retain humidity well, so your vegetables might not last as long as you expect. Use them up quickly, so it won’t be a problem.
The fridge as a whole also has less capacity than claimed, however, that is typical for French door refrigerators due to their design. We found that the RF28R7201 has space issues due to the depths of its shelves and crispers, and the fact that the location of the ice maker limits the size of the left door bins.
Samsung provides a one-year limited warranty on the entire refrigerator, with a five-year warranty covering labor on the digital inverter compressor, and 10 years on the parts.
What the owners say
The majority of users who wrote online reviews have had positive experiences with this refrigerator, giving it an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars on a variety of retail sites. They say they appreciate the refrigerator’s sleek design, fingerprint-resistant finish, and storage options, especially the adjustable cold drawer.
Complaints among owners who posted negative reviews were largely related to the ice maker, a typical point of failure for any refrigerator. We also spotted posts related to the freezer temperature and the amount of time it takes for the freezer to get to the freezing point, which is consistent with what we experienced with the second test unit.
Should you buy it?
Maybe. Most owners of the Samsung RF28R7201SR are happy with it. There’s a real wow factor to its looks and it is loaded with features. The externally accessible cold drawer offers multiple temperature settings and moveable dividers for organization. But the performance concerns us. Could both our test models have been anomalies? Possibly. But refrigerators need to be able to quickly reach and hold a consistent temperature to preserve food. We can’t be sure this model will do that for you.
If you want to outfit your kitchen with a handsome French door refrigerator, take a look at the Samsung RF260BEAESR. It doesn't have the cool four-door style, and you have to open the fridge to get to the cold drawer, but with its reliable performance, consistent temperatures, and economical price point, you may find that it has everything you really need.
Cindy Bailen loves writing about major appliances and home design and has spent over 15 years immersed in that. In her spare time, Cindy hosts pledge programs for WGBH-TV in Boston and other public television stations.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.