It's 2019, and you've got a smart assistant speaker in every room, light bulbs that turn on when you ask them to (or program them to!), doorbells that text you and record video when visitors arrive, and a thermostat you can control with your phone, even when you're in a different state. Smart home devices are taking over, and if you can't get enough of controlling your home with just the sound of your voice or a few taps on your smartphone, you're probably just dying to upgrade things like your major appliances, too.
The good news is: Smart refrigerators do exist. The market just isn't very big yet—but with the way things are going, it might just get there. And right now, they don't necessarily exist in the way that you might be hoping they do or what traditionally constitutes as "smart"—that is, if you think "smart" means it has a touch screen and you can talk to it—with the exception of Samsung and its Family Hub technology.
Unfamiliar with Family Hub? Think of it as a personal assistant built right in to your refrigerator door, with a camera inside your fridge that allows you to see inside (even when you're at the grocery store and can't remember if you have milk or if something's expired—just check the app!). It can sync up with your entire family's calendars, and lets you share photos and notes, stream music, and control your other smart home devices, too. It can even connect to your Ring smart doorbell and show you who's at your door.
For those models that are currently available that don't have technology like the Family Hub, major brands like Thermador, GE, and Bosch sell options that are WiFi-enabled and app-connected, so you can do things like activate different features and change settings from your phone, view diagnostics, and more.
If Samsung's Family Hub isn't quite what you're looking for, be patient—there are new smart refrigerators on the horizon. LG will soon be coming out with the InstaView ThinQ™ Refrigerator, a door-in-door fridge that has a transparent touchscreen (so you can use it as a smart assistant or see into your fridge without opening the door) and Amazon Alexa built in. The fridge, which debuted at CES 2019 and does not yet (it just says "coming soon" on the product listing) have an official release date, allows you to play music, upload photos, leave notes for your family, check the weather, make shopping lists, and more.
Haier also debuted a smart fridge at CES 2019, though according to the press release, it is only available in China and some European countries. This model features a 21.5-inch touchscreen that's compatible with Amazon Alexa and can order groceries directly through Amazon Fresh—plus, it can scan food for expiration dates, and can even recommend meals you based on the ingredients you have stowed away inside it. Not to mention, the brand also debuted a prototype of a smart wine cooler (yes, really!) that can provide you with information about different wines and help you pair wine with food. You can even purchase your favorite bottles right from the cooler itself—pretty amazing, right?
So, if you're wondering whether or not smart fridges are really a thing? They are, but really, they're only just getting started. If the ones that are on the market now aren't what you're looking for, you'll just have to follow your go-to brands to see just how smart they go next. In the meantime, you can always shop CQ's guide to the best refrigerators (smart or not!)
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