The RB8000 (RB36J8799S4) joins Samsung’s luxury Chef Collection range of kitchen appliances, bringing a heady mix of technology and great features for those with cooking aspirations and deep pockets. At less that 60cm deep, this model is designed to fit flush with your kitchen worktops, and its reduced width and in-swing door hinges mean it will be right at home set into a row of full height cupboards – it’s a luxury, freestanding alternative to a built-in fridge freezer, and a damn impressive one at that.
Thanks to Samsung’s clever SpaceMax insulation, which reduces wall thickness, there is no loss of capacity despite the reduced exterior dimensions, and the RB8000 offers a whopping 350 litres of combined cooling. For the chef particular about storing the freshest food, Precision Cool technology keeps each zone at a precise temperature and reduces fluctuations. Clever freezer lighting, roller draws, metal cooling trays… the list of features goes on and on. If you’re building a designer kitchen, it has to be on your shortlist.
Samsung never fails to produce a stunning looking fridge-freezer and the RB8000 could well be its most best yet. It’s tall, elegant and understated on the front with immaculate hairline-brushed stainless finish that Samsung seems to have made incredibly resistant to showing finger marks.
The embossed badge is a nice touch and the blue lights in the handle gap tie in with other items in the Chef Collection range, like the Samsung DW9000 WaterWall dishwasher. Those LEDs are not just for show either – open the freezer door and they shine down to illuminate the drawers, too.
Yet that is only half the story on the RB8000’s good looks because this model can be flush fitted into a contemporary kitchen cupboard wall. Where you might have opted for an integrated appliance with a furniture door set into an integrated cupboard carcass, the RB8000 fills the space perfectly to show off its great finish.
Samsung calls this its KitchenFit design, which mixes the benefits of a freestanding appliance with an integrated look. Suddenly, the RB8000’s high asking price looks a little less imposing because the cost of a premium integrated fridge freezer, a full height integrated carcass and furniture doors would be considerably more than the RB8000’s asking price.
Better still, Samsung has gone to great lengths to ensure you don’t lose any fridge freezer space compared to a similar height freestanding appliance – meaning it has much larger capacity than an equivalent height integrated fridge freezer, too. This has been achieved with a new Spacemax vacuum foam insulation that keeps the side walls and door remarkably thin, yet still packs in insulating performance capable of ensuring this model has an A+++ energy efficiency rating too.
Open the doors and you are greeted with no less of a visual feast for the eyes. The fridge is a clean, brightly LED lit space packed with storage options and different cooling zones, and Samsung’s smart Metal Cooling stainless steel rear panel. The touch controls are located on the top leading edge, illuminate in blue to match the front LEDs and have a great feel. Yeah, they are high up if you are vertically challenged, but once set there is probably little need to tweak them again.
There is a minor price to pay for the convenience of Samsung’s KitchenFit design though, and that is in limited door opening angles. Because the front of the fridge and freezer doors are perfectly flush with the kitchen cupboards, they can’t open much past 90 degrees from closed. So the RB8000s hinges are designed to stop at about 95 degrees, ensuring you don’t swing either door open and damage the adjacent cupboard.
While the Chef drawer slides out gracefully underneath the door pocket removing the salad drawer is proper awkward, should you need a good rummage for that lost courgette. The limited door angle and large door pockets also make for rather limited elbow room when accessing the fridge generally. This is a side-effect of the semi-integrated KitchenFit design, but we can’t help thinking a more creative hinge solution would have been a better bet.
Thanks again to Samsung’s ultrathin insulation you get rather more freezer space than many fridge freezers of this size and the split is nearer 60/40 than the more typical 70/30 in favour of the fridge. As few homes in the UK have a separate additional freezer, this should be the ideal split for UK homes. Moreover, the larger freezer capacity in no way limits your fridge space. Its capacious 250 litres of chilling capacity looks cavernous and its accessory and shelf layout is comprehensive.
In addition to the six larger door pockets, many of which can be adjusted, you get three glass shelves, a bottle rack and Samsung’s unique Chef Pan. This stainless steel tray is oven-ready allowing you to prepare, store and cook food in the same dish and then stick it straight in the dishwasher afterwards. The lowest door pocket is suitably deep for large bottles such as multi-litre milk and juice cartons, and no amount of speedy door opening would dislodge them.
Below the large salad drawer, Samsung’s Chef Zone is another nod to budding Master Chef contenders. This area is independently cooled and is kept at a lower temperature than the main fridge. This is ideal for meat and fish and, according to Samsung’s professional chefs, is the optimal temperature for maintaining the best flavour and texture of both. Ultimate freshness is a big part of the RB8000 story and this model is designed to reduce temperature fluctuations during the cooling cycle to keep fresh food at its ideal temperature for longer, thus extending its life and flavour.
Twin evaporators ensure optimal cooling and humidity control for the fridge and freezer and make sure odours and flavours do not mix between the two. Freezer compartments are rarely much to talk about, but the RB8000 really scores well here. There are three big drawers, all of which glide out on rollers no matter how heavily loaded, and the LED lights in the handle of the fridge door shine straight down to illuminate each drawer when it is open. It is a genius idea and goes to prove that some really simple ideas are often the best.
The RB8000 brings all the benefits of a digital inverter motor, including very efficient operation, highly controllable compressor speed and very quiet running. And the RB8000 is very quiet indeed. With a noise output at the very threshold of what can be tested without an anechoic chamber, the energy label’s claims of 38dB noise output is accurate if not even a little louder than the reality.
We barely registered 38dB and if this unit was flush mounted in a wall of kitchen cupboards it would be quieter still. In the vast majority of installations you will only hear this fridge freezer running if you were standing beside it in the dead of night. It’s very quiet indeed.
Samsung’s attention to keeping the fridge temperature stable is immediately evident from the excellent test results. The time of the compressor cycle has been much reduced to around 30-35 minutes, meaning the fridge does not cool-down then heat up anything like as much as models with much longer cycles.
The result redefines best-in-class for refrigerator consistency, with the middle shelf and Chef Zone drawer in particular offering the most precisely controlled and consistent temperatures we have ever tested in a fridge.
The mid shelf measured four degrees C exactly, with a variation of just +/- 0.2 of a degree throughout the test. That is a stunning result and some 10 times more consistent than some fridge freezers we have tested, which can be nearer +/-2 degrees variation in the fridge. The very same is true of the Chef Zone, which measured 3 degrees C throughout, again with a temperature variation of just +/- 0.2 degrees.
The top shelf showed a little more ‘bounce’ as is to be expected – cold air sinks/warmer air rises – although only to a standard that most premium brands would love to achieve for the best shelf result. The top shelf averaged 4.5 degrees C with a variation of just +/- 1 degree.
Down in the freezer compartment it is the same, very impressive story. Our frozen water sample went from room temperature to -18 degrees C at its core in under 15 hours and then flat-lined at -19 degrees C, seemingly indefinitely. Its variation in temperature throughout the several days on test was barely measurable at +/- 0.3 of a degree. The top and middle drawers averaged exactly -18 degrees C, running at +/- 2 degrees for the top drawer and a spectacularly consistent +/- 0.5 degrees for the mid. The lower drawer dropped to -18.5 degree average with a variation of just +/- 1.5 degrees. Outstanding all round.
Proving that Samsung’s ultra-thin insulation works well, the 3-hour fail test results remained more than acceptable too. During the test the ice sample, and lower two freezer drawers crept up to around -14 degrees with only the top drawer showing a larger rise, peaking at -8 degrees C. Frozen food would be safe for around 12 hours on the top shelf (before it started to defrost) with food stored in the lower drawers likely to survive for much longer.
Overall the Samsung RB8000 produced the most technically perfect set of data that we have tested to date and becomes our new benchmark.
How we tested
We loaded up the Samsung’s fridge compartment with 0.5kg of mixed foods per 10 litres of capacity, including placing several items in the salad crisper drawer and Chef Zone. The freezer was loaded at 1kg of food per 10 litres of capacity, including 2 litres of room temperature water giving us a ‘fresh to frozen’ time test. Eight temperature probes were placed on shelves and drawers from the top to the bottom of the RB8000, including in the water sample. Opening the doors a few times per day we looked at the temperature of each shelf and how consistent it was throughout the test period of several days.
Manufacturers use longer compressor cycles for a good reason – to keep running costs down. So will you pay for the RB8000’s outstanding cooling performance in your electricity bill? Absolutely not.
Running in our environmental chamber, with a constant ambient air temperature of 18 degrees, we calculate that the RB8000 will use a miserly 151kWh in total, some 10% better than the energy label states. At an average UK electricity price of 15p/kWh that will be around £22 per year.
Running the RB8000 in a hot kitchen environment, frequently opening the doors or using it in a home with a large family, these costs will undoubtedly rise. But, no matter how you use it, this is a supremely efficient fridge freezer.
Samsung’s RB8000 takes fridge-freezer performance to a whole new level, combining class-leading temperature consistency with outstanding features and ridiculously low running costs. Our only real gripe is with the KitchenFit design which, while looking great as a semi built-in appliance, does limit the door opening angle and restricts your elbow room.
That aside, the RB8000 is a fantastically accomplished premium fridge freezer for the cooking enthusiast. It offers an interesting alternative to a built-in appliance, and we can’t think of a single fridge freezer that performs as consistently as this.
Innovative design and class-leading performance more than justify the price tag.