With its flexible four-door design, the Hitachi R-WB640VGB1 has a cavernous fridge space and two freezer compartments, one of which can be converted into additional fridge space. Its standout feature is the clever vacuum compartment, which lowers the amount of oxygen in the drawer to preserve foods for longer – it works brilliantly. Stable fridge and freezer temperatures are good to see, but this model is expensive to run.
- Vacuum drawer keeps food fresh
- Freezer compartment can be converted into a fridge
- Stable temperatures
- Expensive to run
- Slightly odd drawer layout
- TypeThis is a four-door fridge freezer that is 90cm wide
- CapacityThere’s a total capacity of 372L in the fridge and 197L in the freezer – enough space for a large family
All fridge freezers are built to keep food fresh, but the Hitachi R-WB640VGB1 has an extra trick: a vacuum compartment that sucks out the air to preserve food for longer. A huge amount of internal space and flexible freezer space, with the option to turn one zone into a fridge, makes it a great way to preserve food – but it’s expensive to run.
Design and features
- Four-door model
- Non-plumbed ice creation
- Vacuum zone
As a four-door fridge freezer, the top of the Hitachi R-WB640VGB1 is devoted to one large (372L) area for food. That’s an epic amount of space, particularly as it’s spread over the fridge freezer’s full width. There are three shelves inside, with two of them being height-adjustable.
There’s enough space to stand up large jars, but larger items, such as bottles of drink, will need to be laid flat. Still, the space on offer means that it’s easy to squeeze in bulkier food, such as a fresh pavlova or even a cooked chicken.
There are pockets in both of the fridge doors. The one on the left has three pockets, so it can take taller items on the two lower shelves, including space for 1L drinks cartons and the like. The door on the right has four pockets: the bottom one can take taller items, but the top ones are best saved for shorter ones.
Inside the fridge, there’s a multitude of drawers, including two for vegetables and one with selectable humidity control: the slider moves between Dry Food and Vegetable.
There’s also a thin slide-out drawer, which could be useful for keeping cucumbers or leeks, but that space could have been better used by making the drawer next to it slightly wider.
Core to this model is the vacuum compartment, where the air is removed when the drawer shuts, maintaining a 0.8atm pressure. Less oxygen means that food won’t dehydrate or lose its goodness as fast, making it ideal for storing fresh meat and fish, slices of meat and cheese, and even cut vegetables.
There’s a satisfying hiss when opening this compartment, like Darth Vader coming out of his chamber.
The fridge also has a water container, which is used to make ice cubes for the freezer and is not for dispensing chilled water. It means that there’s no need for plumbing.
Underneath, there are two doors to access the freezer compartment. Both sides are identical, with one tray and two drawers. The compartment on the right also houses the ice cube tray. I found the drawers big enough for everyday staples, including frozen pizzas.
The compartment on the left is a Selectable Zone, which can be set up as a proper freezer, an extension of the fridge, a Chill zone (1°C), or a Soft Freeze area (-3°C). With Soft Freeze, meats are stored at preserving temperatures but can be cooked immediately before thawing. If you’ve got food lined up for a party, this can be a useful zone for preserving it while having it ready to go.
The Selectable Zone is managed via the control panel on the front, which also lets you set the vacuum zone to your choice of 1°C, -1°C, or off.
Fridge and freezer temperatures can be adjusted individually, although there are no temperatures written on the icons, so I had to refer to the manual to set my preferred choice of 4°C and -18°C for the fridge and freezer, respectively.
- Excellent temperature control
- Vacuum zone maintains food brilliantly
- High running costs
I loaded the Hitachi R-WB640VGB1 with ice blocks and then installed temperature sensors throughout to monitor temperatures. To simulate real use, I used automatic door openers, which open and close the fridge doors at regular intervals.
I found the fridge had an average temperature of 3.63°C, just 0.37°C cooler than the target temperature of 4°C. The standard deviation was +/-0.84°C from the average – anything under 1°C shows that temperatures are stable and don’t fluctuate much.
There wasn’t too much variation inside, either: the top was a touch colder at an average of 2.97°C, while the bottom of the fridge was a bit warmer at 4.26°C, but both were within the range I’d expect.
It was similar with the freezer. An average of -18.77°C was just 0.77°C colder than the set temperature. The standard deviation was a little higher here at +/-1.37°C – although that’s only just over the ideal of 1°C fluctuation.
I tested the vacuum compartment by adding a bowl with 30g of baby spinach. Out of the packaging, spinach usually lasts a day or two before it dries up. After two days in the vacuum compartment, the spinach looked as good as it did when went in. A week later, the spinach had shrivelled a little, but it maintained its colour and texture and was actually alright to eat.
That’s hugely impressive and shows how much longer the vacuum compartment can maintain food for.
The downside is the running cost. F-rated, the Hitachi R-WB640VGB1 uses a massive 400kW of power a year, which works out at 24p per litre of space, or a yearly cost of £136. If you’re sensitive about how much energy your home uses, a smaller, more efficient fridge, such as the Hotpoint H9X 94T SX, may be a better choice.
This is a complete no-frost fridge freezer, so it won’t need to be defrosted. I didn’t notice any ice build-up during testing.
Should you buy it?
If you want a large, flexible fridge freezer that can keep food for a long time, the vacuum compartment here is brilliant.
It’s quite expensive to run, so those watching their energy bills may prefer something with a higher efficiency rating.
Big and bold, with some innovative features, the Hitachi R-WB640VGB1 is a flexible way of storing your food. Thanks to its vacuum compartment, this fridge freezer can also maintain food for longer than anything else I’ve tested, which is impressive. It’s expensive to buy and expensive to run, so those on a tighter budget may prefer an alternative from my list of the best fridge freezers.
How we test
Unlike other sites, we test every fridge freezer we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
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We test for at least two weeks.
We use temperature sensors to monitor the internal temperature to help us accurately compare models from different manufacturers.
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This is a sealed drawer where air is pumped out to preserve food for longer.
Yes, ice cubes are made automatically, using the water compartment in the fridge section.