Offering generous capacity, the Samsung RB38T633ESA uses SpaceMax technology to keep the wall and door thickness down, resulting in plenty of room inside. It's a little tough to reach to the very back of the top shelf, but that's a minor complaint in what is otherwise a well-designed fridge freezer. Excellent temperature performance and decent running costs, particularly in the frost-free model, make the Samsung a great choice for those who need lots of food storage but are short on space.
- Lots of inside space, small on the outside
- Good shelf room
- Excellent temperature control
- Top shelf is very high
- Review Price: £749
- 70/30 fridge freezer
- 2030 x 595 x 595mm
- 264-litre fridge, 112-litre freezer
- 4 fridge door shelves, 4 fridge shelves (3 adjustable)
- 2 salad drawers
- Frost free
- 4.5-litre reservoir water dispenser
For many, the Holy Grail of a good fridge freezer is a model that offers generous capacity on the inside but has a small footprint. The Samsung RB38T633ESA delivers just that thanks to its SpaceMax technology, which reduces the thickness of the fridge wall to provide more space inside.
Able to fit into a regular-sized kitchen easily, this refrigerator is a great upgrade for anyone who needs more storage space; but overall running costs could be better.
Samsung RB38T633ESA design and features – Sleek and attractive, with a lot more space inside than you’d expect
- Tall and narrow, this fridge will fit into most kitchens with ease
- SpaceMax technology results in more room inside than you may expect
- Decent shelf space for the most part, but the water tank does get in the way a little
At 2030 x 595 x 595mm, the RB38T633ESA is a tall and narrow fridge that will happily sit flush to standard UK kitchen counter-tops. In many instances, you’ll be able to simply pull out the old fridge freezer and slot in the Samsung in its place.
From the outside, the metal graphite finish looks as good as any Samsung fridge I’ve seen. And on the lower part of the fridge door, you’ll find a water dispenser.
What’s impressive about this particular model is SpaceMax technology, which has enabled Samsung to reduce the thickness of insulation. This results in greater room inside for food storage, without impacting cooling ability.
The RB38T633ESA has a huge 264-litre fridge. As a comparison, the similar-sized Hisense RB335N4WG1 has just a 179-litre fridge.
The freezer beneath is a more compact 112 litres, which is similar to the freezer unit in the Hisense model. This kind of split makes a lot of sense today, since most of us buy more fresh ingredients, rather than filling up a freezer with food during a monthly shop.
Alongside SpaceMax, the height of the RB38T633ESA also contributes to the added space this model offers. As such, on the inside there’s room for two salad drawers and four shelves, three of which are height adjustable.
The slight downside to the height of the unit is that, unless you’re pretty tall yourself, it’s a bits of a stretch to reach any items placed towards the back of the top shelf.
The bottom salad drawer is big enough to fit items such as leeks, and it also has a humidity control, allowing you to raise humidity (good for vegetables that wilt) or lower it (good for vegetables that rot easily) to suit.
The top drawer is the Optimal Fresh one, which has a movable divider inside, with dual temperature sensors. Set it to Dual Temperature mode, and on the left it will be set a few degrees colder than the main fridge, making it ideal for meat; the right-hand side is warmer. Or, you can use the entire space at a single temperature for fruits and vegetables.
There’s plenty of flexibility on offer with regards to the main shelves, with sufficient space to allow a one-litre bottle of milk to be stored upright in the main fridge, plus it’s wide enough to fit in the largest of pizza boxes. You do miss out on a bottle rack, which would have been welcome at this price.
Thanks to the RB38T633ESA’s height, the fridge door has four pockets, all fixed into position. The 4.5-litre water tank has a filler cap that sits in the middle of the second shelf, splitting this one into two. This setup means it is possible to fill the water tank in-situ, but you can also lift out the shelf and tank if you want to fill direct from a tap.
The water dispenser does intrude a little on the bottom shelf, but there remains enough room to store a 2-litre milk carton either side, while a box of juice or wine bottle will fit in the pocket in front of the water dispenser.
It’s a bit of a squeeze, but a large bottle of ketchup will fit on the third shelf, leaving the top shelf for smaller jars and bottles. Overall, space has been well provisioned, leaving room for most standard-sized items. Of course, you get an egg tray, with space for eight eggs.
An LED light at the top of the fridge provides decent illumination through the entire appliance, so you can easily see what you’re after.
The freezer is rather more basic: it comprises three pull-out drawers – a smaller one at the top and then two deeper ones – but there’s no LED light. The drawers slide in and out easily enough, and none are too big that they make finding items in a full freezer difficult.
Samsung provides a basic ice cube tray, too – but with only space to make 12 ice cubes, you may want to splash out on a larger, or additional one, if you use a lot of ice.
Both the fridge and freezer are frost-free, automatically keeping your fridge and freezer free of ice, although there is typically a slight increase in running costs for this kind of model.
Samsung RB38T633ESA performance – Retains temperature well, with decent running costs
- Maintains excellent temperatures with little deviation
- Good running costs for a frost-free unit, although there are cheaper-to-run models available
- Will protect your food even in a power cut
How good a fridge freezer really is comes down to its ability to keep food cool efficiently. To test this, we set the fridge to 4ºC and the freezer to -18ºC, packing it with ice blocks to simulate food. We then use temperature sensors to monitor air temperature over a few weeks, taking a reading automatically every 15 minutes.
On turning the fridge on for the first time, the temperature dropped from room temperature (20ºC) to 4ºC within a couple of hours, although it took the best part of the day for the fridge to get into a proper cycle. Here, I measured an average temperature of 3.44ºC, which is a little cooler than the thermostat.
I saw a maximum temperature of 5ºC after opening the door, and a minimum temperature of 1ºC when the compressor was at max. However, for the most part, temperatures moved between 4.2ºC and 2ºC, with the RB38T633ESA only just moving past the set point, then reducing the temperature to 2ºC before letting it warm naturally. Such a cycle means that your food will never really pass the set temperature, so will last longer.
It was a similar story with the RB38T633ESA’s freezer, although the compressor settled down into a cycle far more rapidly. There was less fluctuation, too, with a maximum temperature of -15.5ºC when the door was opened, and a minimum of -19.1ºC. Most of the time, the average temperature of -18.39ºC was maintained with temperatures moving between -18.6ºC and -17.5ºC, effectively keeping the freezer at the exact point at which I set it.
Cutting to the power to the RB38T633ESA for three hours, I saw the fridge reach a temperature of just 6.5ºC, and the freezer -15.3ºC. In other words, your food will remain in tact through any regular power cut.
On average, the Samsung RB38T633ESA will consume 270kWh of energy per year, which works out to around £42.25 per year or 11.3p per litre per year. Under the old EU energy label the fridge achieved an A++ rating, but under the new label, it drops to an E.
As a comparison, the RB38T633ESA is still more efficient than the older Hisense RB335N4WG1. And there are more efficient newer fridges, such as the Bosch Serie 6 KGE49AICAG, although that model has much thicker walls and isn’t frost-free.
Should you buy the Samsung RB38T633ESA?
Although there are more efficient fridge freezers on the market, the Samsung RB38T633ESA isn’t expensive to run, particularly when you consider it’s a frost-free model. More than that, this is a fridge freezer built for convenience: it offers superb capacity, particularly in the fridge, yet it takes up little room, fitting easily into most kitchens.
While the Hisense RB335N4WG1 is of a similar size, it costs more to run and has far less fridge space, although freezer space is similar. Those looking for a much bigger model should check out my list of the best fridge freezers.
There are a few niggles, including a top shelf that will difficult to reach for some and no bottle rack, but these are easily forgiven given the amount of space for food Samsung has managed to squeeze in: it’s a remarkable feat.