Kenmore Elite 24.0 cu. ft. Counter-Depth Side-by-Side Refrigerator Review$3,039.99
Ease of Access
This refrigerator looks somewhat intimidating when you first open it: the sheer number of tray, shelves and door bins could be overwhelming. But it is easy to use when you figure out the layout, and the trays also slid out easily when fully loaded, unlike the ill-fitting, stop-starting drawers of the cheaper Frigidaire and Whirlpool models.
The refrigerator is controlled through a combination of the touch screen display and 6 buttons.
This refrigerator includes a big color LCD screen on the front, and it makes full use of this for the controls. If you want to change the temperature of the freezer, for instance, it shows you the current setting with up and down buttons to change it. Anyone who has used an iPod or smartphone will quickly pick it up, but it might confuse older users (as it presents several options on screen at once) or those with visual disabilities. This screen is surrounded by 6 touch buttons which provide quick access to features such as the
The water dispenser is located on the left door. It is activated by a button just above the dispenser, and we found that it produced a good flow of water: a pint of water was dispensed in just over TK seconds. The water is chilled in the refrigerator compartment, and we also found that you could dispense a lot of water before it got warm. A water filter is installed in the top right corner of the freezer compartment, which the company claims can filter up to 500 gallons of water. Replacing this filter is easy: you just twist and pull the filter cannister to remove or install it.
We did find that it wasn't easy to fit a larger glass or jug in the cavity of the water dispenser: you have to hold anything more than a few inches tall at an angle to reach the water dispenser output. A light just above the water dispenser illuminates the glass so you can see how full your glass is.
The icemaker tray is located on the freezer door. It does not hold much ice, and is very awkward to take off and replace if you want bulk ice.
This refrigerator is well designed to cope with the slips and spills of everyday use, with all of the trays in the freezer compartment having a raised lip around the edge that contains liquid and other spills. Kenmore refers to this as SpilProofing, but that's perhaps overstating the case: it would only help to contain relatively small spills. Larger spills would go over the sides and back of the tray, and then flow down to the bottom of the compartment.
This is a very quiet refrigerator when in use, with only a very slight hum coming from the compressors. This is only just audible from the front of the device, but it can be heard when the doors are open.
The icemaker is a little on the noisy side: it produced a very audible clunking noise when the ice is being dispensed into the holding tray, and the ice crusher produced a loud grinding noise. That is perhaps to be expected, but we wouldn't want to use it late at night for fear of waking up the neighbors.
The 7-inch LCD screen of this refrigerator gives it delusions of multimedia grandeur, allowing it to show photos, drawings and text notes on the screen. Photos can be viewed from an SD card or Memory Stick, but the device has no memory of its own to store photos. You can also create drawings using the included stylus, or text notes with an on-screen keyboard. But if you are expecting an iPad-like experience, you'll be sorely disappointed: the system is simplistic and clumsy compared to the iPad or an Android tablet, and is nothing more than a novelty.
The features this system offers are also limited: you can create text notes, but there is no alarm or notification feature, so you can't use it to remind someone to put the oven on or take something out of the freezer to defrost. Instead, it shows you a slideshow of photos, notes or drawings at a fixed interval.
Is this feature useful? No. Does it add anything to the other features the device offers? No.