Event Coverage

Samsung ups the ante for smart homes in 2015

By Zachary Chan - 17 Feb 2015

Of fridges, washing machines and a powerful sucking robot

Ever since the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Samsung has been hitting new strides with their 2015 lineup of smart gadgets and appliances. Showcased at the recent Southeast Asia Forum in Bangkok, Samsung’s smart home vision isn’t just to introduce appliances with embedded technology in them, but to improve functionality and efficiency.

Not just smart, but chef smart

In 2013, Samsung introduced Club des Chefs, roping in Michelin star chefs as consultants and advisors to develop the next generation of kitchen appliances. The fruit of this initiative was realized with the Samsung Chef Collection, a range of consumer appliances that meet the standards used in professional kitchens. One of the first appliances to be showcased is the RF9900 Chef Collection 4-door fridge. And just what is it like having a Michelin star chef-worthy fridge in your own kitchen?

The RF9900 comes with advanced wizardry—Precise Chef Cooling, Triple Cooling System and an additional Metal Cooling Plate at the back of the fridge—to maintain set temperatures better than conventional fridges, reducing temperature fluctuations from 1.5 degrees Celsius to just 0.5 degrees Celsius. According to Samsung, this temperature consistency is paramount not just for food preservation, but maintaining ideal conditions for food preparation as well. To this end, the fridge comes with various compartments that can perform very specific functions. The Chef Pantry is a specialized compartment temperature controlled to -1 degrees Celsius designed to maintain your ingredients optimally before cooking. Similarly, the Chef Pan is a stainless steel container to allow you to store or marinate meats at optimal temps. The Chef Pan can directly be used in the oven and dishwasher friendly too.

Not enough room in your fridge? The Fridge-in-Freezer is a multi-use compartment that can switch between fridge and freezer depending on your needs. This is made possible due to precise temperature controls afforded by Samsung’s Triple Cooling System.

Low tech smarts

Yes, we all have washing machines at home. But, there are many a times when we still need to pre-soak or pre-treat or hand wash certain items—like your delicates—before putting them into the machine cycle. Samsung’s new Activ Dualwash washing machines are designed to address this need. Of course, these new washing machines all come with a host of advanced technologies that are supposed to wash and maintain your clothes better then ever. However, the one feature that stands out the most has no tech in it at all. In fact, it’s just a piece of plastic.

Basically, what they’ve done is integrate a wash basin to the lid without reducing the standard capacity of the washing machine. Unlike LG’s solution of having a 2-in-1 washing machine, Samsung’s approach feels more practical as having different wash requirements may not be something you do every time.

When you do need to, just unclip the basin from the lid and wash away. There is also an integrated tap, so water comes from the washing machine. When you’re done, you can pour everything into the main compartment so no extra water is needed nor is any wasted, stow the basin away and start the wash cycle normally. Simple, yet functional. Activ Dualwash washing machines will be available at all major consumer electronic stores by Q1 2015 between S$999 to S$1,399

The robots are back

Gone are the disc-shaped robotic vacuum cleaners of old. Samsung’s latest is called the POWERbot VR9000 and with up to 60x more suction power from a new digital inverter motor, it claims unrivaled cleaning performance on any surface. The POWERbot also features CycloneForce technology, originally found in Samsung’s upright bag-less cylinder vacuum cleaners. CycloneForce is designed to help move dust particles, minimizing clogging and maintaining suction power at all times.

What makes the POWERbot so special however, is a new sensor array called the FullView Sensor, which isn’t just able to detect much smaller objects compared to previous generation robot vacuum cleaners, it can also detect size, shape, position and distance. Together with its mapping system, the POWERbot can create a full map of your room and calculate the best path to take to avoid obstacles. But best of all, it has something called Point Cleaning Technology where the POWERbot will keep following where you point the remote just like a cat after a laser pointer. The POWERbot VR9000 will retail at S$1,499 and will be available by Q1 2015.

TV updates for SEA living rooms

We’ve already covered Samsung’s latest SUHD TV technologies at CES 2015, and while there aren't really anything new at the SEA Forum, Samsung did unveil plans for content and features specifically for the region. Among these, Malaysia and Philippines will get to enjoy a curated selection of international TV shows through Samsung Seasons. The first episodes are free, while the rest of the season can be rented for a month, viewable on Samsung Smart TVs, smartphones and tablets. Australia will get a customized Sports Mode with a focus on rugby matches, goal highlights and replays. Vietnam Smart TVs will finally be fully integrated, doing away with the need for a separate set-top box. The rest of the region will get Family TV 2.0, which now includes the ability to send photos and sound bites from your favorite TV programs. Lastly, native Burmese and Khmer languages are now supported. While there was nothing specific announced for Singapore, we were told that Samsung's range of SUHD TVs should hit retail by Q2 2015.

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