Haier Cube HTF-508DGS7 fridge freezer full review
Haier's Cube fridge freezers are sophisticated four-door appliances designed to bring the style and convenience of American fridge freezers to UK kitchens. Within its 190.5 x 83 x 68cm frame, the HTF-508DGS7 is crammed with brilliant tech to keep food fresh, including a fridge freezer switch zone, a Humidity Zone and touchscreen controls.
The HTF-508DGS7 is clearly a luxury appliance. Its dark, gunmetal stainless steel doors boast a glossy Iconic Glass finish. Discreet integral handles sit tucked out of sight. The touchscreen control panel illuminates on contact, only to subtly vanish once options are chosen.
We’ve swooned over a Haier French door fridge before, but if you've never used a fridge with double doors, it changes the way you access your food. Everything is on hand before you, because you're positioned in the centre of your fridge when you open the appliance.
This model runs so quietly that it's difficult to tell whether the appliance is switched on or off, which is fantastic if you're looking for a fridge freezer for open-plan living. A door alarm gently beeps if the door is open for more than sixty seconds, but the delicate sound is the opposite of irksome.
As you'd expect from a model of this type, the doors close with a solid thump. The freezer doors passed the bounce test every time, but the fridge doors require more care. The French door design means the left hand door seal needs to slot into a channel at the top of the fridge, so slamming the door can cause some bounce back.
This fridge freezer falls into Energy Class A++ and Haier claims that its total annual energy consumption is 340kWh. At average UK 2021 rates, this indicates a running cost of about £49 a year, although this depends on your payment scheme, your supplier, and your location in the UK.
A lockable touchscreen panel on the fridge controls temperature and functions. When you open the fridge, it illuminates to tell you the current temperature of the fridge, the freezer and "My Zone", the fridge freezer switch compartment.
Haier gives you some useful functionality. The super cool, quick cool and super freeze modes enable the fast cooling of new foods introduced into the fridge, My Zone and freezer compartments respectively, a function that also protects foods already stored from warming by contact.
Holiday mode gives you the ability to empty the fridge and set it at a stable temperature of 17C to avoid mould growth and bad smells, but keep the freezer running at the same time, which is useful for holidays or long absences.
You can set individual temperatures for each compartment through the Auto Set mode or manual mode. Auto Set automatically adjusts settings according to the ambient temperature and the temperature change in the appliance; manual allows you to programme these yourself if you want to store a particular type of food.
And this is where things get interesting, because one of the key features of this model is the switch zone, mentioned above.
My Zone - the switch zone
To be clear, there are two "My Zone" sections in the appliance. The first is a drawer in the fridge that can be climate adjusted to store cheese, fruit and veg, or other fresh foods at their ideal temperature.
The second part makes up the right hand side of the freezer, and this is the switch zone. Manually, you can adjust the temperature of this compartment from 5C to -20C in 1C increments, so you can change this part of the appliance into an extension of your fridge if you require, say, extra storage for fresh fruit or food prepared for a special event. Likewise, you can revert it back to a freezer if you have a glut of frozen pizzas you’ve picked up on offer. This makes a big difference to the versatility of the appliance.
If you're worried about illumination in a refrigerator of this size, have no fear. The fridge boasts a substantial back panel of bright white light, so there's nowhere for a renegade grape to hide.
This “daylight” panel doesn’t extend down the back of the fruit and vegetable drawer or the chill compartment, consisting of the Humidity Zone and the My Zone drawer, but as these areas pull out, you still have excellent visibility over the contents inside.
Both the freezer and the switch zone at the bottom of the fridge freezer have LED lamps, to perfectly display the food in the compartments.
You get some serious space in this fridge; it's a bit like opening the door into Narnia.
Haier says you can fit 350 litres of shopping across the entire fridge, with 32 litres in the chill compartment (consisting of the Humidity Zone and the My Zone drawer), and 318 litres across the three storage shelves and “Fresh Box”.
We think this is a touch conservative for the chill zone, as 32 litres equates to about a bag and a half of supermarket shopping and we managed to pack nine twin-packs of romaine lettuce into the Humidity Zone alone.
As for the capacity of the rest of the fridge, we estimate that 318 litres is about 16 bags of shopping, which gives you an idea of how enormous the space is.
And this brings us to an important observation about this model. This is very much an American style, family-size fridge freezer. To really get the most from it you'll need to be a large household. But if you entertain or cook a lot and struggle to cram everything into your current fridge, this could be the appliance you're looking for.
Shelves, drawers and boxes
The fridge carries three non-adjustable, metal-trimmed, glass shelves, with the middle shelf featuring a fold down wine rack that holds three bottles of wine.
The bottom shelf forms the top of a pull-out fruit and vegetable “Fresh Box” that features a lovely soft-open lid. Below this box, you have two separate drawers: the Humidity Zone and My Zone.
Both have their own touchscreen panels that allow you to adjust the settings within the compartments.
As the name suggests, the Humidity Zone is a sealed drawer with its own climate control system. You can choose between low, medium or high humidity, depending on whether you want to store dry fruit, juicy fruit or salad leaves.
The My Zone drawer has three options: cheese, fruit and veg, or fresh.
Although the touchscreen panels feature specific labels, these drawers are extremely versatile and give you a huge number of options for storing different types of food.
You can store coffee and dried fruit in the My Zone drawer under “cheese”, keep your bread and butter in the humidity box under “low humidity”, and stick your carrots in the “Fresh Box”. Or you can keep your meat and fish in the My Zone drawer under “fresh”, pop your mushrooms and cabbage in the humidity box under “high”, and just use your “Fresh Box” for fruit.
But do these zones really make a difference? Our tests showed that they do. We dispersed mushrooms, lettuce, apples, lemons, and oranges, all freshly bought at the same time from the same batch, across the main fridge shelves, the “Fresh Box”, the Humidity Zone set at high, and the My Zone drawer set at fruit and veg.
After three weeks, the condition of all the fruit and vegetables was far better than we would normally expect, no matter where they had been kept in the fridge.
Most notable, however, was the condition of the cut apple, the lemon wedge, the iceberg lettuce and the mushroom kept in the humidity bin under high humidity. The lettuce still had a rigid curve to its leaf, the mushroom had no wrinkles, and the cut apple was clear of mould. The lemon wedge was also still juicy and there was no shrink back from the pith.
You get three racks per French door, so six in total, with an adjustable middle rack. Each rack width is a consistent 12cm, but the height of the two upper racks is 7cm while the bottom rack is a deeper 10cm.
You can fit three traditional milk bottles on each bottom and middle shelf (twelve pints in total), or two conventional supermarket four pint milk container per bottom shelf, so four bottles in total (sixteen pints). As with other Haier models, you can’t lower the middle shelf and use it to store four four-pint containers in one door.
If you want to chill more than three bottles of wine, so need more space than the wine rack offers, you have a couple of options. You can fit three conventional bottles of wine in either bottom door rack, or you can convert My Zone into a fridge at 5C, and just take your wine out in time to air to a more reasonable 7-10C before serving. The My Zone tray will fit five bottles, and the middle drawer more like eight, so there are lots of possibilities if you're in the party mood.
Again, you can fit six 250g packs of butter in each rack, and four soft drink cans or four 250ml water bottles in the middle and bottom rack. We also found each rack would take three to four large mayonnaise or pickle jars.
You also get two clear plastic egg trays, each fitting six eggs. These could be more attractive but they're functional, at least.
Freezer and switch zone capacity
The ability to convert one half of your freezer into a fridge is the standout feature of this particular model. Both sides are No Frost, so you don’t need to worry about defrosting.
Each side has two drawers, one full size middle drawer and a truncated lower drawer, and a top open-front tray, which is great for easy access.
The freezer compartment has a capacity of 77 litres, while the switch zone has a capacity of 78 litres – so around four bags of shopping each.
Using the bread test, we found that you can fit two 800g loaves into the freezer tray with room to spare, four loaves in the middle drawer with space for a couple of 1kg bags of chips, and two loaves in the bottom drawer with capacity of four to six 500g bags of frozen vegetables. And this is just the freezer zone. You’ve also got the switch area, if needed.
Again, this Haier model does not have an integral ice-maker, so the appliance comes with a separate unit that you fill using a measuring cup and place into the freezer. A fairly large gadget that makes 24 ice cubes, it takes up substantial space. Once the cubes are frozen, you turn the dials to release the cubes. Again, this is an accessory we feel could be improved.
Cool down & warm up
We found that it took less than an hour for the freezer to reach -19.4C from 3C. This suggests a freezer cool down time of around two hours from an atmospheric temperature of 21C.
Haier states that the appliance gives you twelve hours of safe food storage in the event of a power cut, and this was borne out in our tests.
This particular fridge freezer stands at 190.5cm with an 83cm width. If this is too tall for you, Haier does a variety of shorter models in its four-door Cube series range, though you may lose the switch feature.
Price and availability
We are consistently impressed with Haier’s Cube series fridge freezers: the builds are solid, the features intriguing, and the aesthetics and usability are tremendous.
With this model, however, the flexibility of temperature, humidity and storage options are exceptional. You can make this appliance work for you in a way that is stress-free and easy, changing your freezer and fridge storage capacity with the seasons or to align with specific events in your year.
But you'll need to decide how useful the switch feature will be and how much space you really need, as that's what you're paying a premium for with this model.
We've also reviewed the Haier Cube HTF-456DM6, which retails for approximately £730. It's a little smaller and doesn't feature the switch zone, but it has the same luxury Haier Cube finish and many of the other great features, including French doors and a Humidity Zone.
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