With a luxury steel-effect finish and chilled water from the door-front dispenser, this tall Hisense fridge freezer looks luxurious. Fitting into a narrower 55cm wide space it’s practical for smaller kitchens, and its A+ energy rating should keep running costs down too.
With solid test results, even cooling and plenty of fridge space on offer, the RB335N4WG1 is as practical as it is good-looking. Fairly low running costs, the water dispenser and that great finish make it exceptional value all round.
Related: Best fridge freezers
We don’t see too many affordable full-sized fridge freezers sporting a luxury stainless steel finish. And we haven’t today, either. Despite its stunning steely good looks, the Hisense RB335N4WG1 on test has a lacquered ‘steel effect’ finish. Not only does that keep the cost down to below £350 for this near 300-litre fridge freezer, the lacquer resists finger prints much better than true stainless too.
In fact, Hisense has done a great job of making the RB335N4WG1 look premium throughout. The door-mounted water dispenser is a nice touch on its own, and is finished with gloss black and a chrome trim. Even the Hisense badge is a rather fetching chrome affair.
The handles are inset between the two doors. You reach up to grasp the upper door and down for the freezer. Black plastic inserts act as handles on both doors, and they can be reversed if you need them to be left-hand hinged.
This fridge freezer is rather nice on the inside, too. A brushed steel-trimmed control panel offers touch adjustment and green LEDs to indicate target temperature. The Multi Air Flow cooling panel at the rear is neatly detailed, and the chrome wire bottle rack is unusual at this price point. The shelves are all glass with clear plastic salad drawers and door bins. The whole compartment is lit from above by a bright white LED lamp.
The freezer compartment consists of three plastic bins and an open, pull-out shelf. It’s basic but solidly put-together. This is a total no-frost machine, so there’s no need for any defrosting water channels.
The doors, fixtures and fittings are all nicely robust, making the whole package look and feel far more expensive than it is.
With 172 litres of usable fridge space and 91 litres in the freezer, the RB335N4WG1 is a 65/35 split. You wouldn’t think that from the outside, though, since the two doors are almost equal in height. The freezer compartment capacity is reduced with a truncated bottom draw and very thick wall insulation. However, this does translate to a solid A+ rating for energy efficiency.
As delivered, our sample was set out with the bottle rack uppermost in the fridge. We realised this was the least practical place to put it as you lose a lot of space above. We moved the mid-shelf to the highest position and the bottle rack directly below it. Not only does that maximise the top shelf space, but it allows you to stand taller bottles on the shelf below too.
With only three shelves to play with, those used to storing lots of smaller items might want for another shelf. That’s a rare thing for us to say, since we often end up evicting a shelf to make space for taller items anyway. Make sure the fridge layout fits your needs, however.
The salad drawer – or Fresh Zone, as Hisense calls it – is a good-sized, basic plastic bin. The lower and upper door storage bins are nicely deep and full width, albeit with no height adjustment. The central bin is shallower, and beneath that is the 2-litre water reservoir for the door dispenser. This fills through a cap in the mid bin and seals with a dust cover.
Okay, 2 litres won’t keep a thirsty family in cold drinks on a hot day, and you’ll be filling it frequently. The door dispenser works well, with few drips. It can be locked off to keep children from flooding the place, although it could be worked out by any child tall enough to reach it anyway.
The 91-litre freezer is a little more rudimentary but, unusually, offers four storage areas. The three drawers are all different sizes to give a little more versatility. At the top is an open draw ideal for items that are accessed more frequently. You can reach in or pull out the drawer for a closer look. Hisense refers to this as the Easy Approach zone… which we thought was something you found at speed dating events.
The RB335N4WG1 runs a traditional motor compressor, so clearly isn’t going to be as super-silent as modern inverter motor designs. We measured around 42dB, which is just one decibel more than stated on the energy label. That’s still very quiet and barely noticeable in all but very silent kitchens.
Over the course of a couple of weeks on test, only the compressor and fan noise humming away gently could be heard. There were no major pops, clicks or gurgles thanks to the Multi Air Flow frost-free system.
We loaded our lush-looking Hisense with 1kg of frozen food per 10 litres of freezer space and 0.5kg of fresh food per 10 litres of chiller space. In the mid drawer of the freezer, we placed a 2-litre bowl of water to measure how quickly the machine can freeze room temperature items and how well they stay frozen in the event of a power cut.
Placing the Hisense in our environmental chamber kept at 18 – 19ºC ambient, we set the fridge thermostat to 4ºC and the freezer to -18–C. We measure the temperature of each shelf over time, with a host of probes and data-logging equipment.
For an affordable fridge freezer, this Hisense turned in a very respectable set of results. The fridge temperature ranged from average 5ºC at the top to 2–C in the salad drawer. Moreover, the temperature in the salad drawer was stable, varying just +/- 0.75 of a degree through the compressor cycle. That’s pretty much ideal and makes the salad drawer equally suitable for veggies or meat and fish.
The top shelf did suffer greater temperature swings being nearer the main outlet for the Multi Air Flow cooling. Through the ‘off’ part of the compressor cycle it crept up to nearly 7ºC and dipped to near-freezing when the motor started again. This isn’t particularly bad or unusual, but it does indicate that the top shelf is best for non-temperature-critical items such as jars and containers.
In between, the mid and lower shelves averaged around 4ºC, +/- 1 degree. We really can’t complain about that. Excellent.
The freezer proved equally competent. It chilled our water sample to -18ºC at the core in a little over 20 hours. That isn’t bad for this class of appliance. Both the lower freezer drawers settled at exactly -19ºC, with the upper drawer and top shelf around -18ºC.
Variation through the compressor cycle was only +/-2 degrees from average. The core temperature of our frozen food sample barely flickered over the week-long test. Text book stuff.
The fail test wasn’t quite so impressive. With the power switched off for three hours, the open top shelf suffered more than the closed drawers. Its air temperature rose to – 8ºC. The mid drawer air temperature crept up to -13ºC, while the frozen food sample also went up to -12ºC.
Extrapolating the warm-up on the top shelf, it would likely go above zero and start food defrosting in around nine hours with no power. That’s lower than average by modern standards. Although, when in the UK did you last have a power cut of more than an hour?
That last caveat aside, the Hisense demonstrated remarkably consistent and even cooling throughout.
Over the duration of our tests the Hisense averaged 0.77kWh of electricity use per day. That works out around 281kWh per year, or just over £42 based on an average electricity price of 15p/kWh. That’s just shy of the 284kWh figure stated on the energy label. That is rare.
Given the large capacity, the energy use equates to just about an A+ efficiency rating. There are plenty of even more efficient fridge freezers on the market, but few at the RB335N4WG1’s affordable asking price.
We’ve found that Hisense fridge freezers test well, feel solidly built and offer great value. The RB335N4WG1 is no exception. It’s lush lacquered steel finish, in-door water dispenser and solid test results suggest a much higher price ticket than it has. It’s short of fancy food-storage features and could be a little more efficient – particularly in the fail test – but these are minor quibbles for what is an otherwise exceptional fridge freezer.
Related: Best washing machines