Hisense has a huge range of large-capacity fridge freezers in its portfolio, but few have the dramatic look of this model. The Hisense RQ689N4WF1’s black brushed-steel finish with a blue display will look stunning in the right kitchen. Its four-door configuration offers a full-width fridge, a freezer and a third compartment that can be either!
This Hisense tested exceptionally well, with stable and highly energy-efficient cooling throughout. Internal layout, design and attention to detail are very good, including full freezer lighting with soft start. We don’t like the finish’s fingerprint-friendly surface, and the water dispenser isn’t the best, but for super-efficient, very stable large capacity cooling, the RQ689N4WF1 offers outstanding value.
Four-door fridge freezers are incredibly popular – and rightly so. Born of US-style side-by-side models, the top-mount wardrobe-door style fridge offers more usable chilling space. The twin freezers with individual drawers are easier to use than US-style open shelves that constantly threaten to unload an avalanche of peas. The RQ689N4WF1 plays to these four-door strengths, adding an in-door chilled water dispenser and one of the most interesting finishes we’ve seen. It might polarise opinion, though.
Called “black steel”, the surface colour is dark with a satin lustre, creating a real presence in the kitchen. Get closer and you can see and feel horizontally textured steel, finished in a dark metallic grey. If you do go feeling the surface, however, be prepared to wipe off the finger marks afterwards.
It’s quite dark then but not black. It’s steel but not typical stainless colour. And the satin sheen coating and metallic surface reflect the colour of its surroundings. In our lab, that meant the fluorescent strip lights gave the finish a brown tinge. Under bright white LEDs it had an almost deep blue sheen. Do we like it? Frankly, the jury is out at Chez Stevenson, but Hisense does make the RQ689N4 in other finishes if you’re not feeling so bold.
The water dispenser is non-plumbed, with a reservoir tank inside and simple push-to-dispense lever. There’s a lock-switch to stop water dispensing, but the lock mechanism and dispense lever feel rather fragile and plasticky.
The control panel on the top right of the top-left door has a cool blue segment temperature display for all three compartments: the fridge, the left-hand freezer and the right-hand compartment, which Hisense calls the My Fresh Choice. This can be set anywhere between +5ºC and -20ºC.
That’s a very flexible combination, allowing you to have more fridge space, more freezer space or opt for somewhere in-between. For example, you could set it to -10 to -12ºC for softer frozen desserts such as ice-cream or semifreddo. The 90-litre capacity would mean you’d need a very large dinner party’s worth of semifreddo to make the most of the idea though.
However, the ability to make the compartment either a fridge or freezer is very flexible indeed. Since we have a chest freezer in the shed for bigger frozen foods, using the My Fresh Choice compartment as a fridge came in very handy, albeit largely for wine and Prosecco.
Pop open the upper doors and the cavernous width is neatly appointed. A large LED panel light, which gently increases in brightness rather than coming on full straight away, illuminates the compartment from above. It shines shine through the glass shelves and onto the two salad drawers arranged side-by-side below.
Lower still is a shallow, full-width drawer with a roller-top lid, labelled Eco Fresh Pantry. This drawer keeps a very stable temperature and is ideal for meats, fish and deli items, for example. All three drawers benefit from full roller mechanisms and slide in and out with ease.
The door pocket roster is well thought out with good size and depth, and two smaller items pocket at the bottom. The right door houses the tank for the non-plumbed in water dispenser, giving you approximately 4 litres of chilled water from the front door. The container can be top-filled and is easily popped out to refill at the sink tap if easier. Hisense does another version of the RQ689N4 without this dispenser, if you want a little more fridge door space instead.
Downstairs, you get soft-start lighting in both compartments. The LED lights neatly illuminate the top open storage area and cast enough light down onto open drawers to be useful. That’s really handy for rummaging around in usually shadowy drawers – doubly so if you have a penchant for a midnight ice lolly or frozen yogurt.
While w’d normally quote you net usable capacity for the fridge and freezer compartments, this Hisense is a little more complex. Thanks to the variable temperature My Fresh Choice compartment, the fridge/freezer split is an equally variable feast from the RQ689N4WF1’s total 539-litre capacity.
Set the compartment as a freezer and you get 359-litres of chilling capacity and 180-litres across the two compartments for frozen foods. Set it as a fridge and you get a whopping 449-litres of chiller space but just 90 litres of freezer capacity. Set the My Fresh Choice temperature in the middle and you get confused. Let’s just call the RQ689N4WF1 very flexible indeed.
The upper fridge is amply spacious, albeit with only one alternative position for the middle of the three full-width glass shelves. The two Fresh Zone salad drawers are slightly shallower than some, but don’t give too much away in making room for the Eco Fresh Pantry drawer beneath. “Fresh” being something of a theme in Hisense’s zone naming on this model.
The two drawers have enough space for a serious grocery shop, and you could easily put fruit and veg in the pantry drawer too. The pantry drawer itself is full width and nearly the full depth of the fridge interior. A roll-top lid at the front helps to keep odours from percolating into the main fridge compartment.
The door pockets are capacious, with a not-quite symmetrical compliment of three big pockets and one smaller either side. On the right side the second pocket down is actually the reservoir for the water dispenser. The dispenser mechanism itself reduces the front-to-back depth of the pocket beneath by 4cm, making it a still sizeable 12cm front to back. That variety of depth is actually ideal; oversized pockets can lead to smaller items skidding around and jumping out on fast door opens.
The smaller pockets at the bottom are a neat addition, although we initially struggled to think of what to put in them. A week later and both were full, one with tubes of paste and small jars, the other with a selection of Mr Cadbury’s finest chocolaty comestibles.
The left-side freezer and right-side My Fresh Choice compartments are near-identically furnished, with a roller shelf at the top and two traditional, clear-fronted bins beneath – also on rollers. The left side gets a glass tray that sits above the open shelf, ideal for storing your ice cube trays. We’re big fans of the open-top upper storage, since it does allow a speedy grab and go of daily use frozen foods.
With a claimed 43dB noise rating on the energy label, the RQ689N4WF1 appears a fair bit noisier than some of its more premium competition that manage to dip below 40dB. It’s quite a high figure for a machine using an inverter motor compressor too, so it was no surprise it was actually quieter than stated in use.
In fact, it consistently measured around 41dB when the compressor was running, which is library quiet and unlikely to disturb you in the kitchen. Yes, there are even quieter models out there, but not by too much.
Setting up the Hisense as a standard top-mount fridge and freezer below meant setting both the freezer and My Fresh Choice compartment to -18ºC. We set the fridge temperature to 4ºC and loaded up with 0.5kg/10 litres of chiller items and 1.0kg/10 litres down in the freezer. Given the RQ689N4WF1’s capacity, that’s a whole lot of food and freezer blocks.
The average fridge temperature was marginally on the chilly side, averaging around 3.5ºC. Thanks to Hisense’s very effective Multi Air Flow cooling, the average temperature throughout the whole fridge from top shelf to the bottom pantry drawer was very consistent, varying just +/-0.3ºC from that 3.5ºC. All good numbers.
The open shelves do suffer much more temperature variation through the compressor cycle, the top shelf bouncing between 0.5ºC and 4.5ºC every hour or so. Conversely, the salad drawers and pantry are super-stable, varying between 3.3ºC and 3.8ºC. That’s very good; this sort of consistency will ensure leafy vegetables and fruit will remain fresh for the longest time.
Stick to keeping your veg and meats in the drawers, and bottles, jars and containers on the shelves, and you won’t go far wrong.
Both lower compartments turned in equally good results as freezers. Average temperature both sides and from top to bottom was -18ºC, give or take less than 1ºC either way. Through the compressor cycle the temperatures ranged between -21ºC and -17ºC, which is a very tightly controlled freezer cycle.
Turning off the power for three hours didn’t phase the RQ689N4WF1 at all. Maximum air temperature reached after three hours was -10ºC, suggesting this model has top-spec insulation. Our frozen food sample only gained 5ºC over that period, making this Hisense food safe in the event of a power cut for a good 20 hours.
Overall, this big four-door turned in an exceptional set of test results, ensuring your fresh food stays fresh for the longest time, and your frozen food stays frozen in a power cut. Top work, Hisense.
Hisense’s A+ energy rating is about as good as it gets for huge capacity four-door and side-by-side fridge freezers. There are only a couple of seriously premium exceptions that achieve A++. That said, at a claimed 410kWh consumption per year for it 539-litre capacity, the RQ689N4WF1 hasn’t missed that extra “+” by much.
Over a week-long test in our environmental chamber kept at 18-19ºC ambient, and each door opened briefly half-a-dozen times a day, the RQ689N4WF1 used just 5.7kWh. Over the year that would be just shy of 300kWh, or around £45 (@ 15p/kWh).
That’s a supremely low-running cost figure for such enormous cooling capacity. Costs would be lower still if you were using the My Fresh Choice compartment as a fridge rather than a freezer. If you have a standard 60cm-wide fridge freezer of 8-10 years old, it’s probably using more electricity than that for half the storage space.
In a hotter, busier kitchen, the running cost will rise to something more like the energy label’s still very good £60-odd per annum. For the whopping capacity and flexibility, this Hisense is very cost-effective to run.
With huge, flexible capacity, well-engineered cooling technology and excellent energy efficiency, the RQ689N4WF1 competes head-on with premium brands in the sector at a much more appealing price. We couldn’t fault its cooling ability, constant stable temperature to keep your food fresher for longer, and the versatile My Fresh Zone compartment, which can be set to a fridge, freezer or something in-between.
The black steel colour rather polarises opinion and the raw finish makes finger marks fairly obvious. The water dispenser is limited by the 4-litre tank capacity inside and the dispenser itself isn’t as well built or well thought out as the machine overall.
Thankfully, both the finish and water dispenser are optional – Hisense offer variations of the RQ689N4 in other finishes and without the dispenser. Whichever variant you choose, this Hisense remains a great value, flexible and technically excellent fridge freezer, although you can see our other recommendations in our Best fridge freezer guide.