LG InstaView Door-in-Door GSX961MCCZ American fridge freezer full review

LG InstaView Door-in-Door American Fridge Freezer doesn’t quite seem like a fridge freezer at all.

Yes, it’s large. The finish is a dark gunmetal grey-black. The handles have a shiny chrome trim. It's an American-style appliance, with a fridge on the right and a narrower freezer on the left. 

But you can’t escape the feeling that this appliance is part fridge freezer, part cheeky vending machine.

It’s the InstaView pane that does it. Knock twice on the 35cm by 77cm window in the fridge door and it lights up and reveals the contents of four fridge door racks. And if you want to grab and go, the Door-in-Door feature allows you to open the InstaView frame to take what you want from the racks without opening the fridge door itself.

It’s an inspired bit of design and engineering.

InstaView

On the freezer side, there's a water and ice dispenser that provides cool water or cubed or crushed ice on demand.

The whole set-up is delightful, and makes you feel like a kid in a sweet shop. We doubt there is anyone who could use this appliance and not enjoy it, although if you're working from home, be warned that it could make those mid-morning trips to scope out the fridge even more enticing.

Noise level

  • 39dB operating volume
  • Open-door alarm

This model is silent. LG suggests a 39dB operating volume, which is the sound of a babbling brook. This seems louder than our experience of it. The appliance does, however, make noise when it pumps water from the water tank into the Spaceplus Ice System and when making and dispensing ice: if we were to hazard a guess, we’d say these brief periods of elevated sound are roughly around 55dB, or the level of a conversation.

You get a door alarm too: three perky “bing bongs”. They're quieter than the equivalent from other brands, and rather spaced out. The only worry is that you could miss them.

But it’s difficult to accidentally leave the doors open on this appliance. Both the full length doors and the Door-in-Door have levers in the square pocket handles that need to be depressed to open, so you won't be inclined to casually slam the doors to close them.

Again, the weight of the doors gives them a momentum that closes them firmly if you give them a push. We couldn’t make them bounce back, not even the Door-in-Door, which states you should close it at a specific point in the frame.

Running cost   

  • 376kWh/pa   

This LG model falls into Energy Class F (A++ in the old system), and LG says that total annual energy consumption is 376 kWh/pa. By my reckoning, that would be a running cost of about £53 a year, although this really depends on your payment scheme, supplier and where you live in the UK. 

Such low energy consumption for the capacity of the appliance -- all 601 litres across the fridge and freezer – is excellent and makes this LG model an eco-standout.

Digital touchscreen

  • Set freezer temperature between -14°C and -24°C
  • Set fridge temperature between 1°C and -7°C

A touchscreen digital control panel sits above the water and ice dispenser, so it's very handy and easy to reach. You have six top display buttons: Pure N Fresh, Express Freeze/Wi-Fi, Freezer, Fridge, Non-Plumbing and Lock.

InstaView control panel

LG states the Pure N Fresh function reduces odours from the fridge. Express Freeze quickly freezes ice or frozen foods. The Non-Plumbing icon tells you whether the water tank is properly fitted or not, and the Lock locks the options you’ve chosen.

You can set the freezer temperature between -14°C and -24°C, and the fridge between 1°C and 7°C.

Interestingly, there’s no express cool or holiday mode with this model, so that might be something to consider if you're planning to use the appliance on a sporadic basis.

Underneath these buttons are the three dispenser options: cubed, water and crushed. You can switch between the three so long as there is water in the fridge tank and ice in the Spaceplus Ice System.

You can also control the appliance through your smart phone through the LG SmartThinQ app.

Smart features

  • Control it via ThinQ app
  • Home-assistant compatible

The ThinQ app is free to download and use and available for both Apple and Android. Once your appliance is paired, you can change the temperature settings via the app. This will allow you to prep the fridge or freezer to be ready if you're at the shops and have just brought a lot of fresh or frozen food.

As it's Alexa and Google Assistant compatible you can also use voice commands, but, beyond the unusual experience of "talking" to your fridge, we didn't think we'd use this feature much in day-to-day life.

The app can also alert you if the door is left open, which is handy if you have young kids.

Cool down and warm up

  • 10 hours before food thaws in the event of a power cut

It took two hours for the fridge to reach 3°C and the freezer to reach -19°C in a high atmospheric temperature of 30°C. We noticed an impressive temperature consistency across both the fridge and the freezer, though the Door-in-Door zone generally read 2°C warmer than the main body of the fridge.

LGs suggest you have 10 hours in the event of a power outage, which was in line with our experience while testing.

Lighting

  • 50cm LED strip light

Both the fridge and the freezer have a vertical 50cm x 4cm LED lighting strip along the internal cabinet side. Considering the entire cabinet length is 160cm, the strip lines nearly a third of the space, and visibility is excellent.

LG light strip

It is this fridge strip that illuminates when you knock twice on the InstaView pane, although knock-knock also triggers a second 24cm LED strip light at the top of the pane itself. This double light lasts for about ten seconds before going dark again, and ensures the rack ends aren’t in shadow.

Fridge capacity

  • 405 litre fridge capacity

405 litres of shopping: yep, that’s how much LG says you can fit in the fridge. That’s roughly twenty supermarket bags of groceries – and the largest fridge capacity Tech Advisor has seen so far.

There are four glass shelves: two suspended, plus one on top of the utility box, and another on top of the Fresh Balancer box. You can’t adjust them up or down, largely because LG has designed the internal cabinet to maximise useable space.

Underneath the top shelf, you also have a four-bottle chrome wine rack. As this appliance is only 179cm tall, everything is eminently reachable for those who may be shorter than average.

Fridge interior

The fridge also boasts LINEARCooling technology that keeps food fresher for longer by keeping temperature fluctuations within 0.5°C, while DoorCooling+ ensures the entire compartment – including the area by the door – is kept chilled.

It's hard to test features like this beyond noting that we food we stored had a long life and that the temperature inside of the fridge was consistent. But that's exactly what those features are designed to do.

Drawers and boxes

  • Specialist food storage drawers

The fridge cabinet has three drawers: a shallow Utility Box, a Fresh Balancer drawer, and Moist Balancer crisper for fruit and veg.

LG suggests you use the Utility Box for delicatessen and dairy produce. At 8.4 litres, you can certainly fit in a lot of cheese – we managed eight 400g blocks of cheddar and still had room to spare.      

The Fresh Balancer drawer has a mechanical temperature slider for either fruit or vegetables. We would have expected a digital control at this price point, but the deep drawer comes in at 30 litres – one and a half shopping bags – and fits six iceberg lettuces with room for celery, tomatoes, and several peppers.

Below that is the Moist Balancer crisper, which is again another deep drawer. There's roughly 24 litres of storage here as the back of the drawer slopes significantly.

Strangely, we couldn’t find any egg trays in the appliance, though LG does provide a transparent fridge organiser.

Fridge door storage

  • InstaView visibility
  • Door-in-door accessibility

But it's the fridge door storage, with InstaView visibility and Door-in-Door accessibility, that marks this appliance out and would probably be your major reason for purchasing.  

Door-in-door front view

The door itself has five deep racks. Four are viewable through the InstaView pane and the main fridge door itself, and accessible through the Door-in-Door feature and the main fridge cabinet. Be aware, however, that the rack backs are not entirely open and this reduces ease of access from the main fridge cabinet; it's actually easier to remove and replace goods in these racks through Door-in-Door.   

Door-in-door

There's a fifth rack at the bottom of the fridge door that you can only view if you open the main fridge door.  

In real world terms, the storage capacity for these 40cm racks is extraordinary. The lowest two racks fit four supermarket four-pinters with about 6cm of space in front; go up a rack, and there's room for eight traditional one-pinter glass bottles or 500ml water bottles; up again, and there’s space for eighteen 250ml cans or bottles.

The top rack, however, is a quirky one. It hasn’t got the height for a 250ml bottle, so it’s for small jars or yoghurt pots only, and you can only access it from two vents at the top if you have the main fridge door open.  

But if you are a household that loves your juices, iced coffees and sodas, this appliance is perfect for you.   

Freezer

  • 196 litre freezer capacity

The frost-free freezer cabinet is slimmer than the fridge by 13cm, but LG balances the shorter width by giving you four glass shelves and two freezer boxes, rather than a wall of drawers, so the overall feel is open and accessible.LG freezer

LG says the freezer holds 196 litres of shopping, so between 9 and 10 bags, and the two freezer boxes hold roughly 11 to 12 litres each. Oddly, LG labels these drawers for the long term storage of meat and fish when it would seem more logical for them to store frozen bags of vegetables.

There are also two small door racks underneath the Spaceplus Ice System for smaller packets of frozen food, but LG cautions against storing ice-cream or food in these racks long term.

Water and Ice Dispenser

  • Water, cubed and crushed ice
  • Non-plumbed

This particular model is non-plumbed, so a four litre tank sits on top of the fridge Fresh Balancer drawer.

You need to wash the tank before use, but it pulls out easily from the housing with the cover entirely removable for cleaning and a flip cap for quick refilling. The control panel icon will indicate whether you have reinstalled the tank properly or not.

Ice maker

It takes 48 hours from installation to produce the first batch of ice, and you need to throw away the first batch of ice. A full ice bin, we estimate, takes about 3 litres of water from the tank. The ice maker makes about six cubes at a time, so you get 50 to 60 pieces over 24 hours. 

As mentioned above, as long as you have cubes in the bin, you can switch between water, cubed or crushed at leisure. The dispenser gave us 250ml of cool water in 18 seconds, a 250ml glass of cubed ice in 3 seconds, and a glass of crushed ice in 12 seconds, though the “crush” is closer to ice chips than granulated slush. You need to use a fairly wide rimmed glass or ice caddy if you don’t want to end up with ice on your floor, as the dispenser can splutter.  

Range

We tested the matt black model, but the InstaView Door-in-Door is also available in premium steel and shiny steel at a lower price point. Right now, you can buy the same model in premium steel from Currys and AO.com for £1,599.99 (it's the GSX961NSVZ). 

If you aren’t interested in the InstaView feature, LG also offers alternative Door-in-Door models with the same capacity, such as the GSJ961PZVV, which is available from AO.com for £1,229.

Price and availability

The GSX961MCCZ has an RRP of £2,199 but the price has come down since its launch. It's currently available from LG for £1,799.98. You can also buy it from Currys (for £1,799.99), AO.com (£1,800) and John Lewis (£1,799.99, with free installation and disposal of your old appliance).

Prices may vary more between retailers as time goes on, so it's worth checking a couple of retailers before you buy.

Instaview Door-in-Door

Verdict

The LG InstaView Door-in-Door American Fridge Freezer is a pricey appliance, but it packs a cracking punch for the money you pay. The storage capacity is the best we’ve seen outside of commercial appliances, and the InstaView and Door-in-Door features make this model a joy to use.

For more fridge freezer options, check out our round-up of the best fridge freezers we’ve tested.

Specs

LG InstaView Door-in-Door GSX961MCCZ American fridge freezer: Specs

  • Energy rating: F
  • Dimensions: 1790mm x 912mm x 738mm
  • Noise level: 39dB
  • Annual energy consumption: 431 kWh
  • Total capacity: 625 net litres
  • Fridge capacity: 411L
  • Freezer capacity: 214L
  • Frost free: yes

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