Panasonic 2012: a fridge Odyssey

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Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

Panasonic is finally ready to launch its refrigerators onto the Australian market.

(Credit: Panasonic)

Here, the company is better known for its presence in the audio-visual field, but, for the past two years, it's been making headway in home appliances. At the end of this month, it will launch a line of six fridges — its first — in Australia.

The Econavi fridges will provide important home energy savings, Panasonic has said.

"Fridges are amongst the most wasteful appliances in the home," said Prue Sheehan, Panasonic's Product Marketing Manager for whitegoods and small appliances. "According to a Victorian energy organisation, they account for 12 per cent of the home electricity bill. One of the biggest reasons for this heavy electricity blow is opening and closing the refrigerator door."

The Econavi system seeks to combat that by learning and memorising the times at which a fridge is most often going to be opened; (for example, dinner time); and adjust its power levels accordingly, decreasing the power used when it is not in use.

It also gauges the level of lighting in the room, switching to a low-power mode when it's night time; and it also gauges external temperature levels, so that it can adjust its own.

(Credit: Panasonic)

The other power-saving measure is LED internal lights, rather than the more electricity-guzzling incandescentsincandescent bulbs from days of yore.

The other standout feature was something Panasonic is calling "Vitaminsafe". This consists of blue and green LEDs in the vegetable crisper, that mimicking the effect of sunlight. This, according to Panasonic, keeps the vegetables fresher for longer, and has actually been seen to increase the Vitamin C levels in fruits and vegetables that are naturally high in Vitamin C.

All the while, gentle air is circulated indirectly, leading to less dehydration.

It all sounds magnificent, but we were probably most impressed by the design of the fridge, which demonstrates that Panasonic has really thought about how people use things. As well as the newish trend of putting the freezer on the bottom (which means less bending down), it has its lights at the front of the fridge for easy visibility. Also, and the crisper is large, but not deep, meaning you can store a lot of vegetables without having to rummage around too much for the soggy forgotten cucumber at the bottom.

The chiller drawer is positioned at the bottom of the fridge, and a lidded container sits in the door to seal in sensitive items, such as medications.

The fridges, both in brushed steel and white, will be available in late June, and are priced as follows:

  • 554L Bottom Mount Fridge (Stainless steel): AU$1999
  • 554L Bottom Mount Fridge(White): AU$1799
  • 465L Bottom Mount Fridge (Stainless steel): AU$1599
  • 465L Bottom Mount Fridge (White): AU$1499
  • 421L Bottom Mount Fridge (Stainless steel): AU$1499
  • 421L Bottom Mount Fridge (White): AU$1299

But who only ever buys 10 eggs?
(Credit: Panasonic)



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DerekM2 posted a comment   

I have purchased the above Econavi fridge and I am very happy with its easy and simplistic use and with the eviro comonents,however, I am trying to contact the company for a concern I have which is..... at 3am this morning an alarm went off I thought it was either the fire alarm or I was being robbed, it was neither the sound was coming from this new fridge the sound lasted for more than a minute woke up half the neighbourhood Panasonic if you are reading this please make contact ctensw@gmail.com Derek

 

yamabushi posted a comment   
Australia

Just the comment about ten eggs - in Japan eggs come in 10 packs and if you feel like building a new home to go around your new fridge you can talk to Panahomes! And for commuting (I had one) you can get a Panasonic bicycle. Some Japanese conglomerates, including Toyota are into the most surprising things.




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