My mom recently decided to replace her 20 plus year old fridge. This time she decided to go for a bottom freezer. Her first fridge was a two-door, top freezer fridge. Her second fridge was a narrow 3-door fridge. Both were top freezer fridges. This time around, she decided to go for a bottom freezer fridge. She had her reasons for the change.
But as always, before making the purchase, she did some research first. 2 models were shortlisted – the Samsung 315L Bottom Mount Freezer with Optimal Fresh Zone (Model No: RB30N4050B1) and Panasonic 358L Inverter Bottom Freezer Refrigerator (Model No: NR-BC 360XSMY). The latter became the fridge of choice.
Introducing the Panasonic 358L Inverter Bottom Freezer Refrigerator (Model No: NR-BC 360XSMY)
Height: 1785 mm
Width: 601 mm
Depth: 656 mm
Net Weight: 58 kg
Gross capacity: 358L (Refrigerator: 254 L, Freezer: 104L)
Net capacity: 322L (Refrigerator: 237 L, Freezer: 85L)
Energy Consumption: 409 kWh / year (Star Rating: 4)
Voltage: 220 – 240V
This fridge is actually quite narrow to begin with. However, we had to get a fridge with that width because the space that was carved out in the kitchen for a fridge was already set in wood and concrete. My mom didn’t think she would want to get a big fridge even back in her younger days when the renovation was done for the kitchen. Her reasoning was, a fridge that can keep a week’s worth of food for a small family should suffice.
The Panasonic 358L Inverter Bottom Freezer Refrigerator is actually quite tall. Measuring 1,785 mm, the height is just nice for the average Malaysian. The width of 601 mm and depth of 656 mm gives it a capacity of 358L according to the spec sheet. Compared to our old fridge which was slightly shorter, this newer design gives us more space because the optimised design.
Two main compartments – refrigerator (top) and freezer (bottom)
The Panasonic 358L Inverter Bottom Freezer Refrigerator is divided to 2 parts; the top being the normal fridge and bottom as the freezer. The top part has its usual vegetable/fruits drawer. However, there is another added feature which Panasonic labelled as Prime Fresh+ Compartment. This was one of the two features which made my mom get this fridge.
Prime Fresh+ Compartment
The Prime Fresh Compartment is actually a drawer under the vegetable compartment. Temperature is regulated to approximately -3 degrees Celcius. This is what is known as soft freezing. Basically it means the meat won’t be frozen solid but you will still be able to keep it there for around a week.
I think this is something which those who cook regularly will appreciate because it will remove the need to defrost frozen stuff from the fridge. This is the kind of features that makes my mum gets all excited. But I guess those of us who cook will see how this feature adds value to a fridge.
Finally the bottom freezer. Unlike some fridges where the bottom freezer often comes in the form of a drawer, the engineers of the Panasonic 358L Inverter Bottom Freezer Refrigerator have thoughtfully used the door version of a top freezer for this bottom freezer.
However, they also added a drawer under the shelves. There are two shelves. The top shelf is made up of 2 pieces of glass. You can remove the outer one to create more height. However, when you do that, you still get to have the other half of the shelf, hence optimising the space. The ice-making box is mobile.
Why I like the Panasonic 358L Inverter Bottom Freezer Refrigerator?
Ability to set temperature for the refrigerator and freezer
One very nice thing is you can set the temperature of the different compartments from the touch screen on the door of the fridge. I think this is a vey nice touch because sometimes, when you walk past the fridge at night, all it takes is just a touch and you can turn down the temperature to your desired level. And you can just turn it up just as easily in the morning when the fridge gets opened more often. Plus the lights from the LED lights on the door illuminates the kitchen at night. I like this geeky feature for the convenience that it brings.
I must admit that I was a little sceptical at first because I was quite used to the top freezer fridge. After all, I have a sweet tooth and would often go for the freezer where I would store my ice cream. But after using it for a couple of days, I must say that a bottom freezer fridge is actually quite practical.
One of the reasons why my mom wanted the Panasonic 358L Inverter Bottom Freezer Refrigerator was she was tired of bending down to check or rummage for stuff at the bottom. She had her own statistics when she made her choice. According to her, most of us will open the freezer 4-5 times a day. The number doubles or triples for the fridge compartment. So for her, a bottom freezer makes perfect sense. As we grow older, the knees creak more too and bending over becomes an added effort for more she says.
Practicality – Clear view of what you have in the fridge
Another plus point is, with the fridge making up the top portion will mean you can have a very good view of everything that is in the fridge. Getting stuff out from the vegetable/fruit drawer becomes effortless.
The Prime Fresh+ Compartment is also at this level. This means the meats that you want to cook are within the same reach as the vegetables as well. It negates the need of opening 2 different compartments. Everything can be properly organised.
This is where the Prime Fresh+ Compartment comes in. Located right below the vegetable compartment and coming with a two layered chest of drawer, you can actually organise your food to make it easier for retrieval. And the best part is those are soft frozen and can go directly into the pan. No need to defrost or wait for it to defrost.
Basically after using it for a couple of weeks, my mom as found the Panasonic 358L Inverter Bottom Freezer Refrigerator is practicality at its best. You only need to open one fridge door to get all the things that you need to cook a meal.
The freezer is well designed as well
Now on to the freezer part. I like the idea of the drawer under the 2 shelves because that means you can pull it out to check out the stuff that you have in that compartment without having to bend over. Everyone knows the stuff placed in the area where you have to bend over will often be overlooked and they will overstay past their expiry dates as a result.
The shelves are a little low but the Panasonic engineers came up with the idea of a glass shelf that is basically made up of 2 sections. Hence, if you want a taller space, you can remove half of the glass and still have the other half which will give you extra shelf space. That helps to maximise the freezer space.
The drawer is deep enough for you to put your ice cream bucket into it. The cons in this is your ice-cream might get forgotten being in a closed compartment.
Overall, the Panasonic 358L Inverter Bottom Freezer Refrigerator makes a good refrigerator choice especially for those with small families and spaces. But if you want a bigger one, there is a bigger sibling of similar type in Panasonic 465L ECONAVI Inverter Bottom Freezer Refrigerator [Model No: NR-BX471WGKM].
- Dyson Pure Cool TP04 – A Malaysian Review
- ECOVACS DJ35 Review – A Useful Robot Vacuum Cleaner [Malaysia edition]
Get yours today on Shopee / Lazada Malaysia!
Panasonic 358L Inverter Bottom Freezer Refrigerator – Prime Fresh+ [Model No: NR-BC 360XSMY]
So for big ticket items, I get it straight from Shopee Mall vendors. Do remember that you can also apply for the e-rebate of up to RM400 under the Save 3.0 program launched by the government.
Alternatively, you can get it at Lazada Mall.
Panasonic 465L ECONAVI Inverter Bottom Freezer Refrigerator [Model No: NR-BX471WGKM]
For the bigger brother, here are the link from Shopee Mall.