The Samsung WW9000 and 'the internet of everything'
I feature a wide range of design objects here on Design Hunter, but when I'm trying to decide whether or not something is a good fit for the site the bottom line is usually 'is this something I would have in my own home? Is this something that would enhance my home or my experience of living in it?'
Over the past few weeks I've been testing out the new Samsung WW9000 ecobubble washing machine. Appliance reviews aren't something I regularly feature on Design Hunter, so why this one?
When I was approached about trying it out, my overwhelming initial impression was just how strikingly different the design of the Samsung WW9000 is from other washing machines currently on the market. Washing machines, like some other appliances, can be intrusive objects that don't always sit harmoniously within an interior, but this is not an appliance to be hidden away. It doesn't scream 'technology' at you. With its beautiful, minimal design it feels like something that belongs in a modern home, and I love how easily it has fitted into ours.
The first thing you notice about it is the huge Cyclops-like, but nonetheless friendly looking, deep blue crystal glass door. As well as making it rather beautiful, this along with other more subtle and thoughtful design details, somehow gives this machine a personality.
It's an appliance I actually look forward to interacting with.
Gone are the usual clunky knobs and dials and in their place an intuitive and satisfyingly easy to use touchscreen interface that makes soft, enticing gloopy noises. This transforms the experience of programming your washing machine into one that is in sync with the experience of using your smartphone or tablet. By downloading an app you can indeed operate the WW9000 from your smartphone, activating and checking on the progress of your wash without leaving the comfort of your sofa, or even while out at work, if you feel so inclined.
This is an appliance that looks ahead to the future, to 'the internet of everything' - a world in which machines talk to other machines to perform tasks for us, a world in which an increasing number of the objects we use on a day-to-day basis will be connected to the internet.
So what does all this mean in terms of how it improves your experience of doing the laundry?
Well, firstly it's incredibly quiet. It doesn't throb, rattle and shake like our old washing machine did. It's so quiet in fact that until it reaches the final spin cycle, you hardly notice it's on at all. This makes it an unobtrusive presence in the home. It just fits right in.
It is also quick, intuitive and easy and enjoyable to use. The machine learns your washing habits and saves them, automatically suggesting your most frequently used programs when you switch it on. This means that it's possible to operate it with as little as one simple, satisfying tap on the touch screen.
It even calculates the load size and then adds the appropriate amount of detergent for you - you can preload a month's supply of detergent and fabric conditioner in advance so you don't have to worry about filling it up each time you wash.
There are lots of different settings including a 'Gardening' setting which is optimised to remove grass, mud and dirt stains and clean sweat and skin oils effectively, and one for 'Cooking' which removes food and drink stains. I tested it out on some heavily soiled tea towels and table cloths after having friends over dinner and it lifted stains out pretty effectively. Each of the settings has optional add-ons too, including pre-wash, easy iron, intensive and soaking.
One of the main advantages of the Samsung WW9000 is its generous capacity. The huge 10kg drum is big enough to easily accommodate a large load of bed linen and towels - and then some, which means you don't have to worry about squeezing too much in and overloading it.
I've also noticed how effective the spin cycle is - at the end of the wash clothes feel much drier than they did with my old washing machine, so drying time is reduced. Things also require noticeably less ironing. This is particularly true in the case of larger items like cotton bed linen. For someone who hates ironing as much as I do this is a huge bonus.
Other plus points include the A+++ energy efficiency rating, simplified loading due to the large front door, and an interior drum light which makes it easy to check you haven't left any odd socks inside.
In summary, after testing it out for a few weeks I love how satisfyingly easy to use it is. A great deal of thought has clearly gone into its design. There are none of the jarring little moments of irritation you have with some appliances - just a seamless user experience encased within a beautiful minimal design.
It has definitely made at least one of my household tasks much less of a chore.
Which can only be a good thing.
Samsung provided a WW9000 for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.