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Hands-on with the Bud-E Fridge

If you're the person who hosts the weekly game, there's usually a routine to be followed in preparation for the game. The TV is adjusted for optimal viewing from every seat in the room, plans are made for snacks or a meal, and if your group of friends drink during the game there's usually a plan for making sure you don't run out. That could be grabbing a case for the group or it could be everyone bringing a little something and piling it all in the fridge. This part of the routine is something Budweiser felt could use a little extra technology. Something that made it easier for you and your friends to quickly check and see how many beers were already there to be consumed, so you could plan around it.

That something is called the Bud-E Fridge, and we've been using one for a couple of weeks now. Lets take a look.

The first thing you'll notice about this beverage fridge is the branding. It's a bright blue box with Bud Light scrawled across the front. On the top left on the fridge door you've got a round display, with a row of buttons across the top of the fridge door for controlling the fridge. Opening the door reveals three shelves, each with six bottle or can-sized rows. The top two rows work well for holding bottles, while the bottom row is explicitly for smaller cans, but for the most part you can mix and match as you choose.

Each row has a blue spacer that sits behind the drinks you put in the fridge, which is important. Every time you put a beer in or take a beer out of this fridge, those blue spacers help the computer inside this fridge determine how many drinks are inside, and this information is then displayed on the front of the fridge. You can see at a glance how much is left, and there's even an empty to full gauge to help show you how much more the fridge can hold.

As a beverage fridge, it gets the job done. You can set the temperature from the buttons on the top, and it does a good job keeping everything that temperature, which is expected. Where the Bud-E Fridge gets interesting is the app you use to remotely access and control this pieced of connected home tech.

Bud-E app

After you create an account in the app, a series of pulsing lights give instructions to the photo sensor on the top of the fridge, pairing it to your local Wifi network and connecting you to your fridge. You can now see how many drinks are in your fridge from anywhere, but you now also have some extra options to play with. There's a security feature that will ping you with a notification should anyone open the fridge while you are away, a countdown clock for when beer you just put in the fridge will be cold, and the ability to order more Bud Light from the app if you're running low. You can also tell your E-Fridge what your favorite Football team is, and it will remind you to stock up when your team is playing. True fans can even have their Bud-E Fridge cheer along with you when your team scores or wins.

Arguably the most interesting feature in the Bud E-Fridge arsenal is the ability to invite friends to your fridge through apps on their phones. This makes it possible for friends to check on your beer level before heading over, and through the Events section of the app you can make plans that only the group is privy to. There's also a chat service baked into the app, so everyone can communicate as a group with no problem. It's impressively social, as long as you don't think too hard about your social experience largely revolving around a beer fridge.

Overall, the Bud-E Fridge is a cool idea. The app could stand to improve a little, maybe allow for more than just NFL and NHL teams to be set as the teams to follow, but it's not hard to see why someone would want one of these. You have to either be really in to Bud Light or just not care at all about the branding to appreciate the full effect, but the underlying concepts are cool and it actually works. Budweiser currently has the full retail price of this fridge at $599, but is making it available on their website for a significantly more reasonable $299 for a limited time.

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter

29 Comments
  • If it wasn't already a useless piece of over-priced kit, the branding alone would keep this out of my house. Posted via the Android Central App
  • If they removed the branding (Budweiser/Bud-e/Bud Light), I would contemplate purchasing this. Not saying I *would* .. but the chances would, at least, raise from -0.001% to 2.5%
  • Useless overpriced novelty. How hard is it to OPEN your fridge to see how many beers are left. Or you know, just take note of how many are left when you take one like the rest of the world. $600 to not open a fridge door.... wow... Posted via the Android Central App
  • I think a lot of refrigerators are moving towards being "smart" like this one - so it's overpriced, admittedly, but that's kind of the state of how things are in home appliances that aren't "smart" yet. They simply haven't a clue as to how to integrate intelligent features without being a novelty item. lol.
  • Would much rather have a Synek machine so I could enjoy my favorite draft beer from virtually anywhere in the world. Posted via the AC beta app
  • I would like this but ya bud light is nowhere near my thing. Nothing a little vinyl won't fix though. at 300 it may be worth it as a toy that also holds beer
  • I mean, spray paint anyone? Sloths>Leopards>Bags of Chips>Humans.
  • +1 Posted via the Android Central App
  • This should be on connectedly. ;-) Aside from that I hate watered down beers and the fact that they feel compelled to think friends needs to see what beer is in the fridge is complete asinine. Maybe it'll convince them to bring real beer. I definitely don't want something with this painted on the side. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Fridge is ok, Bud on the other hand is just piss-beer
  • dbrand that bitch! Bud who? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Dang, One of the few times I wish my Company sold beer!
  • Is this thing running Stock? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nope, it's running much-wiz. Expect a lot of bloat. Posted via the Android Central App
  • That's why you want to wait for the Miller Lite version. More taste, less bloating.
  • Also, does it support quick charge 3.0? Hail Putrid Pile
  • Now I'm thirsty...
  • No microSD, no removable battery? Fuck that. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Is it waterproof though? Posted via the Android Central App
  • The sad thing is that I know people who *will* buy this, and proudly show it off.
  • Shopping for a GadgetWrap to cover up the branding now.
    (Not really, but that was a more fun way to say it.)
  • Wow, this is so Budweiser! On the other side of the pond I'm laughing my nuts off at how dumb yet incredibly awesome this is. Maybe in the US you have really high beer standards (reality check: you don't) and consider Budweiser to be sacrilege. But come on, you can fill it up with any beer. I don't know, I just think this is an awesome idea. LG G4 H818N Dual-SIM on Movistar Spain
  • Reality check for you - come to Michigan and we'll show you what beer standards are all about. Or you could visit Colorado or California - also great beer states - but I have to side with the home team. In any case, the US has the best beer in the world. It's a shame that embarrassments like Budweiser are what the rest of the world think of as American beer, but that's one of the unfortunate, lingering after-effects of Prohibition - the rise of piss-lager (along with a loooong sleep for really good Rye whiskey). But the craft scene is not-so-slowly and very surely turning things around. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Seems like a teenager beer party magnet. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'd get one if it wasn't only available in California
  • A lot of silly features, but not mention of temperature control. A beer fridge must keep the beer at the perfect temperature, below the water freezing point, but just above the beer freezing temperature, which is about 24°F or near -4°C. See below:
    http://www.wired.com/2011/07/beer-froster/
  • The damn thing says Bud Light on it. It's six hundred bucks. For that sort of money you can buy a usable real refrigerator. Or you could buy a small fridge for under $200 and have a fair bit of money left to buy some real beer and not that skeezy piss water. There's my choice.
  • Why no link? I need to know where I can buy this....
  • I think that we're missing the real shortcoming of this thing-- it apparently only holds 18 beers. I don't need Wi-Fi to tell me how many beers are in it, because the answer will always be the same: not enough.