Samsung The Frame TV review

Samsung's Frame TV has an improved panel and better HDMI specifications, a significant improvement over its predecessors. It is still expensive, but its artistic industrial design and customization options make it a unique option for fashionable TV enthusiasts.

Samsung’s The Frame TV is the perfect marriage of style and technology. A 4K QLED TV with an interchangeable frame and the ability to display all kinds of art on a sophisticated anti-glare display. The Frame is a real sigh of relief for all those who hate staring at a big empty screen in the middle of the room. The Frame is undoubtedly Samsung’s most popular lifestyle TV and has certainly saved more than a few marriages. Because, let’s face it, since screens have gotten bigger, technology cheaper, and home theater systems have become mainstream, especially during the pandemic, more and more people have been forced to trade decoration for entertainment.

So why, Samsung asks, should not you turn your TV into a stunning work of art? We have had several opportunities to see and try The Frame in person, and wanted to get a real feel for the TV, including frame choice, installation, and, of course, use. The 65-inch Frame QLED 4K Samsung Smart TV, hereafter referred to as The Frame, is the latest iteration of one of the industry’s boldest experiments: a device that sits somewhere between a traditional TV and an art installation. It’s aimed at those who want to admire and ponder humanity’s greatest paintings and photographs while enjoying digital entertainment in 4K resolution.

It’s designed to appeal to any style, transforming any wall into a Louvre-worthy gallery. As with so many things in life, how well it works is in the eye of the beholder. From my personal perspective, it tries so hard to do multiple things that it doesn’t really pull any of them off well. As a TV, the matte screen and uneven image quality make most videos look just a smidge off; art mode images, on the other hand, look exquisite but are usually expensive and bring unique usability issues. Whether it’s right for you depends on many factors. Ultimately, you don’t need to know much about art, but you do need to know what you like.

Design

We usually separate discussions of design from the TV’s software interface, but The Frame is a slightly different beast in that the two go hand in hand. Here you will find not only information about industrial design, but also some software features that complement the exterior. While many TVs are like a black hole in the living room when they are turned off, the TV Frame is designed to be decorative.

While the ready-to-go set is nothing fancy with its simple black frame, Samsung does offer a range of snap-on bezel pieces, sold separately, that allow the set to fit into a range of decors, from bold color finishes to wood-like frames. When mounted on a wall, these bezels help reinforce the impression that there is a picture on your wall and not a TV.

This works in tandem with Samsung’s Art Mode app. A monthly subscription gives you access to thousands of artworks to view on screen in standby, with collections from galleries like the Louvre and the Van Gogh Museum, and artists from contemporary like Sutianto to classic masters like Monet.

Display

The Samsung The Frame has excellent contrast, resulting in deep blacks when you’re in a dark room, as to be expected for a VA panel. Unfortunately, there is no local dimming function to improve contrast. Contrast can vary between individual units, but these results are roughly in line with what we expect from any VA panel on the market. The Samsung The Frame TV has impressive SDR brightness. It is very similar to the Samsung The Frame 2020, but small highlights are not unnecessarily dimmed by the TV’s CE dimming.

It’s bright enough to overcome glare in most viewing environments as long as it’s not exposed to direct sunlight. We measured the SDR brightness after calibration in the “Film” picture mode with the hue set to “Warm 2” and the maximum brightness. If you want a brighter picture and don’t mind sacrificing some image fidelity, set the picture mode to Dynamic and the brightness to max. With these settings we achieved 590 nits in the 10% window.

Features

The Frame runs a full-fledged intelligent Tizen platform that offers a wide range of streaming options and catch-up TV services. These are accessed via the familiar start bar at the bottom of the screen. The set also features Samsung TV Plus, the brand’s own IP-delivered channel bouquet. Scroll down for an On Now track, plus new and trending movie content and curated shows from iPlayer, Amazon Prime and Apple TV. Samsung has long offered Ambient Mode, which allows the device to double as an info display or JPEG gallery.

It finds an obvious home within The Frame. There’s stylized art and mood-boosting graphics (cards); You can subscribe to a full Art Store service if you really want to display some Pukka artwork. It costs £3.99 / US$5 per month, but you can alternatively upload your own images using the SmartThings app. In addition to Bixby, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, there is compatibility with Apple AirPlay. Other related niceties are Multi View and Mobile Mirroring for better viewing and sharing of smartphone content.

Connectivity

The TV can be wall mounted and that is where it would do its design justice best, but if you put it on a table top it has 2 narrow feet that fit in and hold the TV in place nicely. The feet protrude forward so you might want to scout for space if you plan on placing a soundbar under the TV. Then we have the One Connect Box, which houses all the connectivity options. It connects to the TV with a single, almost invisible cable, making the TV the focal point of your room without being surrounded by wires. The One Connect Box has four HDMI ports, two USB ports, optical, AV and antenna.

The set comes with a pair of widely spaced plug-in feet. There’s an optional tripod studio stand if the included boots don’t have the style required. Connectivity for source components is handled through the One Connect box. This features four HDMIs, digital optical audio output, Ethernet, as well as dual-band WiFi and a CI card slot for areas that require it. A few USB ports are hidden around the corner. There is a choice of terrestrial or satellite tuner. A single connection connects the One Connect box to the screen, an “invisible” fiber optic cable that carries power, network, sound and image.

Audio Quality

Samsung’s The Frame 2021 has 20W audio output for the 43- and 50-inch variants, while the larger screen sizes have 40W audio output. Clear is the best way to describe the audio output from the TV. While you’ll miss the pops and bangs of an action movie, dialogue is easily audible and the background music of most movies and TV shows sounds good.

The speakers can get very loud, but we found that around 40 percent volume yielded loud, room-filling sound. There is a loss of detail at very high volumes, but performance should be okay for the average bedroom. It makes sense to invest in a soundbar with this TV, especially given the eARC connection and support for Dolby Atmos.

Performance

How well does The Frame combine the newfangled technology of television with the old-fashioned, time-tested principles of fine art? To find out, we put it through a test program using a SpectraCal VideoForge Pro pattern generator, an X-Rite i1 Pro spectrophotometer and Calman calibration software from Portrait Displays. With a Delta-E of 2.9961 and 99.7548% coverage of the Rec. 709 color space, The Frame showed accurate and rich colors in Filmmaker mode, which is close to calibration quality.

Brightness was slightly lower, but switching to another mode usually results in a brighter image. The same is true when viewing HDR content, as Filmmaker mode’s maximum brightness increased to 500 nits, which isn’t particularly bright for HDR (the Samsung S959B QD OLED recently reached 1,050 nits and last year’s Sony A80J OLED reached 600 nits), but is more than acceptable in most situations. In terms of HDR colors, The Frame covers 92.1% of the UHDA P3 color space – not bad, but not as good as other devices. There is no support for Dolby Vision, but there is support for HDR10, HDR10+ and HLG.

Price and Availability

The Frame TV range for 2021 is available now. Aside from the 32-inch 1080p model, all other options are 4K resolution. Starting at $599 / £499 for the 32-inch model, 43-inch, 50-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch and 75-inch options are also available, with prices starting at £1,099 / $999 and up to £2,599 / $2,999 for the largest models. While the spec sheet here is worthy, it’s not quite flagship-level, and so you’re paying the premium for The Frame TV’s interior design-friendly looks.

No doubt assuming that a TV as a painting should come in about as many sizes as paintings, Samsung offers a whopping seven different versions of The Frame. Since the 55- to 85-inch models are functionally the same in terms of hardware, we’d expect them to perform similarly to the 65-inch model we’re reviewing. The smaller sets have slightly fewer features, and the 32-inch set tops out at 1,920 x 1,080, but the operating system, user interface, and overall art experience should be the same across all sizes.

Final Words

The 50-inch Samsung The Frame TV has a unique design that will appeal to those who want their TV to blend in with their room’s decor, and the One Connect Box makes cable management a breeze. The TV’s picture quality for content consumption is very good for HDR and SDR content, and Samsung’s Intelligent Picture Mode is good enough that you won’t have to deal with picture presets yourself.

The user interface is smooth and easy to navigate, and even when playing games, the TV can display content well. The HDR calibration for the PS5 is not ideal, but a little tinkering can fix the problem, making the TV suitable for gaming. However, those who want to use the HDMI 2.1 features of the PS5 and Xbox Series X will have to opt for the 55-inch variant or higher, since the 50-inch variant does not have a 120Hz display.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staffhttps://www.bollyinside.com
The Bollyinside editorial staff is made up of tech experts with more than 10 years of experience Led by Sumit Chauhan. We started in 2014 and now Bollyinside is a leading tech resource, offering everything from product reviews and tech guides to marketing tips. Think of us as your go-to tech encyclopedia!

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Samsung's 50-inch The Frame TV has a unique design that will appeal to those who want the TV to blend in with the decor of the room, and the One Connect Box makes cable management a breeze.Samsung The Frame TV review