If you’re after a new Samsung TV, and don’t want to settle for a run-of-the-mill LED display, Samsung’s The Frame TV may be a set worth looking at.
There are plenty of TVs out there, but sometimes you want something to really stand out from the competition. The Frame TV by Samsung is one such TV. With an aesthetic-led design, and a form factor unlike the rest of the Samsung TV range, you can be sure you’re getting something different – and with a QLED panel upgrade, it's come far from its initial 2017 iteration too.
2021 has seen quite a big overhaul to The Frame's design, too, with a vastly slimmer shape, greater bezel customization options, a tripod TV stand, and even the ability to hang it in portrait (for the 43-inch size, at least) or place on a wall-mounted shelf.
We even have pricing for the 2021 model now too, which you can find below, but suffice to say you're paying pretty much the same amount as for last year's model.
But what exactly does The Frame TV do differently – and even if it looks good, is there a downside that might not be apparent at first glance? This guide will run you through everything you need to know about Samsung’s The Frame TV, from the pricing and sizing to the kind of panel technology powering its display.
What is the Samsung The Frame TV?
The Frame TV is one of several Designer TVs from Samsung, along with the style-focused Samsung Serif TV and rotating (yes, you read that right) Samsung Sero TV.
The Frame TV’s design is based on that of a picture frame. That means it goes all out on a thick, metallic casing – quite unlike the zero-bezel appearance of the Samsung Q950TS 8K QLED – which gives the display a firm outline and will be sure to make an impact in your living room.
There’s a number of different coloring options for the frame around the display, too: white, black, brown, beige, burgundy red, and clay beige.
You’ll also be able to make use of Samsung’s Art Mode – a setting for the television that displays artworks, photos, or paintings rather than keeping the screen black when not in use, a bit like a beefed-up smart display. You’re using up a small amount of power, of course, compared to powering the set down properly, but it means your new TV purchase can be calibrated to better match your home decor.
Art Mode can draw on hundreds of artworks from globally-renowned collections too – such as the V&A Museum, the Tate Gallery, and Van Gogh Museum.
The Frame TV can be placed on a counter, but it will likely feel most at home with its No Gap Wall Mount, which will keep the display flush to a wall and help it camouflage better with its surroundings.
Samsung The Frame TV: what sizes are available?
While the 2018 The Frame model only featured three sizes – 43-inch, 55-inch, and 65-inch – that has since expanded with a 49-inch size, as well as the massive 75-inch and miniscule 32-inch sizes for 2020. The 2021 iteration keeps all but the 32-inch sizes, though we could see a smaller version release later in the year.
That makes for a huge amount of variety, meaning The Frame TV is a television that can be catered to your specific living situation. Want a massive screen to put the fear of god into your children? Or a teeny, cutsey display that can fit on a shelf or be easily tidied away? The Frame TV can do it all.
The small size is unusual for such a premium set – as we usually expect second-rate parts for such small TVs. You is a drop in video resolution, from 4K UHD to just Full HD (1080p), though you also won’t really notice on such a compact screen.
We spoke to James Parker, Head of TV Product Management at Samsung Electronics UK, who told us that “24% of people replace their TV for interior related reasons, and so The Frame in 32-inch fills the void in the market for a transferable TV that can fit in with any space regardless of the size.”
Parker added that the smaller size was specifically designed to more “seamlessly blend in with the bedroom decor” compared to other, larger versions of the set. The 32-inch model comes with a Mini One Connect Box for tidying away its (relatively smaller) cables too, as well as a “flexible lean-back stand so the Frame can be watched vertically or horizontally” just like the Samsung Sero TV.
Samsung The Frame TV pricing and offers
The 2021 Samsung The Frame TV will start shipping by April, and we now have US prices for each confirmed screen size.
You'll be paying $999 for a 43-inch size (the same price as the 2020 model), $1,299 for the 50-inch, $1,499 for the 55-inch, and $1,999 for the 65-inch – all largely in line with 2020 prices. The largest 75-inch size, too, is $2,999, a small step up from the $2,799 price tag of the 2020 model.
2020 models are still available though, so it's worth considering them if you want to save a small amount of cash, or are mostly interested in a more compact 32-inch size ($599 / £549 / AU$899).
The remaining 2020 models will cost you $999 / £1,199 / AU$1,559 for the 43-inch, $1,199 for the 50-inch, $1,399 / £1,599 / AU$2,295 for the 55-inch, $1,899 / £2,199 / AU$2,695 for the 65-inch, and $2,799 / £2,499 / AU$3,995 for the 75-inch.
In the US, you can opt for a monthly fee, spread across three years (36 months) through Samsung Financing, rather than a one-off payment – while those of you in Australia can spread the cost across 50 months too. You won’t end up paying any more overall either, making this a smart way to finance your new The Frame TV.
But this is a TV, after all – so what do we make of its picture quality?
Samsung The Frame TV accessories
There are a few accessories to keep in mind when buying Samsung The Frame TV. There are, of course, the customizable bezels to pick the color and design of the literal frame around the display, with more options than ever for the 2021 model. Samsung lists white, black, brown, beige, burgundy red, and clay beige options, but there are also third-party options available.
New for 2021 is a tripod TV stand for those not wanting to wall-mount the set – something matched by the Gallery Stand of the LG G1 OLED.
Also new for this year is My Shelf, a wall-mounted display case of sorts for The Frame, that appears to mimic the shape of the Serif's casing. It also allows some variation in where the TV is placed, whether off-center or in the middle of the accessory.
Samsung The Frame TV review: not the full picture
Samsung Designer TVs like the Frame aren’t often available for a traditional review – given Samsung views them as lifestyle (not technology) purchases, and tries to avoid these sets being compared on the basis of individual specs.
We did get to review the Samsung The Frame TV 2018 model, praising its "gorgeous, burnished metal frame" and aesthetic successes – though the middling picture quality and poor upscaling stopped us from being able to praise it further.
We found that "we had some small but consistent issues with artefacts and blocking when upscaling, especially from SDR, but not at the expense of a generally capable picture. More vivid colors on the end of the spectrum are however wont to cause trouble: the cyan and pink title screen of Killing Eve could lead to some disconcerting flashing and blocking around the letters."
We also said that "The picture comes across best with darker scenes and moodier palettes, more in keeping with the pensive gallery atmosphere of contemplating the paintings in the TV’s Art Store."
It’s clearly an issue Samsung was aware of, with the 2019 and 2020 versions of The Frame TV featuring a QLED panel rather than the 2018 model's backlit LCD.
The QLED panel for the 2019 / 2020 models is absolutely an upgrade, with higher brightness and enhanced contrast – thanks to a metallic quantum dot filter unique to QLED sets – compared to LCDs.
We went on to give the 2020 model four stars, with improved picture quality and better customization compared to its earlier iterations, saying in our review that "Samsung The Frame (2020) is a much better proposition, even if some minor complaints with brightness and off-color images remain."
The main issues should have been addressed, then, and if you're buying Samsung's The Frame TV it's likely for its visuals and artwork focus, rather than getting necessarily the best TV picture out there.
- What is QLED? Samsung's panel tech explained