Another year, another Samsung The Frame TV. The engineers and taste-makers at Samsung have developed yet another iteration of the long-running Frame series, its lifestyle television that's designed to imitate a picture frame and blend seamlessly with its surroundings.
I’d heard back in early 2021 that a new model was incoming, and it’s been out on the market for a little while too, although the quirks of lockdowns and review schedules have meant I’ve only now seen it in person.
As we reported back in January, the 2021 Frame TV sees Samsung refining its aesthetic vision for the range, with a thinner-than-ever body that's just 24.9mm thick – almost half the 45.8mm of the 2020 model. And it’s hard to stress just how much difference the new, slim form factor makes to Samsung The Frame.
Having recently moved, I’ve been making a flurry of piecemeal decor decisions – deciding where to put chairs, desks, cupboards, paintings or prints – and it’s astonishing to me that Samsung’s designer TV is now actually as slim as the picture frames I’ve been hanging in my new home.
Rather than feeling like a TV fighting with its own size and scale, as past iterations of The Frame could at times, the new 2021 version finally fulfills Samsung's transformative ambition for the product.
The Frame makes use of a magnetic metallic casing to which you can attach customizable outer bezels, allowing you to vary the color, shape and design of your Frame’s, well, frame. If you want a simple white finish, or a more ostentatious design in red, there are a host of options for you to choose from.
And given how easy these bezels are to remove and swap around, you may find that you want a couple of them to vary the look of The Frame throughout the year; fashion trends tend to be seasonal, after all.
It’s that level of customization that allows it to become invisible, blending in with the color of your walls, or the collection of paintings hung in a hallway. You may want to put it pride of place in your living room, dead-on in front of a sofa, but even then it’s possible for The Frame to disappear when needed, showcasing artworks within a decor-appropriate outline.
Playing with perspective
Samsung’s The Frame doesn’t come with the most capable pictures out there; it’s edge-lighting system makes for inconsistent brightness, while skin tones especially can be off – something that's more noticeable with live-action TV shows, rather than the dappled paint of a Van Gogh artwork.
But it’s worth paying attention to the fact that, rather than up the picture quality, Samsung has leant into the things that make the Frame unique, and only improved its unique selling point: a screen for those who want a picture frame rather than a picture powerhouse.
Samsung The Frame TV (2021) starts at $499 / £499 (around AU$800) for a 32-inch size, and is available in sizes up to 75 inches.
- Check out every new Samsung TV coming this year