This Samsung small TV is cheap – but should you buy The Frame instead?

Samsung Q50A QLED TV
(Image credit: Samsung)

There’s a new Samsung TV in town, and it looks to bring QLED technology to a cheap and compact size – but is it something of a misfire?

The Samsung Q50A is a 32-inch TV packed with Full HD resolution, and – most importantly – a QLED panel. That latter technology means you’re getting improved color and contrast on a par with the Q60A, though likely not high-end QLED or Neo QLED screens with the lighting systems and processors to really do films and TV shows justice. You’ll even get HDR thrown in too.

A small TV with QLED sounds like a great deal, though it’s curious to see Samsung slap on the same price tag that you’ll get for Samsung The Frame, the lifestyle television designed to look like a picture frame when not in use.

The Q50A retails for £499 in the UK, with a $499 looking US model possible – if yet to be confirmed. That does make it cheaper than the Q60A (which doesn’t get any smaller than a 43-inch size), but it’s the same amount you’d be paying for a 32-inch Frame model too – even more, actually, when you consider that the 32-inch Frame is generally discounted to £399 / $399 these days.

The Frame vs Q50A

The Frame has a number of advantages over a regular, affordable QLED screen. It has a much nicer form factor and the option of various customizable bezels to cater to the style and color of your home decor. The 2021 iteration, too, is just 24.9mm thick – almost half the 45.8mm of the 2020 model.

The Q50A isn’t much thicker at 30.5mm, though it’s stuck with the same-old black bezel found on any low-spec small TV, and lacks the multi-position stand that helps the Frame be pivoted into various positions. 

There looks to be a small boost to audio, with the Q50A featuring Samsung’s OTS Lite technology and two-channel speakers, whereas the Frame makes do with Dolby Digital Plus. There should be an improved soundstage in the former TV, then, though it’s unlikely to win viewers over with this alone.

Considering that The Frame also comes in a 32-inch size, and costs the same amount at launch while managing to be slimmer and more aesthetically pleasing, and with little technical difference, it’s very hard to make any case for the Q50A.

That may well be why the Q50 series skipped a year; while we saw a Q50R occupy a similar position in 2019, there was no Q50T last year, and even this year’s launch we spotted without a big unveiling for Samsung, suggesting it’s not a huge priority area for the company.

For those who want more of a no-frills TV experience, and are intimidated by The Frame’s aesthetic stylings, the Q50A may feel a bit more straightforward. When it comes down to it, though, this set feels needlessly pricey for what it offers, especially when Samsung has a much better alternative already out there.

You can currently buy it at John Lewis, while it seems to be out of stock at Very for the time being.

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.