Samsung’s The Frame QLED 4K TVs are the flagship models of the company’s Lifestyle line. And while that ‘Lifestyle’ tag might imply a lower level of performance, The Frame TVs feature the same Quantum Dot technology responsible for bringing a rich and expanded color gamut to Samsung’s more premium sets.
New for 2022, an anti-glare screen coating has been added to enhance viewers’ enjoyment of the artwork and photos displayed when the TV is in Art Mode – a key feature designed to entice decor-conscious viewers to choose The Frame instead. than the company’s other TVs.
We had the opportunity to tour Samsung’s facilities in Northern New Jersey for a full day hands-on experience with The Frame and several of the company’s other 2022 TVs, including the new S95B QD-OLED model. . As part of the testing deal, Samsung has also provided its The Frame 2021 with the same 65-inch screen size so we can do a side-by-side evaluation of the two sets.
Is Samsung’s The Frame 2022 TV the Lifestyle TV to beat? Based on our first hands-on test, the verdict would appear to be yes.
Price and availability
The 65-inch frame we have to spend some quality time with is part of Samsung’s 2022 TV lineup. Aimed at viewers who prefer to watch artwork or family photos on their wall rather than a large black rectangle when the set is not in use, The Frame is sold in a wide range of screen sizes – from 32 inches all the way up to 85 inches. Suggested retail prices for the new TVs are basically the same as last year’s lineup, which is welcome news in an era of otherwise soaring inflation.
Current prices for The Frame 2022 TVs are listed below. All models are available now.
- The 32-inch frame costs $599 / £699
- The 43-inch frame costs $899 / £1,299 / AU$1,495
- The 50-inch frame costs $1,199 / AU$1,795
- The 55-inch frame costs $1,499 / £1,699 / AU$2,095
- The 65-inch frame costs $1,799 / £2,199 / AU$2,595
- The 75-inch frame costs $2,799 / £3,399 / AU$3,495
- The 85-inch frame costs $3,999 / £4,699 / AU$5,295
Design and features
Frame TVs come with a basic stand for tabletop installation, although most viewers are likely to hang them against the wall, as Samsung intended using the included slim wall mount. A thin black bezel surrounds the screen, but to get the full TV-as-artwork effect, you’ll need to opt for one of the company’s customizable bezels, which are available for an extra charge in seven colors with a modern design. or bevelled.
As mentioned above, Art Mode is a key feature of The Frame TVs. This allows you to display personal photos, a selection of preloaded still images, or one of 1,400 digital artworks available for download from Samsung’s Art Store (a $4.99/month subscription) . The TV’s Matte Display Film finish is very effective at filtering light to eliminate on-screen glare (see photo above), with the end result that photos and illustrations show a much higher degree of detail (the texture of brushstrokes in oil paintings, for example). And while you might think turning your TV on 24/7 to display art is a less than eco-friendly idea, a smart motion sensor that automatically triggers in Art Mode turns on the TV when it detects your presence in the room, and turns it off when you leave.
Beyond Art Mode, The Frame TVs are all LCD models with edge-lit LED backlights, and they use quantum dots to achieve “100% color volume,” according to Samsung. The measurements we performed on site confirmed 99.7% coverage of Rec. 709 color gamut (HDTV), with DCI-P3 coverage (the gamut used for digital cinema and Ultra Blu-ray disc releases) at 92%. Not bad for a Lifestyle TV!
Frame TVs also incorporate Samsung’s Quantum 4K processor and support HDR10, HLG and HDR10+ high dynamic range. As with older Samsung sets, there’s no built-in Dolby Vision support.
While we haven’t had a chance to dig deep with the company’s Tizen Smart TV interface, it does look pretty busy, although a horizontal app strip down the middle of the screen might be filled with favorites for easy navigation using the Samsung remote. Related: Samsung has made great strides in simplifying its remote controls to make them more user-friendly for the average viewer. But the downside here is that someone looking to make regular picture adjustments – a TV reviewer, say – has to dig 10 button presses deep into the set’s menu system to even make minor brightness or contrast adjustments.
When viewing a full screen 100% white test pattern on The Frame, it showed no sign of color tint or brightness drop from the center to the edges of the screen, but instead a white brilliant and perfectly uniform. This bodes well for displaying artwork and photos, which of course will also benefit greatly from the matte finish screen coating when viewing with overhead room lights on and blinds open. . While images looked great when viewed directly, we also noted that brightness uniformity was significantly reduced when viewing beyond +/- 15 degrees from center – a traditional weakness of the technology. LCD display.
Further metrics showed Filmmaker to be the most accurate picture mode when it comes to color reproduction. Peak image brightness (measured on a 10% white window) in this same mode was 307 nits, while Dynamic mode pushed it to 570 nits. To put those numbers into context, you can expect roughly the same peak brightness levels from an average OLED TV, while the best LED-backlit LCD TVs can hit over 2,000 nits.
A final measurement note – this one aimed at gamers: Input lag on our The Frame sample measured a respectable 11.8ms (milliseconds) with a 4K test signal generator and 13.2ms with a source 1080p. (We didn’t have time to play during our session, but it’s also worth noting that a 4K/120Hz video input is supported through the set’s HDMI 4 port.)
Given its relatively modest light output (by LCD standards), it was clear The Frame would look better with movies when the ceiling lights were off and the blinds were drawn, so we continued to watch a few 4K Blu-discs. reference in a dark environment. Opening scenes from the latest James Bond film no time to die which take place in sunny Italy had an overall crisp and clean look. Colors were sufficiently vivid, with natural skin tones and white highlights showing a good level of fine detail. But compared to other brighter Samsung sets we had available to us at the company’s facilities for comparison (a QN90B 4K QLED and the S95B QD-OLED among them), The Frame lacked that last level of visual punch that higher brightness TVs deliver with HDR sources.
More troubling with the movies was The Frame’s handling of dark scenes. Even in Filmmaker Mode, there was a noticeable lack of shadow detail. This was evident when watching relatively dark titles like dune (2021), especially in scenes like the one where Paul Atreides is tested by Reverend Mother Bene Gesserit. Instead of revealing details in the shaded background, we saw a uniform sheet of black. Same thing looking The Batman: Details in the film’s many dark scenes were often obscured, though the occasional flash of color seemed satisfyingly vivid.
Sound quality from The Frame’s 40-watt, 2-channel onboard audio system was passably good, although I didn’t stress it much during use. While the dialogue was clear, connecting to an external soundbar would undoubtedly have improved performance. (Frame TVs come with Samsung’s Q-Symphony feature, which allows one of the company’s soundbars and the set’s speakers to play in unison.) One wireless output Bluetooth offers another option for TV audio support.
Our first hands-on test showed The Frame to be a good overall set for day-to-day TV watching, and particularly impressive for viewing artwork and photos – Samsung’s main design guideline for this category in its Lifestyle range. Add one of the company’s optional ‘frames’, hang it on the wall and load up an Old Master and this TV will look almost indistinguishable from a real painting.
- Looking for something else? Check out our guide to the best TVs available right now