There’s no avoiding the fact that TVs are ugly. Engineers have been making them thinner and improving the video picture, but until now, getting them to fit nicely into our home decor has been an afterthought. So when I heard about the new Samsung Frame TV and its integrated design concept, I knew I had to try it.
Review: Samsung Frame TV
The Frame TV is designed to look just like a painting when it’s turned off, hiding a high quality, high resolution 4K TV that switches on with the touch of a button.
The TV is super-thin at just under 2″thick (Actual measurements: 57.2 x 32.7 x 1.7) and comes with a narrow black bezel around it. Different detachable magnetic wood-look frame options are also available.
Installing Samsung Frame TV
In order for this TV to believably be seen as a painting when it’s not showing 4K video, it needs to be properly installed.
The Frame uses what Samsung has called its No Gap Wall Mount. Handily, the two piece mount comes with the TV so there’s no excuses not to put it up properly. The back of the TV hides a recessed panel where half of the mount is secured. (If you want to display the Frame on the included feet or the optional easel stand, you can keep the cover on this panel for a cleaner look.)
The second piece of the mounting hardware gets screwed into the studs. The No Gap mount definitely leaves the TV sitting totally flat against the wall, though you do have the ability to manipulate the screen within a few degrees.
Leave installation to the pros
I was able to have Best Buy’s Geek Squad come and install the Samsung Frame TV for a professional look, and was quite really impressed with their service. The two person crew arrived a few minutes early and called me to make sure that would be ok. They left their shoes outside and wore slippers.
Within minutes they had the TV unboxed and were measuring the area I wanted to TV installed in. Some quick calculations, masking tape markers, and it was lined up at just the right height, centered perfectly. The duo even affixed tiny plastic bags to the wall to catch any drywall dust as they drilled in then screwed the rear bracket to the wall. In about 20 minutes, the TV was on the wall, powered up, the accessories I wanted were connected, and all the cables were nicely wrapped and hidden out of the way.
Connecting components – Invisible Connection
A feature of the Frame TV I like is the Samsung One Connect box and Invisible Connection which means you’ll see almost nothing when it comes to dangling cables.
The One Connect box does come with other Samsung TVs, but with the Frame it makes much more sense.
The clean modernist lines of this TV shouldn’t be cluttered up with a nest of hanging cords and knotted cables. The only cables that you’ll see, if you don’t run them inside your wall, is a small power cord and the Invisible Connection fibre optic cable. That cable runs from the TV to the One Connect box which can be hidden in a closet, cabinet or even in another room. The One Connect Box is how you connect your A/V components like DVD or Bluray players, gaming consoles, sound bar, streaming devices, cable box/DVR and more.
Using the Samsung Frame TV – Art Mode
Art Mode is the major selling feature of this TV. When the TV is not showing 4K video, it hangs out in Art Mode. Here you can choose top quality, high resolution art including paintings, prints or photography that stays on your TV like a screensaver, drawing minimal power.
You can also add your own art and photos or download UHD/4K screensaver art from the web.
With the TV was installed, I picked some art, then sat in front of the screen for a while, and just enjoyed the view. The art mode effect is so realistic; the way the light plays off the screen and the detail of the replicated art is beautiful. It looks like a giant window has been opened in your house.
The free art available from Samsung is high quality and gorgeous, and I found several pieces that worked perfectly for my modernist room style. It’s also possible to get even more art from Samsung. For about $8CAD per month you can get hundreds more photos, paintings and art so you can keep changing your look.
Does the art look fake or glassy on the TV screen? Not at all. There’s no-glare glass so even when you’re standing in front of the screen it looks just like a painting.
Light and motion sensor
A built-in light sensor adjusts the screen’s output throughout the day so the art is always visible accurately. If there’s sunlight streaming in and filling the room, the art adjusts to display it just a bit brighter, but still realistically. At night, there’s no bright screen glow; it adapts to display a toned down version that still looks perfect, and like it fits into the rest of the room.
The addition of a motion sensor is also a smart feature. To save energy, it powers the screen fully off to black, but as soon as the TV detects motion in the room, the art returns quickly.
Using the Samsung Frame TV – 4K TV
With the stunning art mode properties, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact this art portal is also a TV; an Ultra High Resolution 4K TV with built in HDR.
I was able to watch a bunch of movies and TV shows on the Frame:
2017 World Series
Wrinkles, beads of sweat and subtle tics… it’s all there when you’re watching sports in 4K. The level of detail was very impressive.
We’ve been enjoying the second season of this nature documentary series. Here, I saw shades of green I didn’t know existed. Plus the level of detail on animals means you’re seeing individual hairs, and dust in their fur. Stunning.
Without a doubt, 4K TV provides an amazing viewing experience. It’s impossible to accurately explain what seeing this kind of hyper-realistic video is like, but I’ll give it a shot: watching 4K video on the Frame makes me want to reach out and pet the monkeys, catch that fly ball, and otherwise jump up and hop into the screen. It’s a fabulous party for your eyes, and the drinks are on Samsung.
Smart operating system
Streaming is built in to this TV, so you can watch YouTube, Netflix and even surf the web from the TV. You can also connect other streaming devices like Roku, Apple TV or Google Chromecast if you want different content.
One Remote + Voice Control, or use your smartphone
You can control the Frame TV in two ways. Using the small white remote, or your smartphone.
Samsung One Remote with Voice Control
The One Remote has just a few buttons. You can do things like play/pause, and power on/off with a touch. There’s no number keys because this remote has voice control built in. Just talk to the remote and ask for things like “channel 6” while holding the small microphone button and the TV will swap channels for you.
Want to look and see if there’s cute puppy videos on YouTube? Just say “puppy videos, YouTube” to the remote and it will switch from the TV input, to YouTube and perform your search without typing or further commands.
Your smartphone can also be the remote for your TV
Download the Samsung SmartView app and pair up your TV for instant control over the set. You can also tee up apps like Netflix, Amazon Video, The Weather Network, Crave TV and more. In the app, it’s also easy to preview the vast number of art pieces and set them to your Frame too.
I used the Smartview app on both the iPhone 6+ and Samsung’s Galaxy S8+ and both platforms worked perfectly to operate the TV.
Change frames to match your decor
Does the basic black frame that comes on the Frame not quite fit into your room? You can purchase different color wood-style frames (actually made of light metal) for about $200 USD each from Samsung. The frames come in four perfectly-measured pieces which wrap around the Frame TV. They snap on and off in seconds with magnets. The concept is actually super smart.
Overall review of Samsung Frame TV
Normally when I wrap up a review I try to provide balance about what’s great about the product and what could use fixing. I’ve really been struggling to find anything negative to say about Samsung’s Frame TV.
Art Mode is amazing and I would keep it in my living room for this feature alone. The fact that it’s also a beautifully detailed 4K TV is is the cherry on the sundae.
Of course, the 4K/UHD picture is amazingly realistic. With HDR built-in for more accurate color representation and better, more realistic light replication, there’s just nothing bad to say about the Frame’s video picture.
Some YouTube viewers and social media folks asked if I was noticing any burn-in. In the two+ weeks I tested the TV, I have definitley not noticed that, but in my opinion it would take far longer usage before you might see that.
I think the Frame TV is super responsive and switches quickly between modes. The fact that it has smart capabilities and streaming built-in means you don’t need to add any other streaming devices, unless they’re offering content you can only get from them.
Even the basic speaker in the TV is pretty good. If I were going to have this TV permanently installed in my living room, I would definitely take the extra step of getting a proper sound bar for it, but for this use right now, I was actually a little bit impressed at how good it sounded.
Even Samsung’s Smartview app has been improved since my last review with a Samsung TV. It connects quickly and easily every time and I’ve seen no bugs this time around.
I think this TV is such a smart idea. For you home theater junkies there’s the amazing 4K picture, and for the designer/decorator in the home, art mode just makes this TV blend in perfectly. Honestly, I really can’t find a downside to the Samsung Frame TV.
My husband and I have both agreed, the Samsung Frame is going to be our next television. And yes, it’s going right up on the living room wall.