Review: Samsung 55″ The Frame QLED 4K Smart TV
The recent NRL Super Bowl was a great way to bask in the crisp images of Samsung’s The Frame 2021 smart TV’s 3640 x 2160 resolution through its steps, and even on the streamed coverage it looked flawless, from any angle or distance in the room.
But The Frame offers so much more, with its promise to “transform your TV into a piece of art”.
To be honest, when first snapping the edges that comprise the actual frame into place, I thought it was little more than a gimmick, so easily did they lock together over the edges of the display. But after taking a step back and seeing how well they set the televised image I understood it as more than a fancy name.
Sold separately, the frames are designed to complement the style of your home, and are customisable, coming in beige wood, teak, white or brown in the modern variety, as well as white and brick red in a beveled type.
But besides helping set the image, the frame is there to work in unison with the vision when the 4K set is on Art Mode, which turns your home into a gallery by displaying artworks or your photos in brilliant QLED colour – so it’s a TV when you want it, or stunning art to adorn your wall when in standby mode.
Basically, it’s designed to be part of your décor all the time, rather than simply something to entertain you when you’re sitting around.
But it’s totally up to the job of entertaining you, with crisp 4K resolution working very well across action footage, sports and docos, thanks to the Quantum Processor 4K which handles motion stunningly at 200Hz.
So if you’re watching Neighbours on here you’re not just wasting your time, but the Samsung engineers’.
It’s also simple to go from setup with the Auto Device Detection function, to move quickly to streaming, with all of the Samsung smart TV staples available at a snap, plus the addition of Google Duo, which kids are going to love. One thing with all this, though, is that they do seem to take a while to get active.
Even if you’re not mounting the set on the wall for the full frame effect, its thin, flat design leaves it mostly flush against a wall, and the feet rests can be set at different heights to make room for a soundbar beneath it.
Still, the sound it produces itself is impressive, with car racing sounding particularly enthralling, with the 55″ unit large enough to deliver a stereo feel when sound pans from left to right.
Included is Samsung’s Fantastic One Connect box, which connects behind the set via one clear fiber optic cable. It houses all the connections needed for external devices – four HDMI ports, with one eArc compatible, another HDMI 2.1 compatible for 120Hz and VRR gaming play.
There is also an ethernet connection, a CI card slot and two USB ports on the box. Plus, there’s support for terrestrial and satellite tuners, as well as dual-band WiFi and Bluetooth for wireless devices including headphones, keyboards and mice.
The remotes are also cool, with each featuring shortcut buttons for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Samsung TV Plus, the company’s free TV streaming service.
One of the remotes has rubbery volume, playback and channel select buttons, along with a range of other options. The other is more stripped back, featuring only the most common functions. This unit, however, includes a solar panel, so you’ll never have to replace a battery on it.
This television is also pretty cool at mirroring other devices. Just download the PC On TV app to your computer and you can load your desktop to the screen and enjoy keyboard and mouse support.
Meanwhile, the SmartThings app on Android will let you mirror your phone screen, and Apple’s AirPlay content beaming standard is also supported.
Making life even easier, if you have a Samsung Galaxy phone, all you need to do is tap it on the side of the unit to have content shared and mirrored on screen.
Speaking of easier, you can access controls through a range of vocal smart assistants – Bixby, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa – to control The Frame hands-free.
Of course, we’re mainly here for the QLED picture, and it really is crisp, with rich colours thanks to a dual LED backlight system that brings together two colour temperatures to run the best image possible from the quantum dot filter array.
This results in deep black levels, while the backlight ensures there’s no wash out with light leak.
Meanwhile, the Quantum Processor 4K ensures 4K content is unparalleled, though standard def footage is still a treat, and 1080p content comes across acutely.
As for HDR support, it’s impressive with HLG and HDR10+, but unfortunately no Dolby Vision.
Head into the settings section and you’ll find Filmmaker Mode next to Dynamic, Standard, Natural and Movie presets. This is a reference setting arranged by Hollywood film colourists and editors that offers a cinematic option, perfect for those sprawling epics.
There’s also an Intelligent Mode which uses a combo of smart sensors and upscaling tech to fine-tune the audio, picture and brightness to provide the best image for whatever you’re watching.
While the sound on The Frame is certainly livable, thanks to the SpaceFit Sound feature which tests room reverberations to optimize it, to get the full immersive experience, grab a soundbar with Dolby Atmos, as the screen can decode the format.
Weighing in at 16.6kg, the Frame 55″ by Samsung is currently available at JB Hi-Fi and The Good Guys for $1695. There are also 50″, 65″ and 85″ models.
A great unit with excellent 4K QLED vision in a unique package you can customise to bring the most out of wherever you place it.
The frame factor sets this unit apart, but the clarity of the QLED vision really draws you in, and the size gives you a true feel of stereo audio.
The apps take a while to launch, plus the frames are sold separately. There’s also no Dolby Vision.
LINK TO BUY: JB HI-FI
LINK TO BUY: THE GOOD GUYS