An extra large television is also an extra large black block in your room when it is not in use. Samsung seems to have thought of this as a problem worth solving and has come up with a solution in the form of its Frame TV range.
But does The Frame TV make sense to everyone? Read on:
Samsung The Frame
As the name suggests, this Samsung TV has been made to resemble a frame. So while it can still go on a stand, the ideal scenario is to hang this television like a frame on a wall, but in such a way that it can be useful as a TV too. However, I have a feeling there will be those who will buy this primarily for use as a frame, and I don’t mean just art galleries.
Because it is meant to be hung like a picture frame, it has the same thickness all across and a frame too that runs across the front bezels to the sides. This also means The Frame is not as thin as some of the televisions we have reviewed recently. That is not what this TV is even attempting to do.
Now, when you hang a TV like a painting some new challenges pop up. For instance, what happens to the wires that go behind, if at all you want to use this as a proper television also. Samsung’s solution is an integrated unit with ports for all the content sources as well as the power cable, which then connects to the TV with a single cable. This box can be kept a few feet away from the TV itself so that it can maintain its gapless mounting. Quite innovative.
Now, to get art on the TV you select the Art Mode and select the painting you want to display. There are a few preloaded but for the best, you will have to buy a Rs 299 monthly subscription that gives you the best from the Monalisa to Van Goghs and Rembrandts thanks to the tie-up Samsung has put in place. If you are buying this TV then the membership is something you must take, otherwise it will be pointless to get this in the first place.
That is because the way the 138cm QLED showcases art is mind-blowing. As you select a painting, it takes a few seconds to load the image. But then you see every detail, for the trained eye, it is as good as being in front of the painting itself. So you can switch to a Monet and sit in your living room staring and thinking about what the painter was thinking as you take in every stroke of the brush, every texture of the canvas and every dash of paint. Also, since you can browse galleries, this TV is almost like an art tour that you bring home. If you love art, then buy this just for paintings, you don’t need the excuse that it has a TV too.
But if you want to watch the telly, then The Frame is also a full-fledged smart television. Samsung has preloaded a bunch of apps from Netflix to Amazon Prime and Apple TV, while you can also browse your photo gallery by syncing the TV and your phone using the Samsung SmartThings feature. In fact, syncing is as easy as taking your Galaxy smartphone near the TV.
The picture quality is very good, as you would expect from a screen that can showcase a painting as it is meant to be viewed at a gallery. The blacks are deep and the brightness is balanced all across the screen. The TV also upscales content to 4K, so you have a similar viewing experience across most of the content you have access to.
The audio quality is good, but not great and you might have to think of investing in a soundbar to take it to the next level. There is an amplify mode which you will need to use to get the volume up a bit, especially when you are focused on the dialogues. The TV does not come with preset audio modes if you were used to these in your earlier televisions.
The remote is quite intuitive and comes with toggles for volume and channels. It takes some getting used to as the same button is used for + and -, you just push it up and down. The TV runs on Samsung’s Tizen UI and when you need to browse, the remote can double up as an air remote too. Plus, you can always use the SmartThings section of your Samsung Phone to control this TV and even move photos and stream stuff from the phone. The UI also showcases the best of what is there to be watched across all the OTT apps installed and makes it easy to find new content and resume what you have left off. However, the navigation is a bit different from what you would be used to otherwise and will take a couple of days to get adjusted to.
📺 The Frame also comes with some unique and interesting features. To start with, this can double up as a PC of sorts when you log in to your Windows365 account on the TV and start using MS Word, Excel and other such products — you will need a Bluetooth keyboard though. In our work from home lives, this is a good way to ensure there is no respite from office.
📺 The other feature I really like is how the TV springs to life when someone walks into the room. This motion-sensing capability means it can save power by going into standby when there is no one admiring the art on the screen.
📺 You can also do a split-screen view on The Frame and watch two things at the same time. This is also a good testament to the processing power of this television.
📺 Then there is an adaptive picture that changes the contrast and brightness as the lighting changes in the room.
Should you buy?
Yes, if you are looking for something to become the centre of attention in your living room, then the Samsung Frame is really worth every buck you pay for it. The television is just an added advantage of what is actually a piece of art. If you are looking from a regular TV for your bedroom or as a second or third screen at home, then this might not make much sense. Since there is a premium to be paid, which a price tag of Rs 84,990 for the 55-inch model I reviewed, is better that you make full use of all the features. Samsung The Frame is a great screen, a good TV and a conversation starter for sure.
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