One of the most interesting smart TVs on the market right now is Samsung’s . It’s less than an inch thick and designed to be hung on a wall. And when you add one of Samsung’s frame-like bezels around the TV (sold separately), takes on the appearance of a . The optional picture frame-like bezels come in a variety of styles and colors to match any room.
When you’re not watching programming on The Frame, it has an Art mode that automatically activates. The screen then displays famous works of art that you preselect. This smart TV has a matte finish, so there’s practically zero glare. It also displays content in high resolution, so the digital artwork when in Art mode looks like real paintings. So this TV does not look like a generic flat-screen model. It becomes part of your home’s decor.
Samsung’s 65-inch The Frame: At a glance
Display type: QLED (non-reflective matte finish) | Resolution: 4K | Refresh rate: 120Hz | Operating System: Tizen | Max. Brightness: 670 nits | HDR Support: HDR10+, HLG | Main Ports: 4x HDMI, 1x Ethernet, 2x USB | Other Key Features: AI upscaling, bezel style/color options, Art mode, Dolby Atmos support, rotates vertically, Samsung Game Hub, support for multiple digital assistants | Overall dimensions: 57.4 x 32.8 x 1 inches (without stand) | Weight: 49.4 pounds (without stand)
Samsung’s The Frame comes in a variety of screen sizes, including 32-, 43-, 50-, 55-, 65-, 75- and 85-inches. All feature QLED technology with beautiful 4K resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. The unique matte finish eliminates unwanted glare. For a while now, The Frame has been the most popular TV among our readers, especially those who don’t like having a large, black rectangle on their wall or taking up space when they’re not watching it.
I got to experience the 65-inch version of this TV in my home. You’re about to discover what my first-hand experience has been like using the TV to watch shows, movies, and sports, as well as play console-based video games and display artwork. So, if you’re as intrigued by the concept of The Frame as I was, keep reading to find out if this smart TV would be a good addition to your home.
Samsung’s The Frame: First impressions
The Frame is powered by Samsung’s own proprietary operating system, called Tizen. When the TV is connected to your home’s Internet via Wi-Fi or an Ethernet cable, it provides easy access to all of your favorite streaming networks and channels. And with its abundance of available ports, connecting a cable box, soundbar (or surround sound system), video game console, or other equipment is very easy.
The TV comes with a remote control that makes finding whatever you want to watch easy. Whenever you’re not actively watching programming on The Frame, that’s when Art mode automatically activates. While the TV offers a handful of free still images and animations that can be displayed (such as a realistic animated fireplace with a relaxing flame), for an additional fee, you can subscribe to Samsung’s Art Store and select from 2,000+ famous paintings and/or artistic images to be displayed.
While in Art mode (which I found works much like a screensaver on a computer), the TV’s motion sensor is used to determine when people are in the room. When there’s at least one person in the room, preselected artwork is displayed. However, when the room is empty, the TV turns off until someone re-enters. From within Settings, The Frame can also be programmed to turn off at night. I’ll focus more on Art mode shortly.
One of the most compelling things about the 65-inch version of The Frame is its thinness. It’s less than one inch thick and designed to be hung flush against a wall. But even when used with its stand, the design of the TV offers a very contemporary aesthetic.
Built into The Frame is a 2.0.2 channel speaker system. It generates up to 40 watts of audio using Dolby Sound. On its own, these speakers are powerful enough to fill a room with clear and rich sounding audio. However, as with any large-screen TV, I recommend adding aor complete to make the audio from whatever you’re watching sound much more like an immersive cinematic experience.
Samsung’s The Frame: Unboxing
The 65-inch version of The Frame was delivered to my door in a large, relatively thin box. The folks at Samsung clearly put a lot of thought into the packaging. Not only was the TV kept secure, but the design of the box allowed for the main part of the box to be lifted up and off the TV (with the box positioned upright), revealing the entire TV. Thus, it was not necessary for two people to lift the heavy TV out of the box.
In addition to coming with a wall mount, The Frame comes with its own stand, so you can position it on almost any flat surface. However, because the TV is so slim, it comes with a separate One Connect Box that plugs into the back of the TV using a single (long) cable. Make sure you take into account where the One Connect Box will be placed (and the location of the nearest electrical outlet) when choosing where you’ll hang or position the TV.
This separate, stand-alone One Connect Box acts as a dock, which ultimately plugs into an electrical outlet for power. It’s where all of the TV’s ports are located. These include four HDMI ports, two USB ports, one Ethernet port, an optical audio port and an RS-232C port. The One Connect Box must be positioned where it’s accessible, if you want to be able to connect and disconnect various devices.
Once the hardware was set up, I powered on the TV and connected it to my home’s Internet. It went through a short initialization process, which involved me setting up a free Samsung online account. Within about five minutes, the TV was ready to begin streaming content from popular services, like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Additional apps for virtually all of the popular streaming networks and channels are available, but many need to be downloaded and installed onto the TV. For example, adding the Paramount+ app and then signing into the service (which I already subscribe to) took less than two minutes, but this only needed to be done once. After that, the Paramount+ all logo began appearing the the TV’s Home screen.
I found the set up process to be well thought out, straightforward and intuitive. A digital assistant’s voice, combined with on-screen directions (which utilize plenty of graphics) are used to walk you through the initial set up process. Once The Frame was ready to use, I started by streaming episodes of “Star Trek: Discovery” to compare the picture quality to the 65-inch 4K TVs from Sony and Hisense that I have in my living room and home office. I’ll focus more on my TV watching experience shortly.
Hanging The Frame on a wall
The Frame is designed to be hung on a wall and comes with a wall mounting kit. If you purchase one of the smaller size TVs, hanging it yourself won’t be a problem. However, if you’re investing in the 65-inch or larger version of The Frame, I recommend choosing the professional installation option. It’s definitely a two-person project that requires some experience working with tools, measuring and making sure you choose a wall with studs capable of holding the weight of the TV.
When you purchase The Frame from Samsung’s website, simply select the Add Professional TV Mounting option ($120) during the checkout process. The mounting kit that comes with the TV can be upgraded to an impressive auto rotating mount ($350). So, when the TV is in Art mode, if any of the artwork you selected was created to be displayed in portrait mode (vertically), as opposed to landscape mode (horizontally), you can simply rotate the TV.
Samsung’s The Frame: The display
When I first learned that The Frame’s display had a matte finish, I worried it would make colors look muted. I also had concerns that any fast-action sequences in movies or sports would not be smooth. I was totally wrong. The matte finish on the screen does a remarkable job removing unwanted glare and presenting a sharp picture regardless of the ambient light in the room.
I set up bright lighting at various angles to see how they impacted the TV’s picture quality. I also opened and closed nearby windows on a bright sunny day to see the impact of natural lighting. The Frame did a much better job dealing with reflections than any other TV I’ve used in my home.
The viewing angle of the TV is also extremely wide, so you don’t need to be sitting directly in front of the screen to see a clear and vivid picture. Someone can be sitting off to the side, up close, or at a distance and still clearly see intricate detail.
One feature I found useful is that the TV can automatically adjust to ambient lighting, so whatever is displayed will always be bright and vibrant. And with multiple viewing modes to choose from, I never had any issues with sluggishness when watching movies, live sports, or playing video games.
Content gets upscaled to 4K resolution using AI
Another thing I quickly noticed that The Frame does well is real-time image upscaling. Since broadcast networks still use 1080p resolution, and not all streamed programming is distributed in native 4K resolution, the TV automatically does an impressive job using AI-based upscaling on whatever you’re watching. This makes the content look as close to 4K quality as possible –- without any delay or sluggishness. This feature just works. There’s nothing to manually turn on or adjust.
The technical aspects of the display
The Frame’s 4K (2,380 x 2,160 pixel) resolution display with its 120Hz refresh rate takes advantage of Quantum dot technology and Quantum HDR to deliver extremely dark blacks, bright whites, and more than one billion accurate colors. The TV also supports HDR10+ and HLG, which automatically come into play when watching compatible content.
From the TV’s Picture Settings menu, you can choose between presets pertaining to the color tone, eye comfort and more. Or, you can tweak settings like brightness, contrast, sharpness, color, tint and white balance. The Game mode (as its name suggests) offers ideal settings for gaming, while Movie mode does a nice job adjusting picture quality when watching movies.
Using the TV’s One Connect Box
Unlike most large, flat screen TVs, the TV itself only has one port. This allows it to sit flush against a wall. A single proprietary cable, that’s rather thin and comes with the TV, is used to connect the TV to the One Connect Box. This is the only cable that plugs into the actual TV.
The stand-alone One Connect Box (which measures 13.7 x 2.6 x 5.4 inches) contains a handful of ports used to connect optional equipment, including a cable box, sound bar, surround sound system, or video game console. The box needs to be placed somewhere within about 15 feet from the TV (the length of the special cable) and within close proximity to an electrical outlet. The One Connect Box provides power and serves as a hub for all equipment you connect to the TV.
Choosing a bezel
Built around The Frame’s 65-inch display is a thin and narrow, black metal bezel. It looks much like what you’d find around any flat-screen TV. One thing that separates The Frame from other TVs is that Samsung offers an impressive selection of six optional bezels that fit around the edge of the screen. These resemble a traditional picture frame. Each Samsung bezel costs $200.
The modern-style frames have a more contemporary appearance, while the beveled options look more traditional. The four pieces that comprise each bezel are magnetic, so they literally click on to the edge of the TV and can be swapped out in just two to three minutes.
If you head over to Amazon and in the search field, type “Samsung The Frame 65-inch bezel,” you’ll discover a handful of third-parties offering bezels in even more styles and colors. These range in price from around $200 to upwards of $700.
Some feature an ornate design that looks like a frame you’d see hanging on the wall in a world-class museum, like this Deco model from the Frame My TV Store ($699) that offers an ornate silver style.
Working with The Frame’s remote control
The Frame comes with a handheld voice remote that’s thin. It has a minimalistic design, but provides a collection of features. For example, it contains a rechargeable battery and a USB Type-C port on the bottom for charging it. However, on the underside of the remote is a small solar panel, so you can recharge it using light simply by turning it over.
With the remote, you can access all of the TV’s features and functions. This includes controlling the TV’s Art mode. I found it easy to adjust picture quality, alter viewing presets, and change the volume. The same remote allows you to change channels, fast forward, pause, play and rewind streaming content. You also get one button access to Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video and Samsung TV Plus. These buttons only work if you subscribe to these services, although Samsung TV Plus is free. Pressing the remote’s Home button gives you access to all other streaming channel apps.
By pressing the microphone button, you can control the TV using voice commands. The remote and TV also support Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, so you’re able to use voice commands to control other smart gear already installed in your home as well.
Samsung’s The Frame: Watching TV
The Tizen OS offers a somewhat busy but intuitive interface that makes it easy to find programming, plus take advantage of smart TV functions for streaming content. What streaming services you subscribe to will determine how cluttered the home screen is. But with a bit of tinkering, much of the display is customizable.
Once you get used to the home screen and remote, finding content, or switching between channels or streaming services, is straightforward. At first, I found the Home screen intimidating, but within an hour or so, this became second nature. I did find that the buttons on the TV’s remote are extremely sensitive. They require minimal pressure to activate.
Keep in mind, once you start using apps to stream programming from specific services or networks, each has its own interface. I found the voice remote comes in handy if you know what you want to watch and simply ask the TV to play it. For example, you can say, “Play ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ on Paramount+” into the remote. The TV will then launch the app and show you the menu of available episodes.
Samsung’s The Frame: Playing video games
When I plugged my Nintendo Switch into the One Connect Box and turned on the gaming system, the TV immediately found it and displayed the Switch’s main menu. I was able to launch whatever games I wanted…and they all looked absolutely fantastic. For example, the color vibrancy and picture detail, along with the smoothness of the graphics when playing “Super Mario Bros. Wonder” was visually amazing. The TV automatically adjusts its settings to showcase the best graphics, based on the ambient lighting in the room.
Built into The Frame is the Game mode. This works with Microsoft’s Xbox gaming service (and other cloud-based gaming services). With a paid subscription, you can play more than 100 popular Xbox games simply by connecting a controller to the TV. You don’t need an Xbox game console. But if you have one, or want to connect a PlayStation or Switch, this is done using an HDMI cable. Gamers will appreciate the overall experience when playing console or even PC-based games and displaying them on The Frame’s beautiful screen.
Samsung’s The Frame: The TV’s Art mode
When The Frame is displaying works of art from Vincent Van Gogh, Dali, Kadinsky, or Monet, for example, I discovered that if you stand more than a foot or two away from the screen, the digital images look like real paintings. In some of the works, you can clearly see the brush strokes and how colors blend together.
Or, instead of viewing famous artwork, you can just as easily set up the TV to showcase your favorite digital photos, or use one of several animated slideshow formats. Upload photos to your Samsung account via the Samsung SmartThings mobile app (that’s logged into the same Samsung account as your TV), or by copying your images onto a USB Type-C flash drive and plugging the drive into the TV’s USB port.
My personal preference is using a USB flash drive to display my own pictures. But I do really like how the SmartThings app running on a smartphone can be used as the TV’s remote control.
10 things I like best about The Frame, after rigorous testing
- The TV itself is extremely thin and mounts flush against a wall (just like a picture frame).
- The Art mode is able to display famous works of art (or your own digital photos) when the TV is not being used to watch programming.
- The TV’s internal motion sensor will turn on the TV and display preselected art whenever someone enters the room, but turn off when the room is empty. You can also set a timer to turn itself off at a specific time at night and then automatically turn back on in the morning.
- The Movie mode does a beautiful job adapting picture quality to showcase blockbuster films the way the director intended them to be seen.
- The Game mode tweaks the TV’s settings to make high-action video games look and perform wonderfully, with virtually zero lag.
- The matte finish of the display eliminates almost all unwanted glare from daylight or artificial light.
- The Tizen operating system offers an intuitive interface for finding and watching the programming you want, when you want it. You get quick and easy access to all of the streaming services you subscribe to from the Home screen.
- If you connect a webcam to the top of the TV, it can be used for video calling with up to 32 people simultaneously via the Google Duo app.
- The selection of optional bezel styles and colors that can surround the TV make it look like a picture hanging on your wall. You can choose a bezel that nicely coordinates with the existing decor in the room where the TV hung.
- Using Samsung GamingHub, with a subscription you can play Xbox games on the Frame without an XBox console, or easily plug any console-based system or your PC into the TV’s One Connect Box.
What I liked least about The Frame
- After the initial two-month free trial, there’s a monthly subscription free to access more than 2,000 famous works of art from Samsung’s Art Store. This is needed if you want to fully use Art mode (unless you’re displaying your own digital photos).
- The price of the TV is slightly higher than many 65-inch TVs from competitors, but these other smart TVs are typically not as thin and don’t have an Art mode.
- The TV offers a lot of customizable options, so you’ll want to invest the time to explore what’s possible and adjust each setting to your liking to get the best overall experience using The Frame.
Samsung’s The Frame: Final thoughts…
Before I got my hands on this TV, I thought Art mode would be gimmicky and the matte display would hamper picture clarity and fluidity. This was a totally false assumption. The Frame is a powerful and feature-packed smart TV that offers visually stunning picture quality and impressive sound. The interface is intuitive and the remote control is easy to use.
Whether you’ll be hanging The Frame on a wall and using an optional bezel to make it look like framed art, or using the TV’s stand with no bezel, you’d be hard pressed to find another TV that’s as thin as this one and that eliminates unwanted reflections.
My only qualm with this TV is the external, stand alone One Connect Box that needs to be connected to the TV and remain accessible if you want to connect other equipment. The cable that connects the TV and box is plenty long, but it may take some effort to avoid excessive cable clutter, and still be able to position, say a soundbar, below the display.
As a general-use TV in your living room or bedroom, the 65-inch version of The Frame will provide the picture quality and features you need to watch any of your favorite content. The design of the TV, especially with Art mode activated, becomes a piece of home decor, not just a generic TV that displays a large black rectangle when it’s not in use.
And if you’re a huge Disney fan, I recommend checking out the 65-inch, limited edition The Frame – Disney 100 Edition, which is only available for a limited time.
Follow these links to purchase The Frame in the size of your choice directly from Samsung.