Samsung’s The Frame TV 2022 is the perfect blend of style and technology. A 4K QLED television with a swappable, snap-on picture frame and the ability to exhibit all types of art on an ingenious anti-glare display, The Frame is like a tangible sigh of relief for anyone who despises staring at a big blank screen in the middle of their room.
Undeniably Samsung’s most popular lifestyle TV, I’d guess The Frame has saved more than a few marriages. Because let’s face it, as screens have gotten bigger, technology cheaper and home theater set-ups more mainstream, especially during the pandemic, more of us have been forced to swap decor for entertainment. So, Samsung asks, why not have your TV double as a stunning piece of art?
Though I’ve had more than a few chances to see and play with The Frame in person, I wanted to get a real-life feel for the TV, including choosing the bezel, installation and of course, use case. To help me out, Samsung sent me a big, beautiful 65-inch iteration to my Brooklyn apartment and I’ve spent the last few weeks reviewing it.
Is The Frame 2022 worth all the hype? Indeed it is. Here’s what you need to know before you pull the trigger on this innovative and artful television.
What we loved
Since it was introduced, The Frame charmed me at every Samsung event. Yet, for years, I couldn’t imagine purchasing it for my home. I thought it was too expensive, or too flashy, or too complicated. Yet, as TVs started getting bigger, and pricier, and just better all-around, I began to consider this “reach” technology as more attainable. And then I saw The Frame 2022 at Samsung’s April event, and that was it. I had to have one.
The biggest, and most jarring, difference between the 2021 The Frame TV and the 2022 model is the revolutionary matte, anti-glare coating on the 2022’s display. And because Samsung showed the two televisions head-to-head at the spring event, the upgrade was obvious and undeniable. Now that it’s in my home, however, I’m a complete convert.
Here’s my journey.
Easy installation and a clean setup
After choosing The Frame 2022 on Samsung’s website, the first thing you need to do is decide on a size and a bezel. Though it would be replacing the 55-inch TV that was holding court in the center of our living room wall unit, I decided to throw caution aside and chose the 65-inch model, which I would mount right on the wall. After fevered measurement, I was assured that this would snugly fit in that same space.
Choosing the bezel, which helps make the TV look like a real picture frame, was a little more fraught, though Samsung did remind me that even if I didn’t love my choice, it’s super simple to snap it off and switch it out. A black bezel is included for free, but if you want the Modern Brown, Modern Teak, Modern White or Beveled Brick Red, you’ll have to add another $100. Since my built-in bookcases are all white, I saw no problem with upgrading to the matching Modern White bezel, especially since the black bezel looks entirely too close to the edges of most other TVs.
When the TV arrived, I booked an installer. And though The Frame comes with its own Slim Fit Wall Mount, it runs bulky, so I chose a smaller one to make sure it fit precisely in the more crowded space I chose to hang it. If you are placing it on an unencumbered wall or in an area with enough space to spare, you should have no problem using the included hardware.
It only took one person and about 45 minutes to get The Frame 2022 on the wall and the installer first showed me how to snap the bezels on and off (he was not shy about how many of his clients choose The Frame, so he was familiar with the details). Another interesting component of The Frame 2022 is the one-two punch of the Slim One Connect Box and One Invisible Connection, which lets you connect the TV with just one cable, then stash the box and all those extra cables away from prying eyes. For me, it was inside our media cabinet, which also hides the cable box and wireless subwoofer for my Samsung Q900 soundbar. I also paid a little extra for external cord concealment of that single cord, which, once it was fully mounted, made an inordinate difference.
Once the whole thing was set up, the change it made in my decor was astounding. Even before I turned it on, I was looking at a clean, uncluttered space above my media console and a framed, matte screen with white bezels that perfectly matched the paint of my wall unit.
Great picture, but it’s all about the matte coating — and that art
So, here’s the thing about The Frame 2022. The TV itself is a standard QLED 4K display, and it won’t offer the software and picture enhancements of the newest Samsung Neo QLED 4K and 8K TVs. And though we still think the company’s OLED TV, its first in nearly a decade, offers the sharpest contrast and brightest colors of the entire line-up, you aren’t buying The Frame for its advanced picture. It’s more about the design.
This is also where I gush about the unique unparalleled anti-reflective coating, which usurps the semi-glossy screen of the older The Frame models. Not only does it solve my daytime glare problem of being in a corner apartment 13 flights up facing northeast, as well as lightbulb and lamp reflections, but it somehow adds texture to anything being displayed.
And that leads me directly to my favorite part of The Frame 2022 TV: the art. I have always envied people who have extra rooms to use as a TV room or a den. I love the idea of a sitting room where you can have a conversation without a big, black screen watching over you. But, alas, I am a city dweller with just one Great Room, so adjust I must.
With its ability to display museum-quality digital art that looks like the real thing, The Frame is the perfect solution. Samsung has its own Art Store, which you can easily explore right on the TV, though a subscription will cost you $4.99/per month or $49.99/per year. I was a little annoyed that I’d have to pay for yet another subscription (on top of the many streaming channels I’m already carrying for everyone in my family to watch their favorite content), but once I started using it I was hooked. There are over 1,400 different works to choose from and there’s something there for everyone.
Just press the power button once on Samsung’s fly SolarCell Remote, which was announced at CES in January, and you’ll be routed straight to Art Mode on the TV. Here you can browse at your leisure through basic categories like Classic, Modern and Cinemagraph; collections like The Louvre Collection, Spring Collection and Books Depicted in Art; and curations like Earth Day, A Walk at Sunset and Into the Wild.
You can look through curated works from worldwide museums and galleries or simply browse by color. You can stay as elemental as you’d like with Samsung’s recommendations or deep dive into layers of artists and photographers, scenes, styles and timeframes. I found myself spending more time than I thought possible just flicking through different pieces and displaying them on the screen to see how they turned out. You can also save your favorites and if you forget, you’ll always be able to see the last 10 pieces you chose under the Recents category. You can also easily upload your own photos or art using the Samsung Smart View app on your device. They will be stored in the My Collection area along with your favorites and can be easily moved to The Frame.
Once you decide on a piece to display, you can personalize it further with a choice of color and different-sized mattes and even adjust the brightness, though keep in mind that making it too bright robs it of its realistic look.
And, because the entire raison d’etre of The Frame is to keep displaying your art once the TV is off, you’ll want to adjust the settings to your liking. I set the motion detector at low but it can be set at high if you don’t have animals or children running around, and a Night Mode will turn Art Mode off if it doesn’t detect light.
And because The Frame 2022 is also a smart TV, it comes with Samsung’s newest Smart Hub interface, which is indeed an upgrade from its 2021 software and both more comprehensive and easier to navigate. Here you’ll find your streaming apps and Samsung’s built-in TV Plus service, which offers a handful of free live TV channels if you cut the cords from your cable or satellite.
In terms of watching TV and streaming from apps, the QLED 4K delivers deep blacks, vibrant colors and a sharp, overall picture. The matte coating does decrease the brightness slightly overall, but it was worth it to not have to deal with a gnarly glare. The new Smart Hub also let me simply switch from cable to apps, without having to go to settings and click a few extra times like I did with the older software.
What we didn’t like
When it comes to design and decor, there’s not much to dislike with The Frame 2022. After the initial setup, the one thing I had to figure out was why the Art Mode kept turning off as soon as we walked away. After conferring with Samsung, they suggested turning off the Night Mode and setting the timer to Sleep if it doesn’t detect motion for two hours. Though this worked perfectly for us, when I checked the boards on Samsung’s Community, I saw that many users had the same problem, depending on what kind of light comes into their room. The trick here seems to be keeping the Night Mode off at all times.
Another small annoyance is not solely The Frame-related, but with the Smart Hub interface in general. Samsung still does not offer the Peloton app, which means I had to add a stand-alone streaming device just so I could still work out using the TV.
There’s no doubt about it, The Frame 2022 is a home run for anyone looking to add fashion to their function. An attainable lifestyle product that bridges the gap between cutting-edge technology and chic decor, The Frame makes it easy to swap between watching the latest season of Stranger Things and gazing at Van Gogh’s Starry Night.
You may not be getting the highest-end TV technology, which would be the company’s OLED or even its Neo QLED 4K or 8K displays, but it’s the stunning addition of Samsung’s glare-free, matte coating that takes The Frame from mere wishlist to solid purchase. However, if you or someone in your home is a hardcore cinephile or gamer, you may want to forgo the lifestyle edge for something more tech-forward.
And though it’s a little pricey, starting at $599.99 for a 32-inch and going up to $4,299.99 for an 85-inch, it’s not far off the price point of most premium TVs right now, making it the perfect time to consider the upgrade.
Oprah may have been ahead of her time when she placed The Frame on her coveted Favorite Things list back in 2017, but nothing beats the look on people’s faces when they compliment the art hanging in my living room — and I show them it’s the TV.