Samsung’s Frame is a TV meant to look like a piece of art hung on the wall when it’s not turned on. I was impressed with the 2021 version of the Frame when I tested it last year, but it still required a bit of imagination to be convinced it was an actual, dedicated piece of art. This year, however, the 2022 version of the Frame is truly elevated: Its matte display, anti-glare improvements, and Art Mode make the screen useful throughout the entire day.
The Frame TV gains some new software features including an NFT gallery to display your tokens. But beyond its glare reduction and some on-screen tweaks, there’s not too much different compared with the Frame’s 2021 version. If you don’t need, or want, a TV to double as wall art, then you can skip this year’s model. There are cheaper and more technically advanced TVs out there. If a slim, wall-mounted TV that can easily be used to display photos and paintings is of interest, however, the 2022 Frame is probably the one to go in on.
- Fantastic anti-glare technology
- Customizable with additional snap-on edges
- Smart software on the TV felt sluggish
- Nifty NFT app is lackluster at best
Buy at Samsung.
The Best Feature
I tested a 55-inch Frame TV with the standard black bezels. It’s a QLED 4K TV with HDR. It has all the modern smart features that you would expect on a TV, such as downloadable apps, AirPlay and a selectable voice assistant. The TV enticed me to watch multiple shows at once with its split-screen software. But the absolute best thing about this TV is its matte display with anti-reflection technology.
Yes, the matte display is a huge win for bolstering the TV’s Art Mode. It gives the Frame the look of a hand-selected piece of home decor—more than previous models. But, the anti-reflection technology, along with the matte display makes watching shows and movies much more enjoyable in sun-filled rooms, too. My current LG OLED TV looks stunning with vibrant colors and impossibility dark blacks, but it’s hard to see throughout the day because of how it reflects light.
I was blown away when I set up the Frame directly in front of the LG TV; the same angles and lighting conditions yielded no discernible reflections on the Frame. The LG TV looked like a mirror in comparison. I moved the Frame to different locations in my house to view it in various lighting conditions, and the results were all excellent. Even in rooms in which the reflections were minimal, it was much more pleasant to see no hints of objects shining on the screen.
In terms of color, the matte display doesn’t seem to hamper the colors dramatically. There are different preconfigured viewing modes such as Dynamic and Movie that I found to make a difference depending on the content I was watching. While streaming The Force Awakens, the picture in Movie mode was less blown out than it was in Dynamic. Selecting Dynamic was a better fit while playing MLB: The Show on the Nintendo Switch, however.
Even though black and dark colors weren’t as deep and stark on the Frame as they were on my LG OLED, I was still pleased with the visual results. There were few, if any, times that I can remember when the shadows or dark scenes in shows looked gray and washed out. Tweaking the settings should help most people get close to their desired visual preference.
There is a sensor to automatically adjust the brightness and colors of the screen, but I preferred tweaking the settings myself. In the brightest rooms, the sensor was just too finicky and its changes on the screen were too sudden and jarring. Similarly, I didn’t have great luck with the motion sensor that tries to detect if you’re in the room. For some people, the sensor could be helpful, but I only found it a bit frustrating.
NFT Gallery and More
TThe software on the 2022 Frame is different from 2021’s model. The layout is different, and the same apps aren’t available. The most notable example is probably the Nifty app for showcasing NFTs you’ve bought through the platform. Samsung touted this feature when it announced this new TV at the beginning of the year. I didn’t see any compelling tokenized experience. It would be more useful if Samsung had partnered with OpenSea for NFT owners, but as of now, it’s still not really easy to display your owned NFTs.
On the 2021 Frame TV, I found the Art Mode to be the slow and sluggish part of the overall experience. I didn’t notice the same thing on the 2022 version. Moving through artwork felt natural and without delays. When I was moving throughout the other parts of the TV’s interface, I did notice slight delays that became frustrating over time. Once while I was watching a baseball game with the MLB app, my clicking the settings button on the remote resulted in the app’s freezing and then crashing. I would recommend getting a Roku or Apple TV for all your streaming needs.
The 2022 Frame still comes with the Slim One Connect box. It’s worth mentioning how great this feature is. One very thin opaque cable connects a box of ports to the back of the TV. This cable also provides power. Instead of needing to reach behind the TV to plug in HDMI cables, I was able to access this Slim One Connect box easily in my entertainment center. There might be circumstances in which not having the HDMI ports directly on the TV might be a hassle, but in all my testing and uses I’ve come to find it helpful rather than an annoyance.
Should You Buy Samsung’s Frame (2022)?
For the last decade, I’ve focused on the listed specs of new TVs to see which ones had the latest capabilities. There hasn’t been much utility offered in televisions beyond the visual appearance of the panel. That’s what led me to my current LG OLED TV. It’s fantastic-looking—when I can see it. Its glossy display makes it reflective from all angles of the room, so it’s hard to watch shows throughout large stretches of the day.
For the first time, I’m seriously considering trading in an electronic device with higher specs for one with lesser qualifications. The Frame isn’t a slouch when it comes to its visual performance, but it’s also not the most technically advanced. Instead, its matte display and anti-reflection technology are very attractive for my circumstances—and more compelling than I was initially expecting.
Sometimes a TV only fits one location in a room, and if there are uncovered windows or bright lights, you simply have to deal with it. Now the latest version of the Frame provides a solid solution to that problem. Plus it can display photos and paintings when it’s not streaming shows.
Buy at Samsung from $599 (32-inch model).
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