It’s hard to believe Samsung’s new, matte The Frame is actually a TV

Not everyone cares about the absolute best TV specs or impeccable picture quality. It turns out that there are a lot of people who hate having a traditional TV – this ugly black rectangle – disrupting the atmosphere and decor of their living room. Those are the same people who made Samsung’s The Frame TV such a huge hit. I have relatives and colleagues who have all bought The Frame over the past year because it disguises so well as a work of art when not in use. You can adjust the edges of the TV and switch between different options to get exactly the look you want when it hangs on your wall.

However, some of those people would soon wish they had waited a little longer to buy. Because before 2022 Samsung has introduced a matte display which reduces glare and works of art exhibited by The Frame look almost like a canvas. I recently had a chance to check out the matte frame and compare it side by side with last year’s model, and while the older frame by no means had a “glossy” screen, the difference was quite remarkable. It was to the point where I wondered if I was looking at a real TV set and had to get up close and hunt for pixels. They were indeed there.

Samsung’s 2021 The Frame (left) compared to the matte 2022 edition (right).

The new frame still has the same customizable edges and now available in more sizes, ranging from 43 inches ($999.99) to an 85-inch giant over $4,000. They all have a 4K resolution. If you care about gaming, stick with 55in and up as you’ll lose the smooth 120Hz refresh rate as you go smaller. The TV’s ports are still separated in a partitioned box that connects to The Frame with a thin cable.

The Frame still offers customizable borders made from materials such as wood.

Yes, there are pixels. This is in fact a television.

But that matte screen is the star of the show. Samsung’s art store has thousands of pieces to choose from, and the artwork looks more real and compelling than ever before. The effect is supported by The Frame’s ability (in Ambient Mode) to optimize both the screen’s brightness and white balance for any room and environment it’s in.

That said, I’m curious if switching to a more matte finish will affect the TV’s brightness and sharpness. Samsung told me it doesn’t expect major compromises, but I suspect The Frame can’t compete with the new OLED or the company’s latest Mini LED TVs in terms of picture quality when you actually watch content. Perhaps the target market for The Frame doesn’t care much either.

The benefits of the matte screen are even more apparent when viewed from an angle.

Even putting that question aside, The Frame still isn’t the most impressive TV on paper: there’s no local dimming at all, which is definitely a bummer at these prices. But it does support 4K gaming at 120Hz, so… could it get any worse? The Frame is essentially a good enough TV that looks much more stylish than any of its competitors. My LG OLED has an art mode, but no one takes it for a framed print. Samsung owns this market so far.

Personally, I’m someone who can put up with a regular TV in my living room and would take an OLED set over The Frame every time. But for the contingent of customers who simply refuse to go that way, the 2022 edition of Samsung’s wall art TV is an impressive feat, and I look forward to reviewing it in the coming weeks.

Photography by Chris Welch / The Verge

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