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Samsung The Frame 2018 TV Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Updated Sep 10, 2018 at 09:24 am
Samsung The Frame 2018 Picture
7.3
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
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7.1
Movies
Value for price beaten by
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7.3
TV Shows
Value for price beaten by
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7.2
Sports
Value for price beaten by
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8.0
Video Games
Value for price beaten by
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6.9
HDR Movies
Value for price beaten by
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7.7
HDR Gaming
Value for price beaten by
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7.6
PC Monitor
Value for price beaten by
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This TV was replaced by the Samsung The Frame 2019
Type LED
Sub-Type
VA
Resolution 4k

The Samsung Frame 2018 is a decent LCD TV with excellent gaming features and a unique design. The Frame is designed to look like a piece of art when wall-mounted, and the bezel can be changed to match any decor. Unfortunately, this feature won't be able to live up to its potential due to the poor viewing angles. It has excellent low input lag and fast response time, plus it supports FreeSync VRR, making this a great TV for Xbox One owners.

Note that this is a different TV to the 2017 Frame (Samsung model LS003). The 2018 Samsung Frame can be identified by the model number LS03N.

Our Verdict

7.3 Mixed Usage

Samsung The Frame 2018 is a decent TV for mixed usage. It has a fast response time, excellent low input lag, and excellent gaming features. It can display a wide color gamut, but unfortunately, it can't get very bright in HDR and lacks a local dimming feature, so the effect of HDR is somewhat subdued. It has poor viewing angles, so it isn't well suited for a wide living room.

Pros
  • Excellent native contrast
  • Good response time.
  • Decent SDR peak brightness.
Cons
  • Poor viewing angles.
  • Limited HDR capabilities due to the mediocre HDR Peak Brightness
7.1 Movies

The Frame 2018 is a decent TV for watching movies in a dark room. It has an excellent native contrast ratio and excellent black uniformity, but unfortunately, it lacks a local dimming feature. It doesn't stutter too much in lower frame rate content and it can remove judder from all 24p sources. There's some backlight flicker that may be bothersome to some people.

Pros
  • Excellent native contrast
Cons
  • No local dimming.
7.3 TV Shows

The Frame 2018 is a decent TV for watching shows during the daytime, but it doesn't perform well in a wide, bright room. The poor viewing angles limit you to a direct viewing position, and it can't get bright enough to overcome glare despite the good reflection handling. Older content is upscaled without any obvious issues, and the motion interpolation feature can increase the frame rate to help motion appear smoother.

Pros
  • Good gray uniformity.
  • Decent SDR peak brightness.
Cons
  • Poor viewing angles.
7.2 Sports

The Frame 2018 is a decent TV for watching sports by yourself, but not a great choice for having a group of friends over for the big game, as the viewing angles are poor. Motion looks good with very little blur, and there isn't much noticeable dirty screen effect, so the playing field looks uniform.

Pros
  • Good response time.
  • Good gray uniformity.
  • Decent SDR peak brightness.
Cons
  • Poor viewing angles.
8.0 Video Games

The Frame 2018 is a great TV for playing video games. It has excellent low input lag, and fast-moving objects are clear with very little motion blur. It has some great gaming features, including 'Game' mode motion interpolation, support for FreeSync VRR, and auto game mode. It also has native support for 1440p @ 120 Hz, great for Xbox One S/X gaming.

Pros
  • Excellent low input lag.
  • FreeSync VRR support.
  • Excellent native contrast
  • Good response time.
Cons
6.9 HDR Movies

The Frame 2018 is a decent TV for watching movies in HDR. It has a very good wide color gamut, but only decent color volume, as it can't produce very bright colors. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a local dimming feature, and it doesn't get very bright in HDR, so the effect will be somewhat limited.

Pros
  • Excellent native contrast
Cons
  • Limited HDR capabilities due to the mediocre HDR Peak Brightness
  • No local dimming.
7.7 HDR Gaming

The Frame 2018 is a good TV for HDR Gaming, mainly due to the SDR gaming features, as HDR doesn't add much. It can display a wide gamut of colors, but it can't get very bright in HDR and doesn't have a local dimming feature. It has excellent low input lag and fast response time, and it supports FreeSync VRR.

Pros
  • Excellent low input lag.
  • FreeSync VRR support.
  • Excellent native contrast
  • Good response time.
Cons
  • Limited HDR capabilities due to the mediocre HDR Peak Brightness
  • No local dimming.
7.6 PC Monitor

The Frame 2018 is a good TV for use as a PC monitor. It can display most common resolutions without any issues, and it can properly display chroma 4:4:4. It has excellent low input lag and fast response time. Unfortunately, it has poor viewing angles, so it is best enjoyed from directly in front, and not too close as the sides of the screen appear darker.

Pros
  • Excellent low input lag.
  • Good response time.
Cons
  • Poor viewing angles.
  • 7.3 Mixed Usage
  • 7.1 Movies
  • 7.3 TV Shows
  • 7.2 Sports
  • 8.0 Video Games
  • 6.9 HDR Movies
  • 7.7 HDR Gaming
  • 7.6 PC Monitor
  1. Update 5/21/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.5.
  2. Update 2/21/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.
  3. Update 2/28/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.

Test Results

Design
9.0
Design
Style
Curved No

The Samsung The Frame 2018 has an excellent, modern design that should fit well in any decor. The bezel around the TV is quite thick, but this is intentional, and the available bezel kits allow you to match the TV's frame to any room design, from modern white metal to a classic walnut finish. It can be wall mounted, either using a standard VESA mount or using the included 'No-Gap' wall mount, in which case the TV should sit perfectly flush with the wall.

Design
Stand

The stand is very simple, similar to that of the Q9FN. It supports the TV well with very little wobble, but it is nearly the same width as the TV.

Footprint of the 55" stand: 7.9" x 40.2".

The One Connect box measures 5.2" x 15.4".

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 400x400

The back of the Frame 2018 is very similar to most 2018 premium Samsung TVs. There are two panels that have to be removed to attach either the included 'No-Gap' wall mount or a standard VESA mount. The vents for heat dissipation are around the edges of the TV, this is to ensure they don't get blocked when wall-mounted.

Design
Borders
Borders 0.47" (1.2 cm)

The bezel around the Samsung 2018 Frame can be changed. A black bezel is included, and there are three other bezels that are sold separately.

55":

Due to the frame system, the borders of the Frame TV appear bulkier than the rest of Samsung's lineup.

Design
Thickness
Max Thickness 1.85" (4.7 cm)

The TV is of average thickness, and almost perfectly uniform. This is by design, as when mounted using the included 'No-Gap' wall mount, the TV sits flush against the wall.

9.0
Design
Build Quality

Excellent build quality. There is some flex in the bezel on the sides, so care should be taken when moving the TV. The TV feels very well built.

Picture Quality
9.1
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
6008 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
N/A

The Frame 2018 has an excellent native contrast ratio, great for dark room viewing as blacks appear black. Unfortunately, there is no local dimming feature so the contrast cannot be further improved.

0
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
No
Backlight
Edge

The Frame 2018 doesn't have a local dimming feature. The above video is provided for reference only.

6.9
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
326 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
173 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
324 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
321 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
320 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
320 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
172 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
322 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
320 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
320 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
319 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.041

Decent peak brightness with SDR content. It is slightly brighter than the NU7300. The brightness remains consistent across window sizes, except for the 2% which is dimmed by the TV's CE (frame) dimming. This behavior is similar to other 2018 Samsungs that use CE dimming, including the NU7300 and NU6900.

5.6
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
351 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
239 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
312 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
314 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
313 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
313 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
235 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
311 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
313 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
313 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
313 cd/m²
HDR ABL
0.043

Sub-par peak brightness in HDR. The Frame TV is not bright enough for small highlights in some scenes to stand out in HDR. The brightness is consistent across most window sizes, but the small 2% window is dimmed by Samsung's CE (frame) dimming algorithms.

If you find HDR content too dim, see our recommendations here.

7.8
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
2.804 %
50% DSE
0.148 %
5% Std. Dev.
1.655 %
5% DSE
0.115 %

Good gray uniformity. There are some darker areas around the center of the screen and on the sides, but not enough to bother most people. In darker scenes, the uniformity is better, but there is noticeable backlight bleed in the corners.

5.2
Picture Quality
Viewing Angle
Color Washout
22 °
Color Shift
21 °
Brightness Loss
30 °
Black Level Raise
18 °
Gamma Shift
17 °

The Frame 2018 has poor viewing angles that are typical for VA panels. When viewing at an angle the image gets noticeably darker and colors get washed out.

These results are disappointing, as they hinder the performance of the Frame's ambient mode feature to show artwork.

8.6
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
0.744 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
N/A

The Samsung LS03N has excellent black uniformity. Some backlight bleed is visible near the corners of the screen, and this could bother some people when viewing dark scenes in a perfectly dark room.

6.9
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Semi-gloss
Total Reflections
6.2 %
Indirect Reflections
0.5 %
Calculated Direct Reflections
5.7 %

Decent reflection handling, slightly worse than the NU8000. The semi-gloss finish doesn't diffuse direct reflections very well, so it isn't as well suited for a bright room.

7.9
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
White Balance dE
3.01
Color dE
2.23
Gamma
2.15
Color Temperature
6080 K
Picture Mode
Movie
Color Temp Setting
Warm 2
Gamma Setting
2

Decent color and white accuracy out of the box. The white balance dE is very high, so whites don't quite appear white, and color accuracy is borderline, but most people won't notice it. The color temperature is a bit warmer than our target of 6500 K. As with most Samsung TVs, the most accurate Picture Mode is 'Movie'. Gamma is very high and does not follow the target at all.

9.6
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
White Balance dE
0.22
Color dE
0.88
Gamma
2.20
Color Temperature
6585 K
White Balance Calibration
20 point
Color Calibration
Yes
Auto-Calibration Function
No

Post calibration, the Frame 2018's color accuracy is nearly perfect. White balance dE is extremely low, and colors are beyond the point that anyone will be able to tell the difference. Gamma follows the target almost perfectly; there is only a nearly imperceptible dip in brightness with a 90% stimulus.

Calibration was done with 100% windows instead of our standard 18%, as Samsung TVs are less consistent with smaller windows. This has been the case with many 2018 Samsung TVs.

You can see our recommended settings here.

8.0
Picture Quality
480p Input

480p content from older devices including DVDs is displayed without any obvious artifacts or issues.

8.0
Picture Quality
720p Input

720p content from older content or game consoles is displayed well without any obvious artifacts.

9.0
Picture Quality
1080p Input

1080p content from Blu-rays or game consoles looks almost as good as native 4k.

10
Picture Quality
4k Input

4k content is displayed perfectly. There are no obvious issues.

0
Picture Quality
8k Input

The Frame 2018 can't display an 8k signal.

Picture Quality
Pixels
7.9
Picture Quality
Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
Yes
DCI P3 xy
86.88 %
DCI P3 uv
92.64 %
Rec 2020 xy
63.79 %
Rec 2020 uv
71.25 %

Good wide color gamut, very similar to the NU8000/NU8500. The EOTF does not accurately follow our target, and almost all scenes are dimmer than they should be. The PC and Game EOTFs are slightly better, but still display most scenes dimmer than they should.

If you find HDR content too dim, setting Contrast Enhancer to 'High' increases the overall brightness, as shown here. Adjusting the 'Gamma' results in no measurable improvement in HDR brightness.

You can see our recommended settings for HDR here.

6.8
Picture Quality
Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
77.5 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
25.3 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
58.3 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
18.9 %

Decent color volume, slightly worse than the NU8000. It can't produce bright colors across the entire gamut, and can't produce some dark colors very well.

7.8
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
0.111 dE
Green (Std. Dev.)
0.123 dE
Blue (Std. Dev.)
0.093 dE
Gray (Std. Dev.)
0.125 dE

The Frame 2018 has good gradient handling, but there is banding visible in most dark colors. Greens and grays perform the worst. Enabling Digital Clean View can help to reduce banding, but will result in the loss of some fine details.

9.8
Picture Quality
Temporary Image Retention
IR after 0 min recovery
0.09 %
IR after 2 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 4 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 6 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 8 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 10 min recovery
0.00 %

There's no significant image retention on the Frame 2018. The test image is visible immediately after being displayed for 10 minutes, but it disappeared entirely within 2 minutes.

Although temporary image retention on VA panels is rare, it isn't unheard of. The Sony X940E, X900E, and Samsung NU6900 show similar signs of image retention.

10
Picture Quality
Permanent Burn-In Risk
Permanent Burn-In Risk
No

We don't expect VA panels to experience permanent image retention, as the VA panel in our long-term test appears immune.

Motion
7.7
Motion
Response Time
80% Response Time
5.5 ms
100% Response Time
13.5 ms

The Frame 2018's response time is good, but it's a bit worse than the Samsung Q6FN and NU8000. There's a short motion trail visible behind fast moving objects, and the backlight flicker causes some visible duplications in motion, although this shouldn't bother most people.

6.0
Motion
Flicker-Free
Flicker-Free
No
PWM Dimming Frequency
240 Hz

The Frame 2018 uses PWM to dim the backlight, so there is flicker at all Backlight settings except 50. The 240 Hz flicker frequency shouldn't bother most people, but in some viewing conditions it could be noticeable, and it causes duplications in motion, as seen in the motion blur picture.

Unlike other Samsung TVs that we have reviewed in 2018 like the Q6FN, the backlight flicker does not change with different Auto Motion Plus settings.

9.2
Motion
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
Optional BFI
Yes
Min Flicker for 60 fps
60 Hz
60 Hz for 60 fps
Yes
120 Hz for 120 fps
Yes
Min Flicker for 60 fps in Game Mode
120 Hz

The Frame 2018 can reduce the backlight flicker frequency to improve motion clarity at the cost of some brightness. It can reduce the flicker as low as 60 Hz in normal viewing modes, and as low as 120 Hz within 'Game' mode.

If BFI is enabled with a 1080p @ 120 Hz source outside of 'Game' mode, there is currently a bug which causes severe flicker, rendering the TV unwatchable. In 'Game' mode there is no issue.

BFI can be enabled on the UN55LS03N by setting Auto Motion Plus to 'Custom', and enabling the LED Clear Motion option.

Motion
Motion Interpolation
Motion Interpolation (30 fps)
Yes
Motion Interpolation (60 fps)
Yes

The Frame 2018 TV can interpolate lower frame rate content to increase the frame rate as high as 120 fps in order to improve motion smoothness. This introduces a motion effect known as the 'Soap Opera Effect', which might bother some people.

In scenes with more motion the LS03 will show more and more artifacts until it eventually stops interpolating.

New in some 2018 Samsung TVs is a Game Motion Plus mode. This a new motion interpolation feature explicitly for gaming that doesn't introduce as much input lag.

Motion Interpolation can be enabled by setting Auto Motion Plus to 'Custom', and adjusting the two sliders. The Judder Reduction slider affects 24 fps content, and the Blur Reduction slider affects 60 fps content.

Note: The 43" Frame does not support motion interpolation.

7.4
Motion
Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
28.2 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
3.2 ms

There is some stutter visible when watching 24p videos, like a Blu-ray, especially in wide, panning landscape scenes.

10
Motion
24p Judder
Judder-Free 24p
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60p
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60i
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via Native Apps
Yes

The Frame 2018 is able to remove judder from all 24p sources. To remove judder, set Auto Motion Plus to 'Custom', and set the Judder Reduction and Blur Reduction sliders to '0'.

8.2
Motion
Variable Refresh Rate
Native Refresh Rate
120 Hz (except 43")
Variable Refresh Rate
Yes
HDMI Forum VRR
Yes
FreeSync
Yes
G-SYNC Compatible
No
4k VRR Maximum
60 Hz
4k VRR Minimum
48 Hz
1080p VRR Maximum
120 Hz
1080p VRR Minimum
< 20 Hz
1440p VRR Maximum
120 Hz
1440p VRR Minimum
< 20 Hz
VRR Supported Connectors
HDMI

The Frame 2018 supports FreeSync Variable Refresh Rate technology. This works with a compatible PC graphics card or with an Xbox One S/X. There are two VRR modes: 'Ultimate' and 'Basic'. 'Ultimate' provides the widest range, but may have compatibility issues with some games.

Note: The 43" model does not support VRR.

Inputs
8.6
Inputs
Input Lag
1080p @ 60 Hz
15.4 ms
1080p @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
71.6 ms
1440p @ 60 Hz
N/A
4k @ 60 Hz
15.4 ms
4k @ 60 Hz + 10 bit HDR
15.5 ms
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
15.8 ms
4k @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
55.0 ms
4k @ 60 Hz With Interpolation
28.7 ms
8k @ 60 Hz
N/A
1080p @ 120 Hz
9.3 ms
1440p @ 120 Hz
8.9 ms
4k @ 120 Hz
N/A
1080p with Variable Refresh Rate
6.2 ms
1440p with VRR
6.4 ms
4k with VRR
15.3 ms
8k with VRR
N/A
Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)
Yes

Excellent low input lag, similar to the Q6FN. Even with 'Game' mode interpolation enabled the input lag is low enough for all but the most competitive gamers. Input lag is extremely low with VRR.

If you want an even lower input lag, check out the Samsung The Frame 2020.

8.8
Inputs
Supported Resolutions
1080p @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
1080p @ 120 Hz
Yes (native support)
1440p @ 60 Hz