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Reviewed on Sep 10, 2018

Samsung The Frame 2018 TV REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.3
7.8
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: no price info
7.4
Movies
7.7
TV Shows
7.5
Sports
8.6
Video Games
7.4
HDR Movies
8.2
HDR Gaming
8.3
PC Monitor
Type : LED
Sub-Type
:
VA
Resolution : 4k

The Samsung Frame 2018 is a good 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 a 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.

Test Results
Design 9.0
Picture Quality 7.6
Motion 8.4
Inputs 9.5
Sound Quality 6.2
Smart Features 7.8
Pros
  • Excellent low input lag
  • FreeSync VRR support and Auto Game Mode.
  • Excellent native contrast
Cons
  • Image degrades when viewed at an angle
  • Limited HDR capabilities due to the mediocre HDR Peak Brightness
  1. Update 2/28/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3. Learn more about our versioned test bench system here.

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Test Results

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".

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.

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.

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.

Temperature
Maximum Temperature
:
109 °F (43 °C)
Average Temperature
:
93 °F (34 °C)

The TV gets very warm to the touch along the bottom edge, but this shouldn't cause any issues. The One Connect box gets up to 106 °F (41 °C), which shouldn't cause any issues if it is left in an enclosed space like an audio cabinet.

9.0 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.

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

The Samsung The Frame 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 Local Dimming
Local Dimming
:
No
Backlight
:
Edge

The Samsung LS03 does not have a local dimming feature. The above video is provided for reference only.

7.6 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

Good 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.

6.3 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

Mediocre 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 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 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 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.

7.4 Reflections
Screen Finish
:
Semi-gloss
Total Reflections
:
6.2 %
Indirect Reflections
:
0.5 %

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 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 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 LS03 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 480p Input

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

8.0 720p Input

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

9.0 1080p Input

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

10 4k Input

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

7.9 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 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 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 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 is 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 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.

Pixels
8.5 Response Time
80% Response Time
:
5.5 ms
100% Response Time
:
13.5 ms

The Samsung LS03N has an excellent fast response time, but it is a bit worse than the Samsung Q6FN and NU8000. There is 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 Flicker-Free
Flicker-Free
:
No
PWM Dimming Frequency
:
240 Hz

The Frame 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 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 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.

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

The Frame 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 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 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 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 Variable Refresh Rate
Native Refresh Rate
:
120 Hz (except 43")
Variable Refresh Rate
:
FreeSync (except 43")
4k VRR Maximum
:
60 Hz
4k VRR Minimum
:
48 Hz
1080p VRR Maximum
:
120 Hz
1080p VRR Minimum
:
< 20 Hz
VRR Supported Connectors
:
HDMI

The Frame TV 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.

9.6 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

1440p @ 120 Hz: 8.9 ms

1440p VRR: 6.4 ms

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.

8.8 Supported Resolutions
1080p @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
:
Yes
1080p @ 120 Hz
:
Yes (native support)
1440p @ 60 Hz
:
No
1440p @ 120 Hz
:
Yes (native support)
4k @ 60 Hz
:
Yes
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
:
Yes
4k @ 120 Hz
:
No
8k @ 30 Hz or 24 Hz
:
No
8k @ 60 Hz
:
No

The Frame supports most common resolutions without any issues. Like most premium Samsung TVs we have reviewed this year, it supports 1440p @ 120 Hz but not 1440p @ 60 Hz. Chroma 4:4:4 for PC use is supported, but only when the input label is set to 'PC'. The LS03N should automatically detect when a PC is connected and change the label accordingly.

1080p @ 120 Hz is supported natively in the EDID, great for Xbox One S/X owners.

Input Photos
Total Inputs
HDMI : 4
USB : 3
Digital Optical Audio Out : 1
Analog Audio Out 3.5mm : 0
Analog Audio Out RCA : 0
Component In : 0
Composite In : 0
Tuner (Cable/Ant) : 1
Ethernet : 1
DisplayPort : 0
IR In : 1
SD/SDHC : 0

All of the inputs are on the One Connect box.

Inputs Specifications
HDR10
:
Yes
HDR10+
:
Yes
Dolby Vision
:
No
HLG
:
Yes
3D
:
No
HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwidth
:
Yes (HDMI 1,2,3,4)
HDMI 2.1
:
No
CEC : Yes
HDCP 2.2 : Yes (HDMI 1,2,3,4)
USB 3.0
:
No
Variable Analog Audio Out : No
Wi-Fi Support : Yes (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz)
6.0 Frequency Response
Low-Frequency Extension
:
63.50 Hz
Std. Dev. @ 70
:
4.52 dB
Std. Dev. @ 80
:
5.84 dB
Std. Dev. @ Max
:
8.19 dB
Max
:
86.4 dB SPL
Dynamic Range Compression
:
5.30 dB

The Frame 2018 has an average-at-best frequency response. The LFE (low-frequency extension) of 64Hz is above-average. This means the bass of this TV lacks thump and sub-bass, but has a decent amount of body and punch to it. The response above the LFE point is also decent, which is important for producing clear and understandable dialog, but the overall sound is slightly on the warm side. Unfortunately though, this TV doesn't get very loud and produces noticeably pumping and compression artifacts under heavy loads.

6.7 Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80
:
0.246
Weighted THD @ Max
:
0.458
IMD @ 80
:
8.02 %
IMD @ Max
:
8.61 %

The distortion performance of the Frame is about average. The overall amount of harmonic distortion produced is a bit elevated, but on the upside, there is not big jump in THD at maximum volume.

7.5 Interface
Ease of Use
:
Easy
Smoothness
:
Not Smooth
Time Taken to Select YouTube
:
2 s
Time Taken to Change Backlight
:
6 s
Advanced Options
:
Many

The interface is well organized and easy to navigate through. The Smart Hub is the main interface, and everything has to be accessed through that, but most apps and settings can be accessed within a few button presses. There are some interface issues, including choppy animations and frame drops that have been noticed on all 2018 Samsung TVs.

0 Ad-Free
Ads
:
Yes
Opt-out
:
No
Suggested Content in Home
:
Yes
Opt-out of Suggested Content
:
No

Like all 2018 Samsung TVs, there are ads in the home menu that cannot be disabled. They are not always present, and thankfully they aren't very intrusive.

8.5 Apps and Features
App Selection
:
Many
App Smoothness
:
Average
Cast Capable
:
Yes
USB Drive Playback
:
Yes
USB Drive HDR Playback
:
Yes
HDR in Netflix
:
Yes
HDR in YouTube
:
Yes

The Samsung App store has one of the largest selections available on a TV, perhaps second only to the Google Play Store. Most apps run well without any issues, some are even smoother than the native Samsung apps.

The Frame 2018 has an included Art Mode that can be used to display artwork when the TV is in standby mode. Art Mode will start automatically when you press the power button on the remote. Find out more about this feature here.

8.5 Remote