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Samsung The Frame 2021 TV Review

Tested using Methodology v1.6
Updated Nov 17, 2021 at 02:22 pm
Samsung The Frame 2021 Picture
7.5
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: LG BX OLED
7.1
Movies
Value for price beaten by
: LG BX OLED
7.7
TV Shows
Value for price beaten by
: Samsung QN85A QLED
7.7
Sports
Value for price beaten by
: LG B1 OLED
7.9
Video Games
Value for price beaten by
: LG BX OLED
7.1
HDR Movies
Value for price beaten by
: Vizio OLED 2020
7.8
HDR Gaming
Value for price beaten by
: LG BX OLED
8.2
PC Monitor
Value for price beaten by
: LG B1 OLED
Type LED
Sub-Type
VA
Resolution 4k

The Samsung The Frame 2021 is the successor to the Samsung The Frame 2020, and it's a unique 4k TV with a VA panel and quantum dot technology. Its main selling feature is its unique design, as it's intended to be wall-mounted and can display artwork when you're not using it. Samsung even sells frames for it that make it look like a framed painting when wall-mounted. Its VA panel delivers deep, uniform blacks, making it a great choice for a dark room. It has great peak brightness in SDR and decent reflection handling, so it can handle a bright environment as long as there's no direct sunlight. It has a few great gaming features, including an HDMI 2.1 port for 4k @ 120Hz gaming and variable refresh rate support. Sadly, it has narrow viewing angles, and HDR doesn't add much, as it has no local dimming feature and just okay peak brightness in HDR.

Our Verdict

7.5 Mixed Usage

The Samsung The Frame TV is a good TV overall. It's well-suited for watching TV shows and sports due to its high peak brightness and decent reflection handling. It has a great response time, 120Hz refresh rate, low input lag, and VRR support, making it a good option for gaming and use as a PC monitor. It has a high contrast ratio to produce deep blacks, which is great for watching movies in the dark, but sadly, it lacks local dimming, and it doesn't get very bright in HDR, so highlights don't pop the way they should.

Pros
  • Displays deep blacks.
  • Great response time.
  • Gets bright enough to fight glare.
Cons
  • Narrow viewing angles.
  • Doesn't handle direct reflections well.
7.1 Movies

The Samsung The Frame TV is decent for watching movies. It has an outstanding contrast ratio that makes it a great choice for dark rooms. It upscales lower resolution content without any issues, and it removes judder from all sources. Unfortunately, it doesn't have local dimming, and low frame rate content like movies stutters a bit due to its quick response time.

Pros
  • Displays deep blacks.
  • Upscales lower resolution content without issues.
  • Removes judder from all content.
Cons
  • No local dimming.
  • Stutters a bit in low frame rate content.
7.7 TV Shows

The Samsung The Frame TV is good for watching TV shows. It has decent reflection handling and gets pretty bright, so it can handle bright rooms well, as long as there's no direct sunlight. It upscales lower resolution content without any issue, and it has excellent smart features with plenty of apps available. Unfortunately, it has narrow viewing angles, which isn't ideal if you like walking around while watching.

Pros
  • Gets bright enough to fight glare.
  • Upscales lower resolution content without issues.
  • Excellent interface with lots of apps.
Cons
  • Narrow viewing angles.
  • Doesn't handle direct reflections well.
7.7 Sports

The Samsung The Frame TV is good for watching sports. It has a great response time to deliver a clear image in fast-moving scenes, and it has a black frame insertion feature to further improve motion clarity. It handles reflections decently well and gets bright enough to combat glare. However, it has narrow viewing angles that cause the image to appear washed out when viewed from the side, so it's not the best for watching with a big group of people.

Pros
  • Great response time.
  • Gets bright enough to fight glare.
  • Upscales lower resolution content without issues.
Cons
  • Narrow viewing angles.
  • Doesn't handle direct reflections well.
7.9 Video Games

The Samsung The Frame TV is good for gaming. It has an HDMI 2.1 port, so it supports 4k @ 120Hz gaming from a PC and variable refresh rate technology. It has a great response time to deliver clear motion, and its low input lag makes gaming feel incredibly responsive. It has an outstanding contrast ratio to display deep blacks, making it great for dark rooms, but it doesn't have a local dimming feature to further improve black level. Sadly, 4k @ 120Hz gaming isn't currently working properly from the new consoles.

Pros
  • Displays deep blacks.
  • Great response time.
  • Can display 4k @ 120Hz.
  • VRR support.
Cons
  • No local dimming.
  • Doesn't handle direct reflections well.
7.1 HDR Movies

The Samsung The Frame TV is decent for watching movies in HDR. It has an outstanding contrast ratio and amazing black uniformity, resulting in deep blacks, one of the most important factors in a good HDR experience. Sadly, there's no local dimming feature, and it can't get bright enough for small highlights to stand out the way they should. While HDR does make a noticeable difference on this TV, it's not as good as it should be.

Pros
  • Displays deep blacks.
  • Removes judder from all content.
Cons
  • No local dimming.
  • Stutters a bit in low frame rate content.
  • Not bright enough for a true HDR experience.
7.8 HDR Gaming

The Samsung The Frame TV is good for gaming in HDR, mainly due to its very good gaming performance. It has low input lag and a great response time, resulting in a responsive gaming experience with little blur, and it supports VRR for a nearly tear-free gaming experience. Sadly, HDR doesn't add much, as it can't get bright enough to deliver a true HDR experience, and it doesn't have a local dimming feature.

Pros
  • Displays deep blacks.
  • Great response time.
  • Can display 4k @ 120Hz.
  • VRR support.
Cons
  • No local dimming.
  • Doesn't handle direct reflections well.
  • Not bright enough for a true HDR experience.
8.2 PC Monitor

The Samsung The Frame TV is great for use as a PC monitor. It has low input lag to provide a responsive desktop experience, and it supports most common resolutions as well as chroma 4:4:4. Visibility is good in well-lit rooms due to its decent reflection handling and high peak brightness. However, like most VA panel TVs, it has narrow viewing angles, so the image looks inaccurate at the sides if you sit up close.

Pros
  • Great response time.
  • Supports most common resolutions and chroma 4:4:4.
  • Gets bright enough to fight glare.
Cons
  • Narrow viewing angles.
  • Doesn't handle direct reflections well.
  • 7.5 Mixed Usage
  • 7.1 Movies
  • 7.7 TV Shows
  • 7.7 Sports
  • 7.9 Video Games
  • 7.1 HDR Movies
  • 7.8 HDR Gaming
  • 8.2 PC Monitor
  1. Updated Nov 11, 2021: Updated the firmware and retested the HDMI 2.1 support.
  2. Updated Jun 01, 2021: Fixed a mistake with a subjective score in the 720p Input test.
  3. Updated Apr 15, 2021: Review published.
  4. Updated Apr 09, 2021: Early access published.

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Video

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The Samsung The Frame TV is the Samsung The Frame 2020's successor. It's from Samsung's Lifestyle TV lineup, which includes other models like The Serif, The Terrace, and The Sero. Its unique features make it difficult to compare to other TVs on the market. The closest competitor is the LG G1 OLED Gallery Series TV; however, that's a significantly more expensive OLED TV. Performance-wise, it sits between the Samsung Q60/Q60A QLED and the Samsung Q70/Q70A QLED.

Design
Design
Style
Curved No

The Samsung The Frame's design is very similar to its predecessor, the Samsung The Frame 2020. It still features the One Connect box so that there's only a single cable leading to the TV, but the TV itself is much thinner than the 2020 model, and the feet have been slightly redesigned to allow for height adjustment. The picture shown is with the feet at their lowest position. The borders are customizable. The TV comes with black ones, and you can change them to beige, brown, or white, although you have to purchase them separately and install them yourself.

Design
Stand

The feet aren't reversible, but they're height-adjustable so that you can fit in a soundbar or a flat console like the Xbox Series S without obstructing the screen. They lift the TV by about 3.5 inches. They're very sturdy, and the TV doesn't wobble much. You can also mount the TV on a studio stand, like a painting on an easel, although the stand is sold separately.

Footprint of the 55 inch stand: 35.2" x 9".

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 200x200

The back is plastic and has etched horizontal lines that feel more prominent than on the 2020 model. There are cable management tracks to guide the One Connect cable towards the feet or down the middle. The no-gap wall mount is included.

Design
Borders
Borders 0.43" (1.1 cm)

The borders are slightly thicker than other 2021 Samsung QLED TVs but are still very thin. You can customize the bezels so that they fit in better with your existing decor. However, you have to purchase the white, beige, or brown ones separately, and you have to install them yourself.

Design
Thickness
Max Thickness 1.10" (2.8 cm)

The Samsung The Frame TV is much thinner than the 2020 model, which is great because if you use the included no-gap wall mount, it doesn't protrude as much from the wall, making the TV look more like a piece of art.

8.5
Design
Build Quality

The Samsung The Frame TV's build quality is excellent. It feels well-built overall, and it doesn't flex or wobble much. However, it requires a lot of force to push the plastic piece covering the One Connect port on the TV inwards enough to plug the cable. Also, the borders seem to scratch easily, and they feel loose as if they might fall off. That said, these might be issues that are only present on our unit. If you have this TV and experienced the same issues, let us know in the discussions.

Picture Quality
9.0
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
5,633 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
N/A

The Samsung The Frame has outstanding contrast, resulting in deep blacks when you're in a dark room, as expected for a VA panel. Sadly, there's no local dimming feature to improve contrast. Contrast can vary between individual units, but these results are about what we expect from any VA panel on the market.

8.3
Picture Quality
SDR Brightness
Real Scene Peak Brightness
471 cd/m²
Peak 2% Window
517 cd/m²
Peak 10% Window
520 cd/m²
Peak 25% Window
517 cd/m²
Peak 50% Window
510 cd/m²
Peak 100% Window
510 cd/m²
Sustained 2% Window
513 cd/m²
Sustained 10% Window
518 cd/m²
Sustained 25% Window
515 cd/m²
Sustained 50% Window
508 cd/m²
Sustained 100% Window
508 cd/m²
Automatic Brightness Limiting (ABL)
0.001

The Samsung The Frame TV has impressive SDR brightness. It's very similar to the Samsung The Frame 2020, but small highlights aren't dimmed unnecessarily by the TV's CE dimming (also known as Frame dimming). It's bright enough to overcome glare in most viewing environments, as long as there's no direct sunlight on it.

We measured the SDR brightness after calibration in the 'Movie' Picture Mode with the Color Tone set to 'Warm 2' and Brightness set to max.

If you want a brighter image and don't mind losing a bit of image accuracy, set the Picture Mode to 'Dynamic' and Brightness to max. We reached 590 cd/m² in the 10% window with these settings.

0
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
No
Backlight
Edge

This TV doesn't have a local dimming feature. We still film these videos on the TV, though, so you can compare the backlight performance with a TV that has local dimming.

0
Picture Quality
Local Dimming In Game Mode
Local Dimming
No
Backlight
Edge

This TV doesn't have a local dimming feature. We still film these videos on the TV, though, so you can compare the backlight performance with a TV that has local dimming.

6.8
Picture Quality
HDR Brightness
Real Scene Highlight
503 cd/m²
Peak 2% Window
534 cd/m²
Peak 10% Window
543 cd/m²
Peak 25% Window
542 cd/m²
Peak 50% Window
542 cd/m²
Peak 100% Window
543 cd/m²
Sustained 2% Window
533 cd/m²
Sustained 10% Window
542 cd/m²
Sustained 25% Window
541 cd/m²
Sustained 50% Window
541 cd/m²
Sustained 100% Window
541 cd/m²
Automatic Brightness Limiting (ABL)
0.001

The HDR brightness is okay. It's not quite as bright as the Samsung The Frame 2020, but unlike its predecessor, it's more consistent as there's no dimming in the 2% windows. It's bright enough to bring out some highlights, but not for a true cinematic HDR experience.

We measured the HDR brightness in the 'Movie HDR' Picture Mode with Contrast and Brightness set to max, Color Tone set to 'Warm 2', and all other processing disabled. We reached 633 cd/m² in the 10% window using the 'Dynamic HDR' Picture Mode, with Contrast and Brightness at max, and Contrast Enhancer set to 'High'.

The EOTF follows the target curve well in dark scenes, but bright scenes are over brightened, and the roll-off near the TV's peak brightness isn't at all smooth. If you find HDR content too dim, set Contrast Enhancer to 'High' and ST.2084 to max. These settings result in a much brighter image, as you can see in this EOTF plot.

6.8
Picture Quality
HDR Brightness In Game Mode
Real Scene Highlight
533 cd/m²
Peak 2% Window
245 cd/m²
Peak 10% Window
559 cd/m²
Peak 25% Window
557 cd/m²
Peak 50% Window
557 cd/m²
Peak 100% Window
557 cd/m²
Sustained 2% Window
241 cd/m²
Sustained 10% Window
556 cd/m²
Sustained 25% Window
555 cd/m²
Sustained 50% Window
554 cd/m²
Sustained 100% Window
555 cd/m²
Automatic Brightness Limiting (ABL)
0.053

The HDR brightness in Game Mode is a bit brighter than outside of Game Mode, but there's frame dimming in the 2% windows, which means small highlights in dark scenes appear dimmer. The EOTF doesn't follow the curve as well as outside of Game Mode; all scenes appear darker than they should. If you want to make HDR brighter in Game Mode, set Contrast Enhancer to 'High' and ST.2084 to max.

We measured the HDR brightness in Game Mode with Brightness and Contrast at max, Color Tone set to 'Warm 2', Color Gamut set to 'Auto', and all other processing disabled.

7.7
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
3.005%
50% DSE
0.169%
5% Std. Dev.
0.781%
5% DSE
0.098%

This TV has good overall gray uniformity, but this can vary between individual units. All four sides are a bit darker than the center on our unit, and there's some distracting dirty screen effect in the center. Overall, it's not too bad, but it's noticeable when watching sports.

9.6
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
0.491%
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
N/A

Despite the absence of a local dimming feature, the Samsung The Frame we bought has fantastic black uniformity. There are a few cloudy spots noticeable throughout the screen, but they're hardly noticeable. There's very little blooming around the bright cross at the center of the screen, which is impressive.

5.7
Picture Quality
Viewing Angle
Color Washout
27°
Color Shift
31°
Brightness Loss
33°
Black Level Raise
19°
Gamma Shift
22°

As is expected of most VA panel TVs, this TV has sub-par viewing angles. It's better than the Samsung The Frame 2020, but the image still looks inaccurate when viewed from the side, so it's not ideal for a wide seating arrangement. The 43 and 50 inch models are advertised to have worse viewing angles, but we're not sure by how much.

7.3
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Semi-gloss
Total Reflections
5.3%
Indirect Reflections
0.5%
Calculated Direct Reflections
4.8%

The Samsung The Frame TV has decent reflection handling. It's fine for most viewing environments, but if you have a lot of direct sunlight, it's not bright enough to overcome it.

6.9
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
White Balance dE
3.25
Color dE
4.09
Gamma
1.91
Color Temperature
6,825 K
Picture Mode
Movie
Color Temp Setting
Warm 2
Gamma Setting
2.2

The Samsung The Frame TV has okay accuracy out of the box. Most colors and shades of gray are visibly inaccurate. The color temperature is on the colder side, which gives the image a blueish tint. Gamma doesn't follow the 2.2 target, resulting in most scenes appearing brighter than they should. Note that accuracy varies between units.

9.5
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
White Balance dE
0.66
Color dE
0.78
Gamma
2.21
Color Temperature
6,598 K
White Balance Calibration
20 point
Color Calibration
Yes

After calibration, this TV has exceptional accuracy. Gamma follows our 2.2 target nearly perfectly. There are a few remaining inaccuracies with highly saturated reds and blues, but most people won't notice it. White balance is almost perfect, and the few remaining issues aren't noticeable. Finally, the color temperature is nearly perfect, and the blueish tint that was there out of the box is gone.

You can see our recommended settings here.

8.0
Picture Quality
480p Input

The Samsung The Frame TV upscales 480p content like DVDs well with no issues.

8.0
Picture Quality
720p Input

The Samsung The Frame upscales 720p content, like from cable TV, without any issues or visible artifacts.

9.0
Picture Quality
1080p Input

Upscaling of 1080p content looks almost as good as native 4k.

10
Picture Quality
4k Input

This TV displays native 4k content perfectly. There's a little bit of subpixel dimming causing a crosshatching pattern in the 4k test image, but it's in extremely small areas and difficult to spot.

0
Picture Quality
8k Input

This TV can't display an 8k signal.

Picture Quality
Pixels

The Samsung The Frame TV uses a BGR subpixel layout. This has no noticeable impact on picture quality, but it can cause blurry text in some applications when using the TV as a PC monitor. You can read more about it here.

7.8
Picture Quality
Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
Yes
DCI P3 xy
86.60%
DCI P3 uv
92.77%
Rec 2020 xy
62.90%
Rec 2020 uv
70.12%

The Samsung The Frame has a very good color gamut. It has excellent coverage of the DCI P3 color space used by most current HDR content. Coverage of the wider Rec. 2020 color space is mediocre, but it can display a wide color gamut. Sadly, the TV's tone mapping is worse than the Samsung The Frame 2020, especially in the reds, which have a noticeably pink tint.

6.8
Picture Quality
Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
77.8%
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
37.9%
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
57.6%
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
28.0%

The color volume is okay. It mostly has difficulty displaying bright colors due to its limited HDR peak brightness. Despite the high contrast ratio, it can't display dark saturated colors well, either, but this isn't very noticeable.

7.3
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
0.127
Green (Std. Dev.)
0.152
Blue (Std. Dev.)
0.110
Gray (Std. Dev.)
0.132

This TV has decent gradient handling, but there's some noticeable banding. The banding is worse in dark grays, reds, and greens. Enabling Noise Reduction helps reduce banding with low-quality content, but it's not as effective as most of the other Samsung TVs we've tested in 2021. Note that we don't recommend leaving this setting enabled, as it results in a loss of fine details when watching high-quality content.

10
Picture Quality
Temporary Image Retention
IR after 0 min recovery
0.00%
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 are no signs of temporary image retention on our unit, but this can vary. It's rarely an issue with modern TVs, though.

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
8.2
Motion
Response Time
80% Response Time
4.3 ms
100% Response Time
11.8 ms

The response time is great, resulting in very little blur behind fast-moving objects. It's very similar to the Samsung The Frame 2020, but there's less image duplication because its backlight flickers at a much higher frequency than its predecessor. Unfortunately, like most VA panels, dark scenes have a significantly slower response time and more overshoot, resulting in a longer trail behind dark objects, commonly known as black smear.

9.9
Motion
Flicker-Free
Flicker-Free
No
PWM Dimming Frequency
960 Hz

The Samsung The Frame TV uses pulse-width modulation (PWM) to dim the backlight, but it behaves quite differently from the other Samsung TVs we've tested in 2021. It flickers at 960Hz in the 'Movie' Picture Mode, which won't bother most people. It drops to 480Hz in Game Mode and 120Hz in the Dynamic, Natural, Standard, and Filmmaker Picture Mode. It also flickers at 120Hz when Picture Clarity or Game Motion Plus is enabled.

10
Motion
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
Optional BFI
Yes
Min Flicker For 60 fps
60 Hz
60Hz For 60 fps
Yes
120Hz For 120 fps
Yes
Min Flicker for 60 fps in Game Mode
60 Hz

The Samsung The Frame TV has a backlight strobing feature, commonly known as black frame insertion, to improve motion clarity. The timing of the backlight pulse is slightly off, though, causing a slight image duplication in some content. The BFI score is based on the refresh rates that support BFI and doesn't reflect how well the BFI feature actually works.

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

The Samsung The Frame TV can interpolate lower frame rate content up to 120Hz to make motion appear more fluid. To use it, set Picture Clarity to 'On', then adjust the Blur Reduction slider for 60fps content or the Judder Reduction slider for lower frame rate content. It looks okay when enabled, and it doesn't stop interpolating in busy scenes. However, there are a fair amount of artifacts in fast-moving scenes, and even some in quiet scenes.

7.1
Motion
Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
29.9 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
4.9 ms

There's some stutter in low frame rate content due to the TV's relatively quick response time. This is mainly noticeable in slow panning shots when watching movies. If stutter bothers you, enabling motion interpolation may help.

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 Samsung The Frame TV can remove judder from all sources.

9.4
Motion
Variable Refresh Rate
Native Refresh Rate
120 Hz (except 43", 50")
Variable Refresh Rate
Yes (except 43", 50")
HDMI Forum VRR
Unknown
FreeSync
Yes
G-SYNC Compatible
No
4k VRR Maximum
120 Hz
4k VRR Minimum
< 20 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 Samsung The Frame TV supports FreeSync variable refresh rate technology to reduce screen tearing when gaming. It doesn't officially support G-SYNC compatibility, although some users have reported that it works. We tried it with our RTX 3070 at 60Hz and 120Hz; there was a lot of tearing in our pendulum demo, but none in Destiny 2. It's similar to the Samsung QN90A QLED's behavior.

Note: The 43 inch and 50 inch models have a 60Hz refresh rate and don't support VRR.

Inputs
9.7
Inputs
Input Lag
1080p @ 60Hz
10.3 ms
1080p @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
89.1 ms
1440p @ 60Hz
9.8 ms
4k @ 60Hz
9.6 ms
4k @ 60Hz + 10-Bit HDR
9.9 ms
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
9.9 ms
4k @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
75.3 ms
4k @ 60Hz With Interpolation
20.7 ms
8k @ 60Hz
N/A
1080p @ 120Hz
5.4 ms
1440p @ 120Hz
5.5 ms
4k @ 120Hz
5.5 ms
8k with VRR
N/A

The Samsung The Frame TV has exceptionally low input lag to provide a responsive gaming or desktop experience. To get the lowest latency, enable Game Mode. Unlike most other brands, Samsung has a motion interpolation feature that's designed for use in 'Game' mode, and it has surprisingly low input lag.

Like the Samsung QN90A QLED, we can't test the input lag with VRR because we're getting incorrect readings of 1 ms, and VRR doesn't seem to be working properly with the RX6800 and RX580 graphics cards. We'll continue to investigate this issue and provide an update. We don't expect the input lag to increase with VRR enabled.

9.6
Inputs
Supported Resolutions
1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
1080p @ 120Hz
Yes (native support)
1440p @ 60Hz
Yes (native support)
1440p @ 120Hz
Yes (native support)
4k @ 60Hz
Yes
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
4k @ 120Hz
Yes (native support)
8k @ 30Hz or 24Hz
No
8k @ 60Hz
No

The Samsung The Frame TV supports most common resolutions. Except for 1440p @ 120Hz, chroma 4:4:4 is displayed properly in any other supported resolution, which is essential for clear text when using the TV as a PC monitor.

Inputs
Advanced Console Compatibility
Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)
Yes
PS5, 4k @ 120Hz + HDR
Yes
PS5, 4k @ 120Hz
Yes
PS5, 4k @ 60Hz + HDR
Yes
PS5, 1440p @ 120Hz
PS5 can't do 1440p
PS5, 1080p @ 120Hz
Yes
PS5, Variable Refresh Rate
PS5 can't do VRR yet
Xbox Series X, 4k @ 120Hz + HDR
Yes
Xbox Series X, 4k @ 120Hz
Yes
Xbox Series X, 4k @ 60Hz + HDR
Yes
Xbox Series X, 1440p @ 120Hz
Yes
Xbox Series X, 1080p @ 120Hz
Yes
Xbox Series X, Variable Refresh Rate
Yes

Update 11/11/2021: We received reports that updating the firmware to version FW 1566 breaks the HDMI 2.1 support. We updated our TV to the latest firmware (FW 1805), and we checked to see if anything changed with the Xbox Series X. Although the TV still supports 40 Gbps bandwidth, we noticed issues where the Xbox was dropping 4k @ 120Hz 10-bit signals in Destiny 2 and War Zone. Even after setting the refresh rate to 60Hz, it would continue to drop the signal. Let us know if you experience the same thing.

The Samsung The Frame has an HDMI 2.1 port and supports up to 4k @ 120Hz with HDR on the PS5 and Xbox Series X, but there are some issues with the Xbox with the latest firmware update. It has an Auto Low Latency Mode that enables Game Mode when a game is launched from a compatible device. To use it, set Game Mode to 'Auto'. Like many 2021 Samsung TVs, there's now a Game Bar that shows current game settings like input lag, VRR, and HDR.

Inputs
Inputs Specifications
HDR10
Yes
HDR10+
Yes
Dolby Vision
No
HLG
Yes
HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwidth
Yes (HDMI 1,2,3,4)
HDMI 2.1 Class Bandwidth
Yes (HDMI 4)
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)

Update 11/11/2021: We received reports that updating the firmware to version FW 1566 breaks the HDMI 2.1 support. We updated our TV to the latest firmware (FW 1805), and we checked to see which resolutions it supports. It still works with 4k @ 120Hz signals with proper chroma 4:4:4, and any other HDMI 2.1 signal from our PC, like 4k @ 120Hz with 10 and 12-bit color depth. We also confirmed it still supports 40 Gbps bandwidth, as you can see here. However, there were issues with 4k @ 120Hz HDR games from the Xbox Series X, which is explained in the Advanced Console Compatibility section.

Inputs
Input Photos

Unlike most Samsung TVs released in the U.S., the inputs and power supply for the Samsung The Frame are housed in an external One Connect box. A combined fiber optic and power cable is used to send power and the signals to the TV, making it easier to keep a clean setup when the TV is wall-mounted.

Inputs
Total Inputs
HDMI 4
USB 2
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 0
SD/SDHC 0
Inputs
Audio Passthrough
ARC
Yes (HDMI 3)
eARC support
Yes
Dolby Atmos via TrueHD via eARC
Yes
DTS:X via DTS-HD MA via eARC
No
5.1 Dolby Digital via ARC
Yes
5.1 DTS via ARC
No
5.1 Dolby Digital via Optical
Yes
5.1 DTS via Optical
No

This TV supports eARC, which means you can pass high-quality, uncompressed audio to an external home theater system over an HDMI connection.

Sound Quality
6.4
Sound Quality
Frequency Response
Low-Frequency Extension
134.54 Hz
Std. Dev. @ 70
3.25 dB
Std. Dev. @ 80
3.74 dB
Std. Dev. @ Max
4.49 dB
Max
87.8 dB SPL
Dynamic Range Compression
3.14 dB

Unfortunately, like most TVs, the Samsung The Frame's built-in speakers are mediocre. The low-frequency extension is very high, so the TV can't produce any thump or rumble in its bass. Above the LFE, the frequency response is well-balanced, resulting in clear dialogue. It gets decently loud, but there's a bit of compression at max volume.

6.8
Sound Quality
Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80
0.822
Weighted THD @ Max
3.017
IMD @ 80
1.71%
IMD @ Max
2.97%

The distortion performance is okay. The amount of harmonic distortion is very low at moderate volume levels, but it increases when nearing max volume. That said, some people may not hear it, and it depends on the content.

Smart Features
8.5
Smart Features
Interface
Smart OS Tizen
Version 2021
Ease of Use
Easy
Smoothness
Very Smooth
Time Taken to Select YouTube
2 s
Time Taken to Change Backlight
5 s
Advanced Options
Many

The Samsung The Frame TV has a great smart interface. It runs Samsung's proprietary smart interface, known as Tizen. It's very smooth and easy to use, and it has a huge selection of streaming apps.

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

Unfortunately, like most TVs on the market, there are ads on the home screen and in the app store, and you can't disable them.

8.5
Smart Features
Apps and Features
App Selection
Great
App Smoothness
Very Smooth
Cast Capable
Yes
USB Drive Playback
Yes
USB Drive HDR Playback
Yes
HDR in Netflix
Yes
HDR in YouTube
Yes

Samsung content store has a huge selection of streaming apps, so you're sure to find your favorite streaming service. Like its predecessor, the highlight feature is its Art Mode, which displays artwork or photos when the TV isn't in use. You can learn more about it here.

8.5
Smart Features
Remote
Size
Small
Voice Control
Many Features
CEC Menu Control
Yes
Other Smart Features
Yes
Remote App Samsung SmartThings

Like other 2021 Samsung QLED TVs, the remote has been slightly redesigned. It now has a rechargeable battery instead of disposable ones, and you can recharge it through the solar panel on the back or the USB-C port at the bottom, but it doesn't come with a charger or cable. It has a built-in microphone for voice control, which you can use to change inputs, launch apps, or adjust a few settings on the TV. Unfortunately, it can't search within apps for specific content.

Smart Features
TV Controls

There's a single button on the right backside of the TV. It lets you turn the TV On/Off, change the channel, the input, and adjust the volume.

Smart Features
In The Box

  • Power cable
  • Remote control
  • One Connect cable
  • No-gap wall mount hardware
  • Cable management hooks
  • User guide
Not Shown:
  • One Connect Box

Smart Features
Misc
Power Consumption 57 W
Power Consumption (Max) 161 W
Firmware 1066

The power consumption in Art Mode is 63.2 W.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

We tested the 55 inch Samsung The Frame 2021 (QN55LS03AAFXZA), and we expect the results to be valid for the 65 inch, 75 inch, and 85 inch models. The 43 inch and 50 inch models have a 60Hz refresh rate and don't support a variable refresh rate, but most of our results should still be valid for those sizes.

Size US Model Short Model Code Refresh Rate Variable Refresh Rate
43" QN43LS03AAFXZA QN43LS03A 60Hz No
50" QN50LS03AAFXZA QN50LS03A 60Hz No
55" QN55LS03AAFXZA QN55LS03A 120Hz Yes
65" QN65LS03AAFXZA QN65LS03A 120Hz Yes
75" QN75LS03AAFXZA QN75LS03A 120Hz Yes
85" QN85LS03AAFXZA  QN85LS03A  120Hz Yes

If you come across a different type of panel or your Samsung The Frame doesn't correspond to our review, let us know, and we'll update the review. Note that some tests, like gray uniformity, may vary between units.

Our unit was manufactured in February 2021; you can see the label here.

Compared To Other TVs

The Samsung The Frame is a good TV overall with a unique design. However, unless you need its Art Mode feature and customizable bezels, there are much better TVs in its price range, like the Samsung QN85A QLED.

For more options, check out our recommendations for the best 4k TVs, the best QLED TVs, and the best 4k HDR TVs.

LG GX OLED
55" 65" 77"

The LG GX OLED is much better than the Samsung The Frame 2021 for most uses. The LG is OLED, while the Samsung uses a VA panel. The LG has better picture quality due to its near-infinite contrast ratio, and because it doesn't require a backlight, there's no blooming around bright objects. It also has wider viewing angles and better reflection handling. However, it doesn't get very bright, which means that if you tend to watch TV in a well-lit room, the Samsung might be a better choice. The LG has significantly faster response times to deliver a clearer image in fast-moving scenes, but it also stutters more in low frame rate content like movies. Both TVs have a 120Hz refresh rate and HDMI 2.1 support. The LG is compatible with NVIDIA's G-SYNC, whereas the Samsung isn't.

Samsung Q70/Q70A QLED
55" 65" 75" 85"

The Samsung The Frame 2021 and the Samsung Q70/Q70A QLED perform very similarly overall. The Q70A edges out the Frame slightly because it has a better contrast ratio and higher peak brightness. That said, the Frame might be a better choice if you want a clean setup because it has the One Connect Box, and it comes with a no-gap wall mount.

Samsung The Frame 2020
32" 43" 50" 55" 65" 75"

The Samsung The Frame 2021 is the successor to the Samsung The Frame 2020. They perform similarly for the most part; however, the 2020 model has a much higher contrast ratio and a better color gamut. The 2021 model has slightly better response times, and its backlight flickers at a much higher frequency, resulting in less image duplication in fast-moving content. Although both TVs support HDMI 2.1, only the 2021 model supports 4k @ 120Hz with HDR on the PS5.

Samsung Q80/Q80T QLED
49" 50" 55" 65" 75" 85"

The Samsung Q80/Q80T QLED and the Samsung The Frame 2021 are very similar, but the Q80T is better for most uses. The Q80T has wider viewing angles because it has the 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer. Its contrast isn't as good as the Frame 2021's, but it has a full-array local dimming feature to improve black level, which the Frame 2021 lacks. It has a better color gamut and volume to display a wider range of colors in HDR content, and it also gets brighter to make highlights pop. While both TVs have a 120Hz and HDMI 2.1 support, the Q80T has quicker response times.

Samsung Q60/Q60T QLED
43" 50" 55" 58" 65" 75" 82" 85"

The Samsung The Frame 2021 and the Samsung Q60/Q60T QLED are very similar overall. The main differences are that the Frame 2021 has a 120Hz refresh rate, much quicker response times, and VRR support, making it better for gaming. Also, its backlight flickers at a higher frequency, so there's less image duplication than on the Q60T. The Q60T has a higher contrast ratio to display deeper blacks, but it doesn't get as bright and has some frame dimming that isn't present on the Frame 2021, which means small objects in dark scenes tend to look dimmer.

Sony X900H
55" 65" 75" 85"

The Sony X900H is better than the Samsung The Frame 2021 overall, especially for watching movies and HDR content. It's because it has a full-array local dimming feature, gets a bit brighter in HDR, and its gradient handling is much better. It has a slightly better response time than the Samsung, but its input lag is higher. Unlike the Sony, the Samsung doesn't support Dolby Vision; it supports HDR10+ instead.

Hisense H9G
55" 65"

The Hisense H9G is much better than the Samsung The Frame 2021 for most uses. The Hisense has a higher contrast ratio, full-array local dimming, and a wider color gamut. It also has better reflection handling and gets significantly brighter. Its response time is faster, but unlike the Samsung, it's limited to a 60Hz refresh rate at 4k because it doesn't have any HDMI 2.1 ports. The Samsung has lower input lag, and it supports VRR to reduce screen tearing.

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