Samsung's Latest 'The Frame' TV is More Or Less The Same, And That's Fine
Despite a few new features, Samsung is launching its 2018 refresh of The Frame but sometimes it's hard to improve on something that feels so polished.
When we first heard about The Frame, we were confused. Could it really take place of a work of art while still placed appropriately for a TV? Then we gazed upon The Frame at IFA in Berlin where it was proudly displayed as an art gallery. Fast forward one week later, we saw The Frame at CEDIA showcasing it as a beautiful TV. It's not quite fair to call it an identity crisis as The Frame occupies white space that nothing else can touch. It is a form and function far and beyond that of a high-end OLED or any sort of designer contrivance to hide the TV behind a wall or inside a mirror.
All this to say that The Frame really is something entirely unique which begs the question, what could Samsung possibly have updated? Is it possible to build on a nearly perfect product?
Looking at the commonalities, the new TV still has a 4K UHD screen - like the one before it - but upgrades to HDR10+ instead of HDR Pro. New The Frame's will also come with a host of smart features that reflect Samsung's totally unnecessary venture to shove Bixby into relevancy. Yes, transferring password information over Wi-Fi is awesome and being able to control my smart devices from my art frame television is pretty convenient, Samsung has already begun shifting efforts out of Bixby in its flagship line of Galaxy smartphones.
A few main differences with the newest version of The Frame is brand new content on the Samsung Art Store that can now be browsed by the color palette of the room or by the medium it was created in. Need a dark brown oil painting? No problem. Yellow water paint? Sure. Red pointillism? Probably, but don't hold me to that. Art is also added pretty consistently and the recent update brings a lot of very trendy content including the recent addition of more than 30 iconic pieces of photography from The New York Times.
The Frame can also be complemented by four fame bezel colors - white, black, walnut, and beige - although that is nothing new. The nearly invisible cord that hides all of the cable connections as well as creating a zero-gap mount is also not new. Which is good news because it gives confidence to both the integrator and the client that this was a product well polished from the beginning. It's possible that cramming Bixby in might be a small minus, but in the grand scheme of such an incredibly disruptive and impressive product, The Frame can afford a few small flukes and still come out on top.
Samsung is offering The Frame in later this month in 55” ($1,999) and 65” ($2,799) sizes.