I watched a lot of 1080i and 1080p content upscaled by The Frame, as well as some 4K content (mostly streamed) for good measure. As for setup, I didn't bring my friend, David Abrams from AVICAL, in to do the video calibration but I might later. The reality is that with most TVs these days, especially those in this price range, you don't really need professional calibration as the display is likely 95 percent perfect or better right out of the box as long as you put it in the right picture mode. As an extremist, I might still get a professional calibration down to road just to ensure that Nth degree of performance, but as Andrew Robinson has proved over and over again with his measurements for other TV reviews, the modern delta in performance between out of the box measurements and afull calibration is small and getting smaller every year.
With that said, please do not allow your TV of any variety to be set to "dynamic mode," as it is too cartoony and it hurts the long-term life span of the set. Cinema or Standard modes can be perfect. Subjectively, The Frame looked too dark to my eyes and in my room in the movie mode. Standard was the best stock option to my eyes. But your results may vary based on ambient light levels.
The NFL NFC Championship game on DirecTV looked really good as I watched it in a whole lot of daylight. The Quantum Dot technology kept up with the demands of this fast-moving and vibrantly colorful content. With quick movement going on everywhere, there were few if any motion artifacts, and the zoom-in images were scaled up nicely and looked great.
I fired up some Season One of Breaking Bad in 4K via streaming, and the overall detail was really good. The blacks were very good but not OLED good, just to set your expectations. There is a price to pay with a design-oriented UHD TV like The Frame and this is where it is paid.
Still, a much younger looking Walter looked, well, younger and in this case very believable. I revisited the same few scenes at night with the house lights off and the performance was much better, but still not that inky-dark black that you get from the top performing, non-Frame TVs.
Day-to-day content like CNN, MSNBC, and ESPN looked perfectly good on The Samsung Frame 2019 Edition. Nicole Wallace on MSNBC looked quirky-hot as she always does, but you could see the make-up covered signs of aging under her eyes, which look realistic and alluring on The Frame. While you might want to mute him in the morning, Steven A. Smith and the First Take crew made a very respectable image in the bright light of morning viewing. Like most other higher-end sets, The Samsung Frame looked better with better-made content, even though not everything we watch in the course of any given day lives up to videophile standards. The reality is today that the video scaling in your UHD TV (or in a receiver or preamp) has a lot to do with how much you enjoy your legacy content. Spooling up DVD-Video quality scenes from The Sopranos was enjoyable, but The Frame can't buff them into something that they never were.
The hidden cost and difficulty of installation, due to having to hide the One Connect box, must be mentioned here. Average TV users might be able to stash the box below a set, but then again, why would you pay this kind of money for a set that sells on you on the illusion of not being a TV only to then have to deal with cable clutter?
There is a lot that I like about the remote, but it not being backlit is just a glaring mistake, especially if you aren't replacing it with something more advanced such as a Harmony, a Control4 Neeo, or something like my pending Crestron hard-buttoned channel-surfing remotes.
We covered the issues with the art store in that the menu structure is terrible. The selection of art doesn't warrant access to a month-in and month-out charge to my credit card, either.
Comparison and Competition
Oh boy. One could argue that there is no meaningful competition for the 2019 Edition of The Frame, as there is nothing else like it on the market. You can try to sink a TV into the wall, thus getting it mounted pretty close. You can use, say, a fabric wall to make this look even slicker. But it's still no Frame.
LG and Sony are trying to keep up with The Frame, but Samsung is winning the aesthetics battle in the world of mass-market displays you can buy at Best Buy. That really leaves you with something like B&O, but most of their design-oriented TVs are intended for stand or floor placement rather than wall-mounting.
Samsung's The Frame 2019 Edition is a design as well as a technology statement. It is an excellent but not state-of-the-art UHD television. It is capable of delivering a very, very good image and it looks great doing it. You know whether or not you have a room that demands this level of design excellence, and if you do, you likely also know that no other TV is going to look as good physically on the wall.
Even with the nits that I had to pick here in this review, Samsung deserves a lot of credit for looking outside of the traditional box when it comes to expensive TV design with The Frame. Because they thought differently, I spent differently in my new house and that earned them not just one sale but two.
• Visit the Samsung website for more product information.
• Check out our HDTV Reviews category page to read similar reviews.
• Samsung Releases Bixby-Equipped Sequel to "The Frame" at HomeTheaterReview.com.