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Samsung The Frame (2022) hands on — form finally meets function

The Frame has finally caught up with Samsung’s other 4K QLED TVs

Samsung The Frame 2022 (on right) next to The Frame 2021 (on left).
(Image: © Future)

Early Verdict

This year’s The Frame looks like the best yet. Picture performance rivals Samsung’s other 4K QLED TVs and the anti-reflective coating makes a huge difference in keeping the colors and brightness vivid, even in direct sunlight.

Pros

  • +

    Surprising 4K HDR performance

  • +

    Anti-reflective coating

  • +

    New UI feels more modern

  • +

    Sunlight-charging remote

Cons

  • -

    Requires Samsung account for downloads

  • -

    Weaker audio performance

  • -

    The UI can lag in some Wi-Fi environments

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    As expensive as other flagship TVs

Samsung The Frame (2022) specs

Starting price: $599
Model number: LS03BBFXZA
Screen sizes: 32, 43, 50, 55, 65, 75 and 85 inches
Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160
Ports: 4 HDMI (1 eARC)
HDR: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG
Refresh rate: 120 Hz
Ports: 4 HDMI, 2 USB
Audio: 40W, 2.0.2 channel sound
Smart TV software: Tizen

Full disclosure: For years we’ve told people that Samsung’s The Frame series looked nice on the outside, but really never had the performance of the best Samsung TVs.

That’s because, each year, Samsung’s The Frame was always a step behind Samsung’s other great QLEDs — for example, it didn’t get a quantum dot filter until a year after Samsung’s other 4K TVs. The first models of The Frame didn’t have a 120Hz panel or HDR10+ support, nor game mode.

Now, The Frame 2022 has all those things and a lot more. 

The magnitude of these updates can’t be overstated. Based on some hands-on viewing time, the latest version of The Frame looks like it stands toe-to-toe with some of the TV maker’s other top QLED models — the Samsung QN90B with Neo QLED and Samsung S95B OLED, excluded. 

Tack on niceties like the new anti-reflective coating that keeps colors and brightness vivid, even in direct sunlight, and the new UI, and you’ve got a television that we will definitely be recommending to friends as one of the best TVs in the year ahead. 

Samsung The Frame (2022) price and availability 

Samsung The Frame (2022) is part of the Samsung 2022 TV lineup that also includes models like the S95B OLED, QN90B, QN80B, Q70B and Q60B alongside 8K models like the Samsung QN900B and QN800B. It’s available in stores now.

In terms of pricing, The Frame is a bit on the expensive side — a 32-inch screen size comes in at $599 while the 43-inch is $899. That’s a lot of money to drop on a rather tiny TV. Above that there’s a 50-inch ($1,199), a 55-inch ($1,299) and a 65-inch ($1,799) that feel a bit more appropriate for their price and a 75-inch ($2,799) and 85-inch ($3,999) that feel a bit overpriced for what’s on offer. 

Although the mid-tier models’ prices are the most palatable, they fall in line with other TV maker’s top models — like the LG C2 OLED. That means you’ll be put in a tough spot when deciding between the two. Samsung is clearly offering a lot more in terms of customization and design — especially for folks forced to deal with lots of ambient light in the room — but TV purists might still want to consider the C2 OLED for the best possible contrast.

Samsung The Frame TV (2022)
Model numberSizePriceAvailability
QN32LS03BAFXZA32 inches$599Available now
QN43LS03BAFXZA43 inches$899Available now
QN50LS03BAFXZA50 inches$1,199Available now
QN55LS03BAFXZA55 inches$1,299Available now
QN65LS03BAFXZA65 inches$1,799Available now
QN75LS03BAFXZA75 inches$2,799Available now
QN85LS03BAFXZA85 inches$3,999Available now

Samsung The Frame (2022) design

When the screens are off, it can be difficult to tell Samsung’s 2021 The Frame apart from the 2022 version — they’re pretty much the same in terms of design. But that’s not such a bad thing as last year’s model was a fan-favorite.

What you’re really buying The Frame for is the ability to change out the outer black bezel with something that fits your style — and that’s something we continue to see on this year’s model. Besides the standard black bezel that comes with the TV, there are four other options to pick from (Modern Brown, Modern Teak, Beveled Brick Red and Modern White) that should help the TV seamlessly blend in with whatever wall you mount it on.

To that end, you can either wall-mount the TV or attach the two included legs, either option looks great.

The other marquee feature that we’ve already mentioned is the transition from a reflective glossy screen to a matte screen with anti-reflective coating. Against one another in a semi-bright room, The Frame 2022 was substantially clearer and more colorful than last year’s model. It has major implications for the performance you can expect from The Frame, and feels like the biggest upgrade Samsung has made in years on the TV.

Samsung The Frame (2022)  performance

To put The Frame through its paces, we tried both real-world content from an Xbox Series X and test patterns that we measured for the TV’s exact performance numbers. 

Starting off with the test results, The Frame (2022) delivered 569.6777 nits of brightness in a 10% window when set to Dynamic mode and a 1,500:1 contrast ratio. Those numbers are a little low compared to, say, the Samsung QN90B that delivers 2,400-plus nits of brightness, but it’s a lot closer to what we’ve seen in the past from the Samsung Q80 series.

On paper, there’s not a major difference between the lab results from last year’s Samsung The Frame (2021) and this year’s The Frame. The brightness is similar (569 nits this year vs 584 last year) and so is the Rec. 709 gamut (99.7% this year vs 99.9% last year).

But the instruments we use for testing don’t measure how well those specs hold up in different light levels — and that’s where this year’s The Frame really shines.

Samsung The Frame 2022 (on right) next to The Frame 2021 (on left).

(Image credit: Future)

Playing Hades on The Frame (2022) was a surprising experience. Going into it, we expected colors to look dull and input latency to be an issue — thankfully, neither preconceptions were true: its colors looked on par with anything we’ve seen from the Q80 or Q70 series. 

Similarly, its peak brightness — while on the low side for any of the best QLED TVs from Samsung — felt more than adequate to make the game look great, and the TV held its performance in direct sunlight, something we couldn’t say about previous models.

Samsung The Frame (2022) audio

If there’s one area in which Samsung’s The Frame still lags behind the competition, it's sound quality. What’s on offer here is fine, but it’s still not great. 

That’s because the Frame uses a 40W, 2.0.2 channel sound system. That’s more powerful than some ultra-budget TVs that only use two 10W drivers, but it’s a step down from other Samsung TVs that use a 4.2.2 60W system. The result is a loss of lower-end audio. We didn’t hear much of the bass-heavy soundtrack while playing Hades and the explosions in Halo didn’t have much oomph. 

We’ll need to continue testing The Frame in different living room setups to see how it fares, but based on our initial testing, it does appear to be a real soft spot for an otherwise good TV. You could always pair it with one of the best soundbars, but that might distract from the effect.

Samsung The Frame (2022) interface and remote

The latest version of The Frame uses Samsung’s newest Tizen smart platform — which, so far, isn’t a huge upgrade from previous versions. The latest version of Tizen has a tile design and a left-hand navigation bar, helping it feel a lot more modern than before. The tiles can represent streaming services or content from various services, making it easy to simply turn on the TV and jump back into your favorite show or movie.

The bad news? You’ll always need to return to the home screen to select something else.

Navigating back to the home screen from whatever you’re watching wouldn’t be so problematic if it were a bit smoother and faster to do so — sadly, that wasn’t our experience. Moving from one source to another took a few seconds and even something as simple as changing the picture settings required you to go all the way back to the home screen to change. We’re hoping that some of that will be fixed in the future via software updates, and for now we’ll have to reserve final judgment until we can test it at home.

As for the remote, well, we’re still pretty pleased with Samsung’s solar-powered remote control — it can be a bit finicky getting the IR blaster lined up, but overall it’s a sleek remote that will reduce the amount of batteries going into garbage cans.

Samsung The Frame (2022) outlook

Despite some minor hiccups with the smart platform and audio performance, we’re still genuinely excited about Samsung’s The Frame (2022). It finally has the specs it needs to compete with some of Samsung’s other QLED TV models, but with a completely unique aesthetic. Overall price is still a big concern here — the TV isn’t exactly cheap — and charging $100 extra for the proprietary bezels can feel a bit like extortion. Still, if you want something stylish that can stand up to direct sunlight, The Frame looks like a solid option. 

Nick Pino heads up the TV and AV verticals at Tom's Guide and covers everything from OLED TVs to the latest wireless headphones. He was formerly the Senior Editor, TV and AV at TechRadar (Tom's Guide's sister site) and has previously written for GamesRadar, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade. Not sure which TV you should buy? Drop him an email or tweet him on Twitter and he can help you out.