The Samsung Frame TV has been getting a ton of hype since it launched back in 2017. With its sleek, minimalist design and ability to display art, it‘s aimed at being more than just your average flatscreen television. But before you get swept up in the Frame TV craze, there are some key downsides to consider.
As your friendly neighborhood tech enthusiast, I‘ve dug into the details so you can make the best choice for your situation. While it has some cool innovations, the Frame TV falls short in a few frustrating ways that could be dealbreakers depending on your needs and expectations.
In my opinion, here are the top nine reasons you may want to avoid the Samsung Frame TV…
1. The custom bezels are stupid expensive
One of the Frame TV’s biggest selling points is how you can customize the look with swappable bezels. However, these stylish bezels cost a small fortune:
- $199 for the 32-inch frame
- $249 for the 43 to 50-inch frame
- $299 for the 55-inch and up
Considering the TV itself starts at $599 for a 32-inch model, tacking on a bezel adds significantly to an already large investment. If you’re more about functionality than looking pretty, the aesthetic appeal of the bezels may not justify draining your wallet.
2. Don‘t expect an audio experience that blows you away
If you’re an audiophile who cares deeply about sound quality, the Frame TV’s built-in speakers probably won’t satisfy. Because it prioritizes thinness for wall mounting, the sound it outputs lacks robustness and depth.
When listening to music or watching action flicks, you’ll really notice the weak audio. Many owners recommend grabbing a soundbar or speakers to compensate. But that’s yet another add-on purchase making this stylish TV even pricier.
3. The art options are super limited out of the box
A huge part of the Frame TV’s appeal is its ability to display curated artwork, photos and designs. But sadly, the built-in library only packs about 150 images. That gets old fast when images rotate, leaving you starved for more variety.
Expanding your art catalog requires coughing up $5 a month for Samsung‘s Art Store subscription. Even then, the selection is no match for the infinite art you can source on the internet. If you want tons of custom images without limits, a digital photo frame could be a better and cheaper art display.
4. You gotta pay monthly for the full art collection
Not only is the onboard art small, Samsung forces you into a $5 per month subscription plan to unlock the rest of the curated Art Store collection. This irked me because art display is such a core feature…yet the TV doesn’t include the full experience out of the box.
Once you get used to the expanded art catalog, it’s tough to downgrade. This essentially “locks you in” to an ongoing fee if you want to keep enjoying the content and features you paid for originally. Not the worst money sink, but still annoying.
5. Professional installation is highly recommended
For that slick, flush wall mount look that really shows off the Frame TV’s thin profile, Samsung says professional installation is a must. On your own, it’s tricky to get the brackets and angle just right without causing damage or losing your warranty.
Pro installation costs around $150-$250 from what I‘ve seen…an aggravating extra expense that really should be optional. If you don’t mind a small gap between the wall and TV, you can DIY it and save the installation fee. But it won’t look nearly as clean.
6. Some users report weird bugs and glitches
On various forums and review sites, a concerning number of people mention bugs like:
- Getting stuck in portrait orientation
- Random powering off in Art Mode
- The video source changing spontaneously
These issues seem to happen randomly and range from annoying to totally disruptive. For a high-priced Samsung TV, quality control flakes like this stand out. And firmware updates don’t always fix them.
7. You gotta crop your own images to avoid ugly edges
To ensure your own photos fit perfectly when displayed on the Frame TV, you’ll need to manually edit and resize them. Samsung gives strict dimensions that images must adhere to, or you risk seeing ugly matte borders around the edges.
Having to meticulously crop and reformat all your chosen pictures is a hassle. It takes time and technical know-how the average person may lack. For a TV marketed heavily as an art showcase, it should handle personal images with less effort on your part.
8. The picture quality disappoints for the price
The Frame TV comes at a premium price but fails to deliver matching picture quality according to experts. At lower prices, limitations like poor black levels, brightness, HDR performance and off-angle viewing may be more forgivable. But with the Frame costing north of $1000 even for smaller sizes, the so-so display leaves a lot to be desired.
For the money, you can find other 4K sets that offer significantly better visuals for movies, games and streaming. Videophiles report being let down by the Frame‘s lack of contrast and color punch.
9. Alternatives give you more value as digital art frames
When evaluating purely as a digital art showcase, the Frame TV has appealing options like the Art Store. But competing products give you greater flexibility, features and art sources at lower prices:
- Samsung‘s own 32-inch smart monitor – Half the price with remote control and full tablet capabilities
- Large format tablets like Samsung‘s 32-inch Viewboard – Endless apps and art resources beyond the Art Store
- Meural digital art frames – More size options, wireless uploading, touch controls
Unless the Frame TV‘s form factor is an absolute must, these alternatives provide compelling digital art and media functionality for your dollar.
The Samsung Frame TV is still an innovative product that rightfully stands out from traditional flatscreen televisions. Its ability to moonlight as a digital art canvas adds legitimate value in the right setting. However, a collection of downsides – some minor, some pretty unpleasant – make me hesitant to universally recommend it, especially at its premium price point.
If the pros outweigh the cons for your specific needs and tastes, go for it! But if you‘re looking for a solid home theater setup first and foremost, more affordable options with fewer compromises exist. My goal isn‘t to condemn the Frame TV outright, but to give you a realistic scoop so you can spend your hard-earned money wisely.
Let me know if any input helps you decide one way or another on this stylish-yet-flawed living room gadget!