Samsung The Frame has become a very popular TV here in the Nordics, and it is probably more for aesthetic reasons than purely technical. Inside, this is a fairly ordinary LCD TV, without groundbreaking technology or groundbreaking picture quality. The design, on the other hand, is gorgeous: With a slim form factor, replaceable frames in different colors, and a smart wall mount, The Frame is easy to slide into many furnished homes.
For the 2020 model year, Samsung introduced a number of new screen sizes, including the 32-inch QE32LS03T. It apparently offers all the features we know from the other Frame models, only in a smaller package. Could this be the perfect TV for the office, bedroom or kitchen?
The 32 ”edition of The Frame has a lot in common with the big brothers in terms of appearance, with tight, straight lines. However, we notice that the screen is even thinner (less deep) than the larger versions. It is very small and neat!
The 32-inch also has some extra options that you do not get on the larger models: The included feet make it possible to tilt the screen slightly backwards, so that it looks like a reclining picture frame. It can also be mounted vertically, for viewing portrait images. But this does not make much sense in a TV context, where only landscape mode applies. If you want a TV that can do both, Samsung’s automatically rotatable The Sero is probably a better choice.
Of course, The Frame works best on the wall. The small 32-inch uses a different type of wall bracket than the larger models: Instead of the so-called No Gap Wall Mount, it has two simple metal brackets that are mounted separately on the wall. The installation is a bit more complicated at the beginning, but the operating instructions take us through the assembly step by step. The mounting frame have a smart design that makes it easy to level the TV.
Of course, you can not get around one of the colored frames, which are clicked tightly around the TV using magnets. These are sold as a reasonably priced option, and are clearly a must for Frame to blend into the environment.
Ease of use and features
The Samsung monitor uses a separate junction box (One Connect), which carries power and video signals up to the TV through a common cable. The purpose is to reduce cable clutter, but we scratch our heads a bit over the solution they have chosen on the 32″ model.
The box that comes with it is significantly smaller than the one that is delivered to 43″ and larger. It has only two HDMI inputs of type 2.0b. The cord is relatively short (2.5 meters) and significantly thicker than the ultra thin variety used by the bigger brothers. This is because the power supply is in the TV, not the box. In addition, the antenna input and the program card reader have been moved to the TV itself. We think it could have been more elegant (and practical) to avoid the box altogether, since it does so little good.
The user experience is otherwise exactly as expected: QE32LS03T uses the same Tizen system we are well used to from other models. The menu system is very fast and intuitive, and works excellently with the sleek and ergonomic remote control. The app selection is also rich, with streaming services such as Apple TV, Rakuten, Netflix, HBO and Disney + easily accessible from the menu bar.
At the LB Tech editorial staff, we are clearly in favor of “bigger is better” when it comes to TV. A large picture usually also gives a larger and more vivid experience, whether it is film, series or sports that are on the menu. No need to settle for 32″ if you can squeeze in a 43″ or larger in the same place, we think! At the same time, we know that there are situations where space and aesthetics mean more than a raw TV experience.
The 32″ version differs from the other Frame models in several respects: First, the screen resolution is limited to Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) where the larger models have Ultra HD (3840 x 2160). It also has to do without the extra high-contrast Dual LED panel that the big brothers are equipped with. The frame rate is also limited up to 60Hz, which will possibly disappoint some gaming fans.
With that said, we think the 32-inch provides an excellent picture experience according to the conditions.
First, it has a fairly bright image, with the ability to look clear and distinct on a bright day. The color reproduction is also nuanced, rich and fine, thanks to Samsung’s QLED color filter with quantum dots.
The contrast is not too bad either: Although this is a conventional edge-lit LCD screen, it has a good black level, and bright effects are clear from the background. The Samsung screen is also HDR-compatible, providing a vibrant picture experience with modern series and high-quality movies.
Small is good?
At some points, the 32″ version is actually better than the larger models. Especially when it comes to panel uniformity: The light distribution is very even over the entire screen surface, without annoying shadow effects (dirty screen effect), which can be more pronounced on larger LCD screens. However, the front glass is relatively shiny, so the TV should be placed smartly in relation to windows and other light sources to get the most out of the picture.
The absence of 4K resolution is not perceived to be a big miss: Unless you are sitting very close to the TV screen, you should be good at distinguishing differences. The 32 “large screen has a pixel density of approximately 68 PPI, which is equivalent to a 65″ 4K screen, and is more than good enough for normal viewing distances of 1-2 meters.
Some people are probably wondering how The Frame 32” can function as a PC screen. It can handle this well, both via the HDMI input or wireless transmission (Samsung’s Remote Access). But if you have plans for extensive PC or gaming use, we would definitely recommend a more customized monitor or TV that is capable of higher frame rates. Alternatively, Samsung’s new Smart Monitor, a PC monitor with a built-in TV receiver (test is upcoming!).
In terms of sound, this Frame model is not something to brag about. The sound itself is quite large and fills the room well, but is quite diffuse – the voices are more everywhere than coming from a certain place. A snarky soundbar – for example a Sonos Beam or one of Samsung’s matching speakers from the S-series, will be the right solution to give the sound a boost.
The 32-inch in the Frame family is aimed at those who want a tiny TV for the office, bedroom or kitchen, or other places where one would not normally think a TV could fit. And for that purpose, it works perfectly well: With a slim form factor, practical wall mounting and frames in all sorts of colors, it easily fits into a stylish and minimalist interior. The extra junction box appears a bit redundant on the 32″ model, and we would just as well have done without. Beyond that, the image quality is excellent, and the user experience fully on par with the other Frame models. As long as you have space, we are happy to recommend one of the larger 43″ or 50″ models that Samsung also carries. But where space is scarce, The Frame 32″ is clearly an excellent choice!