Review: Samsung The Frame QE49LS03 (2019)

Art exhibition on the living room wall

Samsung's super cool picture frame TV Samsung The Frame QE49LS03 is back in the turbocharged QLED version. It has given the image quality a real boost!

Our verdict

Stylish design, gallery mode and replaceable frames make The Frame one of the most "room-friendly" TVs on the market. With "Quantum Dots", the image quality has also become significantly more vibrant.
The great look costs extra: The Frame typically costs a little more than Samsung's regular TVs, and the frames are still optional.
  • Size / type: 49 ”4K LED LCD
  • Resolution: 3840×2160 (4K Ultra HD)
  • Operating system: Tizen
  • Inputs: 4 HDMI, 3 USB
  • Outputs: Optical digital audio output
  • HDR: HDR10 +
  • Other: Samsung Art Gallery, Bluetooth remote control
  • Web: samsung.com/
Show more
Show less

Price: £ 1499

The Frame QE49LS03 is probably one of the closest you come to “a TV that does not look like a TV.” Samsung’s popular design model is made to look like a picture frame, and thanks to the smart design with replaceable frames in different colors, the illusion is almost perfect. An exceptionally interior-friendly TV that can be hung flat right on the wall, and display digital photos side by side with the real variant without sticking out.

You can choose the motif yourself, whether it is your own flashbacks, or a famous work from Samsung’s own art gallery.

But the development on the TV front continues at a rapid pace, and when we tested the 2018 vintage of The Frame, we experienced that the picture quality slowed down a bit after the best TVs in the price range. A concept like The Frame deserves the best picture quality in our opinion. This is exactly what Samsung seems to have embraced, because in the 3rd generation of The Frame, it is precisely the image quality – and not just the look – that is in focus. The image panel has been upgraded to QLED level, with a performance that is more in relation to the price.

Photo: Samsung

Design

No need to change a recipe that works: The Frame 3.0 looks almost identical to previous generations. The flat and rectilinear cabinet is made to be hung on the wall. Samsung’s own No Gap wall mount is included in the box in addition to regular feet. But the illusion is not complete without a set of frames on the outside. The replaceable frame covers (optional) are hooked to the outside using magnets, and are available in white, brown-stained, black or light wood imitation. The Frame gets very “naked” without the frames, so these you can just as easily budget with these first and last.

All connections are made in Samsung’s external “One Connect” connection box, whereupon a simple power and signal cable is pulled up to the TV. The cable that comes with is a full 5 meters, while it is possible to order even longer cables as an option. This makes it easier to get a discreet installation: the TV will never look like a picture if there are lots of wires and boxes hanging next to it!

Ease of use and features

Despite the fact that Android breathes them in the neck in some areas, Samsung still has the best TV user interface in our opinion: the Tizen is very fast and intuitive, combined with a sleek and ergonomic remote control.

The Frame has got the latest Bluetooth remote control, which can be pointed in the “wild cloud” without losing accuracy. It has several shortcut buttons and can also be programmed to control several external devices. Photo: Samsung

The app selection is impeccable, with, among other things, Apple’s TV app, and the video store Rakuten as some of the newcomers. In addition, apps such as Netflix, HBO, Canal Digital and Amazon are easily accessible from the start menu. You can organize the menu bar as you wish, with shortcuts to the content you like best.

Samsungs menysystem er lett å bruke og byr på markedets strste utvalg av streamingtjenester. Foto: Samsung

Art Mode: Digitalt art gallery

When you turn off the TV, the picture function in The Frame comes to life. Here you can choose to upload one or more of your own photos, and decide whether they should be displayed individually or as part of a larger photo carousel.

The Frame comes with a variety of pre-installed designs that come with no charge. If you want access to more exclusive works by well-known artists and photographers, you can subscribe to the art store Art Store.

Samsung’s Art Store offers many different motifs from internationally renowned painters and photographers, including the Norwegian Emil Solli.

Photo: Samsung

Image quality

The 2019 version of The Frame has received a long-awaited upgrade on the inside. The old image panel has been scrapped in favor of a modern variant with a QLED color filter. The video processor has also become significantly more agile, with advanced features such as AI Upscaling, known from the 4K top model Q90R.

The result is quite clear the first time we take a closer look at QE49LS03. The sharpness and amount of detail has improved far. The Frame brings out even the smallest details and color nuances, even from older and less optimal recordings. It also manages to reduce noise without the whole image becoming a cohesive “porridge”. Something you can undoubtedly thank the advanced video processor for.

The contrast also takes a noticeable leap: Finally, the 4K screen has been given a dynamic from dark to light, which matches the great sharpness. In addition, it is clear that the color reproduction has become richer and more nuanced. The increased contrast and color depth is extra valuable when we watch modern HDR video from Netflix and Amazon Prime: Series like Star Trek: Discovery and The Grand Tour get significantly more depth in the dark scenes, as well as more spark in flames, explosions and other bright effects. In addition, the light distribution is very even, without annoying bright spots.

Photo: Samsung

At the same time, it is clear that we are dealing with a (for the price range) relatively ordinary LCD screen. For example, the black level is not as carbon black as an OLED model from LG or Sony, or Samsung’s own top models (Q85, Q90R) for that matter. As long as the image reproduction has been upgraded with a QLED color filter, there is no full-blooded high-end model with direct LED backlighting we are talking about.

After all, we must still say we are more than satisfied with the picture quality: After all, The Frame is not made to take up the fight with the worst models, but to be a design-friendly “premium” alternative to ordinary TVs. We believe Samsung does well, especially when we look at the wide range of sizes: The Frame is available from 43 “and up to 65 inches. The QE49LS03 is definitely one of the sharpest and most contrast-rich 49 ”models we have tested in recent times.

Sound quality

Samsung The Frame is equipped with stereo speakers and 2 x 10 watt output power. The undermount speakers give a clear and rich sound character, with good clarity in the voice reproduction. Still, it will probably be tempting to supplement with a suitable soundboard and wireless subwoofer. Only then do you get a sound quality that matches the great picture.

The Frame uses an LCD panel with edge-LED lighting and Quantum Dot color filter, which provides significantly more vibrant image quality than its predecessor. Photo: Samsung

Conclusion

Samsung’s popular picture frame TV has always been a great sight visually: with modern QLED technology, the picture quality has also been given a long-awaited boost. The Frame is not only a beautiful design TV that slides easily into the interior – it is also an excellent TV for all kinds of use. With its compact dimensions, the 49 ”edition can be an exciting alternative to those locations where for various reasons you do not want to have a flashy big screen. Samsung The Frame is undoubtedly one of our favorites when it comes to design and smart solutions, and can be safely recommended for those who are looking for a TV out of the ordinary.

Thanks for reading Tech Reviews.

Create your free account or to continue reading.

Lost your password? Please enter your email address. You will receive mail with link to set new password.

.

Alternatives to Samsung The Frame QE49LS03 (2019)

LG NANO99

Big screen for gaming!

LG's largest and best LCD TV works great for both gaming, movies and regular TV watching. A very capable big screen!

Sony ZH8

ZH8: Sony's best 8K TV impresses

Sony's rawest LCD TV delivers raw sharp images, but what impresses most is the dazzling brightness!

TCL C815

Impressive picture for the price!

TCL C815 offers great image quality and plenty of smart features at a reasonable price. Here you even get excellent sound!

Panasonic HZ2000

Studio monitor for home use!

Panasonics HZ2000 is a treat for the really discerning TV enthusiasts: the HZ2000 delivers super cool pictures in true studio quality!

QLED vs OLED

LG OLED meets Samsung QLED in a TV Showdown

Samsung and LG's new heavyweight models both promise beautiful and hard-hitting image quality. But which of these QLED and OLED screens is the very best? The stage is set for a lasting TV-FIGHT!

Samsung Q800T (QE75Q800T)

Samsung's 8K TV is extremely good!

With its superb sharpness, the Samsung Q800T gives a strong taste of the TV technology of the future.