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Samsung Music Frame review: Impressive audio

Samsung Music Frame review: Impressive audio

Samsung Music Frame

If you have seen or used Samsung's Frame TV, the Samsung Music Frame seems like an obvious offshoot. Both are designed to blend into the home. The Music Frame, though, doesn't have a digital display. It's more like an old-school photo frame, but with a pretty good speaker inside. It's basically Samsung's take on the Ikea Symfonisk picture frame speaker.

Quick specs

  • 2.0 channel with 6 speakers
  • Supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Works with Apple AirPlay, Google Chromecast and Spotify Connect
  • Works in tandem with compatible Samsung TV (Q-Symphony)

It's not a bad idea to let consumers use their own photos. But the execution slightly misses the mark. The Samsung Music Frame can accommodate a squarish 8-inch picture or photo, which I suppose is fine for social media shots. But standard picture sizes usually have a 3:2 aspect ratio (e.g. 4 x 6 inches). Alternatively, there's a Korean service to produce custom art panel for the Music Frame, but it's not cheap (US$46 before shipping).

You can mount the Samsung Music Frame on a wall. But it's chunky, and weighs a hefty 4.6kg. At least the power cable is super-thin. The Music Frame comes with a stand, so you can place it on a cabinet top. You get buttons for power, volume controls, and muting the microphone at the rear edge of the speaker.

But it's more convenient to control the speaker via Samsung's SmartThings app. You'll need the app anyway to access features like the equaliser and other features like voice enhancement, night mode (lowers the volume significantly), and automatic room correction. It's also required to configure the Wi-Fi connection. Bluetooth is available, but it doesn't sound as good as streaming music through Wi-Fi (using Chromecast, Spotify Connect or Apple AirPlay).

Samsung Music Frame
You can use your own photo but it has to fit an 8-inch squarish window. Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not

The Samsung Music Frame can enhance the speakers of a Samsung TV via the company's Q-Symphony feature. It's really easy to connect to the Music Frame using the TV remote, even if it's physically in another room. Of course, that's assuming the Music Frame is already set up and connected to your home Wi-Fi network. I tried the Music Frame with the Samsung S95D OLED TV (great visuals, lacklustre speakers), and the audio immediately had more depth and mid-bass. You can also configure the location of the Music Frame in the TV audio setting, such as having the Music Frame at the left of the TV.

Now, if you're thinking of building up a home theatre system piecemeal ala Sonos — buy a Samsung Music Frame now, and a Samsung soundbar later this year and so on — you should know that Q-Symphony has a limitation. You can only connect a pair of Samsung Music Frame to a Samsung TV or a soundbar and a single Music Frame to the TV. So you can't have a soundbar and two Music Frames, for example. It's a bit of a letdown. Not to mention that it currently works only with 2024 models (DU7000 and above)

Samsung Music Frame
Muting the microphone will disable the speaker's auto sound calibration (SpaceFit Sound Pro). Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not

My first impression of the Samsung Music Frame: It's loud. This speaker will easily fill a bedroom, even a good-sized living room. There's decent stereo separation despite the close proximity of its pair of 3-way speakers (tweeter, mid-range driver and woofer). The bass is tight and is deeper than expected. However, the overall sound can become rather chaotic at higher volumes, with all the speakers seemingly going all-out.

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The Music Frame also supports Dolby Atmos. But given that it doesn't have any upward firing speakers, the effect is minimal at best. Note that you can't get Dolby Atmos via Bluetooth — a Wi-Fi connection is required. In my case, I tested it using AirPlay from an iPad with Apple Music's spatial audio collection. I would say you're better off listening to Dolby Atmos music with a pair of headphones. And if you really want speakers for Dolby Atmos, get the Sonos Era 300 instead.

The original listed price for the Samsung Music Frame is S$899, which seems out of touch with the market. That's even more expensive than the S$799 Sonos Era 300. It's also more costly than the Ikea's picture frame speaker (S$249). Now the Music Frame does sound better than its Ikea competitor. The good news is that I have seen the Music Frame go as low as S$399 from retailers on Lazada and Shopee. It was at this more reasonable price on the Samsung website when I last checked, though I have also seen it at S$599. In short, wait till it's at S$399 or lower before you pull the trigger.

Note: Review unit provided by Samsung.


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Verdict



CAN BUY

Good speakers that blend into your home

Buy it at Shopee
Buy it at Lazada

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