Mike Andronico/CNN Underscored

CNN Underscored is on the ground at CES 2024 in Las Vegas to pick out the tech products that are actually worth your attention. Be sure to follow our CES 2024 coverage hub for the latest hands-on previews straight from the world’s biggest electronics show.

Samsung’s The Frame TV has long been one of the company’s most popular products (and a big hit with Underscored readers), so it was perhaps only a matter of time before the company brought its penchant for techy art displays to the audio world. It’s done exactly that with the Samsung Music Frame, which is a square-shaped speaker that doubles as a physical photo frame that you can hang on your wall.

We got a chance to get up close with the Music Frame at CES 2024, and while it’s not quite as exciting or high-tech as its TV counterpart, it could prove to be a nice complement to any Samsung-centric home theater setup.

It’s music, on a frame

Mike Andronico/CNN Underscored

The Music Frame looked like a pretty ordinary photo frame at first glance — until I walked up to it and heard it pumping out some impressively loud and clear audio. This 13-inch-by-13-inch frame packs a total of six speakers inside of its unassuming design, and while it was hard to properly gauge its audio quality on a crowded convention floor, the fact that I could still hear the sounds of music and movies amidst the chaos is a promising sign.

Unlike the Frame TV, the art portion of the Music Frame is fully analog; instead of a screen that shows convincingly authentic works of digital art, this device simply shows off whatever photos or paintings you decide to put inside of it. Fortunately, swapping out art seems like a breeze, as I was able to easily pop the front panel on and off, thanks to four secure notches that keep the front panel in place. The actual 8-inch-by-8-inch photo display area seems a bit small, though Samsung says you’ll also be able to order customized prints for the front of the Music Frame via a third-party seller for a yet-to-be-announced price.

Mike Andronico/CNN Underscored

The Music Frame supports both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, meaning you can sync it with your existing Samsung SmartThings gadgets or simply pair your phone directly to it to blast some tunes. Want to change songs or check the weather with your voice? The Music Frame has you covered there, with support for Alexa, Google Assistant and Samsung Bixby.

The device is compatible with Samsung’s Q-Symphony ecosystem (which plays audio from both your soundbar and TV speakers for more immersive sound), giving you an additional audio source to get better engrossed. You can also pair two or more together for a proper surround sound experience. Samsung’s CES booth allowed us to sample a demo — one with just a Samsung TV and soundbar, and another with the Music Frame added in. Again, it was hard to parse the difference in a noisy room, but I’m eager to see how well it all works in a quieter setting. It’s also worth noting that you can use the Music Frame as your speaker for a non-Samsung TV — the pairing and compatibility just won’t be as seamless.

The takeaway

Mike Andronico/CNN Underscored

I’m both intrigued and a little underwhelmed by the Samsung Music Frame. The Frame TV is one of the best TVs we’ve tested, and the idea of bringing its mix of decor and home entertainment to a small photo frame is a compelling one. But while the Music Frame sounds great for its size (at least from what I could glean so far), it lacks the dynamic digital display that makes its TV counterpart such a great value.

The Music Frame’s appeal will largely come down to its price, which we still don’t know. But if you want something that complements your Samsung TV and soundbar in terms of both aesthetic and audio, this unique speaker is worth keeping on your radar once it releases sometime in 2024.