Is Samsung's The Serif TV worth it? It's a question I get asked a lot. And for good reason. It's the aesthetic television set - seriously. The design crowd loves it! It's the Stan Smith for Adidas of TVs. It's the Eames lounger of tech. It's the Farrow and Ball paint color card of the home cinema. Yes, it's loved by people who care about design and want to show that off in every single thing they have in their home. People like me. And, most probably, you.
In fact, you could call the Serif a modern design classic - it certainly is as far as living room TVs go. It was dreamed up by the visionary French designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, who is better known as the Bouroullec Brothers, even better known for creating furniture for mega-brands like Kartell, Alessi, and Vitra.
And yes, Samsung's The Serif TV looks charmingly like something out of The Jetsons - that's part of its appeal. A sort of retro take on futurism that is an antidote to all the glossy, black, big, and - let's be honest - ugly tech taking over our homes.
But because of its design pedigree (and the fact it's a high-spec TV), the Serif isn't cheap. So is it worth it? I have some thoughts.
Is Samsung's The Serif TV worth it?
If aesthetics is your main reason for buying a TV - and it was mine - then I would pretty confidently say yes, the Serif is worth it. Samsung originally launched it to much fanfare in the design press in 2016, and just over a year later, I was completely renovating my apartment.
I was knocking down walls, painting my newly open living room in Farrow and Ball's Mizzle (opens in new tab), and studiously arranging my books along my open shelving in color-coded order. Underneath them, on the newly built-in cabinet, I wanted a TV that didn't suck the light, bright, design magic out of the space. Or, to be truly candid, I wanted a TV that flattered me, allowing me to think that I knew what was hot and cool in the interiors world. It had to be the Serif.
One of the many things you might not realize is that its skinny black legs - a huge selling point as they're so sleek and chic - are removable. And so didn't screw them into the wide white frame and just rested the TV on the cabinet instead. It looked like a freestanding work of art, like in the image above.
And then I moved house and put the Serif in the corner of a newly decorated snug, this time with walls painted in Farrow and Ball's Cola (opens in new tab). It's a deep, red-tinged brown, and the white frame stands out against the wall like the hero piece of design it is.
But here's where the aesthetic lets it down. Without any built-in cabinetry I screwed in those slinky legs, shown above, so clearly and wonderfully inspired by mid-century design. But I've now found myself without any way to tidy cables. My husband's old and much-loved PS4 just sits beneath it, out in the open. A cord to the internet hub just dangles out the back of the TV, onto the floor, and back up into the wall. The adaptor with four extra sockets in it lies limply alongside. The TV itself looks great. But what's underneath it? Not so much.
What about the Samsung Serif's tech credentials?
It's pretty obvious I didn't buy the Serif because of what it can do but because of how it looks. And it does everything I need it to - I'm not the sort of person who gets nitty gritty into the type of screen or sound level.
Samsung's The Serif connects to the internet wirelessly (if you live in a house with good wifi, unlike me, hence that wire I need). It has a Smart Hub where you can download apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and so on, and has two USB ports, one of which I plug my Chromecast into. In short, the picture looks good, the audio sounds good, and it behaves exactly how I need a TV to - it plays television shows.
If you're more concerned with its spec when you look at, say, the Samsung Frame vs the Serif, then it loses points here. In whatever labs it cooks up its TVs, Samsung has appeared to concentrate more on The Frame, so it has more advanced tech in some places. But realistically, if you just want a TV that works and also doesn't look too much like a TV, then the differences are barely noticeable. For example, The Frame's larger sizes (55" and up) boast Dolby Atmos and HDR 10+ and Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) over equivalent Serif models. But does that affect daily viewing? Not really.
The verdict on if a Samsung Serif is worth it
You can get cheaper TVs that function in the same way as the Serif. But six years after its launch, I've not come across a TV I'd swap mine with that looks better. It's the way that chunky frame curves into ergonomic edges - it transmits coolness as beautifully as it does your favorite box set.
And so, if you're concerned with how your living room looks (and can find a solution for those wires), then yes, completely, the Samsung Serif is worth it.
The editor of Livingetc, Pip Rich (formerly Pip McCormac) is a lifestyle journalist of almost 20 years experience working for some of the UK's biggest titles. As well as holding staff positions at Sunday Times Style, Red and Grazia he has written for the Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times and ES Magazine. The host of Livingetc's podcast Home Truths, Pip has also published three books - his most recent, A New Leaf, was released in December 2021 and is about the homes of architects who have filled their spaces with houseplants. He has recently moved out of London - and a home that ELLE Decoration called one of the ten best small spaces in the world - to start a new renovation project in Somerset.