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Samsung's polarizing Serif TV is now available in the US for $1,499

Samsung's polarizing Serif TV is now available in the US for $1,499

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Is this Samsung TV beautiful or ugly?

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Samsung unveiled the Serif TV in September last year, and nine months later — with the device now on sale in the US for the first time — we still can't decide whether we love it or hate it.

Here are the basic facts:

  • It's an LED 4K TV with HDR, three HDMI ports, plus Wi-Fi and apps. It also works as a Bluetooth speaker.
  • It comes in three sizes, but only one (the 40-inch model) is available to buy in the US.
  • It's available exclusively from the Museum of Modern Art for $1,499 in blue or white.
  • It was designed by French duo Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec and kind of looks like a letter 'I' with serifs in profile, thus the name.
  • The legs come off.

And here are the disputed opinions:

  • It's beautiful.
  • It's ugly.

Thomas Ricker, senior Verge editor and leader of the It's Definitely Ugly camp, says he "finds the whole concept corny." There's just too much bezel, he says, and that draws unnecessary attention to the TV. "I want to minimize my TV's presence in my living room," says Ricker. "This isn't design, it’s ornamentation. There's nothing about this that makes it a better TV."

I'm on the other side of the debate. I think TVs are always going to draw attention to themselves — even if they're just completely featureless black glass slabs. Unless you've got a projector (and those are rubbish in the daytime) or hide your TV in a cupboard, it's going to be noticed. And the Serif looks, well, genuinely stylish. It's certainly a bit showy, but it's got clean lines, no ugly logos, and manages to look good from the front, back, and sides. Shame about the price.

What do you think?

Correction, July 4th 8:28AM ET: This article previously stated that the Serif did not support HDR. While this feature isn't listed on Samsung's product page, it is on MoMA's online store.