Samsung The Wall first impressions: Bringing the multiplex screen home, almost
Imagine sitting across a screen that covers the better part of the grey textured wall in front of you. For now the 146-inch infinity display shows off a vibrant artwork, brush strokes everywhere. It's bright, very bright - you blink twice to let your eyes adjust to the colours.
As you try to place yourself in the best possible spot on the sofa so as you can take in the whole span of it, the screen moves from the artwork to a landing page where you can pick Netflix or Prime Video or Hotstar… or your Xbox.
The spell is broken for a smidge and as soon as we put on The Jungle Book, the darkened room and the meager six-feet distance between you and the display is engulfed with loud booming sound and larger-than-life images.
The sound comes from some strategically placed speakers in the corners of the room and the soundbar below the display, but we aren't here to talk about how it sounds. We are here to talk about how it looks.
When you look into Kaa's hypnotic eyes covering almost the entire wall in front of you, you have to admit that it looks incredible.
Meet The Wall. If you thought a 90-inch TV was too big for your 'modest' living area, you have to up the game or stay home for this one. However, as the company is 'relatively' quick to point out, this is not a TV. It's a display.
Now, what exactly am I doing with a display in my living room? My bedroom for sure cannot fit this. I mean, it can, I will just have to break a wall and sit at my neighbour's to get a good view of this one.
The Wall is meant to sit royally in your sprawling entertainment room, it's supposed to grace your high-end store, or the swanky reception of your glass-walled office. With prices starting at ₹3.5 crore for the smallest of these microLED modular displays, it can do nothing except sit royally and grace environments.
The Wall comes in three sizes and resolutions - a 146-inch 4K display, a 219-inch 6K display and 292-inch 8K. Starting at ₹3.5 crores, the prices for these go up to ₹12 crores. The sizes and resolutions are important. The Wall is a modular system, it is a bunch of screens that fit together just like building blocks in Lego. However, you cannot customise the resolution of each module, you can just add more screens to increase the overall number of pixels.
Samsung had announced their first 146-inch Wall in January 2018, this year with two more (larger) sizes it clearly is looking to take over more commercial spaces than personal ones. It essentially is not meant for any 'home', it is meant for much bigger spaces, like a private cinema at best if you have disposable income to boot.
The Wall can do everything your smart TV can do, just that it is bigger. MUCH bigger than what you can comprehend. When you put a movie on or watch a bunch of whales hunt a penguin on that screen you cannot help but be mesmerised, it is THAT hard to look away. Because, frankly, where else could you look? The elephant is in the room!
It can play your movies, your series, your football matches. It can show your PPT's in HD, it can make Mortal Kombat fatalities almost jump out of the screen, it can make you feel like you are (terribly) driving that car off the highway into the river in Forza and it can show off your art.
The Wall comes in a Luxury and a Pro option. The former has an entertainment (games, movies etc) mode and an ambient mode (digital art, photos etc), and Pro version just has a business features topped up on the display controller. Both the options are equally customisable.
If it can't be brought into your house/office through the door, The Wall can be taken apart in 16 parts and put back together, any way you want. You want an X-shaped screen, they can swing that. The 30mm slim, bezel-less display has customisable edges too along with pre-loaded deco frames to border your art with - you can pick your colours and your textures to make The Wall blend in.
Which is ironic, actually. There is nothing you can 'blend in' when the display comes on. It's bright and it is saturated. It is supposed to look like art and imitate wall texture or installation art but it will only do that if you are standing a good distance away. Up close the colours are too much, but in their defence, you aren't supposed to look at anything on it standing six-feet away.
However, the problem does not entirely end there. The colours ARE saturated. They are the kind of colours you see on your smartphones when the display is set to vivid, but you feel the colours more on a much larger screen like this. Colours, not resolution mind you. These are colours that most people will like. Most people, though I am not one of them. I do not want Olivia Colman's face in The Crown to look more pink than Elle Woods' suit, it is preposterous.
Watching content on The Wall depends partly on the quality of the content you are watching and the display's own AI up-scaling. Basically, The Wall is going to "optimise" the content as much as it possibly can to give you the "best" of the picture after "adjusting" colour and brightness. And then there is the Black Seal Technology that is literally a layer on top of your display that is supposed to deliver the "true blacks".
On paper, that is great. In real life, it works, but well, as much as it can possibly work. Think of a picture taken without the night mode on any of the phones and then putting it on a photo-editing app and bumping up the brightness, warmth and the saturation. Does it work for Instagram? Sure, depends on what your benchmark for a 'good' photo is. Does it work on 146-inch and counting? From a good distance away, yes.
There is nothing wrong with The Wall. Except that it is massive and REALLY expensive. But it's not meant for a person like me, unless I become a billionaire overnight. So to say that it doesn't make sense to a buyer is absurd, you and I are not The Wall's intended buyer. The Wall is meant for the foyer.
Do you have a foyer?