Review: The intriguing Samsung Sero is a rotating TV that's not ideal for most people

Samsung is increasingly plugging tiny little niche holes in markets it already has an expanding presence in.

Just as the Korean tech giant is releasing foldable, multi-screen smartphones which cost more than double the price of an entry-level iPhone 12, it's also getting more and more specific with its televisions.

Have you ever been watching your 4K TV and thought, 'I want to flip this to portrait, then back to landscape at will'?

If so, the Samsung Sero is for you.

I've been using one for the last few weeks and here are my thoughts.

The good

When you have a Samsung phone connected to the Sero, it is pretty magic to rotate the handheld device and have the TV follow suit, just by twisting your hand.

There's an undeniable 'wow' factor to it.

Pulling up TikTok and Instagram Story videos on the telly in portrait mode to enjoy with others can be a fun novelty.

If you're really into watching social media videos on a TV, this will be ideal. But probably my favourite feature is using the Sero to display photos from my Samsung phone.

They look gorgeous and don't lose any quality like they do with some other TVs or casting set-ups. Plus, showing off the photos with the TV in landscape or portrait mode is fantastic, due to how many portrait photos people take on their phones. 

The Samsung Sero is a great TV for casting photos.
Photo casting to the Sero in landscape mode. Photo credit: Newshub.
The Samsung Sero is a great photo display.
Photo casting to the Sero in portrait mode. Photo credit: Newshub.

The Sero has a beautiful QLED display, as you'd expect from a 2020 Samsung TV. 

It also has a fantastic speaker that's much better than the inbuilt speakers you get in most TVs. At the bottom of the screen sits an audio system with 4.1 channel, 60-watt speakers certified for Dolby Digital Plus.

It's a heavy beast of a TV, but nice and easy to move about if you buy an additional set of wheels to pop on the bottom. 

As is the 'always on' way with many Samsung products, there are some lovely screensavers to pop on the Sero in both portrait and landscape modes.

There are many more high-end TVs from Samsung along with rivals like Sony, LG and Panasonic which offer better definition, better Hz rates and so on than the Sero. But this is not intended to be a top-of-the line gaming or movie watching TV.

It's intended instead to be 'the most mobile-friendly TV'. But there's a problem with that.

The bad

The Sero goes all in on one particular function that, for me, is basically useless.

Big caveat here: I am not in the target market. I don't actually know anyone who might be, but later in this article list a few different types of people who this device might be ideal for.

It's true that many people are addicted to watching a crazy amount of social media videos - but do they really want to view them on a 4K television that costs around $2800? 

"I want to be watching Netflix or Neon on the TV while watching TikTok and Instagram on my phone, at the same time," my colleague Sarah Templeton told me.

At the same time?! Jesus wept. What kind of person is watching funny little clips on their phone while simultaneously semi-watching an amazing film?

Millennials, that's who. 

The Samsung Sero's speaker delivers fantastic sound for a TV speaker.
The Sero's speaker delivers fantastic sound. Photo credit: Newshub.

Sarah is a millennial and seems to be in the target market of the Sero, but she has the same problem I have with it - TVs are for movies and TV shows, and mobile phones are for watching social media videos.

And that's not it's only problem.

Considering the Sero is designed to have video cast to it from mobile devices, it's not as easy as it should be to do that, at least initially.

If you have a fellow Samsung device that'll make things easier - so long as both the TV and phone are on the same wireless network, and that network doesn't have a lot of security like the one at Newshub does.

On an iPhone, things are a bit trickier. You can still cast to the TV, but you can't do the all-important magical rotate by simply rotating your phone. You have to push a button on the TV remote instead, like it's 2019 or something.

This may be fixed in an update, but I doubt the iOS Sero experience will get as good as that of the Android.

The verdict

The Sero is a slightly ridiculous piece of technology that has a great novelty factor, but its flagship feature will only be useful long-term to a tiny portion of the population.

  • If you're a professional vlogger, streamer or influencer that shoots video in both in portrait and landscape - and you want to see that content in 4K - this could be an ideal device
  • If you're a business that wants nice big displays of your website in both desktop and mobile formats in meetings, this could be an ideal device
  • If you like working from a recipe off a screen but find that phones and tablets are too small, this could be a great device in the kitchen - if you have a large kitchen where it won't be in the way. It would also double as a normal TV in the kitchen if you prefer to watch YouTube or Netflix while cooking.

For almost everyone else, head into a Noel Leeming - the Sero's exclusive NZ retailer - to see a display unit. You'll see it rotate, say 'cool' and then you're done.

Most of us will just stick to using our phones to watch social media videos on and use our TVs for watching stuff we normally watch on TV.

I do like that Samsung has released this, however much it isn't useful for me. To have a company of this size cater to niche markets quite this small is pretty great.

And if you're in that little group of people that will love the Sero - hooray for you!


Samsung supplied Newshub with a Sero for this review.