REVIEW: Samsung’s M8 Smart Monitor Is So Much More
The Samsung M8 Smart Monitor undersells itself somewhat.
By positioning itself as a monitor, it undersells itself as a completely functional smart TV. It also hides the fact that, with Google Duo, Office 365, and other useful software built in, it is, for all intents and purposes, a PC. It’s a 32-inch 4K monitor, sure. But that’s just scratching the surface of what to expect from this impressive piece of machinery.
On top of this, the monitor will connect to your laptop or PC without any wires, will seamlessly collaborate with your smartphone, and although the various features take a little bit of setting up, once you’ve done this, the whole thing works seamlessly.
Physically, it bears more than a passing resemblance to Apple’s iMac, especially when rendered in the clean white, as our review unit is.
Samsung products tend to avoid white like it’s agent orange, lest they be accused (again) of copying the aesthetics of a certain competitor. Here, it seems blatant, like they want to topple your iMac and the far more expensive Apple Studio Display in one fell swoop.
Considering this sells for $1,199, compared to the Studio Display, which starts at $2,499 for the 27-inch version, the choice should be a no-brainer
Operationality, this is a smooth, responsive machine. When using a decent Wi-Fi connection, load times are non-existence, and the lack of bloatware makes skipping between applications a joy. According to the specs it has a response time of 4ms G2G and HDR10+ decoding, all of which help it fly along nicely.
The VA panel offers a smooth 3,000:1 contrast ratio, but compared to a IPS panel, the viewing angles are rather limited. This is a minor issue, and won’t impact most viewing situations; this is a monitor first and foremost, meaning you’ll largely be sitting directly in front of it. It’s worth the trade off for the amazing contrast ratio, with deeper blacks, and brightness of up to 400 nits.
A detachable 1080p webcam is provided, and thankfully isn’t baked into the top of the monitor, which is often an unsettling experience when used as a television in a shared living space. The little camera looks nifty and sits nicely on top of the monitor. It cannot be moved, but the entire monitor tilts 15 degrees, and offers 120mm of height adjustment.
Now, for the downsides. Hard core gamers will not find the 60Hz refresh rate to be adequate, especially when 144Hz seems like a drag for some. The physical ports are somewhat lacking too, with one micro-HDMI input and two USB-C ports. This is less a problem than it seems, considering the Bluetooth option, and is actually a plus if you are the type that hates ugly wires snaking around your furniture.
The plastic backing seems rather flimsy, too, and the base could be stronger and sturdier. This seems like nitpicking, and probably is, but when a product is this exceptional, nitpicking is all you have.
You’ll want to connect a speaker to this monitor too, especially if you plan to use it for entertainment as much as I suspect you will.
It’s not often that you get a product that will become the fulcrum of your entire home entertainment experience, as well as the jewel of your home office. That’s what the Samsung M8 delivers. This is a mighty machine. 9.5/10
The best one-stop shop, especially for the price
Extremely thin built
Very intuitive setup and plenty of features
Not the best gaming monitor
Limited viewing angles
Back plastic seems fragile