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This year, Samsung released a tempting upgrade for professionals and students looking to upgrade their workstations — the Samsung 32″ M8 4K Smart Monitor.
A laptop is great for versatility and the work-from-home era, but occasionally, a bigger workspace is necessary. Ideally, you should work with a larger monitor, either as your primary screen or as a secondary one. A dual-monitor setup makes you more productive and helps manage multiple windows and applications simultaneously.
Until recently, Apple’s $1,500+ Studio Display was the gold standard in this space, but not many people can afford a monitor like that. That’s why I’ve been trying out new monitors to see if there’s one that improves my workspace, and the gorgeous new Samsung smart monitor recently landed on my desk in sunset pink.
The Samsung 32″ M8 4K Smart Monitor is much more than a simple 4K computer monitor. Like the best Apple products, this monitor has a design-forward look and it doubles as a smart TV, making it great for smaller spaces like dorms, home offices or small apartments.
In this review of the Samsung 32″ M8 4K Smart Monitor, I’ll look at what this monitor can do, what makes it so special, and what it’s good at (and not so great at). Most importantly, we’ll answer the most important question:
Is the Samsung 32″ M8 4K Smart Monitor worth it? We say yes, with a couple of very minor caveats.
- Beautiful Design
- 4K resolution
- Both computer monitor and TV
- Great screen to work off of
- Similar to Apple Studio Display but much more affordable
- Screen mirroring might not work for all users
- Cable connections in the rear are hard to access
Testing the Samsung 32″ M80B 4K Smart Monitor
This 32-inch monitor is a 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) smart monitor, and it actually looks quite similar to Apple’s very pricey Studio Display. Samsung’s version seems to offer a lot of the same features as fruit-co’s version, but at half the price.
I may be spoiling the rest of the review a bit here, but if you’re looking at Apple’s monitor, hit ‘save for later’ and look more closely at the M8 instead.
Samsung’s M8 has a 16:9 display with a 60 Hz refresh rate and, rather surprisingly, it comes with a detachable webcam. (That’s not just a great perk, it’s also a win for privacy.) There’s also smart streaming built-in so you can use it as a TV, with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Apple TV all packed inside and accessible via Wi-Fi without having to connect to a PC or TV. There’s also a mini remote control; mainly for using it as a TV, but it does come in handy for adjusting the monitor settings too.
The monitor is available in an array of soft hues and sits on a flat thin foot and is adjustable up or down within about 1.5 to 6-inches off that foot via a sliding mount. In what I found to be a bit of a design oversight (or maybe this is on purpose?), it does not have a VESA adapter so you can’t put it on a monitor arm to get it off your desk space, which is a bit of a disappointment for me personally.
The monitor has almost no frame or bezel around it and the screen is huge with lots of real estate.
Samsung M8 Smart Monitor Review: Set up & Connections
In another odd design choice, the monitor’s ports and connections are all located underneath the sliding mount, making quite frustrating to access easily. I think Samsung did this to banish visual clutter, and in actuality you’re probably rooting around under here after your initial setup, so maybe it’s a not a problem.
This monitor (in yet another oddity) does not have an HDMI port, which meant I needed another option to connect my laptop. Fortunately, Samsung included a USB-C to USB-C cable which plugs into my Macbook’s hub adapter and worked just great for my setup.
You can also choose to Screen Mirror from your laptop if you want to avoid cables altogether, or use a remote login. When I tried this using my MacBook’s trackpad/mouse on the Samsung smart monitor was extremely out of sync and takes longer to react which made it absolutely maddening to move between my laptop and the Samsung smart monitor. For that reason, I opted instead for the hard-wired connection.
Using Samsung M8 Smart Display
After the set up and uncovering the small oddities in the build, I was glad to find using this monitor is a dream.
The 4K resolution is sharp and clear and makes video editing and writing easy on the eyes. The colours seem natural and bright and the widescreen size and the edge-to-edge design is a joy to work on.
Using the M8 Smart Display as a TV
If you want to use your monitor as a TV it’s as easy as mashing the Home button on the remote, or selecting one of the quick-start buttons for Netflix or Prime.
The video viewing quality is amazing; just like a smaller 4K TV, and with all those streaming channels as well as Samsung’s live TV options, you’ll be cutting your cable subscription like that.
The internal speaker, while not overly impressive or powerful (is there any such thing on a computer monitor?) gets the job done.
Switching Back to Computer Screen
Getting back to your computer screen after watching TV requires a few more clicks. The remote definitely needs an Input button to allow for quick switching, but when I tried it I needed to navigate to Menu> Connected Devices and select PC to switch back. Labor intensive, but it works.
Using the Webcam
The M8 Smart Display has a click-on SlimFit Cam that can attach to the top rear of the monitor.
The webcam was easy enough to use with my MacBook; I was just able to switch it as the camera source in my settings. The only thing I didn’t love about it, is that it only has very minimal tilt controls and tilting it down is blocked by the monitor’s top edge, so it was tough to frame.
Samsung M8 Smart Display Review: In Conclusion
There’s a lot of great things about this monitor: the 4K resolution is sharp, the magnetic camera is handy, and the design is eye candy for your office or living room. The fact it doubles as a TV is icing on the cake.
Even so the Samsung M8 Smart Monitor does have a few quirks: The screen mirroring on my Mac worked but it was laggy and switching back from TV to monitor is clunky. Plus accessing the ports and connections in the rear isn’t easy.
So Should You Buy It?
All told, we encountered only very minor issues when reviewing the Samsung M8 Series 4K Monitor. At half the price of Apple’s Studio display, it’s a clear winner. So if you want a large, beautiful display for your workspace — or you’re considering the Apple Studio Display but getting caught up on the price tag — then run, don’t walk, and get the Samsung M8 Smart Display instead.