two minute review

How many features do you want from your PC monitor? Just pixels? Or all the features? It can be said that the new Samsung M8 Smart Monitor gives you everything.

It's built around a 4-inch full 32K panel. To that, add niceties like USB Type-C connectivity with power delivery and a magnetic clip-on webcam. The really unusual part is the full Smart TV functionality with networking. What more could you want from any 4K monitor for your PC or Mac?

Perhaps more premium panel technology? As a Samsung monitor, it's no surprise that this is a VA panel rather than the more common IPS type (for PC monitors). But that's not necessarily a bad thing.

VA generally has superior contrast, if not always the best viewing angles and response. However, what you might expect but definitely don't get is true HDR capability or any local dimming. There is HDR10 signal processing. But it's all.

DATASHEET

Screen size: 32 inch
Panel type: VA
Resolution: 3840 × 2160
Brightness: 400 nits
Contrast: 3000: 1
Response time: 4ms
Refresh rate: 60Hz
Color coverage: 99% sRGB
HDR Compatibility: HDR10
Connectivity: USB-C x2, MicroHDMI

Samsung M8 Smart Monitor Review: Price and Availability

  • $699 (GBP 699, AU$1199)
  • Decent value

As for the sordid question of money, at $699 (£699, AU$1,199) the Samsung M8 actually seems like a remarkable value as long as you want all the extra features.

If SmartTVs and webcams aren't your thing, there are cheaper 4-inch 32K monitors.

Samsung M8 Smart Monitor Review: Design

  • Funky and colorful style.
  • Packed with features
  • SmartTV functionality is patchy

With 400 nits of brightness and 3000:1 contrast, while the Samsung M8 has to be punchy enough, it's also an unusually smooth display available in pastel shades of white or pink, blue and green.

If that sounds a bit like Apple's iMac, that's almost certainly Samsung's intention. Either way, with slim bezels on three sides of the panel and a new chevron-style texture on the back of the chassis, this isn't your usual boring black PC monitor.

(Image credit: future)

However, it doesn't even come close to the hardware quality of Apple's lush Studio Display. True, this is a much more expensive monitor. But the Samsung M8 smart monitor not only looks pretty cheap, but the height and tilt adjustable stand is very rare.

Still, this monitor is undeniably packed with features. The USB-C port enables single-cable connectivity to your PC or Mac with 65W charging. The single-cable docking station makes life so much easier and your desk so much neater. There's also HDMI for legacy devices that lack USB-C, just note that the port on the back of the Samsung M8 smart monitor is micro-HDMI. A support cable is provided, but you will not be able to use a standard HDMI cable.

The webcam is another very interesting feature. It attaches magnetically to the top of the screen and also includes a cover, again magnetic, providing complete physical security. It has a tilt adjustment, which should make it easier to align without moving the screen. Unfortunately, it only tilts up, when what you really want is to lower it a bit. In theory, this could be fixed with digital frame centering and face tracking. But it only works with Google's Duo video calling app, for now.

Samsung M8 Smart Monitor on a desk in a busy office environment

(Image credit: future)

Then the real show is full SmartTV functionality with a remote with all the usual apps and shortcuts for Amazon Prime, Netflix and Disney+. SmartTV functionality also includes a web browser and wireless connectivity that supports screen mirroring, including Apple AirPlay.

It even has productivity apps like Microsoft 365 and supports a keyboard and mouse. In a pinch, you could do basic computing on the Samsung M8 without, well, a computer.

However, the SmartTV platform does not run on the screen's native 4K. Therefore, the image quality of the interface is a bit soft and blurry. However, the Samsung M8 smart monitor does at least support full 4K when streaming videos via SmartTV apps. To complement the multimedia features, built-in speakers provide reasonable volume, but zero dynamic range. This is not a surprise given the thinness of this screen. You'd want external speakers if you were planning on doing some serious remote media consumption, that's for sure.

Samsung M8 Smart Monitor Review: Performance

  • Impressive and with a lot of contrast.
  • Limited viewing angles
  • Not the fastest panel ever

All this leaves to consider the minor issue of image quality. The VA panel has advantages and disadvantages. It is immediately apparent that the viewing angles are not as wide as the best IPS monitors. Worse yet, the backlighting isn't very consistent, with obvious dimming in the corners of the screen.

Despite a "Game Mode" with two levels of pixel saturation, the speed and response of the panel are also adequate. Factor in the 60Hz refresh rate, and the M8 isn't an obvious choice for hardcore gamers. That said, the VA panel packs a lot of punch thanks to a strong backlight - by SDR standards rather than HDR - and plenty of contrast. As monitors without local dimming go, this is as close to an HDR experience as you'll get.

Samsung M8 Smart Monitor on a desk in a busy office environment

(Image credit: future)

Of course, as a 4-inch 32K monitor, pixel density is decent at 140 DPI and there's plenty of desk space to work with. The fonts are nice and crisp and the video content looks great.

When it comes to color accuracy, Samsung claims 99% sRGB coverage and the monitor offers around 90% of the DCI-P3 digital cinema gamut. So it's not extremely high fidelity, but it can cope with light content creation. Again, an IPS screen is a better option if accurate colors are critical.

Should I buy the /Samsung M8 Smart Monitor?

Samsung M8 Smart Monitor on a desk in a busy office environment

(Image credit: future)

Buy it if ...

Do not buy…

Also consider

First review June 2022

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