Samsung M8 Smart Monitor review: Is there anything this screen can’t do?

The Samsung M8 is unlike any other external display on the market… and yes, that’s a compliment (Image: SAMSUNG)

Samsung M8 Smart Monitor: 60-Second Review

Samsung’s M8 Smart Monitor is completely unique. It’s a mash-up between a brilliant 4K external monitor and a 32-inch Smart TV with Netflix, Disney+, Apple TV+, Prime Video and YouTube apps ready to watch out-of-the-box. If that wasn’t enough, it also includes a smart home hub to control your lightbulbs and video doorbells as well as a gaming hub with access to Xbox Games Pass to stream blockbuster titles like Halo Infinite and Flight Simulator over Wi-Fi to the HDR10 display.

That’s a lot to ask of one product and, as you might expect, the M8 Smart Monitor doesn’t master all of these functions. But it doesn’t drop the ball with any of them, either.

The M8 Smart Monitor’s gorgeous pastel colours will instantly brighten up any room …something that’s almost never said about an external display. Sure, it looks almost indistinguishable from an iMac, but that just means it pairs all the better with a MacBook Air or Mac mini.

Chatty AI assistant Alexa is built-in for hands-free controls when you’re lounging watching telly and can’t be bothered to hunt for the remote down the back of the sofa.

We have our issues with the M8 Smart Monitor– the picture isn’t as good as spending £699 on a dedicated Smart TV from Samsung and the video call quality from the SlimFit isn’t great. But in our time with this external display, the M8 Smart Monitor really charmed us. And it’s never-before-seen combination of features makes it ideal for anyone with limited space at home who wants an external monitor and a telly.

There are compromises, but there’s also a lot to love about the one-of-a-kind M8 Smart Monitor.

Samsung M8 Smart Monitor review

First off, we need to address the elephant in the room – yes, the Samsung M8 Smart Monitor looks very similar to the latest iMac. This isn’t our imagination, either. The Smart Monitor M7, the predecessor to the M8 that boasts many of the same features, does not look anything like this latest model – it looks like a pretty standard external monitor. The M8 Smart Monitor – released after the new iMac – is a complete 180º from the previous hardware designs produced by Samsung’s R&D department.

Does that matter? Nah.

While it would be nice to see Samsung’s designers unleash their creativity and come up with something utterly unique for the M9 Smart Monitor …it’s a small nitpick.

samsung m8 smart monitor review

The SlimFit webcam connects with magnets and can be detached whenever it’s not in-use (Image: SAMSUNG )

We love the appearance of the new iMac and this external monitor from Samsung will fit beautifully with the latest MacBook Air, MacBook Pro or Mac mini.

Of course, you don’t need to be an Apple user to enjoy the new design. The Samsung M8 Smart Monitor will bring a splash of colour to any desk, thanks to the gorgeous pastel colours. Store shelves are well stocked with external monitors in dull black or grey plastic cases. As such, the Samsung M8 is a real breath of fresh air. It arrives in a choice of Warm White, Daylight Blue, Spring Green, or Sunset Pink. Our review unit was in the gorgeous Sunset Pink, which is a warm shade of the colour that looks very modern.

If you’re looking to set up a dedicated space to work from home, but don’t want to fill your home with soulless grey office equipment …the Samsung M8 Smart Monitor is the antidote.

Don’t want soulless grey office equipment invading your home? The M8 Smart Monitor – and its gorgeous pastel finish – is the antidote

The thin bezels around the screen ensure that Samsung M8 doesn’t take up too much space on your desk, despite the expansive 32-inch display. The stand is machined from a single piece of metal – a touch that Jony Ive would be very happy to see – that helps to ensure stability. You’ll be able to use the Samsung M8 on a standing desk without any concerns about the external monitor falling over the edge as you stand up.

Make no mistake – placing a hand on the top corner of the screen will cause the M8 to wobble. In normal day-to-day use – attaching Post-It notes to the bezels around the screen, setting up the webcam, connecting a laptop – that metal stand is more than sturdy enough to stop the Samsung M8 from toppling over. The flat base makes for a great place to rest a closed laptop while working on the big screen, something that isn’t possible with a lot of external monitors due to the stand getting in the way.

In a nice design flourish, the webcam attaches to the back of the Samsung M8 with magnets. For privacy-conscious users or those who don’t have back-to-back Zoom meetings, the webcam can be detached and stored elsewhere. The optional webcam design means you can trade the camera that ships with the Samsung M8 for a third-party option with better video performance, sound quality, or built-in LED fill light, for example.

samsung m8 smart monitor review

Samsung has preloaded the M8 with the biggest streaming services around (Image: SAMSUNG)

In our time with the M8, we’d heartily recommend investing in an external webcam to replacer the SlimFit camera, which offers an expansive ultra-wide view of the room to our colleagues on Google Meet …leaving us cutting a lonely figure in the centre of the frame. Google Duo is baked into the software, so you can make calls to friends and family without connecting a device via USB-C. That’s a nice touch, but we’d love to see future software updates improve the gloomy quality of the video as the SlimFit camera is easily the most elegant way to connect a webcam to the monitor.

The M8 Smart Monitor can connect to your laptop or PC via HDMI or USB-C, with the latter also charging your device, so you’ll only need a single cable trailing across your desk to get everything up-and-running. USB-C is needed to access the SlimFit webcam from your laptop or desktop PC too. While you’ll always be able to make calls with the built-in Google Duo app when connected over HDMI, you won’t be able to configure the webcam from your device.

How Many Features Can You Fit Into One Screen?

While the design of the Samsung M8 Smart Monitor is a brilliant selling point, it’s the features that really set this external display apart from the competition.

The M8 Smart Monitor is only available in a single size – 32-inches. That might disappoint those who are limited for space or want a ginormous ultra-wide monitor, but for our money, this is pretty much the ideal size. The 16:9 screen is more than big enough to place run a handful of apps side-by-side to boost productivity …but it doesn’t dominate the room, thanks to the slender bezels. You wouldn’t want the Samsung M8 Smart Monitor to be much smaller because of its killer party trick.

For those who don’t know, the M8 Smart Monitor isn’t simply an external monitor for your laptop or desktop PC – it’s also a fully-fledged Smart TV. Sort of.

The M8 Smart Monitor arrives with a number of streaming services preinstalled, including Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video, Apple TV+, and YouTube. Samsung’s impressive TV Plus (available as standard on all Samsung TVs) is also available, so you’ll be able to watch hundreds of boxsets and live shows for free.

For those living in a small apartment, you can shutdown your PC after a long day, pick up the remote control and start bingeing the latest episode of Stranger Things on the same 32-inch screen. The M8 Smart Monitor has a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, which ensures the pages of text look crisp and blockbusters stream in 4K Ultra HD after work is finished. Samsung has fitted the M8 Smart Monitor with support for HDR10, so you’ll be able to enjoy vibrant colours and deeper shades of black in your boxsets and YouTube videos.

For our money, the M8 Smart Monitor works better as an external display than a telly. Everything is crisp and detailed when working on a laptop connected via USB–C and while Netflix and Prime Video looked good, you’ll definitely get a better viewing experience with a television from Samsung at the same price point. That’s probably inevitable with a two-in-one concept like this.

The ability to transform into a telly isn’t the only ace up the Samsung M8 Smart Monitor’s Sunset Pink sleeve.

During our review, Samsung announced a partnership with Microsoft to bring its Games Pass service to the monitor. Accessible via the Samsung Gaming Hub app, M8 Smart Monitor owners will be able to stream titles included as part of the Games Pass catalogue – a Netflix-like subscription that unlocks access to the biggest first-party games for Xbox Series X|S and PC, like Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, Flight Simulator, as well as third-party hits like Assassin’s Creed, Hades, Overcooked, It Takes Two, DOOM Eternal, and Back 4 Blood, to name just a few. You’ll need a decent internet connection to stream these titles to the display. PC games can be played with a keyboard and mouse or an Xbox controller paired over Bluetooth.

For those with limited space, the Samsung M8 Smart Monitor is a triple threat – a games console, Smart TV, and external monitor for work. It’s utterly unique and very easy to fall in love with.

samsung m8 smart monitor review

The pastel colours used on the M8 Smart Monitor are warm, modern …and definitely not dull (Image: SAMSUNG)

Price and Availability

Samsung M8 Smart Monitor is available in high street and online stores now. It ships in four colours: Warm White, Daylight Blue, Spring Green, or Sunset Pink. Samsung charges £699 for the M8 Smart Monitor, although there is an interest-free payment plan with monthly fees of £19.42 available for those who don’t want to pay outright. For a limited time, Samsung will include a wireless phone charging stand worth £70 when you order the Samsung M8 Smart Monitor from its online store.

Samsung M8 Smart Monitor review: Final Verdict

Samsung’s M8 Smart Monitor is not afraid to wear its inspiration on its sleeve. There’s no getting around it, the M8 Smart Monitor looks almost identical to the redesigned Apple iMac that launched last year. The M8 Smart Monitor has the same curved stand, razor-thin bezels, and pastel colour options. With a cursory glance, it’s possible to mistake the M8 Smart Monitor for the all-in-one desktop computer from arch-nemesis Apple.

Samsung M8 Smart Monitor review – at a glance

What We Loved

  • Beautiful iMac-like Design
  • Gorgeous Pastel Colours Work With Any Home Décor
  • USB-C Connects And Charges Your Laptop At The Same Time
  • HDMI Option Available For Older Machines
  • Included Remote Control
  • Doubles Up As A Smart TV When Your Work Is Done
  • Xbox Games Pass Now Supported

What We Didn’t

  • SlimFit Webcam Quality Isn’t Great
  • Not The Cheapest 4K External Monitor

But that’s not a criticism of the external monitor. As you might’ve read in our iMac review, we were huge fans of the design of the latest desktop from Apple. And similarly, the M8 Smart Monitor looks stunning from all angles. The overall design is incredibly thin, so it won’t take up a lot of room on your desk. The pastel finishes bring a refreshing splash of colour to your setup. Let’s be honest, there are more than enough computers and accessories that deal in the same bland grey and black colour palette that it’s brilliant to see an external monitor with a bit of vibrancy to liven up your PC setup.

This is especially important with the M8 Smart Monitor since it doubles up as a Smart TV too – so you’ll want to position in somewhere that’s easily visible from across the room. If Samsung had shipped a 32-inch dull black rectangle (like it has done with almost all previous models in the M range) you might be less inclined to give it pride of place in the spare bedroom or home office where it can be used as any Smart TV.

Yes, as well as connecting to any Windows, macOS or Chromebook via USB-C (or HDMI, if you’d prefer …Samsung ships both cables in the box) to use on the big screen, Samsung’s clever M8 Smart Monitor arrives with Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, and more preinstalled. When you’re done with work (or not, we won’t tell anyone), the M8 Smart Monitor can be used to watch the latest must-see boxset on Prime Video, YouTube videos full-screen, or rent blockbusters.

The bundled webcam works when connected with any laptop or desktop computer, but can also be used with the built-in Zoom app when there’s nothing connected to the M8 Smart Monitor. That could make it the perfect choice for quizzes and family catch-ups as you’ll have plenty of screen real estate for everyone.

Samsung even bundles in a remote control, so you can stretch out on a sofa and binge a boxset or two without getting up to make any adjustments to the picture or sound. That’s something you won’t be able to do with almost any other monitor on the market. It’s also something you can’t do with the new Apple iMac, despite its shared design with the Samsung M8 Smart Monitor.

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