A smart all-round monitor for people who don’t really like computers. […]
If you have ever wondered why only TVs are smart, but PC screens are not, you will get an answer from Samsung. Their new M8 monitor is just that: a smart monitor, somewhere between a PC screen and a smart TV. It would be wrong to call the M8 a PC screen with smart features, or a small smart TV. Because the screen offers various functions that build a veritable bridge between the two types of devices.
The first reaction to the M8 is the same for almost all IT fans: “Looks like the new iMac”. This may not be a coincidence, but it is also nothing negative. After all, both the new iMac and the M8 look dazzling. The M8 is even height-adjustable in the standard version. The M8 is available in four colors, with the back and the frame of the monitor always remaining white. In addition to white, the front, sand casting and stand are also available in green, blue and pink.
Except for the bar at the bottom and a narrow border around it, the whole front side consists of display, which helps the visual impression. Connections and control can be found on the back, directly under the suspension. A small bar for remote control reception protrudes at the bottom right. Elegantly hidden in the promo pictures is the external power supply, which comes in a neat log.
While Samsung still scores against Apple in terms of height adjustability, the stand is otherwise only moderately convincing. The thin metal plate as a foot seems to cope with the weight of the 32-inch screen only with decent optimism. However, the M8 tolerates slight wobbles well and the screen also sits solidly on the suspension. In addition to the height adjustability, the M8 is also tiltable. There is no pivot function or rotation around the stator axis. Unfortunately, the monitor also lacks a VESA suspension, which would have been handy especially with a lifestyle screen like this.
The display of the M8 is designed for easy work and entertainment. With its 32 inches, the screen is ideal for office work and entertainment on a smaller scale. The VA panel delivers a decent 99% sRGB with very regular brightness, but below 75% in graphics standards such as AdobeRGB or DCI-P3. And this is exactly where creative professionals who had hoped for an alternative to the Apple Studio Display stop reading.
For cozy gaming, the screen is enough, but it quickly reaches its limits. In the competitive field, the screen is too slow (60 Hz) and also does not offer sync features against screen tearing. The M8 HDR can do this with up to 400 nits, which is very nice, especially with supported movies and games.
Samsung has thought a little about the equipment. The M8 should be as simple as possible for the lifestyle user and of course also visually convincing. Accordingly, there are only a few, but state-of-the-art connections. There would be one microHDMI slot and two USB-C, one of which serves as a HUB, and one as a display connection. That’s it for the cable connections. The included webcam is attached to the back of the M8 via a magnetic connector, and then peeps out from behind the display. Qualitatively, the camera is not a revelation, but it is enough for low-demanding meetings and can even be hidden by a magnetic cover.
Samsung is focusing more on wireless anyway. For example, there is a remote control for all TV functions. Namely, the M8 runs on the same Tizen software as Samsung TVs. And that’s exactly what the M8 should give away from the competition. This screen is not only there to receive image and sound from a PC, but also to provide entertainment yourself via an Internet connection. Samsung has not installed a TV tuner, but practically any TV content can be accessed via the Internet anyway. There are also all the popular TV apps that you know so well: Netflix, Twitch, Amazon Prime and so on.
In addition, the M8 has even more software on board. Thus, the monitor can serve as a control center for Samsung smart home devices and use office apps. For the latter you do not need a local PC, but peripherals. From a technological point of view, this is ingenious, potentially groundbreaking, but perhaps too early.
The M8 can do so much, but nothing better than existing devices. TVs are larger, PC screens in the same price segment are more specialized, PC screens with the same display qualities are massively cheaper. The office features are still too sparse to mothball the home PC.
Thus, the Samsung M8 is a great monitor for a world that does not really exist. A monitor for a world in which hip young adults place a 32-inch monitor on the coffee table and watch series as well as edit PowerPoint presentations. The M8 can do almost everything, but nothing really, and thus has almost too many features. Because they make the monitor too expensive for the light users, which the monitor could otherwise appeal to with its stylish superficiality.
*Luca Diggelmann is an author at PCtipp.ch