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Samsung M8 in the test: smart monitor on steroids

Full of features. That best describes the Smart Monitor M8 from Samsung. The manufacturer (usually) keeps what he promises on paper.

To address the elephant in the room right away: Yes, the Samsung M8 looks like an iMac or the new Apple Studio Display. It even comes in matching colors. Do I think that’s bad? No, the big manufacturers keep copying each other anyway. And: the monitor can be adjusted in height – without an upgrade costing 400 francs or euros, as with Apple.

With the M8, Samsung has a great monitor that is also a television on offer. I have never tested a monitor that offers so many features and combines several devices in one. In most cases, the M8 delivers what it promises.

799.–

Samsung Smart Monitor M8 (3840 x 2160 Pixels, 32 “)

Remote control: endless possibilities

You control the monitor with a joystick on the back. However, it is much easier with the included remote control. It’s small and reduced to the essentials – plus buttons for various streaming providers. The integrated battery can be charged via USB-C.

The remote control is reduced to the essentials.
The remote control is reduced to the essentials.

If you pick up the remote control and press the home button, you realize that there is a smart TV integrated. A System on a Chip (SoC) powers the monitor. The operating system is Tizen, which is also installed on Samsung Smart TVs. However, you will look in vain for a tuner for receiving television programs. Instead, Samsung TV Plus is integrated. Or you can download the application of your choice from the integrated App Store in order to consume TV offers. Of course, you can also install one of the numerous streaming apps. The user interface is clear and the M8 responds quickly to inputs.

The user interface is clearly structured.
The user interface is clearly structured.

You can also choose Office 365 – provided, of course, that you have bought a license. If you have a Bluetooth-enabled mouse and keyboard, you can work directly on the monitor – without a notebook or PC. E-mails and documents can be retrieved from the cloud. Samsung’s own browser is also integrated. But you can also access a computer thanks to Remote Access. With Samsung DeX you can also connect to and work on Samsung’s mobile devices.

The M8 can function as an Internet of Things (IoT) hub thanks to the Smart Things app. So you control your compatible devices from the monitor. The control also works by voice. Amazon Alexa and Samsung Bixby are supported by the monitor. It’s nice that Samsung also allows the option for a third-party assistant. The voice control works well – in German and English.

The M8 also supports AirPlay. So you can connect your Apple devices wirelessly.

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ergonomics and design

I received the white version from Samsung for testing. Even if you buy the blue, green, or pink version, only the stand and bezel at the bottom of the monitor are colored accordingly. The back and edges of the television remain white.

In any case, the base is white.  The pattern can also be seen here.
In any case, the base is white. The pattern can also be seen here.

The back is decorated with a pattern. This breaks with the usually boring design of monitors. The lower part of the base is made of metal, the rest of the device is completely made of plastic. Nevertheless, the monitor does not look cheap. On the contrary: Everything is well processed. Even if I shake the table, the M8 doesn’t wobble with it. That was different with the M5 and M7.

The power supply is a huge block.
The power supply is a huge block.

The monitor is damn thin. I measure almost 12 millimeters. He manages that because Samsung has outsourced the power supply. So you have to stow a huge block somewhere. I’m not a fan of external power supplies.

My thumb versus the monitor.
My thumb versus the monitor.

In terms of ergonomics, the monitor is a double-edged sword. It can be adjusted in height and tilted, which is great. The fact that it cannot be swiveled and there is no option for wall mounting are only small negative points. What bothers me more are the few physical connections: Micro HDMI, a USB-C 3.0 upstream port with 65 watts of power supply for charging notebooks and the like, and another USB-C port. I would have liked more downstream ports so that I could connect my peripherals, such as a headset or keyboard, directly to the monitor.

The connections are manageable.
The connections are manageable.

Samsung has its own port on the top rear. The supplied webcam – the Slim Camera – can be attached magnetically to this. My assessment of this is below.

The monitor also has WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2.

M8 scores with a good display

The image quality of the 32-inch VA display with a resolution of 3840×2160 pixels seems very good to me at first glance. VA stands for Vertical Alignment. This means that the panel’s liquid crystals are aligned vertically. With this arrangement, VA panels achieve better black levels and contrasts than other panel types. In any case, the colors are crisp and the letters are pin-sharp.

The HDR10+ licensed panel also impressed me in the EIZO monitor test. It has no pixel errors, the brightness seems homogeneous, the color distances as well and the color gradient seems even to me. The viewing angles are relatively stable. I did not notice any backlight bleeding and blooming only occurs in extreme situations.

Personal impressions can be deceptive, which is why I measure the panel with my i1 Display Pro Plus colorimeter. In fact, it is illuminated relatively homogeneously.

The display is relatively homogeneous.  The figures are in nits.
The display is relatively homogeneous. The figures are in nits.

Samsung speaks of 400 nits of brightness. My sample tops that with one exception in all nine measured zones. The panel shines brightest in the middle. It drops the most at the bottom right. The difference is ten percent. For me, that’s still acceptable and I don’t notice it in everyday life.

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I also measure the color space coverage of the display:

  • sRGB color space coverage: 97.6 percent
  • Adobe RGB color space coverage: 71.4 percent
  • DCI-P3 color space coverage: 75.8

sRGB is displayed accurately. However, the coverage of the Adobe RGB color space is insufficient for those who work with it. For example, graphic designers who prepare material for printing. Things are looking a little better for the DCI-P3 coverage, which is important for digital film production. But even this value is too low for professionals. All in all, the color reproduction is good and for a monitor that is not aimed at graphic designers or video producers.

I only consider the 60 Hz refresh rate to be a bit tight. I also prefer higher refresh rates for office work or Netflix. Thanks to the four milliseconds fast response time, the monitor is also suitable for gaming with consoles. However, I would not recommend it for playing PC games. Screen tearing is commonplace in the absence of technology to counteract it.

The display also offers the Adaptive Picture function. This adjusts the image brightness to the ambient conditions. This works quite well, but I prefer to set the image brightness myself.

Adequate loudspeakers are installed in the M8

The same feature as in the picture is also available for the speakers: Adaptive Sound. It adapts the sound of the integrated 2.2-channel five-watt speakers to the content and the noise level of the environment. That works, but here too I prefer to make my own settings.

The speakers are mounted on the back.
The speakers are mounted on the back.

Overall, the speakers are okay, certainly better than most monitor speakers. The quality is sufficient for the YouTube video in between, but I don’t want to watch a complete film with the sound. I prefer to use Bluetooth headphones.

Slim camera with terrible microphone

The camera and its attachment to the monitor is a highlight of the monitor for me. I prefer monitors where the camera is external. So I can take them off when not in use. Thanks to the magnetic mount, the slim camera can be attached in no time at all – and removed again. If you have connected your notebook or PC via USB-C, the camera works wirelessly thanks to Samsung’s proprietary connector. If you are connected via HDMI cable, you must connect the camera to the PC or notebook with a separate cable.

The Slim Camera can be attached magnetically.
The Slim Camera can be attached magnetically.

The camera has a resolution of 1080p. That doesn’t sound like much. However, if you primarily need the monitor for work, that is perfectly sufficient. In most cases, the internet connection is the limiting factor in video calls anyway. A 4K camera is useless and your opponents look like mud in teams.

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Otherwise, the image quality of the camera is okay in good lighting conditions. A little more contrast and saturation would be good. In low light, the image quickly becomes grainy and muddy.

The magnetized lens cap is particularly great. When the camera is in use, you attach it to the back of the camera thanks to the magnet. If you don’t need the camera, you put the cap on at the front. A red light tells you whether the camera is working or not.

The camera cannot be tilted further downwards.
The camera cannot be tilted further downwards.

But there are also bad things about the camera. Due to its positioning near the edge of the monitor, it cannot be swiveled down far enough. I always have a lot of space above my head in the recordings. If I want to reduce it, I also have to tilt the monitor as a whole downwards. If you use Google Duo, which is integrated, face tracking and auto zoom are active. There, the app selects the appropriate image section and you are well in the picture. Unfortunately, the feature is not available with a connected device.

The integrated microphone is bad. In the following example I think I am in «Neon Genesis Evangelion». The microphone makes my PC fans chirp like cicadas. The microphone also rolls over when I get a little louder.

Conclusion: Samsung’s M8 is a good monitor with many features

The M8 has more features than any monitor I’ve tested so far. With the M5 and M7, Samsung has started making monitors suitable for the living room and home office. With the M8, the South Korean manufacturer is consistently taking this further.

Thanks to Tizen as the operating system, the monitor offers the same features as a Samsung television – minus the TV tuner. Thanks to the Bluetooth connection, the M8 can be used as an Office 365 workstation or for browsing the Internet as on a PC. With the Smart Things app, the part even becomes an Internet of Things hub.

Weak points are the few ports, the poor microphone and for me the refresh rate of 60 Hz and a lack of variable refresh rate technology.

If you are looking for a monitor that will simultaneously replace your TV and give you home automation, I can recommend the M8. At around 800 francs or euros (as of April 2022), the M8 seems expensive. But if you consider all the features that the monitor offers you, the price is justified.

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