Computers and computer monitors are finally getting more consumer-friendly and more fun. A large part of that has to do with Apple’s release of the colorful iMac, and the new all-encompassing Studio Display. Samsung has certainly taken note, with the release of the colorful new M8, which takes the previous-generation M7, offers some extra features, lots of colors to choose from, and more.
The M8 is also…much more affordable than Apple’s Studio Display. While the Studio Display is a solid product, it also comes at $1,600 — which puts it out of reach for many. The M8 is less than half of that, coming at $730. Sure, it’s still not a cheap product, but it’s not unreasonably expensive either, at least on paper.
But does the Samsung M8 smart monitor do enough to warrant that price? After all, the Studio Display isn’t its only competition, and much of the rest of the market is even cheaper than it. I’ve been using the Samsung M8 smart monitor for a while now to find out.
- Good image quality
- Comes with webcam and microphone
- 4K resolution
- Lots of smart features
- Speakers are only fine
- Build could be better
Samsung M8 monitor design
The Samsung M8 looks a lot like Apple’s new iMac, including the stand that supports it and the larger bottom bezel. That’s far from a bad thing — and in fact, I quite like it. Colors don’t just make the monitor more interesting, they make it more approachable too.
Speaking of colors, the monitor is available in a number of them — including white, green, pink, and blue. I’m reviewing the blue model, and it looks great.
The build of the monitor isn’t bad at all. It’s built largely from plastic, but it generally seems strong enough for most use. It’s certainly not as premium in build quality as Apple’s recent monitors, but pretty much on-par with the rest of the market.
There is one big difference though — the webcam kind of pops up from the top of the display. It doesn’t look bad, but it’s not as seamless as the built-in webcam on the iMac or Studio Display. That said, there are some advantages, like the fact that you can cover it with the built-in cover, and remove the webcam entirely if you want, as it really just attaches with a USB-C port and some magnets on the back of the display.
The monitor itself is 32 inches, which is pretty huge. Not everyone will need a monitor that gets close to being TV size, but if you like to have multiple windows open on the screen at a time, as I do, it definitely does the trick.
The stand on the device is pretty well-designed too, and more in line with the premium stand that Apple sells for the Studio Display. That’s to say, it’s both height and tilt adjustable, meaning that you can get it to the perfect position for your needs. They both offer more than enough range than most people will need.
On the back, the M8 comes with a few different ports, but the selection is a little limited. There’s a Micro HDMI port, along with a USB-C port for connectivity, and a USB-C port for hub use. You do get a Micro HDMI to HDMI adapter in the box though, which is handy.
There’s also the design of the remote to consider. The remote makes it relatively easy to control the software on the monitor, and it comes with quick-access buttons for some of the more popular streaming services. It’s
Samsung M8 monitor display
The actual display on the M8 looks great too. It’s not quite as crisp as the Studio Display, and it doesn’t offer quite the same range of viewing angles. But these are things that we can easily overlook given the price.
When it comes to specifications, the Samsung M8 offers a 4K resolution, with a 16:9 aspect ratio and a 3000:1 contrast ratio. It supports HDR10+, and has a maximum brightness of 400 nits, which is fine, but not amazing. The refresh rate, perhaps, unfortunately, is capped out at 60Hz.
Generally, the display looks great. It’s not quite as crisp or as colorful as some other options, but the fact that it’s nice and big, and has a 4K resolution, means that it’s more than good enough for most productivity use. I love the 32-inch size — it definitely helped with my productivity. And, while it’s not quite as contrast-heavy as I might have liked, the colors generally looked vibrant and bright.
Hardcore gamers will be a little disappointed with the 60Hz refresh rate, though the low input lag may make up for that a little. Most will want a refresh rate of at least 120Hz, though those looking for something for mainly productivity, and only occasional gaming, will be perfectly fine with what’s on offer.
Samsung M8 monitor software
One of the big differences between this monitor and many others is that it can essentially act as a TV. It has the same software as Samsung’s TVs, Tizen, meaning it supports streaming apps and services, Samsung Gaming Hub, and more.
Generally, if you’ve used a Samsung TV before, you’ll find it relatively easy to navigate Tizen on this monitor. And, the monitor offers some smart features that some might find useful. You can install all your favorite streaming apps and services, and you can create your own picture-in-picture view — meaning you can have a Netflix window over your desktop when you’re working. Unfortunately, you can’t have the two different inputs on the display at once.
The display also supports some other connected smart features. It has AirPlay 2 built into it, and it has Samsung DeX support built into it. You can even access Microsoft’s cloud Office apps without connecting a computer to the monitor at all, which is pretty handy.
Lastly, the monitor supports Samsung’s Gaming Hub, which ties together any connecting consoles, and installed game streaming services. Microsoft has actually just unveiled a new version of its Xbox Game Pass app for Gaming Hub, which means that you can stream your Xbox games straight to the monitor without needing to have an actual Xbox. It’s generally where many see gaming going in the future, and having tried it at an event with Microsoft and Samsung, it seems to work great.
Samsung M8 monitor webcam
The Samsung M8 comes with a webcam that can be plugged into the back, and is held in place magnetically. The fact that it’s removable means that you can use your own webcam if you want, which is super helpful for those that want something of a slightly higher quality.
I do wish that the webcam was built into the monitor, but being able to cover it and remove it as needed is a nice touch. It just looks a little weird on top of the monitor, though obviously less intrusive than the larger webcams that many will be used to.
Unfortunately, the placement of the webcam means it can’t really be adjusted. I mostly would have liked to be able to tilt it down a little, considering how big the monitor is.
The actual quality of the webcam is pretty good though. It has a 1,080p resolution, and while not quite as colorful or vibrant as some more expensive webcams, it’s definitely able to deliver a good webcam experience. Live-streamers will still probably want something a bit higher-end.
Samsung M8 monitor speakers
The Samsung M8 also comes with built-in speakers, meaning that you don’t necessarily have to use external speakers with it if you don’t want to. Now, to be sure, I still recommend most who want a decent listening experience, but in a pinch these do the job.
Perhaps the worst thing about the built-in speakers is that they mostly lack bass, making listening to music not the best experience overall. But for things like video-calling and listening to podcasts, the speakers aren’t bad, and they get quite loud. Again, those wanting to use the speakers for listening to music will probably want to turn to a decent pair of external speakers, but for voice, the monitor’s own speakers are perfectly fine.
Samsung M8 monitor microphone
The microphone quality is pretty similar to the speaker quality. That’s to say, it’s fine for voice calling and for use in a pinch, but don’t expect anything beyond that.
That’s not a huge deal though. Most will be using the built-in microphone for video chatting — not things like live-streaming. If, however, you are using it for live-streaming, I recommend turning elsewhere.
The Samsung M8 is a killer do-it-all monitor option for those who don’t want to have to worry about piecing together a monitor, webcam, and speakers for themselves. Even without the webcam and the speakers, however, it’s still a great option, with a good image quality and a design that should look great in any environment. That’s not to mention the smart features.
It’s hard to consider the Apple Studio Display a real competitor given the fact that it’s so much more expensive than the M8, but those looking for a do-it-all monitor might consider them competition. If you’re deciding between the two, the Studio Display is technically the better option — despite the smaller size and the lack of smart features. It offers a better design, better build quality, and better image quality. But you’ll have to decide for yourself if it’s worth the extra cash.
It’s also worth considering the last-generation Samsung M7 monitor, which is quite a bit cheaper and still offers many of the same features as the M8.
Should I buy the Samsung M8 monitor?
Yes. It’s an excellent monitor at a good price.