Picking the best TV can be tough, but the Samsung M8 Monitor makes a solid case for being the next screen you put on your desk – if not in your lounge.
Seemingly designed to compete with Apple’s Studio Display, Samsung’s monitor packs plenty of tech and features into a good-looking chassis but it’s unlikely to replace your TV.
Screen size: 32-inch
Screen type: VA
4k ready: Yes
8k ready: No
HDR type: HDR10+
Audio type: Adaptive Sound+ speakers
HDMI connections: 1 x Micro HDMI
Other ports: 2 x USB-C
Warranty: 24 months
That’s because it feels specifically targeted at being your new desk monitor, with a bright, very capable display and speakers backed up by a series of built-in streaming apps but lacking a standard HDMI port. Sure, you can use the included micro HDMI cable, but the combination of an upstream and downstream USB-C port mean it feels ideally suited for connecting up laptops or tablets as opposed to set top boxes and game consoles.
With impressive smart TV features like the ability to watch TV while working on your device of choice, there’s a lot to like. There’s even a nifty detachable webcam that connects via magnets (although its quality could be better), and the monitor can be used as a smart hub. It even has Samsung’s DeX functionality built-in, although we’d argue the built-in productivity tools aren’t likely to work for most users.
Still, for slightly over $700, users can get a very solid TV/monitor combo – but depending on your setup, you may want to lean one way or the other.
Lloyd Coombes is Top Ten Reviews' Computing Customer Advisor, and a freelance writer with a specialism in tech and gaming. Since starting out as a blogger, he’s written for sites like IGN, TechRadar, and more. You'll find Lloyd reviewing everything from tablets and PCs to phones, as well as producing detailed guides on how to get the most out of your tech.
For this review, Lloyd spent a week testing the Samsung M8 Smart Monitor and really put it through its paces, assessing everything from ease of use to picture and sound quality.
Samsung M8 Smart Monitor: Design and build
The Samsung M8 monitor comes in a variety of pastel colors. Our review unit is pink, but there are also green, blue, and white options. All are accented with white panelling around the display, as well as the back panel.
There’s an undeniable feel of familiarity for anyone that’s seen an M1 iMac, but one key difference is the webcam peeking over the top and lack of sizeable ‘chin’ at the bottom.
Underneath the stand, you’ll find a series of ports, with two USB-C ports, a micro-HDMI one. Sadly, that’s about it, meaning you won’t find any additional USB ports. The stand isn’t height-adjustable, either, and as a taller user our reviewer compensated using a small desk shelf.
Samsung M8 Smart Monitor: Features and specs
The Samsung M8 really can be many things to different people, but there are some caveats for both sides. Still, you can sit at your desk and do work on it, and it’s great both as a smart TV and as an extra display.
Looking at the former, the slimline but powerful remote, solid if unspectacular speakers, and bright (400 nits) display make this an ideal screen for bingeing your latest Netflix obsession or catching up on YouTube. It runs on Samsung’s Tizen OS, meaning you can skip between apps (as all the big ones are supported) with ease. It’s responsive, and much more capable than you’d perhaps expect given the M8 sits between the two aforementioned camps.
That brings us to using the M8 as a monitor, and there’s plenty to like there, too, if your setup works with it. If you’ve already moved to USB-C as standard, you’ll feel right at home – plug in your laptop or tablet (we used a MacBook Pro and iPad Pro running macOS Ventura and iPadOS 16 betas respectively) and were able to work, play games, and do pretty much anything we wanted to with a single cable connected to the ‘upstream’ USB-C port. It even charged the laptop.
Downstream, things get a little less reliable in a work scenario. For one, this USB-C port is significantly slower (USB 2.0) and while it does offer some power delivery, it won’t be as fast as hooking something up to your laptop directly.
The webcam is detachable and snaps on via magnets. Samsung says the webcam has a 1080p resolution, but in a small office it felt dark and low-resolution. However, being able to join Google Duo chats in a pinch without having to access a computer is sure to help a handful of people out.
Perhaps most interestingly, Samsung’s lightweight DeX ecosystem means that users can, at least theoretically, perform many tasks without connecting to anything. Many Google apps, including Docs and Sheets, aren’t supported on the ecosystem, which feels like a a sizeable omission given the option to make Duo calls.
While we didn’t test gaming on the display outside of a handful of games we have installed on our Mac, the M8 has an Xbox streaming included, meaning you can play games via the cloud by connecting a controller.
Blending the two camps together, you can run a side-by-side mode that lets you work on your connected device while also watching content through Tizen. It’s not something we’d use regularly, but it’s another option afforded by the M8 that’s sure to appeal to some.
Samsung M8 Smart Monitor: Setup and assembly
Putting the Samsung M8 together took mere seconds; the display’s stand is easy to assemble and the packaging helps to separate each piece.
Slot together the stand, connect the display to a power source, and use the remote to start things up – it’s as easy as that. Within minutes, we had the monitor connected to Wi-Fi, and were able to flick through the apps included.
It’s worth noting that connecting with a laptop like a MacBook via USB-C will require users find the correct port - the ‘upstream’ option is the one to look for.
Samsung M8 Smart Monitor: Picture
If you’re expecting the M8 to struggle under the weight of its additional features and fumble the TV side of things, then we’re pleased to say it’s not the case.
While it lacks Dolby Vision HDR, HDR10+ is present and accounted for. That, combined with streaming apps and a 4K panel, means that you can work your way through visually impressive TV shows like Stranger Things and have a great experience.
Would we have liked an OLED panel, though? For sure, although we suspect it would’ve seen a price increase. OLED screens allow for deeper blacks to increase contrast, but it’s still hard to argue with what’s on offer here at this price point.
On the other hand, the high resolution and impressive brightness also make the M8 ideal for photo and video editors, particularly when taking color depth into account.
Samsung M8 Smart Monitor: Sound
The Samsung M8’s front-facing speakers are good, but could be better. They’re a solid stereo option, but the thin chassis means there’s a lack of depth to the sound.
Higher volumes can distort too, which again lends credence to the idea that the M8 is made for your desk, not for your living room.
Still, listening to music or watching TV shows is a solid enough experience thanks to balanced sound, particularly in mids. You can connect your favorite headphones via Bluetooth, but in order to achieve the best audio, we’d advise connecting them directly to your laptop while working instead.
Samsung M8 Smart Monitor: Price and availability
- $799 / £699
The Samsung M8 is a very solid alternative to the Apple Studio Display. In fact, while many of its features will feel superfluous if you don’t use them, you get the M8’s larger panel for around half the price of the Apple Studio.
The Samsung M8 monitor is available worldwide, as is its predecessor, the M7, which offers more ports if you can deal with lower brightness and an older design.
Samsung M8 Smart Monitor: Care and maintenance
Looking after the Samsung M8 Smart Monitor is much the same as cleaning any other monitor. As per our guide on how to clean your monitor, you’ll need a dry microfiber cloth and some distilled water.
Start by using the cloth in a circular motion, gently rotating and picking up dust and debris (avoid using a towel in case of scratches). Use distilled water to clean the cloth afterward, avoiding alcohol-based products and tap water.
Samsung M8 Smart Monitor: User reviews
At the time of writing, the Samsung M8 had an average rating on Amazon of 4.4 stars out of 5. Amazon reviews for the product are positive, with many noting it’s essentially a TV with laptop connectivity – and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Some reviews have noted the impressive picture and app options, and the ease of use. One happy customer notes that the Samsung M8 is a great replacement for a gaming monitor, saying: “I can easily connect to my PC for gaming without having to disconnect my Macbook. The slim camera has great quality in taking in the picture when I have my MacBook closed. The smart TV option is super easy to navigate. The speakers have a good range and clarity.”
Should you buy the Samsung M8 Smart Monitor?
If you’re looking for a smart TV, the Samsung M8 is ideal for your desk – but a lack of physical connectivity options can limit its potential as the main display in your home.
If it had a full-size HDMI port (or more than one) and perhaps a larger size variant, it’d be able to tick a few more boxes. As it is, though, it’s our favorite “one size fits all” monitor for your desktop.
How does the Samsung M8 monitor compare to competitors?
As we’ve mentioned, the M8’s main rival in the space is likely to be Apple’s much more expensive Studio Display. While that display has had its own share of issues, notably with its camera, it does have a more impressive screen with 5K, although it is smaller than the M8. Still, the Studio Display is very much a monitor made for Apple devices, meaning platform-agnostic users, or those looking for something more self-sufficient, will likely prefer the Samsung M8.