I love my laptop, but sometimes you just need a bigger workspace. Particularly if you work with photos, video, or multiple docs or sheets at once, having a bigger monitor can make for more comfortable working. I currently use a 14-inch MacBook Pro and while it’s great for travel, it’s too small for detailled video editing which I do almost daily. For that reason I’ve been testing out a lot of monitors. The 32-inch Samsung M8 monitor in sunset pink has arrived into my test kitchen, and more than a simple 4K computer monitor, this baby has a design-focused look and it doubles as a TV, making it pretty ideal for smaller spaces, like dorm rooms, or shared apartments.
In this review I’ll look at what this monitor can do, what sets it apart, what’s it’s good at and not so good at, and if I can recommend it for you.
Samsung M8 Smart Monitor
There is so much to love about this monitor, from the design to screen quality. it does have a few small quirks to be aware of, particularly if you want to use this with a Macbook.
- Gorgeous design
- Amazing screen quality
- Sharp, detailed
- Works as a TV and computer monitor
- Can screen mirror, remoter login or hard-wire
- Works with Apple devices
- Cool colour options
- Clip-on webcam is handy
- Minimal adjustability
- No VESA mount adapter
- Clunky switching from TV to computer
- Unclear if webcam face tracking and zoom was working?
What is Samsung M8 Smart Monitor?
This 2022 edition 32 inch monitor is a 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) smart monitor, and it actually looks. alot like Apple’s Studio Display, albeit at about half the price. I may be skipping ahead here bit if you’re looking at Apple’s monitor, stop and look closer at the M8.
This 16:9 display with a 60 hz refresh rate comes with a detachable webcam, and it has smart streaming built in so you can use it as a TV too, with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Apple TV all available via Wi-Fi without having to connect to a PC or TV. There’s also a small remote control; mainly for using it as a TV, but it does come in handy for adjusting the monitor settings too.
The monitor comes in some cool colours which is definitely satisfying my design sensibilities. It sits on a flat thin foot and is adjustable up or down within about 1.5 to 6 inches off its foot. In a bit of a design oversight, it does not have a VESA adapter so you can’t put it on a monitor arm to get it off your desk space, which is a bit of a shame.
The monitor has almost no bezel or edge and the screen is huge with lots of space.
Set up, ports & connections
In another oddity for me, the monitor’s ports and connections are all located underneath the sliding mount, making them extremely difficult to access easily. I presume Samsung did this to hide visual clutter, and in truth you’re probably not going in here constantly after your initial connections, so maybe it’s a not issue.
This monitor, in yet another oddity, does not have an HDMI port, just Micro HDMI, which meant I needed another solution to connect my laptop. Fortunately, Samsung included a USB-C to USB-C cable which plugs into my hub adapter and worked for my set up.
In total you’ll find:
- Micro HDMI
- USB-C x 2
How to set up Macbook with Samsung M8 monitor
To properly set up the Samsung M8 smart display as your Apple MacBook extended monitor, you need to use that included USB C to USB C cable. Then you will go to the Samsung Smart Display’s menu option. Choose connected devices, then (again, oddly) choose PC. Though it shows PC as the option, this will be whatever computer you have connected, even if it’s a MacBook.
With that selected, you should see your laptop screen appear. Then, you can use your MacBook’s settings to either make the monitor an additional display, or a mirror of your existing laptop monitor.
Using your MacBook’s System Preferences >Displays> and you can arrange the windows as you like. Then your cursor will move smoothly between the screens.
Screen mirroring or remote login
You can also choose Screen Mirroring if you want to avoid cables altogether or use a remote login. (On a Mac, to use screen mirroring, choose screen mirroring, from your settings on your MacBook then select Smart Monitor.)
I can say this works fine, but using my MacBook’s trackpad or mouse on the Samsung smart monitor was out of sync. The mouse speed and accuracy is way off; it seems slower and takes longer to react, and is less precise than using it on the MacBook. This makes it absolutely maddening to move between the laptop screen and the Samsung smart monitor. So I switched to the hard-wired connection.
Using Samsung M8 Smart Display
This monitor is a dream. The 4K resolution is crisp and clear and makes video editing and blogging easy on the eyes. The colours seem natural and bright and everything looks great. I love the widescreen size and the edge-to-edge design.
Using M8 Smart Display as a TV
If you want to use your monitor as a TV it’s as simple as hitting the Home button on the remote, or choosing one of the quick-start buttons for Netflix or Prime.
The video viewing quality is fantastic; just like a smaller 4K TV, and with all the streaming channels including Samsung’s live TV options, you’ll be saying, “Cable who?”
The internal speaker, while not high fidelity or powerful gets the job done.
Switching back to computer screen
Unfortunately, getting back to your laptop screen requires a few more clicks. The remote could definitely use an Input button to allow for quick switching, but as it is, I needed to navigate to Menu> Connected Devices and select PC to switch back. Clunky, but it works.
Using the webcam
The M8 Smart Display has a magnetic and removable SlimFit Cam that can attach to the top rear of the monitor. Samsung touts the camera’s ability to “keep desk space neat without any unsightly wires”.
The SlimFit Cam also features face tracking and auto zoom functions; In other words, it can follow and capture a person, a great option for active presentations or livestreaming. In addition, the monitor supports video chat apps such as Google Duo, allowing users to work remotely or engage in video conferencing at home or in the workplace using the SlimFit Cam.
The webcam was easy enough to use with my MacBook; I was just able to switch it as the camera source in my settings.
The only thing I didn’t like about it, is that it only has very minimal tilt controls, meaning it can be difficult to frame, since if you want to lower it, it’s blocked by the top edge of the monitor.
In my set up, I have it on a riser so it has a hard time tilting down enough to keep me centre frame. This is likely much less of an issue if this monitor is sitting directly on your desk.
How does Samsung M8 compare to Apple Studio Display?
I understand a lot of folks are comparing this monitor to Apple’s very pricey Studio Display ($1,999CAD/$1,599USD). While there are definitely a lot of similarities in the design department, when it comes to price there’s no comparison; the Samsung M8 is far and away a better bargain—without sacrificing much at all. Now, while I know that the monitor has a few quirks for Apple users, these are easy enough to overcome, and while Apple definitely has that “works perfectly” thing down pat with its own devices, it will be up to you to judge if making a few concessions will be a hardship or totally worth it.
Overall review: Samsung M8 Smart Display
Overall I’m in love with many things about this monitor but it does have a few small quirks.
The design is amazing and I love the colour options. The 4K resolution is sharp and detailed and makes it a dream to work off my laptop. Plus it is ultra versatile since you can use it as a streaming TV, plus the magnetic webcam lets you make easier video calls without more desk cable clutter.
On the downside, the screen mirroring on my Mac worked but it was laggy, so the hard wired option worked best for me. And switching back from TV to monitor is clunky. Plus accessing the ports and connections in the rear isn’t easy.
The truth is, those are minor issues and if this monitor had a VESA mount adapter I would already have bought one for myself after returning my loaner to Samsung. But I’m trying to get gadgets off my desktop, not add to it, so that’s my primary reason for not clicking Buy Now.
Even so, if you want a large, beautiful display for your workspace—or you’re considering the Apple Studio Display—run, don’t walk and get the Samsung M8 Smart Display instead.
It sells for about $699USD/$899CAD and you can get it from Samsung, Best Buy or Amazon.
Best Buy: e-com