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Samsung M8 review: An unusual 32in TV/monitor hybrid

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
699
inc VAT

The Samsung M8 is a stylish, intriguing TV/monitor hybrid with its head in the clouds

Pros 
Built-in streaming
Gorgeous design
Good-quality 4K panel
Cons 
Poor ergonomics
Dire port situation
Too expensive
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The Samsung M8 is the latest in a series of smart monitors built to bridge the gap between PC peripheral and fully fledged TV. The M series of monitors launched in 2020 to cater to the remote working audience but, where previous iterations have been utilitarian in design, the M8 bucks the trend with sleek and stylish looks.

This is an Apple-esque monitor/TV hybrid that will no doubt turn heads, begging the question: can the M8’s performance cash the check written by its slender, good-looking frame and eye-popping price tag?

I’ll be blunt: if you were expecting something on par with Apple’s Studio Display (£1,499), you’ll be disappointed. The M8 is instead a stylish and slightly confusing multipurpose monitor that performs well but lacks the practical functionality I’d expect from a monitor this expensive.

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Samsung M8 review: What do you get for the money?

The Samsung M8 costs £699 and is available in four colours: white, blue, green and pink. For the money you’re getting a 32in VA panel with a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160, a refresh rate of 60Hz, a quoted response time of 4ms G2G and HDR10+ decoding. There’s no adaptive sync support or official HDR certification.

Alongside the power socket on the rear you’ll find a single micro-HDMI input plus two USB-C ports, one of which supports 65W power delivery and can carry a video signal and data from a connected laptop or PC. The stand, meanwhile, offers 120mm of height adjustment and 15 degrees of backwards tilt.

This is far more than merely a PC monitor, however. The Samsung M8 can also be employed as a smart TV and, to that end, it comes with Samsung’s Tizen OS built in plus a remote control for easy navigation. From the home screen, you can launch into the full range of streaming services including Netflix, Disney Plus, Prime Video, iPlayer and plenty more.

You can also connect the monitor to the web and stream your desktop from a PC/laptop, Mac or Samsung DeX-compatible smartphone, while the built-in Microsoft 365 web application allows you to access online Office apps as well as OneDrive. Connect a mouse and keyboard wirelessly via Bluetooth and you don’t even need a computer to connect it to.

The remote has Bixby and Alexa support, so all the above can be accessed by barking voice commands and, if you’re plugged into the Samsung SmartThings ecosystem, the M8 can act as a hub for various other devices, a little like Google’s Nest Hub Max or similar. You can even share your iPhone screen to it via AirPlay.

For office workers, there’s a detachable 1080p webcam that connects magnetically to the top of the monitor. You’ll find that in the box alongside the remote and a micro-HDMI to HDMI cable.

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Samsung M8 review: What does it do well?

The Samsung M8 is a great-looking monitor. It’s only 22mm thick and oozes modern design, from its wide stand to its textured rear panelling. As I’ve already mentioned, it’s not hard to see which Californian tech firm Samsung is imitating here but I’m certainly not upset about the resemblance. Owing to its all-plastic design, this is a very lightweight monitor.

I should linger on the design for a moment, because the size of this display will be a huge draw for many. It’s hard to find a 32in 4K TV and I suspect many people will like the idea of being able to wedge the M8 into a cramped corner of their kitchen.

The detachable webcam helps a lot here: it’s clearly to reduce the clutter without also increasing the depth of the display by adding a pop-up mechanism. I like having the option to remove the webcam altogether but, even if you don’t, you can simply use the physical lens cover. I’m also pleased to report that the webcam produces a very good image with a decent 1080p resolution and very little grain unless forced to tackle really dark environments.

I’m always happy to see a bundled remote control but it’s particularly crucial here. Navigating the menus becomes infinitely more straightforward, which is good as you’ll be doing it often; one of the major attractions of this monitor, aside from its purported capabilities as an office display, is the built-in support for streaming services. These run pretty smoothly, on the whole, and Tizen OS will be familiar to anyone who has used a Samsung TV.

This is all irrelevant if the panel can’t live up to expectations. However, I’m happy to report that the Samsung M8 generally performed well in testing. Out of the box, it produced 96% of the sRGB colour gamut, which equates to 68% of the wider DCI-P3 gamut. For colour accuracy, the M8 managed an average Delta E of 1.67 when measured against sRGB. These are good results, rather than great ones, but they’re pretty much what Samsung quotes on its website.

As this is a VA panel, contrast is great – I measured a ratio of 3,531:1 out of the box. Panel uniformity is also very good: the model on test here demonstrated no obvious deviation in brightness on a black screen and passed our tests with no red flags. Brightness tops out at 447cd/m², which is more than any office worker will need and a pretty decent figure for casual entertainment purposes, too.

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Samsung M8 review: What could be better?

For this monitor to be a real entertainment hub, however, the speakers need work. Simply put, they’re dreadful: tinny and completely lacking in bass. If you want to watch films on this monitor, I would recommend purchasing a Bluetooth-compatible soundbar or hooking up a pair of Bluetooth headphones.

While it doesn't impact my verdict, it's worth noting that this is also far from a serious gaming monitor. With no adaptive sync to speak of and a low refresh rate, I’d suggest this monitor purely for those still gaming on last-gen consoles. PC gamers and those who own a PS5 or Xbox Series X will be disappointed by what’s on offer here. While there’s surprisingly little ghosting for a VA panel, there’s plenty of motion blur, and the response time settings do little to mitigate it.

I’m not convinced by this monitor’s home-working credentials, either. It’s quite clear that Samsung would prefer you to use the M8 without a connected PC or laptop, and I’m not convinced that’s for the best. For example, there are criminally few ports: I appreciate that some office workers need nothing more than USB-C and Bluetooth but I’d be willing to bet that most are still limping along on USB-A and HDMI with wired peripherals. What’s more, the M8’s predecessor – the Samsung M7 – does have a three-port USB-A hub.

Similarly, I was unable to get Windows to recognise the webcam – a simple enough undertaking, in theory. This might be resolvable, but it feels more like another means of nudging users towards the “no PC” capabilities of the M8. The trouble is, there’s an issue here, too: Microsoft 365 runs irritatingly slowly on this monitor, owing no doubt to the TV-grade processor under the hood. I just don’t feel that the M8 is good enough to use without a PC or laptop.

The stand is equally a bit underwhelming for a £700 product; at this price I’d expect a monitor to provide all four major adjustment options (tilt, pivot, swivel and height adjustment), not just height and tilt. I’d also expect the stand to perform slightly better: the monitor wobbles noticeably where the stand meets the panel and the adjustment mechanisms are uncommonly stiff. The M8 isn’t VESA-compatible, so you can’t attach it to a third-party arm mount.

This brings me to my final point. The Samsung M7 costs £350 at the time of writing: for that, you’re getting a very similar feature set plus a USB-A hub and VESA compatibility. Sure, you’re missing out on a good-quality webcam and the stylish design, but I don’t see how those things are worth £350 more.

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Samsung M8 review: Should you buy it?

The Samsung M8 isn’t a bad monitor by any means. The panel is great and the design, while imperfect, is a breath of fresh air compared to the rest of the monitor market. If you have cash to blow and care more about looks than anything else, I can assure you this will not disappoint as a kitchen-counter TV or trendy office display.

For everyone else, however, the Samsung M8 is hard to recommend. For office workers, the £430 AOC U32P2CA delivers the same size and resolution plus a great selection of ports and a versatile stand.  This monitor isn't really meant for gamers, but if you were eyeing it up anyway, Samsung’s own Odyssey G70A offers fluid, responsive gaming performance at 4K with HDR for £643. And even if you do plan on using the Samsung M8 as a TV, the M7 is a very similar monitor with Tizen OS built in and a far cheaper £350 price tag.

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