Remember when 3D TVs were popular? Good times, right? Well, not really. If they were any good, most of us would probably have 3D TVs sitting somewhere in our homes. 3D was one of the gimmicks that quite a lot of companies included on their latest and greatest TVs to make them more appealing, and they did become so for a short while. That was until consumers started to realize that the future wasn’t quite ready to be included in consumer-grade products.
Today, consumers are a lot more aware of what they are looking for and are much less likely to fall for buying a product with features that sound impressive. Samsung is very aware of this level of consumer awareness and is much less haphazard with the features it includes in its products. With Samsung’s M5 and M7 Smart Monitor line-up, it is evident that the many features included were selected carefully to create a series that can be touted as one of the best smart monitor series.
Creating a new category of displays
The M5 and M7 Samsung Smart Monitor series’ name doesn’t exactly do the line-up justice, because they aren’t just monitors. Monitors usually don’t have a remote, or better yet, a smart remote; they don’t run their own operating systems on-board; monitors typically don’t respond to voice commands, and they certainly don’t have Netflix installed on them.
The Samsung M5 and M7 smart monitors are certainly not just monitors or even Smart TVs for that matter. As there’s no other display on the market that offers this many features, you can make the case that these smart monitors are in a class of their own. Let’s break down their feature set to better demonstrate why we think these smart monitors deserve to be classified differently than other monitors.
Design and basic specs:
On the outside, once you assemble the monitor you, are greeted with a classy, minimalistic-looking display that suits any interior. The top and side bezels are thin. The larger bottom bezel has a brushed aluminum finish, and the sides of the display are made of matte plastic. The back has a ridged look and feel to it. On the back, you will also find a ventilation cutout and mounting holes to attach the display to a VESA mount.
The base and the neck of the monitors are hefty and well made, allowing you to tilt the display upwards and downwards. You will also find a set of downward-firing speakers that are incredibly well-functioning for a display this size. This is another reason why Samsung’s smart monitors can’t exactly be qualified as monitors because monitors generally have sub-par speakers that are put there just as an afterthought. This part of the display resembles a TV more than a monitor.
The display on the M5 model is a 1080p, HDR 10 ready, color-accurate, VA panel with a response time of 8ms. In the M7 model, the panel is upgraded to a 4K resolution. These qualities make these smart monitors well-suited for doing everything, even gaming! Although, there are some limits to the type of games you will be able to play since IPS panels are known to offer better color accuracy.
The M5 smart monitor includes two HDMI outs and two USB-A ports for the M5 and the M7 model includes two HDMI outs and three USB-A ports. You will also find an additional USB-C out on the M7 model, capable of charging your phone with a power delivery of up to 65 Watts. There’s also a Kensington Lock “port” on the back of the display.
Now, we arrive at the most exciting part of this review. Let’s look at the various smart features that justifiably give the M5 and M7 the “smart monitor” title.
1. Screen Mirroring: If you have an Android device, you can use the built-in screencast function on Android to mirror your smartphone’s screen on the monitor. But iPhone owners rejoice, as there’s also support for Apple AirPlay 2––a very rare feature to find, especially at the price point of this line-up. If you own a Samsung phone, you can take it to the next level by simply tapping your phone to the top or the side of the display to mirror its screen. You can also protect your computer’s screen on the Samsung display and use it as a second monitor wirelessly.
2. Connect to a Remote PC: You can connect to a PC wirelessly using the remote desktop software pre-installed on the monitor’s operating system (OS). This feature can have multiple benefits; one of them is that it gives you the option to access your computer even in your living room by connecting a wireless keyboard and mouse to the display––it’s like your PC is both in your living room and your workspace!
3. Office 365 integration: You don’t even need to connect to a computer to work on your documents. You can simply log in with your Microsoft account and access or edit your documents on Office 365 (note that Office 365 subscription is not included).
4. Browse the Web: Using the built-in browser and by connecting a wireless keyboard and mouse, you can browse the web and forget that you’re doing that on a monitor without a computer attached to it. While you can just use the included smart remote to do this, it is recommended to obtain a mouse and keyboard to go with this display if you plan to use it as a PC. One of the options we recommend is the Rapoo 9300M Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo as it is very lightweight and extremely portable.
5. Entertainment: With Netflix, Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube already installed on the display, you hardly need to mirror your phone or connect a computer onto it to enjoy your favorite shows and movies. You can even stream music through Spotify by simply downloading the app. This easily accessible entertainment feature is especially beneficial for individuals who live in college dorms or smaller apartments because this monitor can act as their entertainment unit without taking up too much space.
6. Voice Commands: This feature, although borrowed from Smart TVs, is a little different than what we are used to seeing on other displays. Since M5 and M7 run on Samsung’s Tizen OS, it doesn’t have Google Assistant as its voice assistant; instead, you have Bixby. Using the remote that comes with each monitor in the Smart Monitor series, you can activate Bixby and accomplish some tasks through voice commands. Bixby is quite fast at responding, and you don’t have to wait to see or hear a prompt on the monitor before you can speak to it. You can simply hold the button and start giving commands to the remote instantly.
7. Samsung DeX: Finally, we get to one of the most unique features of these smart monitors, which is a favorite to some.
Samsung DeX allows displays to mirror Samsung phones (this can occur wirelessly if you use a supported monitor, but a connection to all other types of monitors requires a wire). Screen mirroring is the most fundamental function of DeX, but it can accomplish more. If you project your phone screen onto a monitor with DeX, you will witness a desktop OS-like experience, which allows you to open various windows, use the taskbar or the start menu, and much more. Connect a mouse and a keyboard to your phone, and you might forget you don’t have a case attached to your display! Essentially, DeX can help your phone and monitor come together to give you something that works like a PC.
This feature can really help increase productivity, especially if you want to always have your files with you and be able to work on them without the hassle of dealing with any third-party cloud service or a remote desktop.
It is no secret that Samsung incorporated a lot of features into arguably one of the best smart monitor line-ups. Although these smart monitors are filled with many desirable features that have already been around for quite some time, they are unique in that they offer a special combination of these incredibly desirable features. While you may find some of the features of Samsung’s smart monitors as inessential, you will likely still find quite a few of the other features as genuinely useful.
The good thing about a monitor that has so many different features is there’s a little something for everyone. There is at least one feature that each person can genuinely appreciate about the Samsung M5 and M7 Smart Monitor line-up. And the best thing about it all is that they offer so much whilst remaining very affordable.