As work from home and virtual education continue in 2021, Samsung is adding a new product in its portfolio: a Smart Monitor, which can run Microsoft Office 365 apps along with video streaming apps. The idea is that this big screen can pack work from home and entertainment in one place.
Samsung is pitching the product as ideal for those looking to get a bigger screen as they continue working out of their homes. The device can connect with any personal computer (PC), laptop and even smartphones or be used standalone thanks to some in-built apps.
The Smart Monitor is being introduced in two models M7 and M5; the M7 is only available in a 32-inch size, and the M5 is available in a 27 and 32-inches. The M5 is a Ultra HD or 4K resolution screen, while the M5 comes in full HD resolutions.
“Home has become the office. Everything is taking place at home, be it work or entertainment. This Smart Monitor is the world’s first do-it-all screen; where you can work, entertain yourself without the need for a PC at all times. This is a one-stop solution for millennials,” Puneet Sethi, Vice president and head, Enterprise business at Samsung India told indianexpress.com over a call.
Samsung says it is seeing an increase in demand for the monitor category as more users are now working from home. “We are betting strongly on this. We want to become number one in the premium monitor category in India. Our business grew almost by 60 per cent; the premium segment by 40 per cent. We are expecting the category of premium monitors to grow by more than 150 per cent this year,” Sethi added.
Premium here is defined as monitors which are more than 27-inches in size.
He explained that the device is design to be a versatile product, which also supports remote connectivity. For instance, a user can access the documents on their laptop, even if it in their office. They can also access the laptop in their office via VPN on the Smart Monitor, though the laptop will also have to be connected to the same VPN network for remote connectivity to work.
But more importantly, the Smart Monitor already runs Microsoft apps, which are in-built, though users will need a subscription to Office 365. So a user can open their office documents, presentations on this Smart Monitor itself without having to connect to their office laptop or even smartphone.
The ability to work on Microsoft Office 365 apps could give this an advantage for work from home users and even students who use the suite for their daily work. “You can access your Word file, Excel spreadsheet and open them through the Microsoft Office 365. That’s the whole point that you can actually use this for a presentation as well. Students can definitely study on this,” Sethi explained.
The device can also connect to a keyboard and mouse to give the full desktop experience.
“The device also has its own browser when one can open their Gmail, etc. It works on the Tizen platform,” Sethi added. However, Samsung says one cannot download Google Chrome on the device. Users can, however, always rely on AirPlay or mirror their mobile phone on the Smart Monitor to access apps that might not be available.
Galaxy phone users will be able to connect to the Smart Monitor and get the Samsung DeX experience, which promises a desktop-like experience from their mobile phones.
For the entertainment factor, Samsung had added apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV and other OTT apps. The device will also come with a remote to give the full TV experience as well.
From a design perspective, the Samsung Smart Monitor has a three-side borderless display stretching from edge-to-edge for maximum viewing. However, it does not come with a web-camera, which has become a crucial need during work from home and online education. Also for Google Meet or Zoom, users will have to rely on mirroring their phone to the screen.
Samsung has also focused on reducing eye strain with the monitor, which the company claims comes with advanced eye comfort technology to reduce strain when the device is used for a longer period. Work from home has meant extended hours for many users, and Samsung is claiming the use of flicker-Free technology will result in less fatigue. The Monitor also has Eye Saver Mode, which minimises emitted the harsher blue light.
When asked why Samsung had limited the refresh rate to 60 Hz, Sethi said a higher refresh rate was more for products geared towards gaming. Samsung has a separate range of curved gaming monitors. With the Smart Monitor, Samsung wants to focus on the work from home crowd.
Samsung M5, M7 Smart Monitor: Technical specifications
Samsung M7 Monitor has a resolution of 3,840 x 2160p or Ultra HD while the M5 has a 1920 x 1080 or Full HD resolution. Both smart monitors have 250 nits brightness and run Tizen 5.5 from Samsung, and support Netflix, Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube.
They also support Samsung’s TV Plus service over WiFi and come with Bixby Smart assistant support as well. They also support app casting and remote access.
The speaker output on both devices is 10W (5Wx2) and both come with 2 HDMI ports. While the M7 has 3 USB 2.0 ports, the M5 has two USB 2.0 ports.
The M7 also gets a Type-C port, which is not there on the M5. The USB-C port supports 65W charging as well. Both support Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2
The stand is metal with tilt capabilities. The M7 (Metal base) Tilt (Metal base) Both have an Eye Saver mode, and Intelligent Eye care mode.
The aspect ratio of the Samsung Smart Monitor can be changed be adjusted from 16:9 to 21:9, allowing a wider and more encompassing view while playing games, and viewing other widescreen content.
Samsung Smart Monitor: Price and availability
Samsung Smart Monitor is available in two models – the M7 which comes in a 32-inch screen size and the M5 in 32-inch and 27-inch screen sizes. The Smart Monitor has a starting price of Rs 28,000 going up all the way to Rs 57,000 for the M7 32-inch variant.
The screens will be available on Samsung Shop, Amazon and all leading retail stores. For a limited period, Smart Monitors will be available at an introductory price of Rs 21,999 onwards. Consumers buying Smart Monitor will get complimentary wireless mouse and keyboard for limited period.
On Amazon, the M5 with Logitech’s MK240 Nano Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo is listed at a price of Rs 21,999 for the 27-inch version, while the 32-inch variant with the same combination costs Rs 24,999. The M7 is listed at Rs 36,999 with the wireless keyboard and mouse included.