Samsung, known for its TVs and monitors, decided to release a hybrid solution with the functions of both devices. It is either a TV without a TV tuner or a monitor with an operating system. For whom this novelty is aimed and who will really suit, let’s try to understand in this review.
The line of Samsung smart monitors includes three models:
- The older 32-inch M7 S32AM700UI with UHD resolution and USB Type-C support with Power Delivery up to 65W;
- Middle 32-inch M5 S32AM500NI with Full HD resolution and no USB Type-C;
- The smallest 27-inch M5 S27AM500NI with Full HD resolution without USB Type-C.
We got the latter with the lowest price tag for testing.
- Screen diagonal – 27 inches (68.6 cm)
- Screen resolution – 1 920 × 1 080 pixels
- Pixel density – 82 PPI
- Screen Hour Frequency – 60 Hz
- VA matrix – (matte finish)
- Maximum brightness – 250 cd/m²
- Viewing Angles – 178°
- HDR10 – support
- Response Time – 8 ms
- Connectors – 2 × HDMI 2.0; 2 × USB 2.0
- Wireless interfaces – Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 4.2
- Tuners – no
- Position adjustment – Tilt angle (-2° to 22°)
- VESA size – 100 × 100 mm
- Dimensions (with stand) – 615.5 × 455.4 × 193.5 mm
- Weight (with stand) – 5 kg
Contents and assembly
Beside the monitor itself the package includes a 1.5 m power cable, HDMI cable, remote control with batteries and a weighty stand with a metal base but plastic legs. It has a handy rubber strap to hold the wires in place.
The stand itself will have to be assembled by hand. First you have to screw two screws to connect the metal part and the foot, and then you have to fix the monitor on the foot with two more screws.
All fasteners, of course, are also included, so you only need a Phillips screwdriver.
Once the stand is fixed you can adjust the monitor tilt angle up to a little over 20° – you just tilt its upper part forward or backward as you like. Standard height of the monitor is 9 cm from the table top to the bottom frame.
Body and design
The housing of the monitor can hardly be called thin, but tapered edges do not make it feel too massive. The screen frame on three sides is quite narrow and hardly noticeable, at the bottom – the traditional expansion, which was originally covered with a film, as well as the ends of the monitor.
The rear surface is made of ribbed plastic. In the center are the holes for VESA 100 × 100 fastening, which is a definite plus, and on the right side are two USB ports, which would be very difficult to use if you hang the monitor on the wall. And you will need these ports if you want to connect a wired keyboard, mouse or USB flash drive.
There’s also a hole for a Kensington lock, but it’s not really clear why it’s there. Just below, to the right of the leg mount, there are two HDMI 2.0 connectors, one with ARC support. To the left of the leg is the power cable connector.
There are two modest 5W speakers on each side of the monitor. They sound better than in many inexpensive laptops, but don’t expect much depth and detail.
There is only one button on the chassis. It is located under the Samsung logo on the bottom edge and is responsible for power. It is not easy to feel it blindly, and it has a very small stroke, but you can get used to it.
After a single press the monitor turns on and allows you to select the signal source, as well as change the volume with the help of the same button. Full use of the device is only possible with the remote control.
It is quite compact and handy, a little curved shape allows it to lie perfectly in your hand. To access the batteries it is necessary to pull the bottom part. Inside, there is a brief instruction on how to pair with the monitor, but it is more for show, because the connection is already set “out of the box”. The remote control is connected via Bluetooth.
On top it has buttons to activate the monitor, switch your favorite channels (no on-air channels, only IPTV), adjust the picture, navigate through menus and run the voice assistant.
At the front of the remote control there is a microphone for voice commands. The hole for it is combined with a diode, which flashes red each time you press it.
There is also a navigation ring and two special buttons which can be pressed and tilted up or down. These are used to adjust the volume and switch channels or stored programs.
The Samsung M5 S27AM500NI Smart Monitor got a 27-inch display with an 8-bit VA matrix and a resolution of 1,920 × 1,080 pixels (FHD). The maximum refresh rate is 60 Hz and the brightness ceiling is 250 cd/m². This is a low figure for using the monitor in a room with an excess of natural light. Even the matte coating of the display will not save the situation if direct sunlight from the window will fall on the screen.
Declared viewing angles – 178 ° vertically and horizontally – are standard for a matrix of this type. With a strong deviation, the image becomes slightly less expressive, but in everyday use you are unlikely to notice it.
Samsung S27AM500NI supports HDR10 and Flicker-Free technology that prevents screen flicker. The latter will be especially useful if you are going to use this monitor for everyday work.
However, you should understand that with such a diagonal and resolution the pixel density, which is 82 PPI, will hardly allow you to comfortably write texts or do graphics. The model can be suitable as a secondary screen, but not the main one.
To stop noticing the “grain” in the rendering of fonts, you have to put the monitor at some distance and play with scaling. Therefore, if you have a fairly narrow desktop, it is better to look at solutions with a smaller diagonal and higher resolution.
Samsung S27AM500NI color rendering you want to calibrate a little bit at once. Fortunately, the settings allow it: you can choose one of the preset profiles for display or adjust the contrast, color, tone, gamma and white balance by yourself. In general, it is not difficult to adjust the picture according to your preferences.
The last thing I want to mention here is the matrix response time. It is 8 msec, which is a lot even for inexpensive monitors, and this model costs not so little. The game mode provided in the settings will not be able to fix this lag. So if you are looking for a solution including for gaming, it is better to pay attention to the models of other series and manufacturers. The other two Samsung smart monitors in this line have an identical response.
The monitor is connected via HDMI cable, so it is good if your laptop has the appropriate connector. Although we tested the Samsung S27AM500NI through a USB-C adapter and there were no problems with it.
You can also connect your PC and monitor wirelessly via the corresponding Windows 10 function and Wi-Fi, but the response rate is noticeably lower, and working in this mode is not very comfortable.
After a wired connection, the monitor will serve not only as an additional display, but also the role of acoustics – the sound will be automatically output through Samsung M5 speakers, including in screen expansion mode.
Surprisingly, the USB-ports on the back do not act as a hub. These are connectors for connecting devices directly to the monitor, and they can only be used without connecting to a PC.
For example, if you insert a USB flash drive into one of the ports of the Samsung M5, you can view videos or photos from it, as well as play music – for this purpose there is a built-in player. In the same way you can connect a smartphone by wire, but only in photo access mode. At least our Honor 20 Pro was not detected as a storage device.
It is also possible to connect a keyboard and mouse via USB. They are useful if you are going to use the built-in browser or work in Office 365 – both are also available without a PC. If you don’t connect anything, you’ll have to use the on-screen keyboard and move the cursor with the remote buttons.
All the connection options are available in a separate section of the menu, called “Connection Guidelines”. It describes what you can connect and how. For example, there are instructions for pairing with Bluetooth-acoustics and wireless connection of Samsung smartphones.
In general, it should be especially convenient to use this monitor with branded smartphones. It supports DeX mode, and thanks to Tap View function you can pair the image from your cell phone just by touching the monitor’s frame. A similar function is available in devices within the Huawei ecosystem.
OS and control
The monitor runs the built-in Tizen OS. The main screen of the system will seem familiar to all owners of Samsung smart TVs.
OS and management of the Samsung M5 smart monitor: The main system screen will seem familiar to all owners of Samsung smart TVs
At the bottom here is the main menu and a list of apps to access YouTube, Netflix, Megogo, ivi, Apple TV+, “KinoPoisk HD” and other services. By default, only some of them are listed, but you can add the ones you need in the Apps section of the same menu on the left.
In Apps you can find applications to access the broadcasts of “First” and “Rain”, the services Spotify and Deezer, “Google Play Movies”, sports channels, children’s programs, and even built-in casual games. About 3 GB is available for app installation.
Even more to the left, behind the Apps section, there is an integrated search and quick settings, where you can select picture and sound mode, start a timer or reconnect to Wi-Fi with a couple of taps. The first connection to the Network is made at the initial stage of debugging the monitor.
To go to the main settings, you need to scroll the list of quick settings all the way to the right and select “All Settings”. This section opens a menu with access to, for example, detailed brightness and contrast adjustments and the sound equalizer.
In the “General” settings item, the connected device manager and AirPlay functionality are available, as well as a guide to voice commands. The latter will allow you to find out which commands in Russian can be used. In brief, these are mainly search and launch programs, view the weather, change the image source, control music and activate some settings.
The interface of the system as a whole is very simple and intuitive. It is not overloaded with unnecessary functions and multi-storey menus. However, in terms of speed, it is not always happy. Often after pressing the buttons on the remote control the system hangs. It is especially noticeable when connecting peripherals. For example, ejecting the flash drive the system noticed only after a minute, and the exit from the individual sections of the menu and applications can take 3-4 seconds. And these slowdowns.
Samsung sees in such a monitor the optimal solution for work, study and entertainment – one screen for all tasks. However, trying to make a truly universal product, the manufacturer was forced to make compromises.
From the perspective of the monitor there is a solid slim body with narrow frames, but a modest VA-matrix, which is not too suitable for games or constant work with text.
In terms of smart TV for entertainment – in general a convenient Tizen OS with access to online services without a PC and even office cloud, but there is no TV tuner and very few ports.
Simply put, the Samsung M5 S27AM500NI tried to combine two devices, taking a little from each, but saving on some important things. The result is quite a controversial product, the price of which seems overpriced. This model, the most affordable in the series, costs $229.99. An ordinary monitor with similar technical characteristics will cost twice as much, and a full smart TV with the Tizen OS and the same diagonal, available in a single variant – for about the same $200.
The very idea of a smart monitor is interesting, but Samsung’s solution clearly lacks features. For example, it would be very helpful to have a built-in webcam and support for Zoom or at least Skype – there would be a useful scenario for video chatting. Also missing is the USB-C socket, which only the most expensive version has – it allows you to charge gadgets and power the monitor itself directly from the laptop. And for all that, of course, you want to see a higher quality matrix for 230 dollars.
In its current incarnation, the most affordable of these smart monitors will suit only those who really need to use one screen for different tasks. For example, if you have only one laptop and need an additional display for it, which in your absence other family members could use for watching TV shows or YouTube. Or if you need a separate computer for occasional access to Office 365, this smart monitor comes in handy. Outside of such scenarios, buying the Samsung M5 S27AM500NI doesn’t seem justified, at least at the current price.