Opinion: Samsung's New Smart Monitor Could Signal The WFH Boom Everyone Expected
Take a look at the picture of the monitor above. Notice anything? No, not the tidy desk and Samsung's clever product placement of a nice phone. What it says on the screen of Samsung's new Smart Monitor: Beginning of a New Era. That tells a major story, doesn't it?
With the Smart Monitor, Samsung are plugging themselves into to what seems like a new dawn when it comes to the way people not only work but also rest and play, to quote the infamous Mars slogan. It definitely looks like a proper bit of kit, and if it sells well, could make that New Era more than just a marketing slogan. The vital thing to note about the Smart Monitor is that it's not just a decent 32" display with a 4K resolution at the top-end; it's also a smart TV, coming bundled with the South Korean firm's wonderfully intuitive Tizen OS, as well as being an all-in-one PC if you pair it with Remote Access and Office 365 and also an extendable display for both Android and iPhones alike, given the support for Apple's AirPlay 2. In short, the Samsung Smart Monitor is the world's first properly do-it-all, all-in-one display.
Given how pricey some of Samsung's other innovations have been, it might be reasonable to expect that the Smart Monitor costs an arm and a leg, but you'd be wrong. For the top of line 32" 4K model, the M7, you're looking at an RRP of £449.99 from places like Amazon and that's even lower when you scale back the screen size to 27" and the resolution to full HD. Just given its four different possible use cases, the Smart Monitor already looks like a great value-for-money product. For example, some of the best value 4K monitors on their own will set you back £400 or so, so to then get a smart television bundled in with that, as well as the ability to connect all sorts of devices up makes this device seem like a no brainer.
Reviews of the M7 from the likes of Alastair Stevenson at Trusted Reviews have pointed out how easy the Smart Monitor is to use, how Tizen OS is great for smart TVs and this monitor as well as the fact that it's a solid option in all areas. Sometimes when products try to do too much they end up swinging towards being incredible at one thing which then neglects its other features. With the Smart Monitor inherently being marketed as being a do-it-all product, it would have been easy for Samsung to put their focus on it being a smart TV alongside a decent panel. However, what it appears like, especially on the front of tech press reviews, is that there's been this equal dedication of time to make sure that the Smart Monitor can perform all its tasks to an equally high standard.
The fact that Samsung are indirectly referring to the launch of the Smart Monitor as a New Era in the picture above might be seen as certainly being outlandish, although when they aren't using it as a tagline, I'm not sure anybody minds. Last year, I remember getting myself in a bit of a tizzy over Apple's Magic Keyboard for iPads which has now been out for nearly a year or so. Having had experience of the keyboard's mighty-small trackpad and somewhat tactile keys, I think I'm within my rights to say that the pairing of a new iPad and the Magic Keyboard won't be replacing their near £2000 worth of MacBook; I know it definitely hasn't replaced mine.
For Samsung though, they might've got me with the Smart Monitor, as well as a lot of other people too, especially those who've been working from home. The principle of remote working is one that before 2020 happened little people had given time or thought to, apart from those who had been doing it for a bit of time. However, in the last year, there looks to have been a change of heart on both the parts of the employees and the employers. For example, Microsoft announced in October last year that they'd be letting more employees work remotely, and a lot of product marketing, certainly in the office sphere, has lent itself to promoting the WFH message. Even in the videos on the UNTITLED Reviews YouTube channel, I've been calling products such as CHERRY's STREAM DESKTOP an "ideal working from home companion" or utilising similar phrasing. It just goes to show how integral remote working has been and could also continue to be in the following years.
The Smart Monitor can be seen as to what everything has been building up to when it comes to curating the perfect working from home setup. Sure, people may well have gone out and bought new keyboards and mice, or even some of those strange pyjama-like woollen suits from Marks & Spencer, but Samsung's screen becomes its pièce de résistance; the big item it's been built around. A few years ago, its centrepiece might've been one of those all-in-one PCs that have seemingly died a death on the higher ends of the scale, but now, in an age where mobile computing and convenience has taken hold, it's time for an all-in-one monitor to take up the mantle.
If Samsung can continue to get it right with the Smart Monitor and any other subsequent iterations when it comes to both it being well-priced and having some great features, there's no reason why it shouldn't be a smash hit. This might just be one of the first real instances where a major tech firm has realised what the future of working could look like and are themselves ushering in a new age of working from home and having a bit of kit that does everything but make the tea, but keep it quiet - that's Samsung's next all-conquering innovation.
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