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Samsung Space Monitor (32″ UHD) review: Great idea, poor execution

I’m someone who really likes good ideas, even when they aren’t executed that well, I like to see the potential in a concept and just let my mind wander from there. Especially if it’s a new idea that I hadn’t seen before. That’s why I was genuinely interested in checking out Samsung’s new Space Monitor because on the surface it looks like a great idea. Plus, they had this sick advertisement that just absolutely sold me on the idea.

But, the thing is, Samsung’s Space Monitor is also a good idea that I think should have been executed a little better.

What is it?

OK, let me start with what is a “Space Monitor”. No, it’s not a monitor from outer space. Rather, it’s a monitor that’s designed to save you space. Samsung’s targeting people who have simply too many things on their table to put a monitor, but still want a monitor.

Unlike most of the monitors that I’m used to dealing with, whose stand and screen snap into place without the need to bust out the old phillips head, the Space Monitor won’t work unless you secure it with four screws. But, that’s for good reason because in case you haven’t noticed yet, the Space Monitor doesn’t have your run of the mill stand. It’s…a little more flexible

Rather than having a stand that sits on your table and takes up space, the Space Monitor clamps onto the side of your desk instead. This way the stand doesn’t need to have a big footprint to support the weight of the monitor, freeing up valuable desk space.

And when the monitor is fully upright, it certainly doesn’t take up much space at all. It’s about as out of the way as a wall-mounted monitor without needing a wall to mount it to. It was a pretty liberating experience, if I’m being honest, and I also didn’t need to worry about my laptop getting in the way because I could just leave it under the monitor. In fact, I could also rest the back of it on the little foot of the Space Monitor to prop it up for better airflow.

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That said, my favourite thing about this monitor is how the stand behaves. Rather than have the monitor slide up and down the stand, the whole stand actually bends at two points. That means you can actually pull the monitor towards you whenever you want to have a closer view of whatever’s on screen.

At first I wasn’t sure about this feature because the height of the monitor was always tied to its distance from your face. But after using it a bunch, I ended up really liking the experience. Being able to do that adds a dimension to using a monitor that you don’t usually get with conventional stands. I found myself pulling it close to me when I was reviewing photos and editing videos, and pushing it away from me when I needed to write.

It made me want to see this kind of function on more monitors and that to me is a good indication of whether or not something is a good idea. But, besides this rad stand, I found the rest of this RM2,199 monitor very hard to like.

Yes, this is the part where I talk about the disappointing execution

Let’s start with the display itself. The 32” model I have here comes with a crisp 4K display, which I think is a pretty nice pairing with the size. But, while I was happy with how sharp everything was, I really didn’t like much else about the panel.

For starters, the viewing angle on this VA panel was pretty atrocious and definitely not as good as most IPS panels I look at these days. The monitor also isn’t colour calibrated out of the factory so the colours were far from accurate.

Mine had an awful magenta hue to it which made any colour work I’d want to do with it practically impossible. I’m not super duper particular with colour accuracy when it comes to my footage, but I would have liked a monitor that looked somewhat close to reality.

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I’ve heard that you can get this monitor to be pretty accurate if you have a colour calibration tool, but I don’t own one of those. In fact, there’s only one person I know who has one of those and I work in a field with professional creatives.

Considering how useful I found this stand to be in my line of work, I was quite disappointed that it wasn’t factory colour calibrated. After all, colour is something many creatives work with. Oh, and this 32” version also isn’t great for gaming because its refresh rate is capped at 60Hz. If you want the 144Hz as advertised, you’ll need to go for the 27” 2K panel instead.

I also wished it was a touchscreen panel because when i have the display closest to me, I found myself naturally trying to touch the elements on the screen like you would with something like a Surface Studio. It just makes sense, y’know?

Oh, and as a side note, the monitor doesn’t feature speakers built-in.

Speaking of things that I wished made more sense, let’s talk about the Space Monitor’s port selection. It’s bad–really bad. Not only does it not come with any pass through USB ports, the monitor itself uses an HDMI port and a Mini DisplayPort for display instead of something modern like USB-C.

That means if you’re using a modern laptop like me that only has USB-C ports, you’ll need to get an adapter because Samsung only includes an HDMI to HDMI cable. And, if you want it to display at its native 4K resolution at 60Hz, you can’t just use any HDMI to USB-C adapter. A surprising number of adapters only support up to 4K at 30Hz. I use an awesome metal one from UGreen so if you’re interested in picking one up for yourself you can head to their store.

Besides the display, unfortunately, I also have to talk about the stand. Yes, I do like the idea and the concept but, let’s just say that the current iteration feels very first-gen.

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For starters, the stand doesn’t allow the monitor to pivot or rotate. It’s extremely limited in its movement so if you were hoping to use it in portrait mode for coding or browsing Reddit, tough luck. You also can’t turn the monitor to the left or right to show someone something on your screen, which is annoying especially on a monitor with such poor viewing angles.

Then, you’ve got the fact that the clamp doesn’t work on all tables. For it to fit securely, you’ll need a table with a flat underside. Otherwise, the clamp will look really awkward and not inspire confidence at all.

Finally, the stand wobbles, like a lot. Even if I do something as simple as typing, the monitor will often jiggle if you have it in any position except straight up. That’s quite annoying but I suppose it’s not that surprising considering how thin the stand is. But, this slim stand also means you can’t really operate the monitor with one hand. I mean, it’s not impossible, but it definitely feels like it wants you to use both hands when adjusting its position.

A first-gen experience

I guess, to sum it up, what the Space Monitor is is a good idea that I wish was executed a little better. I had a lot of fun with it during my review period, and like I said earlier, I can’t wait to see this kind of stand on more monitors.

But it definitely has its flaws, and thanks to Samsung’s questionable decisions with the Space Monitor’s panel, I’m having a hard time figuring out who this monitor is for. If you ask me, I’d give this particular generation of the Space Monitor a pass because I’m almost certain the next version will be much better.

Photography by Zachary Yoong with the Sony A7 III.