Big, high resolution computer monitors are all the rage today. Who wouldn’t want 4K of resolution to work with, or nearly 32-inches of screen real estate? The downside to these big monitors is that the huge display panels seem to come with a correspondingly large footprint that eats into your desk space. There are solutions like VESA wall mounts and monitor arm stands, but these aren’t always perfect. A wall mount means the display may be too far away for easy viewing and stuck in a fixed position, while an arm stand can be fussy to install and operate. And both cost extra on top of the cost of the monitor. The Samsung Space Monitor is designed to be the ideal solution to this challenge, offering a huge, 4K display that comes mounted to an extending arm that clamps to your work surface, reducing the space required for a standard monitor stand by 40%.

Space Monitor assembly

Out of the box, the bulk of the Samsung Space Monitor is an impressively expansive slab of glass and plastic. This is the monitor itself. Also included in the box are the components that make it so unique: a dual hinge stand and the desk clamp it attaches to.

A few minutes of assembly is required, but it’s all relatively straightforward. Attach the stand to the back of the display using the included screws, then connect the stand to the clamp. Actually clamping the Space Monitor to your work surface may take several people (it helps to have one hold the monitor upright while the second tightens the clamp), and it’s a lot easier if you can pull out the desk and stand behind it. Once secure it’s quite stable, with a little sway noticeable at the monitor end of things.

There’s a cable channel cut in the back of the stand to keep things out of sight. Samsung even includes a clever combined power/HDMI cable that means only one cable needs to be routed for most users. It also offers Mini DisplayPort connectivity if your PC doesn’t have HDMI output.

A slight testing speed bump …

As it turns out, my review unit  was not intended for the North American market so there was a delay in getting a compatible power adapter. By that time I no longer had access to the installation location. So in my review, you won’t see the Space Monitor powered up while set up. I had to test the functionality separately. This sort of thing happens sometimes during reviews, but you don’t need to worry about it with retail versions.

Big reduction in desk space use, impressive flexibility 

I had to create a temporary workspace to install the Samsung Space Monitor. Mine wasn’t really suited to it—besides being built around an iMac all-in-one PC, my desk is integrated with shelving above and below (making for very difficult access), with wall-mounted panel lighting.

So I installed the monitor on a temporary table and it was really quite impressive. The monitor folds nearly flush against the wall, but can extend forward to the point where the bottom bezel physically rests on the desk. It can also tilt freely up and down. 

And true to claims, the amount of desk space freed up by using the clamp instead of of a traditional stand is considerable. 


Space Monitor specs (as tested, 31.5-inch version)

  • 31.5-inch VA panel with 3,840 x 2,160 (4K UHD) resolution
  • 16:9 aspect ratio with minimal top and side bezels
  • 4ms response time, 60Hz refresh rate
  • 2,500:1 contrast ratio
  • Brightness 250cd/m2
  • Support for 1 billion colours
  • Dual hinge stand with adjustable height and desk clamp (for surfaces up to 9 cm thick)
  • HDMI, Mini DisplayPort input
  • Supports picture-in-picture, picture-by-picture when using multiple sources
  • Eye saver mode, flicker-free, eco saving mode, Samsung Magic Upscale
  • Weighs 6.99kg including stand
  • Includes combined HDMI/power cable

Nice picture with plenty of features

The panel Samsung used for this monitor is well suited to home use and productivity. It’s a VA (vertical alignment) panel, which offers great contrast and high colour coverage (87 percent of the AdobeRGB colour space). And of course it offers 4K resolution. All good, but VA panels don’t have great viewing angles and the 60Hz refresh rate means it’s not ideal for gaming—although Samsung does include a Gaming Mode.

If you connect a second source to the Space Monitor, it can display both simultaneously using picture-in-picture (PIP or picture-by-picture (PBB) mode.

 

Basically, you can get a lot of content on this monitor—either from a single source or from two sources—and it will look sharp, with accurate colours. I found it was a solid performer for streaming video as well. At 250cd/m2 it’s not the brightest display out there, but I though it performed well, even in a sunny room.     

Are there any downsides to be aware of?

When it comes to innovative solutions like the Space Monitor there are often a few tradeoffs to be aware of. In this case, with the support arm clamped in place, you can’t freely move the monitor, so no swivelling it around. The VA panel isn’t as good with viewing from off angles as an IPS panel is, so you’ll need to stay reasonably centered. There’s no USB passthrough and no built-in speakers. And the placement of the power switch—on the back—means you can’t turn the monitor on if it’s positioned flush against the wall, you’ll need to pull it forward a little. Nothing earth shattering there, but worth knowing.

Is this your new computer monitor?

Much as I liked the Samsung Space Monitor and its clever engineering, it just wouldn’t be practical to install with my setup. However, I could see many situations where it would be a big win. You can’t argue with how useful a 31.5-inch 4K display is these days, and having that kind of screen real estate available with such a tiny footprint in terms of desk space used is unheard of. At least without also investing in a standalone monitor arm stand. If your PC monitor is due for replacement, this one is definitely worth checking out.

If you’re looking for something different, like a curved panel, G-Sync support for gaming, or an ultra-wide aspect ratio, Best Buy also has you covered with a huge selection of computer monitors.

Brad Moon
Editor Computing solutions
I’m a long-time electronics and gadget geek who’s been fortunate enough to enjoy a career that lets me indulge this interest. After 13 years as a product manager with a leading Canadian tech company, I transitioned into a full-time career of writing about technology. I’ve contributed to a range of publications and websites including Forbes, Wired, Gizmodo, Lifehacker, About.com, MSN Money, the Winnipeg Free Press, InvestorPlace Media, Shaw Media and—combining technology and my three kids—I’ve been a Core Contributor to the award winning GeekDad blog since its launch in 2007.

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