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Samsung Galaxy M10 review: Big on display and battery backup
Samsung Galaxy M10 is a suitable budget device for most users looking for an affordable handset with a trusted brand name.
Samsung has started its new innings in the budget smartphone category with the launch of its refreshed Galaxy M smartphone lineup.
- Big and colorful display
- Easy to operate with single hand
- Long battery back up
- Display lacks a bit in clarity
- Average camera performance
The new Galaxy M series comprises of two handsets- Galaxy M10 and Galaxy M20 that come with a reasonable price tag and offer some decent set of specifications.
With the release of the Galaxy M series, the South Korean tech giant is aiming to grab a good chunk of the budget smartphone market in India, which is currently ruled by Xiaomi, Honor, and Realme. Notably, Samsung's previous budget series, i.e., the Galaxy On and J series failed to impress the masses and lost the game to Xiaomi's Redmi Note series and budget handsets from Honor and the recent entrant- Realme. Having said that, Samsung is betting big on Galaxy M Series and has launched the new handsets at aggressive price-points.
We got a chance to use the latest Galaxy M10 smartphone for some time and here is our feedback on the device.
Design and build: Glossy rear panel with no fingerprint scanner
Samsung Galaxy M10 is a big smartphone which is encased within a shiny polycarbonate body. The rear panel of Galaxy M10 looks pretty basic and houses only the primary camera setup stacked vertically at the top left corner. You get the Samsung branding at the center of the rear panel where the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner is usually mounted. The glossy rear panel does pick up fingerprints over a period of time and you will need to keep on cleaning the surface. Therefore, we would suggest you use a case with it.
With no actual fingerprint scanner support, the device makes use of the software-driven facial recognition for the device's security. The speaker grille is also placed at the rear panel at the bottom left corner. It is not a suitable positioning to house the speaker as the audio tends to become less audible when the smartphone is placed on any flat surface.
As for the positioning of the keys, the right panel of the device stores the power key and the volume rockers, whereas, the SIM card tray is placed at the left panel of the device. The placement of the lock key is ideal and it is easy to unlock the smartphone after you pick it up.
One of the best things about the smartphone's design is its easy operability with a single hand. The Galaxy M10 is no doubt a big phone but even with its big size, I didn't find any difficulty in using it with one hand. The curved back panel and rounded edges give the phone a comfortable fit in hands.
I was able to scroll through the device, make calls, surf the internet and even click pictures with just one hand. Overall, it's a decently designed budget smartphone by Samsung that scores well on practicality.
Display: Colorful display but lacks clarity
The display up front is tall and takes up most of the space with minimal bezels around it. There is a teardrop notch at the top center that houses the front camera. Samsung is calling this panel as Infinity-V display and it is a part of the recently introduced Infinity display panels by the company.
The 6.22-inch TFT display has an HD+ resolution with 720 x 1520 pixels. It comes with a Dragon Trail Asahi Glass Pro screen protector on top for protection against scratches and accidental drops. Though it might not be as effective as the Corning Gorilla Glass used for screen protection, it will still offer some level of protection for the screen.
The display is colorful and is fairly bright making it easy to view content on the device under direct sunlight. The colorful display does make the pictures and videos bit appealing, albeit, it compromises a bit on clarity while playing high-resolution videos. The primary reason behind this is the HD+ display with 720 x 1520 pixel screen resolution. This means that the display can render images and videos at maximum 720 pixels. Therefore, if you are streaming any videos on YouTube or other platforms the maximum pixels which the display can render is 720 pixels and not 1080 pixels. Though, it is good to see that even being a budget device it comes with Widevine L1 certification support to play HD content from Netflix.
Camera: Average camera output but Wide-angle lens is a good addition
Let's have a look at the camera specifications at first. The Galaxy M10 sports a dual-lens primary camera setup that has a 13MP primary sensor with an f/1.9 aperture combined with a secondary 5MP Ultra-wide sensor with f/2.2 aperture. There is a 5MP camera at the front that captures selfies and is used for video calls.
Speaking of the camera, this is the department where the smartphone lacks slightly punch. The camera of the Galaxy M10 is a bit underpowered and it captures images and videos of average quality. The smartphone is able to click decent pictures in good lighting situations; however, the low light shots are not very impressive.
The pictures lack in detailing and show noise when clicked in a dark environment. As for the wide angle lens, the quality captured is sub-par but it is still a good addition in this price-point. You can capture some good street and landscape shots with a wide-angle lens in good lighting condition.
The front camera of the device also offers a middling performance and captures an average image quality.
Hardware: Samsung’s in-house Exynos processor
The Galaxy M10 smartphone comes with an Exynos 7870 chipset under the hood which is a mid-range chipset by the company. The processor is based on 14nm architecture and it clocks at 1.6GHz. You can select the smartphone from two different variants including a 2GB/16GB variant and a 3GB/32GB variant. The storage is expandable up to 512GB via a dedicated microSD card. With Galaxy M10, you don't need to compromise on storage and connectivity.
In terms of performance, this might not be the fastest available budget segment smartphone in the market but it is pretty good at handling everyday tasks with ease. I didn't experience any lag or issues while using the device to carry out basic tasks such as surfing the internet, streaming online videos and some light gameplay sessions. Opening apps is also not a hustle and they launch swiftly upon selecting.
Playing some high-graphics games such as Asphalt 9 and PUBG is not really fun as the device lags with heavy gameplay. Well, that can be overlooked for once considering the price point it is selling for.
Software: Dated Android 8.1 Oreo but Samsung’s new Experience 9.5 UI
Samsung has used an older Android 8.1 Oreo version to deploy its latest Experience 9.5 UI. While the underlying software is a bit dated, Samsung's UI makes for smooth user experience. The UI is clean and neat with no unwanted clutter at sight. To pull up the app drawer, you just need to swipe up or down on any home screen. Apps open up quickly and the phone doesn't lag while navigating from screen to other. The settings menu is neatly laid out and offers some useful features like One-handed mode, gestures, Smart alert, Dual-Messenger and a lot more. Samsung has really improved the software experience and the new Galaxy M series is not less than any premium smartphone in the software department.
Notably, the Galaxy M series including both the Galaxy M10 and Galaxy M20 are expected to release the Android Pie update sometime this year.
Battery: Over half a day of backup with a single charge
The Galaxy M10 is fueled by a small 3,400mAh Li-Ion battery unit which is non-removable. There is no fast charging support with the device and it takes well over 2 hours for the device to charge from zero to 100 percent. As for the backup, the device retains its juice for more than half a day with a single charge. If you are performing basic tasks such as calling, internet surfing, and casual video and audio playback, you might not need to plug in the device twice. However, if you use the device extensively for heavy gaming and continuous high-res. Video/audio playback, you will need to plug the device again or simply keep a power bank handy.
The new Galaxy M series by Samsung is a big step up from the company's previous budget smartphones. It is a perfect budget smartphone for consumers who were eagerly waiting for a feature-packed performance driven budget smartphone from a trusted brand like Samsung. This handset will definitely create some big troubles for Xiaomi, Honor, Asus, and Realme in the Indian market.
Galaxy M10 offers an immersive display with a tiny waterdrop notch at the top. The wide-angle lens is a good addition but the overall camera performance of the smartphone is pretty average. The smartphone really shines in software and storage department. You get a clean UI and a dedicated microSD card slot which makes Galaxy M10 a pretty solid budget offering.
Overall, Samsung Galaxy M10 is a suitable budget device for most users looking for an affordable handset with a trusted brand name.