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Samsung Galaxy M20 review: A fresh, aggressively priced phone with a massive battery
Samsung comes back strong with its new Galaxy M series of budget smartphones.
Samsung's stint with the budget smartphones hasn't been something it could brag about. With brands like Xiaomi, Realme, Honor, and Asus dominating the segment, Samsung was due to launch a powerful smartphone that could go up against the likes of these devices. And, the company has done just that with its new M series of smartphones.
- Sturdy design
- Impressive display
- Massive battery
- Dated software
- Underwhelming camera
- Bad fingerprint reader placement
The company unveiled its M20 exclusively for the Indian market priced at Rs 10,990 (3GB/32GB) and 12,990 (4GB/64GB). And, we got the 4GB variant in our office for review. The device comes with a big screen, an Exynos 7885 octa-core chipset, and a dual rear camera setup with a wide angle lens. But is it the best smartphone in the segment? Let's find out in our review.
- 6.3-inch FHD+ Infinity V display
- Octa-core 2.4GHz processor
- Mali-G71 GPU
- 4GB RAM
- 64GB storage (512GB expandable)
- Android 8.1 Oreo (Experience UI 9.5)
- HD Widevine L1 support
- 13MP + 5MP rear camera
- 8MP front-facing camera
- 5000mAh battery
Well, looks aren't the biggest highlight of the Galaxy M20. Samsung has used a hard plastic rear which makes the phone resistant to accidental drops. While the front panel looks beautiful, the rear is the exact opposite. The back panel has a boring design and acts as a fingerprint magnet, thanks to its glossy nature. It also houses a fingerprint sensor which has an awkward placement and we often found ourselves reaching out for the fingerprint sensor. It feels a bit uncomfortable and not suitable for someone with small palms.
But, holding the device feels good, offering a good grip and a sense of durability. The Galaxy M20 is by no means qualifies as a slim smartphone. The massive 5000mAh battery makes it chunky and a bit heavy compared to other smartphones in the segment. If you are someone who drops their phones quite often, the Galaxy M20 has you covered.
The front panel houses a huge display that covers the most of real estate up front. The display also has a very small notch that doesn't draw much attention. On the sides, you get the volume rockers, power key, and the SIM card tray. At the bottom, the device has a USB-C port along with the speakers and a microphone. Overall, it is a pretty well-rounded smartphone in terms of design, however, the company could have made the back panel more exciting.
Samsung has used its Infinity U display for the new Galaxy M20. Although the display doesn't feature a Super AMOLED but do not get fooled by the TFT panel, as it makes for a great viewing experience. You might not get to see the dark blacks on the new panel, but that's forgivable considering the price of the device. The bezels are also pretty slim which makes this display ideal for multimedia consumption.
Since the display is Widevine L1 compliant, you'll be able to stream all the content from video streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in high definition. We played a few videos and movies on this display and were surprised by the results. The screen is fairly bright and the color reproduction is also brilliant. Although the viewing angles aren't that great, that's something TFT screens are infamous for. But, overall the display on the Samsung Galaxy M20 managed to impress us.
Optics-wise, the Galaxy M20 comes equipped with a dual rear camera setup that packs a 13MP sensor with F1.9 aperture and a 5MP ultra-wide lens. The dual camera setup is complemented by an LED flash. While the 13MP is the primary sensor, the 5MP sensor lets you take ultra-wide shots at 120-angles, compared to the normal 78-angles offered by other devices in this price segment.
Honestly, the camera on the Galaxy m20 is kind of a letdown. The pictures taken in good lighting conditions came out decent but still lacked details. The also showed some noise and lacked the dynamic range and sharpness. The wide angle shots also looked a bit grainy. For low light photography, the Galaxy M20 wouldn't be a good option. The images lack details and sharpness which is a bit disappointing.
We also tried the 13MP front-facing camera, and we can say that it's decent for video calling and selfies. Also, the AR emoji feature is fun trying out, but it isn't that produces breathtaking selfies. Overall, the Galaxy M20 has a lot to improve on the camera-front and doesn't really gives a tough fight to its contemporaries in this particular department.
Under the hood Exynos 7904 1.8Ghz octa-core chipset paired with 4GB of RAM. We were satisfied with the performance of the Galaxy M20. It managed to perform day-to-day tasks without breaking a sweat and the app launch and switching were swift. We hardly noticed any kind of lag and stutter, however, we did feel that the device gets a bit toasty when firing up some graphics-heavy games. But the mild games work like a charm on this device, thanks to the Mali-G71 GPU.
The device offers Dual SIM with Dual VoLTE which ensure crystal clear voice calls. The call quality was really good and the earpiece was loud enough for crowded places as well. Also, the audio on the Galaxy M20 is powered by Dolby Atmos, but it only works with the headphones on. But, it makes for a great audio experience while watching movies as you get to hear all the sound effects with immersive details.
The Galaxy M20 runs the Android 8.1 Oreo with the company's Experience UI 9.5. Well, since this is 2019, bringing a smartphone with a dated software seems unfair. While the UI feels smooth, bringing the latest Android 9 Pie would have been great. The software also comes with some bloatware, which could hamper the performance of the phone in the long run. Samsung is rumored to push Android 9 update for the device in August, but it seems a bit too late.
Speaking of the battery, the smartphone is backed by a huge 5000mAh battery. The battery reservoir is surely one of the biggest highlights of the Galaxy M20. We rigorously used the phone for a whole day, and it still had a few hours of juice left. Our usage included playing a few high-end games, listening to music, browsing the internet. For moderate users, the device might work for at least a day and a half before you look for a charger. In case of a hardcore user, you will have to refuel the phone before going to bed.
With the Galaxy M20, Samsung seems to have introduced a much-needed budget device for its sales. As the company plans to lock horns with the Chinese compatitors, it needs to have a powerful, feature-rich device in the segment, and the Galaxy M20 checks almost all the boxes. It comes with a brilliant display, a long-lasting battery life, and a sturdy build. Starting at Rs 10,990, it is Samsung's most aggressively priced device till date.
It sure has its flaws like the design could have been more attractive, or the cameras could have been better, but it still makes for a good value for money if you look beyond these minor bumps. We wouldn't call it the best Android smartphone in this price segment, but writing it off the cards totally would be unfair. As we know, Samsung has a loyal fan-base, the new M series will definitely catch many eyes for its fresh and aggressive approach.
Overall, Samsung has offered a well-rounded smartphone at an affordable price, making it a safe bet to place your money on. It seems the company has finally taken the right path with its latest M series of smartphones and should continue to launch more such smartphones. As for the Galaxy M20, we will surely recommend the device as it brings a sense of freshness to the company's budget lineup.