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Samsung Galaxy M31: The Good, The Bad, And The X Factor
Samsung has added a new handset in the Galaxy M series dubbed Galaxy M31. The company introduced this series last year to compete against its Chinese counterparts like Xiaomi and Realme who own a major chunk of the market with feature-rich smartphones being offered an affordable price tag.
The latest entrant comes as a successor to the Galaxy M30s which has been quite popular in the mid-range segment. Carrying some traits from its predecessor, the Galaxy M31 is packed with a humongous 6,000 mAh battery and an L-shaped quad-camera module.
At a starting price label of Rs. 14,999 for the 6GB RAM+64GB storage and Rs. 15,999 for the 6GB RAM+128GB storage model, it goes up against the likes of the Honor 9X, Redmi Note 8 Pro, and the Realme XT. Let's see what this device brings to the table and how good is it against the Chinese rivals in our initial impressions:
Samsung Galaxy M31: The Good
High-Resolution Super AMOLED Display
The first thing that will grab your attention while buying this handset is its big high-resolution display. Samsung has equipped the Galaxy M31 with a 6.4-inch Infinity-U Super AMOLED display that churns out 1080 x 2340 pixels FHD+ resolution and has a tall 19:5:9 aspect ratio. Samsung has never compromised with the display quality; which seems evident on the Galaxy M31 as well.
The tall display complemented by high-resolution support makes it suitable for 1080p videos. Moreover, the narrow bezels all around the display give you the maximum area to watch content. The U-shaped notch is slightly bigger.
The colors delivered are punchy and vivid, something which you will find on other mid-range Samsung smartphones as well. The viewing angles and sunlight visibility seems good. But, we will be able to give feedback after a thorough usage. It is worth noting that this is the same display that the company had used on its predecessor, i.e, the Galaxy M30s. So, you can expect the same display output.
Loaded With New Firmware
It isn't just Realme which is launching smartphones with the latest software starting from this year. Samsung has introduced the Galaxy A series as well as the latest Galaxy M31 with the new Android 10 OS. The firmware is accompanied by the company's new One UI 2.0 skin on top.
The UI isn't different from what you get on the recently launched Galaxy A51 and the Galaxy A71. It has some bloatware, but the UI doesn't seem much cluttered. You can set motion and gestures as per your convenience from the Settings menu and can also make adjustments to the One-hand mode. You can also toggle the Dark mode on/off from the notifications slider.
Moreover, the phone's lockscreen is complemented by Glance, a wallpaper service that pushes visually rich content on the display with a diverse mix of content shown as news, videos, tv series, etc. Each Glance is a combination of a beautiful high-resolution image and a headline. If you want to know more, you can simply swipe down on the lockscreen to find out more details about the particular topic.
As for the processor, it uses the same octa-core Exynos 9610 chipset as the Galaxy M30s and the Galaxy A51. This is a decent mid-range chipset by Samsung that cares about daily-tasks easily.
Dedicated MicroSD Card For Storage Expansion
Like most of the mid-range smartphones, the Galaxy M31 also gives the provision of expanding internal storage space. And thanks to the dedicated microSD card slot, you can not only expand the storage but also use two SIM cards simultaneously. This is one of the most useful features offered by the Galaxy M31.
Feature-Rich Quad-Rear Cameras
Samsung has embedded a high-end camera setup on the Galaxy M31. The L-shaped quad-rear camera module is accommodated with a 64MP Samsung ISOCELL GW1 sensor. The primary camera is aided by an 8MP ultra-wide-angle camera, a 5MP macro sensor, and a 5MP depth sensor. The camera app is easy to use and you won't find any major differences if you have been using Samsung smartphones in the past.
The rear camera is capable of capturing Slow-Motion, Super Slow-Motion, and Hyperlapse videos. The camera seems to perform well with suitable lighting conditions. But, we are yet to test all the shooting modes including the Night mode and see how well it fairs in real-life scenarios.
At the front, the waterdrop notch packs a 32MP selfie snapper. It can capture wide software-based wide-angle shots and has a Beauty mode as well to enhance the selfie quality.
Also, you can click bokeh selfies using the ‘Live Focus' mode and set the background blur intensity manually. The selfie camera seems to be perfect for social media uploads. We will be testing both the rear and the front camera to its full potential in the coming days and will share how well it performs against its rivals.
Samsung Galaxy M31: The Bad
Bulky and Bland
While the majority of manufacturers are playing along with gradient tones on the smartphones, Samsung has kept the Galaxy M31's design quite basic and bland. Unlike the dual-tone or textured pattern, the device features a single-tone gradient rear panel. We got the Space Black color option which has a shimmering surface.
What you won't like about the design is its bulky form factor. That's primarily to house the massive 6,000 mAh battery unit. Besides, it is a tall device and with the added bulk it becomes slightly difficult to use the device with a single hand.
But, you can perform some basic tasks with ease such as answering calls and texting. You will need to hold the device with both hands to reach the corners.
Moreover, the ports and keys have the usual placement. You get the volume and power key on the right, while on the left it has the SIM card tray. At the bottom, the USB Type-C port is housed between the 3.5mm headphone jack and the speaker grille.
Attracts Fingerprints And Smudges
The Samsung Galaxy M31's gradient rear-panel isn't protected from grabbing dirt and dust. Since we received the black color option, we were able to see it pick up fingerprints with ease. This is something which you will have to work with as there is no case inside the retail box.
So, you will have to get it separately from the stores to protect the device from accidental damages and drops. Make sure you select a case that doesn't add to the bulk.
Samsung Galaxy M31: The X Factor
Mammoth 6,000mAh Battery
One of the biggest highlights of the Samsung Galaxy M31 is the massive 6,000 mAh battery unit. The device ships with a 15W fast charger. We haven't yet tested the charging speed as well as the backup. But, we can expect the device to give a backup of over a day with a single charge. Also, the device is equipped with the modern USB Type-C charger instead of the dated microUSB 2.0 port.
Samsung Galaxy M31: Hit Or A Miss?
Samsung seems to have cracked the code of producing affordable smartphones with good features to get hold of the masses. The company is consistently launching new smartphones in both of its Galaxy A and the Galaxy M series catering to the mid-range segment.
The Galaxy M31 is not very much different from its predecessor, but does bring some noticeable upgrades. At an asking price tag of Rs. 14,999, this one seems a fair deal. But, we will be giving our verdict in the detailed review.