Updated: September 1, 2020 2:14:54 pm
The Samsung Galaxy M31s is a new mid-range smartphone aimed at those who don’t want to spend on top-tier phones. Starting at Rs 19,499, the Galaxy M31s has a big screen, fast processor, long battery life and most importantly, great front and back cameras. The Galaxy M31s is so good that it can easily take on many smartphones priced between Rs 25,000 and Rs 30,000. I spent the last five days with the Galaxy M31s, and here is my take on the phone.
Samsung Galaxy M31s specifications: 6.5-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED display| Samsung Exynos 9611|6GB RAM/8GB RAM, 128GB storage, microSD support included|6000mAh battery, 25W fast charging support|32MP front camera, 64MP main camera+12MP ultra wide camera+5MP depth camera+5MP macro camera||Android 10, OneUI
Samsung Galaxy M31s price: Rs 19,499 onward
Samsung Galaxy M31s review: What is new?
The Galaxy M31s reminds me of the Galaxy A51 in terms of design language. The front of the phone has an edge-to-edge 6.5-inch AMOLED display and a small hole for the front-facing camera. Flip the phone, and you will notice the rectangular camera bump on the top left – the setup is similar to that of the Galaxy S20 series. On the left side there’s the SIM tray, while on the right, there’s a power button that doubles as a fingerprint scanner and volume rocker. On the bottom, there’s a USB-C port, a speaker and a headphone jack.
Despite its large 6.5-inch screen, I like how the phone feels in the hand. It’s light, and easy to hold and use one hand. It’s a tall phone, though. The Galaxy M31s doesn’t look too flashy, but I am okay with that. But Samsung does cut some corners to keep the price down. Like the Galaxy A51, the M31s’s back panel is made of plastic with a glass-like finish, but you probably wouldn’t be able to differentiate. Still, the build quality is solid, though there is no waterproof rating. You can get the Galaxy M31s in Mirage Black and Mirage Blue colour options.
Samsung Galaxy M31s review: What is good?
The Galaxy M31s display is gorgeous. The 6.5-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED screen is perfect for watching movies, editing videos and reading epapers. The display is bright and colourful. That’s typical of a Samsung AMOLED display. Even though the Galaxy M31s display has a 60 Hz refresh rate, I bet there is no other phone in the mid-range and premium mid-premium segment with a better screen.
Another welcome change is a side-mounted fingerprint scanner. Sure many phones (including popular mid-range devices) now include in-display fingerprint sensors, but they are not good. I liked how the side-mounted fingerprint sensor works. It’s way quicker and more reliable than in-display optical fingerprint sensors.
Samsung has installed its Exynos 9611 chipset inside the Galaxy M31s (the same processor currently found in its Galaxy M31). Performance is on the higher side, surprisingly. I think 6GB RAM and 128GB storage come in handy when running games, taking pictures or shooting videos. Apps and websites open quickly; I did not register any lag or stutter while playing games like Sky, Temple Run and Lara Croft: Relic Run.
I reviewed the 6GB RAM and 128GB storage model, but you can also opt for another variant – the one with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. If you think the 128GB storage is not enough (I think it’s enough for most people), the phone can take up to an additional 512GB of storage with a microSD card.
And how does the battery last on the Galaxy M31s? Well, it lasted a generous day-and-a-half on a single charge on my review unit. The Galaxy M31s is powered by a 6,000mAh battery that can easily get you through two days. In my case, the battery died in the second half of the second day. I spent more time watching YouTube and streaming music through Apple Music. The 25W bundled fast charger will come handy.
I am glad that Samsung has made an effort to improve the camera quality on the Galaxy M31s. On the back of the phone, you will find a 64MP primary Sony IMX682 sensor with an f/1.8 lens, a 12MP secondary sensor with a 123-degree ultra-wide-angle lens, a 5MP depth shooter and a 5MP macro lens. Considering the price of the phone, pictures taken with the Galaxy M31s are fantastic. In daylight, all shots looked detailed and punchy. Colours do oversaturate a bit, but that’s the case with every Samsung phone I have tested so far. Autofocus was faster and there was no lag in taking pictures.
The phone comes with an ultra-wide-angle lens that has a wider field of view than what the human eye sees. And when it comes to photos taken with the wide-angle lens, well, they are good. The Galaxy M31s also comes with portrait mode as well as a dedicated macro mode. I wasn’t particularly impressed with the macro mode. I didn’t think the outcome was particularly sharp. The Galaxy M31s performed well in low light as well, though despite a dedicated night mode there was a loss in details, but still, the pictures came out great.
It even includes a feature called Single Take which is present in the high-end Galaxy S20 series. Single Take basically allows you to hold the camera shutter while the phone will shoot photos and videos with all of the cameras at once, and then pull out the best shots and moments in one album. It’s really fun to use Single Take, and I believe the feature will be appreciated by youngsters.
On the front, you’ll find a 32MP wide-angle lens. The front camera is great for taking selfies and video calls. Video capture quality is good, too, on the Galaxy M31s.
Samsung Galaxy M31s review: What is not good?
The phone ships with Android 10 along with Samsung’s One UI 2. It’s largely familiar but far from stock experience. It would be nice to see Samsung improving speedy software updates on its mid-range phones though.
Samsung Galaxy M31s review: Should you buy?
The Galaxy M31s has a nice and colourful 6.5-inch AMOLED screen, a great camera, excellent battery life, capable processor, a headphone jack and great build quality. Starting at Rs 19,499, the Galaxy M31s gives a premium impression, good enough to give tough competition to the OnePlus Nord, which starts at Rs 24,999. If you are planning to replace your old device and you are considering switching to the Galaxy M-series, I think the Galaxy M31s is worth checking out. I would happily recommend the Galaxy M31s over other expensive Android smartphones.
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