Samsung Galaxy M31 review: Unbelievably compact for a smartphone that packs a massive 6000 mAh battery
Samsung Galaxy M31 review: The Samsung Galaxy M31 competes against the newly launched Redmi Note 9 Pro, Realme 6, Poco X2 along with already existing vivo Z1 Pro, Realme XT and Note 8 Pro, among other devices. How does it fare against competition? Let's find out in our review.
Samsung Galaxy M31 review: It takes an extraordinary effort to grab some eyeballs for a Samsung smartphone, if it does not belong to the 'S' or 'Note' family - a feat achieved by Galaxy M30 and M30s last year. The M series was launched as an online-exclusive to compete against Chinese makers like Vivo, Realme and Xiaomi. The most recent smartphone launched under it is the Galaxy M31 which succeeds last year's Galaxy M30s. The latter was one of the best mid-range smartphones of 2019, offering a massive 6000 mAh battery, a feature you also get on the M31.
While the new smartphone borrows most of the features from its sibling, it does get some upgrades too, including an extra camera at the back. Samsung hasn't increased the price much with the base model of the Galaxy M31 priced at Rs 14,999 and this itself should attract a few buyers.
The other highlights of the smartphone include a Super AMOLED panel, a quad rear camera setup and an improved selfie shooter. The Samsung Galaxy M31 competes against the newly launched Redmi Note 9 Pro, Realme 6, Poco X2 along with already existing vivo Z1 Pro, Realme XT and Note 8 Pro, among other devices. How does it fare against competition? Let's find out in our review.
Samsung Galaxy M31 review: Design and Display
How different does Samsung Galaxy M31 look from the M30s? Well, depends on from which side your are looking at it. The front remains largely same with similar 6.4-inch FullHD+ AMOLED display with front camera positioned in the Infinity U design. The bezels are fairly visible on this smartphone, especially at the bottom. At this price point, this is acceptable.
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The Samsung Galaxy M30s was a tall and slightly heavier smartphone and the new offering makes amends on that front. The Galaxy M31 is an unbelievably compact smartphone that packs a massive 6000 mAh battery. It is just 8.9mm thick and weighs only 191 grams. It fits well into your palm and doesn't feel too bulky. The curved edges help with the grip and buttons are reachable too.
You get the power and volume buttons on the right while the left panel homes the SIM tray. At the bottom, you get a 3.5mm headphone jack, primary microphone, USB Type-C port, and speaker.
The smartphone distinguishes itself from the previous offerings through its rear panel. The camera module at the back gets an additional lens which is positioned very close to the fingerprint scanner. The Galaxy M31 has been launched in two colour options - Ocean Blue and Space Black.
The display is impressive for this price range and showcases punchy colours. The live wallpaper on the phone deserves a special mention for its coolness. The display comes with Widevine L1 certification allowing you to stream content in high definition. It also has Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for protection.
Samsung Galaxy M31 review: Performance
In terms of hardware, not much has changed from the Galaxy M30s. Our phone retains the Exynos 9611 chipset from its predecessor. It has been launched in two memory variants - 6GB RAM + 64GB of internal storage priced at Rs 15,999 and 6GB RAM + 128GB of internal storage priced at Rs 16,999. With a marginal difference in the cost of two smartphones, it makes more sense to opt for the top-end model.
The Galaxy M31 comes with enough memory to ensure smooth multitasking. The apps load quickly and you don't face too many problems here. The gaming experience was decent too. I played PUBG: Mobile on higher frame rate and did not face any issues. The bigger battery helps you by keeping the phone alive despite heavy usage.
The smartphones comes with several pre-installed applications like Netflix, Facebook, Candy Crush Saga and Samsung Max. It also suggests you to download more apps while setting up the smartphone. You can skip that and removed the unwanted apps from the phone too.
The Galaxy M31 also comes with Android 10 out-of-the-box so you get new features like the Dark Mode. The smartphone also comes with support for but it only works with earphones. Then, there are usual features like double-tap wake, gesture screenshot and option to ditch the three-button navigation.
You can expect the battery to last for a day and a half on medium usage.
Samsung Galaxy M31 review: Cameras
The Samsung Galaxy M31 houses a rectangular camera module with quad-camera setup on the top left corner of the back panel. The setup comprises a 64MP main camera, 8MP Ultra Wide lens with 123-degree field of view, 5MP Macro lens for close-up shots and 5MP depth camera for portrait shots with live focus.
In the camera app, you get options like Photo, Live Focus, Video, Slow-mo, Super Slow-mo, Pro, Panorama and Night and Food.
The rear camera captures good images for a phone in this segment. In bright light, you get the desired results with good detailing. The Live Focus is quite effective and adds blur to your images. The ultra wide angle lens, which is otherwise very impressive on Samsung smartphones, was slightly disappointing. There was an evident lack of detail in the wide angle shots.
The device offers video capability with 4K recording, hyper-lapse, slow-mo and super-steady modes.
On the front, you get a 32-megapixel selfie shooter, which is another notable improvement on the Galaxy M30s. The selfies are on the softer side but I managed to get some impressive images after adjusting the settings a bit. The portrait mode is quite good as well.
Samsung Galaxy M31 review: Final Verdict
Overall, the Samsung Galaxy M31 retains most of its predecessor specs with some minute changes here and there. I see it as a positive because you get a tried and tested performer with upgrades wherever required. The Galaxy M31 offers a top-quality display on an elegant design, has an impressive camera setup but the biggest selling point remains the battery. If you have regularly run out of juice and have the bad habit of not charging your smartphone frequently, the Samsung Galaxy M31 is a good bet.
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