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Samsung Galaxy M20 review: Power-packed performer disguised as budget phone

On paper, the Galaxy M20 might seem like is a new breed of smartphone. But does it have features and performance to take on competition in the same segment? Let's find out

Khalid Anzar  |  New Delhi 

Samsung Galaxy M20

The from South Korean electronics manufacturer is one of the two smartphones that the company recently launched as part of its India-first Galaxy M-series. The series has a lot riding on it, therefore, the company has loaded the series’ premium device (M20) with features that have never been part of devices. These features include a 5,000 mAh battery, a waterdrop notch screen, a customised user interface, and more.

On paper, the might seem like a new breed of smartphone. But does it have features and performance to take on competition in the same segment? Let’s find out:

Design

The has a no-frills design. Unlike smartphones in the same segment, the M20 has a glossy plastic built with no reflective or gradient glass-like properties. The glossy nature of plastic makes the phone body susceptible to fingerprints. It gets smudged easily; not something that you want, especially if you do not prefer to use a back cover. The fingerprint sensor is also placed unusually high on the back, making it inconvenient to use.

Samsung Galaxy M20

The front side, however, has a different profile altogether. The new waterdrop notch display looks modern and complements the phone’s overall design language. The phone has a tall stature, thanks to an unconventional aspect ratio screen. While the phone fits perfectly in hand and feels comfortable to hold and use, people with small hands might find it difficult to operate the phone with one hand.

Display

The Galaxy M20 has a 6.3-inch fullHD+ resolution TFT screen, stretched in 19.5:9 aspect ratio. The screen has ample brightness to stay legible in bright outdoors. It renders vivid colours and has satisfactory viewing angles. However, it lacks deep black levels of the AMOLED display. Therefore, the overall contrast is at best satisfactory, but not class leading.

Samsung Galaxy M20

The display is protected by a dragontrail toughened glass from Asahi. The glass is resistant to accidental scratches and it can withstand exposure to coins and keys in pocket, which otherwise might cause serious damage. Although there is no mention of this glass either in the promotion material or on the phone’s box, this was confirmed by the company’s spokesperson at the time of M-series unveiling.

Not exactly a display feature, but the phone comes with Widevine L1 certification, which allows it to stream high-definition multimedia content available on over-the-top (OTT) platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Videos, etc.

Camera

The M20 has a dual camera set-up on the back. It features a 13-megapixel primary camera of f/1.9 aperture and a 5MP secondary camera of an ultra-wide angle lens. For a budget smartphone, the rear cameras do a satisfactory job in all lighting conditions. It locks the focus instantly, adjusts the settings according to light conditions and takes detailed shots without any lag.

The secondary camera comes in handy to take wide-angle shots of monuments or landscapes.

Interestingly, both the rear cameras work independent of each other. This means, you can capture a image or record a video either with a regular 13MP lens or with a wide-angle lens. This is a good addition, considering the fact that some videos require wide-angle recordings to do justice to the frame. However, you cannot switch the lenses while recording a video.

On the front, there is an 8MP lens of f/2.0 aperture. The front camera is loaded with features to lure selfie enthusiasts. It also doubles as a face recognition agent to unlock the phone that works fine in bright environments, but fails to do the job in under-lit areas. As for the output, the camera takes detailed shots. However, due to a fixed auto-focal length, it is limited to taking selfies only.

Performance

The Galaxy M20 is powered by Exynos 7904 system-on-chip (SoC), paired with either 3GB or 4GB of RAM and 32GB or 64GB of internal storage, respectively. The phone boots an Android Oreo operating system-based Experience 9.5 user interface (UI). The phone feels smooth in day-to-day operations. It shows no weakness or slowdown while handling graphic-intensive games, such as PUBG and Asphalt 9: Legends. It also shows no lag or inconsistency while operating multiple apps in background or doing multitasking.

Samsung Galaxy M20

While the performance is class leading, it is the new user interface that enhances the overall experience. The UI is loaded with features that might go well with the phone’s audience, millennials that is. One of such features is the lock screen stories, which shows images and videos from internet on the lock screen, making it look new every time.

Battery

The Galaxy M20 is the first Samsung smartphone powered by a 5,000 mAh battery. The phone’s on-battery time is on-par with the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 (review), which also has an equal battery capacity. The mammoth battery keeps the show going for more than a day, in some cases even for two full days. When used exhaustively, the phone’s on-battery time comes down to around 15 hours, which is still a modest figure that most budget smartphones fail to match.

The phone supports 15W fast charging via bundled charger. However, charging times are not quick. The phone takes more around three hours to charge to 100 per cent from an empty battery.

Verdict

With the price starting at Rs 10,990, the Galaxy M20 is a budget smartphone that has capabilities to make a dent in the armour of other smartphones in the same segment. From sleek performance to exceptional on-battery time and capable dual rear camera, the phone has everything to be touted as power-packed performer.

First Published: Tue, February 05 2019. 11:34 IST
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