Samsung has finally done what it claimed it would not do. Yes, you guessed it right, Samsung has implemented notches on the Galaxy M series smartphones! And today I will be talking about one of them, the Samsung Galaxy M20!
Like the Galaxy M10, the M20 belongs to the budget segment, among the phones priced below 15000 Indian Currency. By the way, we have also reviewed the Galaxy M10, that was also launched alongside the M20 so make sure you check it out the Samsung Galaxy M10 review as well.
So, moving on, Samsung, this time has tweaked the selling process, making the M series an online brand. Brands like OPPO, Xiaomi, Huawei have been in this game forever and Samsung, as rigid as it was, finally has boarded the same train. Will it be a turning point for Samsung or will it not, we are yet to see. But what we can ascertain right now is how does the M20 fare in real life usage. Let’s find out in this Samsung Galaxy M20 review.
Samsung Galaxy M20 Specifications:
- Display: 6.3-inch IPS LCD display with 2.5D curved glass on the top
- Resolution: Full-HD+ (1080 x 2340 pixels)
- Chipset: Samsung’s Exynos 7904
- CPU: Octa-core (2×1.8 GHz Cortex-A73 & 6×1.6 GHz Cortex-A53)
- GPU: Mali-G71MP2
- RAM: 3/4GB
- Storage: 32/64GB; Expandable via micro SD card (Dedicated slot)
- OS: Android 8.1 (Oreo) with Experience UI 9.5 on the top
- Rear Camera: Dual camera – 13MP wide-angle + 5MP ultra-wide-angle camera, LED flash
- Front Camera: 8MP
- Sensors: Fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
- Battery: 5000mAh with fast charging support (15W fast charging, takes 2 hours and 15 minutes for full charge)
Let’s get started with the design! The back on the Samsung Galaxy M20 has a shiny plastic material, that feels okay on hands, unlike the M10. The M10 though featuring a similar back material, felt light on hands, but the M20 is heavier and does not feel that cheap. The phone feels heavy, because well, it packs in a huge battery. But the weight on it not evenly distributed, meaning, the lower portion of it feels heavier than the upper portion.
All the buttons are on the right and placed high above and for a people with small hands like me, it surely is difficult to reach the buttons. On the left, we have the SIM tray with 2 nano SIM and a dedicated microSD card. Down below, you see a speaker grill, a secondary microphone, a USB C port, and a headphone jack! We are glad to see the headphone jack here. Upwards, there is only a primary microphone!
To be honest, Design wise, it does not look like a Samsung phone. If the Samsung logo was not there, I would have mistaken it for some Chinese brand. I don’t have a problem with that actually. You will have to do, what you do to keep the costs low!
On the front, you get a 6.3 inches display with Full-HD+ resolution. If you have been expecting a Super AMOLED panel, it’s not. It’s s an LCD one. But it is still a good display by the way. There is a notch on top, that Samsung has a fancy name for, an Infinity V display. With a tiny notch like this and thin bezels, Samsung has managed to deliver a good full view display here. Even the chin here is relatively smaller than what we usually see on the smartphones available at a similar price tag.
So, coming back to the display, it’s a sharp one with good colors and viewing angles. Sunlight legibility is average though! You have an option to use the entire screen or hide the notch during usage. But since the notch is very tiny, I didn’t have problems with it. There is an auto brightness feature, which I glad to see on a Samsung’s budget device. In the past, Samsung usually used to cut off the Ambient light sensor, which is not the case here.
And although Samsung has not specified what kind of protection is there on the M20, it’s really impressive that there are no scratches that have appeared on the screen. Although the back garnered some scratches on my use, it’s not that noticeable.
The insides of the Galaxy M20 is fueled by Samsung’s new midtier Exynos 7904 chipset. By architecture, it is a 14 nm chipset with 8 cores. Two of those are high-performance ARM A-73 cores clocked at 1.8 GHz and other 6 are Cortex A53 cores clocked at 1.6 GHz.
It’s not a new chipset by any means and if it was the start of 2018, I would have not complained but at the same price range, you get Snapdragon 636 or the Snapdragon 660, which has a better GPU performance compared to the 7904. In terms of CPU, the performance is more or less the same.
Now, moving on to how this one performs, it’s satisfactory. I would not at all complain because my basic tasks ran well. I had no problems in multitasking whatsoever and app opening is fast too. I did not feel lags on heavy usage as well.
As far as gaming goes, I played all different kinds of games in this one, where PUBG is playable at medium settings with a few stutters here and there, nothing that would affect gameplay! Similarly, Asphalt 9 ran quite well, I must say. And I equally kept checking while playing games for any thermal issues but, on a brighter side faced none! So, the performance side of it is decent at the best! As for storage, you get two variants, 3GB RAM with 32 GB storage and 4 RAM with 64 GB storage.
Software and UI
On to the Software side, if you have been expecting One UI, it is not here yet, and so is Android Pie. The phone comes with Android Oreo 8.1 out of the box with Samsung Experience version 9.5 running on the top. But we have had some sources revealing that Android Pie and One UI is to come in the M series very soon. Well, if you ask me, I hope for the soonest.
Anyways, I have always liked Samsung UI. It gives you a little more than the basics, a bit of bloatware in technical terms. Offerings from Samsung, Google and Microsoft are pre-installed here, out of which only some can be uninstalled. On to the usability part, we don’t have an app drawer, but the vertical swiping interface helps make the home screen less cluttered. There are gesture features that may come handy. Other than that, we have nothing new in the UI to talk about actually.
Okay, so let’s talk about the cameras now. Up until now, we have rarely seen Samsung make cut-outs of the camera department, well except for the Galaxy A7 and Galaxy A9. Here in the M20, we see dual 13+5 MP cameras at the back. The secondary camera is not a depth sensor, but a wide-angle lens. Well, that is something unique on a budget phone. As I checked the cameras, they looked decent to me. But let’s get deeper into specifics. First, let’s go the back camera!
As I tested the cameras, in good lighting, the pictures are good actually with a good amount of details, nothing extraordinary though. They are not over saturated and the balance of colors is actually quite nice to see. It seems natural on objects and sceneries. Other than that, I have quite liked the normal pictures.
The camera UI is also very friendly and easy to understand. The icons tell you clearly, which is what function, so I had no difficulty using it.
There is a live focus option AKA the portrait mode, which is also not bad to say at the least. However, what I didn’t like is When you are closer to the subject, the blur is very minimum. And, on top of that, you cannot adjust the blur or the focus area – the feature you can find in older Samsung phones. Edge detection is fine though and the blur looks natural too.
Now there is something else to talk about too, the wide-angle mode! I don’t know if a wide-angle lens is actually necessary but I am not complaining of having it here. On a device priced below INR 15,000, I did not expect a good one, but its good enough for the price tag.
But, like with the M10, you get a fisheye effect which can be corrected to some extent using a shape correction feature.
On the other hand, night shots are miserable! There are grains and noises all over and the pictures look muddy. We had much much better cameras on a 2-year-old Galaxy J7 Pro, if only, Samsung could replicate the cameras of the J7 pro, it would have been so good.
As for the videos, they can be recorded up to Full-HD at 30fps. The lack of 4K is expected at this price point. Talking about video quality, its good with nice levels of detail and low noise. But since it lacks stabilization, If your hands are shaky, your videos will turn out like jittery!
Okay, let’s get into the selfie side of things. The 8MP Selfie camera is good, and nothing extraordinary just like the back camera. The selfies I took was bright and colorful but again, they are slightly processed and I got smoother skin every time.
Things are the same in the selfie focus mode too in terms of skin tone.
The blurring and edge detection in the selfie ficus mode seem good enough though.
There are AR stickers which are not useful but are fun. There is a beauty mode and something called smart beauty as well, which is basically things that make you have fairer and smoother skin. But having said everything, the selfies are not bad, they are what I expected it to be.
But again, night time selfies are not very good. Take a look at some of the samples and be the judge yourself!
For high-resolution samples click here.
Okay, the Galaxy M20 also has something else that needs attention, the battery! There is a huge 5000 mAh battery in here and let me tell you it is very very enduring. On my use, it got me straight 2 days without plugging in a charger.
Even while using it intensively, I got one day’s usage time, which is pretty dope to say at the least. The device can give you a screen on time of over 10 hours. Also, there are various power saving modes that can further add up to battery endurance.
This huge battery is supported by a 15-watt quick charger too. This one takes around one hour to get 50% juice and takes around 2 hours and 15 minutes to get fully charged, which I think is a good amount of time for such a huge battery.
Plus its very difficult to drain it. So, once you charge it, you and your M20 are up for a long time, no denying that! Also, Samsung claims to have some sort of battery optimization software inside that further makes it more durable. This, hands down is very very impressive!
Now on to the extras, the speakers at the bottom are average. It is not very loud but the sound quality is good I must say! It’s balanced and does not distort at the highest of volumes. It’s not loud, I would say again, but not bad either!
The fingerprint sensor at the back is fast and accurate. It gets it correct all the time and is also placed at a good and reachable distance. But the facial unlock is a hit or a miss for me. I mean, sometimes it did not read my face at all and I had to switch to fingerprint scanning many times. But there is this slight animation on the notch while scanning your face, which is quite fun to watch although sometimes it does not read your face!
Furthermore, The Galaxy M20 certifies Widevine L1 certification, so I had a good time watching Netflix content in HD or better resolution on the big screen.
And, the M20 has all the necessary sensors, from proximity to gyro to ambient light sensor, but the only tiny thing missing is an LED notification light.
So, the Galaxy M series is definitely a good move by Samsung! The things that I like about the M20 is the battery life, USB type C with fast charging and its bright and color accurate IPS display. However, what Samsung could have done better are the camera performance and the choice of SoC. These are the areas where Samsung, with the resources they have, can definitely do better on their future M-series devices.
So, as of now, can the Galaxy M20 compete against the present devices, like the Zenfone Max Pro M2, the Realme 2 Pro and the Redmi Note 7? Well, like I said earlier, if Samsung had included a better chipset and a better lens, it would have been a steller device but as of now, the other devices I mentioned earlier are more value for money.
So, what do you think about Samsung M20? Is it compelling enough? Would you choose this over other Chinese smartphones out there? Let us know in the comments below! And I am Pratima and see.
Samsung Galaxy M20 Pros and Cons
|Superb battery life||Old chipset|
|Good display||Average front and back cameras|
|Type C and fast charging||Inaccurate Facial recognition|