I have been reviewing lots of accessories like headphones, speakers, and smartwatches recently. Kinda feel like smartphones are getting boring these days. Anyway, for the past couple of months, along with my primary phone which is the iPhone 12 Pro Max right now, I have been using the Samsung Galaxy M51 as my secondary device and I’ll be discussing it in this long-term review.
Samsung Galaxy M51 Specifications:
- Body: 6.45 x 3.00 x 0.37 inches, 213 gm
- Display: 6.7-inches Super AMOLED Plus, 393PPI, Gorilla Glass 3+
- Resolution: FHD+ (2400 x 1080 pixels), 20:9 aspect ratio
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G (8nm Mobile Platform)
- CPU: Octa-core (2×2.2 GHz Kryo 470 Gold & 6×1.8 GHz Kryo 470 Silver)
- GPU: Adreno 618
- RAM: 6/8GB LPDDR4x
- Storage: 128GB internal storage (expandable via a dedicated microSD slot)
- Software & UI: One UI 2.1 on top of Android 10
- Rear Camera: Quad-camera;
– 64MP primary lens with f/1.8 aperture & PDAF
– 12MP ultra-wide-angle lens with f/2.2 aperture, 123º FOV
– 5MP depth sensor with f/2.4 aperture
– 5MP macro sensor with f/2.4 aperture
– LED flash
- Front Camera: 32MP, f/2.0 lens (punch-hole)
- Security: Physical fingerprint sensor (side-mounted)
- Audio: 3.5mm headphone jack, loudspeaker, Dolby Atmos
- Connectivity: Dual-SIM (Nano), WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS / AGPS / Glonass / Galileo / BDS, USB Type-C, 4G LTE
- Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyro, Proximity, Geomagnetic, RGB Light sensor
- Battery: 7000mAh with 25W fast charging (USB-C to USB-C)
- Color options: Celestial Black, Electric Blue
- Price in Nepal: Rs. 39,999 (6/128GB) | Rs. 43,999 (8/128GB)
- Available at Samsung authorized retail stores in Nepal
Samsung Galaxy M51 Long-Term Review:
Galaxy M51 is kind of a different taste of a phone than what Samsung usually offers in its mid-range segment. I have always liked Samsung mid-rangers when it comes to camera optimization, battery life, and its vivid AMOLED display. However, it was always lacking in the performance department because of Samsung’s audacity to include its in-house Exynos 9611 chipset in all most all of its midrange M and A-series of phones last year.
With the Galaxy M51, not only has the company included a much better SoC, but they have also improved the software optimization, which I’ll definitely get into in full detail in just a minute. Anyway, allow me to elaborate long-term experience with the Samsung Galaxy M51 in this review.
Design & Build
- Glass front, plastic back, plastic frame
- A bit hefty because of a big battery
Let’s start with the design. Well, needless to say, Samsung hasn’t done anything drastic in this aspect and we have seen this design choice many times before. Actually, it just looks like a beefed-up version of the Galaxy M31. The back is still plastic with a shiny finish and with the plastic side frames, it does raise some concern about prolonged durability. Thankfully, throughout my usage, the most that’s happened is a few scratches on the back.
And it’s surprising how this rear panel is so prone to scratches. I mean, I used the phone without a cover for just 3 days initially and it had already suffered tiny visible scratches at the back. So, using a good case is highly recommended from my side.
While the look of the phone definitely is pretty basic, I wished Samsung brought the gradient design of its A-series on the higher-end M-series models too. Overall, visual flair is not one of M51’s forte and if you are someone who wants to flaunt a good-looking smartphone, then you are better off with offerings from OPPO or Vivo.
- 6.7-inches FHD+ Super AMOLED Plus screen
- 60Hz refresh rate, 86.7% screen-to-body ratio
That being said, Samsung has always had a good reputation for providing great displays and that tradition continues on the Galaxy M51. You get a big 6.7-inch Super AMOLED screen with a centered non-obtrusive punch-hole cutout. It’s a quite pleasing display to look at as well. So, throughout my usage for the long-term review of Samsung Galaxy M51, I’ve had a great time viewing different kinds of content on this display.
However, even with its AMOLED heritage, you don’t get an in-display fingerprint sensor here. Maybe that’s a part of the cost-cutting process! But I certainly am not complaining about it though because Samsung’s implementation of under-display fingerprint readers has never been the fastest. This side-mounted one, on the other hand, is fast and gets a correct reading almost all the time.
Initially, there were instances where I would struggle to locate the sensor as it is placed a bit higher than I’m accustomed to, but slowly I got used to it, and it’s all fine now! Back to the display, it’s fairly bright so I’ve had no problems reading or using social media while basking in this winter sun.
Standard 60Hz refresh rate
The one tiny complaint I have, which I guess many of you do too, is that this screen refreshes at just 60Hz. Maybe, Samsung could have included a 90Hz panel, given its direct competition like the OnePlus Nord has one. Yet, the price of OnePlus Nord here in Nepal is more than $100 higher than that of the M51, so that’s an incomparable issue. But, in markets like India, both these phones are priced very similarly, thus giving the OnePlus Nord an edge.
But, other than the lower refresh rate, trust me there is hardly anything not to like about this display. It has excellent contrast and the touch sensitivity is top-notch too. And I have to say that no other Android manufacturer does dark mode better than Samsung, so I quite like what we get on the display side of things.
- 7000mAh battery with 25W fast charging
And not to forget the undisputed, amazing battery life you get on this phone. During the entirety of the review period, the 7,000 mAh battery in the Samsung Galaxy M51 gave me no less than a 2-day endurance on my use meaning that I only had to charge it once in two days.
That was with my regular usage pattern wherein I would make and pick calls every now and then, write some emails, watch a few videos, play a game or two along with using being active on my social media throughout the day.
Yet, I am not going to lie, despite the terrific battery endurance, I do wish the charging speed could have used a little bump though. Yes, 25-watt Power Delivery charging is pretty fast, but this huge brick of a battery takes 1 hour and 55 minutes to get juiced up, so if you forget to charge it overnight, be prepared to wait for 2 hours in the morning.
- Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G SoC (8nm)
- 6/8GB LPDDR4x RAM with 128GB storage (expandable)
Now let’s get to the performance. Like I mentioned earlier, contrary to the Exynos 9611 in most Samsung mid-range phones, the Galaxy M51 features Snapdragon 730G, which is one of the popular choices in the mid-range category.
With this, I can finally say that the performance of a mid-range Samsung phone is actually good. Plus, the company has optimized its One UI here pretty well. As a result, you will get a good user experience on this device. From normal everyday tasks to even multitasking with heavy apps, things are quite fluid. The Galaxy A71 that shipped with a similar Snapdragon 730 chipset isn’t smooth as the Galaxy M51, so it’s great to see Samsung work on memory and CPU management to provide a better experience.
Gaming too is a fun ride here. PUBG Mobile runs quite nice in Smooth graphics and Ultra fame rates all the while being ever so slightly jittery in High frame rates and HD graphics setting. Still, the cheaper Redmi Note 9 Pro Max and the Poco X3 has slightly better performance in PUBG under the same HD graphics and high frame rates. But again, the difference is a very thin line, so I guess it does not matter so much I guess.
Likewise, COD runs silky smooth even in the maximum of graphics and frame rate settings. And the best part is that even when you’re game continuously for quite a long time, the phone is still able to maintain low temperatures and amazing battery endurance. For instance, one hour of continuous PUBG and COD gaming only took away 9% of its juice which is awesome!
Software & UI
In terms of software, the Galaxy M51 runs on One UI Core version 2.5 on top of Android 10 and is expected to receive One UI 3.0 based on Android 11 in April of 2021. Disappointingly, I haven’t received the December security patch yet. This is definitely one area where Samsung has to work on more considering the popularity of its non-flagship phones. While it has already rolled out One UI 3 and December security patch on the premium S and Note series of smartphones, Samsung’s mid-range phone owners still gotta wait a while.
Apart from that, I am not a big fan of the single firing speaker here too. Its output, in my opinion, is strictly average in terms of loudness and overall quality. It does not distort when maxing out the volumes, but it does lack depth. Why am I complaining about this is because, it has such a great display and battery life, so, if it was paired with better speakers, it would have been a great multimedia device too.
- Quad-cameras at the back
- (64MP primary, 12MP ultra-wide, 5MP depth, 5MP macro)
- 32MP selfie camera inside the punch-hole cutout
Okay, enough of the complaints now. Let’s get to one of the best things about this phone, which is the cameras. Galaxy M51 has a total of 5 cameras, four at the back and one at the front. The back houses the 64MP primary, 12MP ultra-wide, 5MP depth, and macro sensors while there’s a 32MP snapper on the front.
The primary images, just like how it is with all Samsung phones, has that punchy undertone that grabs attention at first sight.
Plus, its HDR function works quite fine so you won’t get dark images whatsoever as it handles shadows and light pretty well. Furthermore, the details are on point too, so I am quite happy about how the images turn out.
Likewise, the ultra-wide shots too have great colors and dynamic range. When compared to the Vivo V20, you will notice that Samsung’s ultra-wide shots are wider. But in terms of colors, dynamic range, and details, both look neck-and-neck.
And not just with the ultra-wide shots, primary images from the V20 compete with the M51 really well.
The difference lies in the color tone where the V20 is more yellowish while the M51 has a reddish tint. But other than that, I have not been able to firmly decide which one’s better.
Even portraits look equally good from both phones.
It’s just that Samsung manages to bring out a slightly better bokeh effect than Vivo. Otherwise, subjects and background look good on both.
Also, I’ve not been able to choose a clear winner in terms of selfies. Both devices manage to shine in their own ways.
V20 has a slightly yellowish tone while Samsung’s selfies look a-bit pinkish. Besides this, the details and colors are once again, neck-and-neck.
It all boils down to personal preference to determine the subjective winner among these phone’s selfie camera.
Moving on, the nighttime shots have similar attributes just like the daytime ones too.
Only the color reproduction side of things look slightly different, but other things are almost the same.
Having said that, Samsung crops the night mode images comparatively more.
Getting to the videos, it’s quite weird how both these phones cannot shoot 60fps videos at any resolution. Here, the 30fps footages under both 1080p and 4k resolutions are well stabilized, thanks to Gyro EIS. But what I can say is that Vivo V20 does a better job at maintaining the exposure compared to the Galaxy M51.
Overall, the Samsung Galaxy M51 is a reliable midrange camera phone just like the Vivo V20. And I am really happy to see midrange smartphones doing so well in this category. With Xiaomi bringing a 108MP camera sensor in its latest Mi 10i, things are going to get even more competitive in 2021’s mid-range market.
Alright, other things such as the call quality and network reception have never disappointed me in any way. It’s been around two months that I have been using this phone and I have not received a single complaint from anyone on the receiving end, so that’s great.
Summing it up, I think the Galaxy M51 is a great midrange phone. With Samsung finally offering a competitive chipset and a well-optimized UI; the future looks promising for the M-series, unless there are more Exynos 9611-powered entries.
- Watch our video review of the Samsung Galaxy M51.
Samsung Galaxy M51 Long-Term Review: Pros & Cons
- A necessary change of pace in Samsung mid-rangers
- Excellent battery life—lasts almost two full days
- Great Super AMOLED display with rich colors
- Decent performance: both normal and gaming
- Reliable cameras in terms of photos and videos
- Average design, scratch-prone rear panel
- No 90/120Hz smooth refresh rate display
- Charging speed could’ve been a little faster