Post the GST Hike and spike in exchange rates, the affordable smartphone segment has been in a turmoil. Add to that the paltry stocks of ‘online-exclusives’ that vanish within seconds and the anti-Chinese sentiment, and you will notice that Samsung now stands in a formidable position and it plans to make the most of it.
In the past few months, we have personally seen at least four instances where people picked up a Samsung Galaxy M30 or Galaxy M31 over likes of Redmi Note 9 Pro, Realme 6 Pro, and Poco M2 Pro due to either anti-China sentiment or because of theirs availability issues. Now, the tech giant has expanded its popular M series portfolio with the Samsung Galaxy M31s.
Just a few hours before the launch, the Samsung Galaxy M31s landed at our doorstep. Well, a detailed Galaxy M31 review will require some more time, but meanwhile, we have our first impressions to share.
Samsung Galaxy M31s Specifications
|Model||Samsung Galaxy M31s|
|Display||6.5-inch, AMOLED, 1440 x 2400 (full HD+), Gorilla Glass 3|
|Chipset||10nm Exynos 9611 (2.3GHz octa-core; Mali G72MP3 GPU)|
|RAM||up to 8GB LPDDR4x|
|Storage||128GB UFS 2.1; Dedicated card slot (512GB)|
|Software||Android 10, OneUI 2.0|
|Rear camera||64MP, f/2.0 (primary), 12MP (wide-angle) 5MP, f/2.2 (depth sensor), 5MP (macro) 480fps slow-motion videos, EIS, UHD videos|
|Selfie camera||32MP, f/2.0; 4K videos|
|Fingerprint sensor||Capacitive (side-mounted)|
|Dimensions and weight||9.3 mm; 203 grams|
|Battery||6000mAh, 25W fast charging|
|Colours||Mirage Blue, Mirage Black|
|Price||Rs 19,499 (6GB + 128GB), Rs 21,499 (8GB + 128GB)|
ALSO READ: Asus ZenBook 14 UX425J Review
Samsung Galaxy M31s Unboxing
The Galaxy M31s box doesn’t include a TPU case which is a kind of a bummer since it costs close to Rs 20,000. Box contents include:
- Galaxy M31s handset
- 25W wall charger
- USB Type-C to Type-C charging cable
- Instruction manual
- Warranty card
- SIM ejector tool
Samsung’s Type C to Type C cable can be used to leverage Galaxy M31s’ massive 6000mAh battery and reverse charging in order to top up another phone or accessories like TWS earphones.
Samsung Galaxy M31s Design and Built
Right out of the box, the very first thing that strikes you about the Galaxy M31s is its design. The Mirage Black color option that we have with us looks just stunning. Although, this a Glasstic build (or plastic that feels like glass), Samsung quite evidently spent some consideration delivering the metallic sheen with a gradient of Silver and Black colors.
We pulled out the Galaxy M31 (review) and Galaxy M30 (review) from our closet to compare them with M31s, and it shouldn’t be surprising that we were more inclined to pick the newcomer over its predecessors.
Samsung accommodates the fingerprint sensor on the power button. While writing this initial impression of the phone, we played around with the fingerprint reader a bit, and it felt snappy.
The side-mounted fingerprint sensor means you get a clean rear panel. The M31s is quite thick at 9.3mm, but that should be an acceptable price to pay for the additional battery capacity. It’s not particularly light either. The Galaxy M31s weighs more than 200grams but even distribution ensures that it doesn’t feel as bulky.
The ejectable SIM tray with a microSD card slot finds a place on the left side edge of the phone. We were happy to find a 3.5mm audio jack alongside USB Type C on the bottom edge.
Let’s now turn our attention to the front of the phone. Like most modern-day smartphones, here too display dominated as there are minimal bezels surrounding it. Samsung keeps a tiny cut out on the screen for the selfie camera.
Overall, design-wise the Galaxy M31s is one of the better-looking phones that you will find under Rs 20,000 segment.
Samsung Galaxy M31s Display
The display is another area where Samsung Galaxy M31s seems to outweigh others in its class. All other brands have no retracted AMOLED displays from the affordable segment, and Samsung Galaxy M31s is the only affordable phone with AMOLED display that we have seen in the last few months.
The Galaxy M31s has a 6.5-inch screen with full HD+ resolution, 60Hz refresh rate, and 20:9 aspect ratio. While the likes Realme 6 Pro (review) and Poco M2 Pro (review) offer higher refresh rates, the Galaxy M31s screen is more vibrant and comparatively more power-efficient.
The display is shielded by Gorilla Glass 3.
Samsung Galaxy M31s Camera
Samsung brings together a decent set of camera hardware for the Galaxy M31s. The 64MP Samsung GW1 primary sensor has been swapped with a 64MP Sony IMX682 sensor. The quartet at back also includes a 5MP macro camera, 12MP wide-angle camera, and 5MP basic depth sensor. On the front, there’s a 32MP selfie snapper that can shoot 4k Videos and slowfies.
The handset can record 4K videos. Samsung has added a feature where one can switch between cameras while recording a video, sweet!
Remember the Galaxy S20’s (review) Single Take feature? Well, Samsung has managed to pass it down to the Galaxy M31s as well. Once you hit that shutter button in Single Take mode, the phone takes multiple photos and videos in different settings and with different filters – all by itself.
We had fun talking Single Take shots with our S20 and it will be interesting to see how the results are on the Galaxy M31s.
At the time of writing, we are yet to fully explore the M31s camera. Having said that, the couple of shots that we did take in daylight had a wide dynamic range and well-balanced colors. Of course, it will take us more time to really frame an opinion or to reach a definite verdict.
Let’s quickly jump to the Galaxy M31s performance and software segment of our hands-on review:
ALSO READ: ROG Phone 3 review
Samsung Galaxy M31s Hardware and Software
For the Galaxy M31s, Samsung is once again putting its money on the Exynos 9611 SoC from the Galaxy M30s (review), Galaxy M31, Galaxy M21 (review) and a few other M-series phones. It’s an octa-core mobile chipset developed by Samsung that has four performance ARM Cortex-A73 cores clocked at 2.3GHz and four efficiency Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.7GHz. The chipset further integrates Mali-G72 GPU and is assisted by up to 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM, and 128GB UFS 2.1 storage.
Exynos 9611 SoC falls short when compared to the likes of Snapdragon 720 and Snapdragon 730G which are available in the same price bracket, and we frankly expected something different, something better on the M31s, especially since the prices have increased.
Where Samsung has a clear advantage over the competition is OneUI. The Galaxy M31s ships with OneUI 2.1 layered on top of Android 10. The UI is clean and user friendly. There are still a few bloatware apps but thankfully you can uninstall most of the third-party options. Samsung has also included DRM L1 certification which is essential for HD streaming on Netflix, Prime videos, and Disney+ Hotstar.
How’s the Galaxy M31s performance? Well, for that you will have to wait for our Galaxy M31s review.
ALSO READ:Realme TV 43 Review
Samsung Galaxy M31s Battery
Just like its predecessor, the Galaxy M31s has a monstrous 6000mAh battery under the hood. Perhaps for the first time, Samsung bundles a 25W fast charger within the box which takes about 97 minutes to completely refill an empty M31s battery.
Samsung Galaxy M31s First Impressions
Compared to its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy M31s gets an upgraded camera, a slightly better design, and the long-overdue 25W fast charging. While the chipset remains the same Exynos 9611, there is more RAM and storage, driving the prices higher.
It might not be a groundbreaking upgrade, but the phone still makes a lot of sense in the current market. The bigger question is whether the Galaxy M31s has enough grunt to knock out competitors such as the Poco M2 Pro and Realme 6 Pro. We will be in a position to answer that in our Galaxy M31s detailed review that should follow shortly. Stay tuned!