Samsung Galaxy M42 5G Review: A competent performer but is that good enough?

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Samsung Galaxy M42 5G review summary

Expert rating: 3.5/5







Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


  • Appealing looks
  • Good performance
  • Excellent battery life 
  • Decent daylight camera


  • Display resolution 
  • Slow charging 
  • No bundled protective case

The Samsung Galaxy M42 5G is the first ever 5G phone the South Korean giant has introduced under its M series in India. It’s also the cheapest 5G phone from the brand and currently the only one in the sub-30k segment.  

While Chinese counterparts like Realme already have a barrage of affordable 5G phones in the country, Samsung hasn’t really been in a rush. Targeted towards millennials, the Samsung Galaxy M42 5G offers a capable Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G processor with 5G support, which is arguably one of the hottest (not literally, of course) chipset in the segment. 

But does having a powerful chipset suffices in making Galaxy M42 5G a compelling buy? Let’s try and find answers in this detailed Samsung Galaxy M42 5G review.

Samsung Galaxy M42 5G Unboxing

This latest M Series offering from Samsung comes in a biodegradable box. Out of the Prism Dot Grey and Prism Dot Black colors, we received the latter one for this review on a returnable basis. Here’s everything that we found inside the box:

  • Handset
  • 15W wall charger
  • USB-C cable
  • SIM ejector tool
  • Quick guide

Also Read:


Samsung Galaxy M42 5G price in India & specs

Dimension & Weight: 164.4 x 75.9 x 8.6 mm; 190g
Screen: 6.6″ sAMOLED HD+ 60Hz refresh rate,
91.7%, 1,000 nits, 100% DCI-P3 color gamut
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 750 5G (8 nm)
GPU: Adreno 619
Storage: 128GB UFS 2.1
Rear cameras: 48MP, 8MP ultrawide, 5MP macro, 5MP depth
Front camera: 20MP
Battery: 4500 mAh with 15W charging
OS: Android 11, One UI 3.1
5G: Yes
Connectivity: 5G, Dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, GPS
Price: 8GB + 128GB – Rs. 21,999; 8GB+128GB: Rs. 23,999
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Samsung Galaxy M42 5G Review: Design & build

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Looking at the Galaxy M42 5G, one thing feels certain – Samsung knows how to design aesthetically appealing phone even in the mid-tier segment. The Galaxy M42 5G is clearly made of polycarbonate (or Glasstic as referred to by Samsung) but manages to look unique in Prism Dot Black pattern.

The rear panel of Galaxy M42 5G is divided into four segments. There is a solid black block with a glossy finish at the top and as you move towards the bottom,  colors get lighter with every block. These lower blocks also have a fine dotted pattern that refracts light into different colors which looks cool. Having said that, this back panel is still a fingerprint magnet so it’s better you plant it in a case. 

There is a quad-camera setup at the top left corner on the back. It’s a square-shaped module with a marginal hump that won’t cause any wobble while the phone sits on a desk. Samsung has gone with slightly curved edges at the back which further ensure that the phone sits comfortably in hand, offering excellent grip. 

Front on, it is pretty much the usual affair – mainly dominated by a large display with narrow side bezels and relatively thicker chin. There’s a U shape waterdrop notch at the top and above it, there’s a speaker grill incised on the frame itself. 

For the Galaxy M42 5G, Samsung sided with an in-display fingerprint scanner which is responsive and accurate. The Plastic side frame is home to the SIM tray (on left edge), and a 3.5mm headphone jack, USB Type-C port, and loudspeaker are at the bottom. And there’s a secondary microphone placed at the top.

As far as build quality is concerned, we didn’t notice any flexing while using this device as  our daily driver. The only downside I see here is the lack of Gorilla Glass protection and the missing protective case in the box. All in all, the Galaxy M42 5G looks classy and is one of the best-looking phones in its class.

Samsung Galaxy M42 Review: Display

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Samsung Galaxy M42 5G display invokes mixed feelings. It flaunts a large 6.6-inch Super AMOLED display 20:9 aspect ratio. While this screen is vivid and offers punchy colors, it has the lowest pixel density we have seen in years at this price segment. That’s right, the screen offered here is an HD+ screen that has a 60Hz refresh rate.

While the Galaxy M42 G5 display lacks the crispness of an FHD+ panel, it does entail OLED advantages. Things to look forward to include deep blacks, excellent contrast ratio, wide viewing angle, vibrant colors, and ample peak brightness. 

Samsung has ensured that the device has Widevine L1 DRM support which is essential for HD streaming. However, there’s no support for HDR10, which is fine at this price point. Let’s now move to the performance and user experience segment of our review.

Samsung Galaxy M42 5G review: Software

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Like most modern Samsung phones, the Galaxy M42 5G comes running on OneUI 3.1 on top of Android 11 out of the box. Samsung hasn’t cut any corners here as it comes with Knox security and Samsung Pay which were missing in some of M series earlier offerings.

While the interface is user friendly, you’d need to pay extra attention to the setup process to ensure you skip or untick options to install suggested apps. Even when you do that, there will be some pre-installed bloatware on the device. Thankfully you will be able to uninstall them with ease.

Samsung Galaxy M42 5G review: Performance 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

With the Galaxy M42 5G, Samsung clearly wanted to push a well-performing device under Rs 20,000. The handset is driven by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G processor, which has proven its might in Xiaomi Mi 10i (review) and the Moto G 5G (review). The 8nm node-based chipset has 2x Kryo 570 Gold (Cortex-A77 cores) clocked at 2.2 GHz and 6x Kryo 570 Silver (Cortex-A55 cores) clocked at 1.8GHz. As for graphics, there is the Adreno 619 GPU which claims to be much more powerful than its predecessor. 

Their is 128GB storage which is ample for most use cases. Currently there are two variants on offer: 6GB RAM + 128GB ROM and 8GB RAM + 128GB ROM.

During our time with this phone, we didn’t face issues with regards to its performance. It managed to perform most of our day-to-day activities without any hassle. We tested Call of Duty Mobile and some other popular AAA titles on the Galaxy M42 5G. Almost all of them ran at high graphics and max frame rate, or very high graphics and very high frame rate settings.

The phone performed well even with extended gaming sessions, as we noticed only occasional frame drops. We also tested the Galaxy M42 5G on several benchmark tests and here are the findings: 

Samsung Galaxy M42 5G Benchmark scores

  • GeekBench 5
    • 1848 (multi-core)
    • 649 (single-core)
  • Antutu 8 – 3,53,186
  • 3D Mark WildLife Extreme – 338
  • AndroBench
    • 190.2 MB/s for Random read
    • 185.1 MB/s for Random write

Samsung Galaxy M42 5G Camera review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Following the prevailing industry trend, Samsung has tacked a quad camera array on the rear. The setup includes a 48-megapixel primary camera, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, a 5-megapixel depth sensor, and a 5-megapixel macro camera.

The 48MP primary camera shoots 12MP photos by default. It’s a typical Samsung mid-range camera. Shots taken in natural light turned out well. It manages to offer good dynamic range with good contrast levels and aggressive noise reduction resulting in a balanced composition. Photos taken in low light take a hit in terms of details.

 That being said, in typical Samsung fashion color balance tilts ever so slight towards warmer tones. Due to aggressive noise suppression, images captured from the primary rear camera are not quite up there with the competition. 

The images delivered by the 8MP Ultra-wide sensor are very much average. We noticed shifts in color tones and drop in detail and dynamic range. 

The 5MP macro camera manages to click some fine close-ups. It even lets users tap to focus which is not something you usually get to associate with under Rs 20,000 phones. 

The 20MP selfie camera takes beautified shots by default which modify details and skin texture. It manages decent contrast, colors and dynamic range. As far as video recording goes, the Galaxy M42 5G can go up to 4K at 30fps for the primary rear camera. It lacks features like OIS which is clearly evident from jitters in the footage. While it manages colors and contrasts well, this definitely was not the sharpest 4K footage we recorded on a smartphone camera. 

Samsung Galaxy M42 5G Review: Battery and Connectivity

Let’s start with connectivity first.  There are ample connectivity options present in the phone. The phone supports dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4Ghz & 5GHz), NFC, and Bluetooth v5.0. During our review, we used both Airtel and Jio with Galaxy M42 5G. Both networks were stable. The phone supports carrier aggregation. If you are buying it for 5G, you will be happy to note that the Galaxy M42 5G supports N1, N3, N41, and N78 5G bands. The fifth-generation network is considered to be a battery hog. Therefore, Samsung aims to address it via a large 5,000mAh battery. During our testing, the phone was easily able to last us a day on a single charge. It comes with a 15W fast charger which is not as fast as some of its competitors at this price point. 

Now, let’s address the key question:

Verdict: Should you buy the Galaxy M42 5G?

Despite its shortcomings such as soft HD+ resolution, and the lack of a fast charger and  protective case in the box, the Galaxy M42 5G makes sense for Samsung loyalists and for anyone who’s particular about buying a 5G ready phone. It is the most affordable Samsung 5G smartphone in the market today and the performance is so much better than what Samsung usually offers in the budget. 

As we inch towards the festive season, we expect Samsung Galaxy M42 5G to see a price cut or get attractive discounts which should give it an edge over other budget 5G options. 

Editor’s rating: 3.5/ 5

Reasons to buy

  • Appealing looks
  • Good performance
  • Excellent battery life 
  • Decent daylight camera

Reasons to not buy

  • Display resolution 
  • Slow charging 
  • No bundled protective case

Samsung Galaxy M42 5G FAQ

What is the SAR value of Samsung Galaxy M42 5G?

SAR Value head is 0.689 W/kg.

Does Samsung Galaxy M42 5G support HD and HDR streaming on Netflix and Prime?

Full HD streaming works fine on Netflix and Prime videos. HDR content is supported only on Youtube.

Does Samsung Galaxy M42 5G support AR Core for Google objects?

Yes, AR Core and Google AR objects are supported.

Does Samsung Galaxy M42 5G support 4G carrier aggregation and dual 4G VoLTE?

Yes, it does.

Does Samsung Galaxy M42 5G support auto call recording?

Yes, it does.

How much storage is free on Samsung Galaxy M42 5G?

We have the 128GB variant with us and around 106GB is free for end users.

Does Samsung Galaxy M42 5G support Camera2 API for Pixel camera?

Camera2 API Level 3 is supported.

Q. What are the 5G bands supported by Samsung Galaxy M42 5G?

A. Samsung Galaxy 42 5G supports the following Sub-6GHz bands viz., NSA N1/N3/N40/N41/N78.

Q. Does Samsung Galaxy M42 5G support dual-band WiFi?

A, Yes, Samsung Galaxy M42 5G supports both 2.4GHz + 5GHz bands.

Deepak RajawatDeepak Rajawat
Experienced technology journalist with over 7-years of experience. Before embracing online journalism, he has worked with several legacy publications including print editions at Hindustan Times and The Statesman. He also has a keen interest in Sports, which he used to cover with equal enthusiasm in his early career.

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