With the latest offering, Galaxy M31s, Samsung has upgraded the series from just a budget lineup to a slightly mid-range series as it comes at a starting price of Rs 20,499. But does the device offer any upgrades as compared to the other Galaxy M-series? We find out in our review:
Samsung Galaxy M31s design
While at first glance, the Galaxy M31s smartphone may not look very special, a closer inspection of the handset reveals all the small features that make it one of the best looking M-series smartphones from the company.
Firstly, you get a super solid build in a unibody design form factor with the Galaxy M31s. The handset feels premium and has a glossy gradient finish back panel. Both colour options — Mirage Black and Mirage Blue — are quite soothing and do not scream for attention, which we really liked. We got the former colour option as our review unit, which will certainly appeal to those who like their handsets a bit subtle. The colours on the back transition horizontally from deep Black to light Grey.
The back houses the quad camera setup on the top left corner in a non-protruding camera bump. The cameras are placed in an L-shaped arrangement in an encasement that also houses the LED flash. Other than this, there is only Samsung branding in the center towards the bottom of the handset.
The company has moved the position of the fingerprint sensor to the power button, which takes a couple of days to get used to, especially if you have been using the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor. This power button is placed on the right edge of the handset, right below the volume rockers.
While the SIM card tray is placed on the left, the bottom edge of the smartphone comes with a speaker grille, along with a USB Type-C and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Overall, we were quite satisfied with the design of the Samsung Galaxy M31s smartphone.
Samsung Galaxy M31s display
The Samsung Galaxy M31s offers an upgraded design as it houses an Infinity-O display, a.k.a punch-hole design for the selfie camera. The bezels of the screen are super thin on the sides, which is quite expected, however they are surprisingly thin at the bottom as well. Samsung claims that the screen to body ratio is over 91% and the aspect ratio is 20:9, which in lay man’s terms means more viewing experience. In terms of the display specification, Samsung has offered a full-HD+ resolution (1080 x 2400 pixels) Super AMOLED display of 6.5-inch in size.
During our time with the device, we found that the display of the Galaxy M31s is certainly one of the best you could ask for in this price bracket. You get rich and vibrant colours and even at tricky angles you do not see major loss of quality. Even under direct sunlight, you won’t find yourself struggling with the legibility on the screen.
The Galaxy M31s offers support for Dark Mode, a feature that is quite popular among the masses and you also get the option to choose the screen modes from Vivid and Natural. It also lets you turn on the Blue light filter and night mode. You can also select the font size and style, level of zoom for the text appearing on the screen as part of display customisations.
Samsung Galaxy M31s camera
One of the main talking points of the Samsung Galaxy M31s is its cameras. The handset offers four cameras on the back. The primary camera is a 64-megapixel sensor and an f/1.8 aperture. This camera — by default — captures images in 16-megapixel resolution and if you do want to click an image in the 64MP resolution you have to manually select the 64-megapixel mode from the aspect ratio option.
(Standard camera shot)
Next, there is a 12-megapixel ultra wide-angle camera with 123-degree field of view and an f/2.2 aperture. You will also get a 5-megapixel macro and depth sensor each offering f/2.4 aperture.
(Wide-angle camera shot)
The camera of the Galaxy M31s boasts of a ‘Single Take’ feature. This is basically one click option to capture a small video that the handset automatically turns into 6 multiple shots. These shots are ’best moments’ that basically is the ideal image as per Samsung’s AI from the clip, then you get a version with filters with this shot and also a cropped version so that the object is in the center. Other than that, you also get the original video, a hyper lapse one and a boomerang version of the same. We certainly enjoyed using this particular feature as you get all the possible options and a choice to select what you like the best.
During our time with the device, we found that the primary camera of the handset is able to capture images that are rich in colour and sharp. The ultra-wide angle camera is also good enough for you to click shots that do not lose on the essential details of the image. You get a simple toggle on the home screen to switch between the primary sensor and the ultra wide angle sensor. Macro shots are also quite detailed thanks to the dedicated sensor and the Live Focus mode for portraits is also going to cover your needs to get accurate bokeh effect. Images in low-light were also quite good as the distortion was minimal.
On the front, you get a 32-megapixel sensor that by default clicks images in 8-megapixel resolution by default and in 12-megapixel for the wide-angle ones. Same as was in the case of the rear cameras, you can select the 32-megapixel resolution from the aspect ratio option. You
will the selfie camera on the Galaxy M31s if you like your images slightly processed and fixed by AI.
Samsung Galaxy M31s performance
As far as the hardware specs are concerned, Samsung Galaxy M31s is powered by the company’s own Exynos 9611 processor. This processor is based on a 10nm FinFET technology and offers two quad-core clusters of Cortex-A73 clocked at 2.3GHz and Cortex-A53 clocked at 1.7GHz. Buyers get two options when it comes to storage. The base variant offers 6GB RAM and the second variant packs 8GB RAM. Both variants offer 128GB internal storage. There is even support for a microSD card in the Samsung Galaxy M31s up to 512GB so there is no issue of storage.
The company chose to go for a slightly older processor, however, in our time with the smartphone, the Galaxy M31s handled all tasks without any issues, despite prolonged screen hours. We did not encounter any issues when we put the handset through multiple app usage, long hours of online streaming, game play, etc. There were also no issues related to network reception. In terms of audio also, both the speaker output as well as the 3.5mm jack output were loud enough. There were no complaints in the security department too as both the facial unlock and fingerprint sensor are fast and quite responsive.
In terms of software, the Samsung Galaxy M31s runs One UI 2.1 based on Android 10 operating system.
Being a custom UI, the Galaxy M31s comes with additional features such as theme support, Dual Messenger that lets you run two versions of supported apps, Device care that optimises the handset in terms of battery, storage, memory and more. The handset comes preinstalled with third party apps that can be uninstalled.
Samsung Galaxy M31s
Despite a strong footing in the display and performance departments, the battery of the Galaxy M31s is easily the best feature of the handset. It comes backed by a 6000mAh battery, which needless to say is huge for a smartphone in this budget.
Despite heavy usage, we were able to get almost 2 days of juice from the device. The handset offers support for 25W fast charging and even comes bundled with a 25W charger that obviously comes in handy to charge the enormous battery on the Galaxy M31s.
One additional feature on the handset is reverse charging making the smartphone act as a power bank in need.
Samsung Galaxy M31s verdict
The Samsung Galaxy M31s is certainly a new high for the series. The company has offered upgrades in the right categories such as improved ultra-wide angle camera and a faster charging support. At a starting price of Rs 20,499, the device covers all bases well enough and has its strengths in battery and display. Even with tough competition in the category, the Samsung Galaxy M31s has a lot going for it to stand out from the crowd.