Around February 2019, Samsung made a breakthrough that could be considered quite surprising, by releasing a new line of Galaxy M-series. Samsung Galaxy M20 is presented officially in Indonesia, has a large screen, a large battery, the specifications are quite capable but in an affordable price. Before that, Samsung smartphones were still quite famous with more “mediocre” specifications (except the flagship series, yes), impressed by relying on brand names and after sales service. One year later, no less than five Samsung Galaxy M series have been released, each of which brings essential enhancements. First released, the Samsung Galaxy M20 features a PLS LCD screen which, although good, is unlike other Samsung smartphones that generally use AMOLED panels. In addition, the capacity of RAM and ROM is still considered less relieved. Then the release of Samsung Galaxy M31 which already uses a Super AMOLED screen, 4GB of RAM, plus an additional camera that makes taking photos more flexible. But the chipset was felt lacking, considering there was no improvement from its predecessor.
Samsung Galaxy M31 Review
We were able to test the use of both, and with the Samsung Galaxy M31, we are curious about what improvements Samsung will bring this time. The number of cameras is added, the battery is getting bigger, plus the processor has also been upgraded from the Galaxy M30. Is the Galaxy M31 suitable to be the smartphone of choice in the price range of $220? Here are my usage experiences for several days.
Samsung Galaxy M31 Design Review
Viewed from the outside, not much has changed from the Samsung Galaxy M31, compared to the Galaxy M20 though. The design looks quite generic in my opinion, especially for the level of Samsung smartphones that are usually bright and attractive as in the A-series line. At least Samsung provides two new color options that are quite interesting; blue (Ocean Blue) and purple-red (Red) that I use this. The color is quite bright but not excessive, also suitable for male use. The color can be slightly changed according to the intensity of the light captured, and the side of the body as it is made turns black.
The material used is also the same, namely polycarbonate plastic which is given a glossy finishing resembling glass. If your palms sweat easily, the body of the Samsung Galaxy M31 can be rather easily seen dirty and slippery. But at least this material selection makes it weigh less than 200 grams, aka 191 grams. Relatively light compared to equivalent smartphones, especially those that have large screen dimensions plus the largest battery capacity in its class. The body is also quite thin at 8.9mm, so it doesn’t feel bulky when held.
Samsung still provides a 3.5mm audio jack port on the underside of the body, plus a fingerprint sensor that is also still in the rear body, aka not using ultrasonic in-display sensors like the Galaxy A30 line and above. Even so, the sensor is reliable and can be combined with face unlock. The Samsung Galaxy M31 also adopts a triple slot card system, allowing you to use two nano SIM cards plus a microSD card at once, without the need for anyone to sacrifice.
Samsung Galaxy M31 Screen Review
Just like the previous generation, the Samsung Galaxy M31 has a 6.4-inch SuperAMOLED screen with full HD + resolution and 19.5: 9 aspect ratio. This aspect ratio makes the smartphone not feel wide, so it’s still comfortable when held in one hand. For additional protection, the front panel is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. What is slightly lacking is the front camera design which has not yet adopted a punch-hole, aka still a bit conventional with the Infinity-U Display design. In addition, the lower bezel also looks rather thick compared to the other side.
Even so, the Samsung Galaxy M31 screen is very comfortable to use when watching your favorite series on Netflix or gaming. The color reproduction is very good, with high sensitivity. Samsung provides a blue light filter feature to protect the eyes from getting tired easily, suitable for use at night before going to sleep or reading a book via a smartphone. The always-on display feature is of course also present, replacing the absence of the notification LED to notify you of new messages.
Samsung Galaxy M31 Camera Review
When reviewing a smartphone that prioritizes battery life, I did not set expectations too high for the results of the camera. Although in terms of specifications on paper, both the front and rear cameras of the Galaxy M31 look quite impressive with high resolution. The front camera of the Galaxy M31 has twice the resolution at 32MP, with an f / 2.0 aperture and a sensor dimension of 1 / 2.8 inches. While on the back side, in addition to the increasing number of cameras, the resolution of the main sensor is also getting bigger, 64MP f / 1.8. The sensor used is the same as one of the official flagship releases in Indonesia, so it is quite impressive for a middle-class Samsung smartphone. In addition to the 8MP f / 2.2 ultra wide-angle camera and 5MP depth sensor, a 5MP f / 2.4 camera is added for close object photos (macro).
Both the front and rear cameras can record video up to 4K 30fps resolution. But keep in mind, the video stabilization feature or EIS is only available at full HD resolution. The HDR feature automatically activates, plus there is an AI Scene Optimizer to improve the photos according to the type of object or scene taken. Other features are no less complete, such as Live Focus, Bixby Vision, professional mode, panorama, hyperlapse and super slow-motion video. The picture for me is good enough for a smartphone in its class. The main sensor provides photos with a tone that is quite colorful but still controlled, aka not excessive. It’s just that the ultra wide-angle camera still looks warmer.
Macro cameras can be used to take photos of small objects or surface details of objects, and the results are quite good considering the resolution is quite high at 5MP. When lighting conditions are lacking, Samsung provides the Night Mode feature on the Galaxy M31. This feature is available for both front and rear cameras, unfortunately not for ultra wide-angle cameras. With a photo capture process of a few seconds, this mode can significantly brighten photos. The results of the photo so bright, but still shows that the photo was taken in night conditions, not over-exposure. Although in detail photos, not the best.
Samsung Galaxy M31 Feature
Samsung Galaxy M31 already runs Android 10, with a One UI 2.0 interface. The button design is large and easy to reach even with one hand. If you’ve used a Samsung smartphone before, then you won’t find it difficult to navigate. Dark mode, pop-up view to Dual Messenger are certainly present, allowing you to use two WhatsApp applications, Facebook and Telegram at the same time.
Samsung provides Game Booster mode with interesting features that can help you take screenshots, reply to notifications and more while playing games. And so you can focus more on work or study when at home, Samsung offers an easy feature, called Focus Mode. When activated, incoming notifications will be limited, minimizing distractions from social media messages. You can read more complete information about the Focus Mode feature via the following link.
Samsung Galaxy M31 Performance
Already using the Exynos 9611 chipset made with 10nm fabrication, browsing applications on the Samsung Galaxy M31 can be done quickly and lag-free. This is also thanks to the use of UFS 2.1 storage capacity with 128GB capacity, plus RAM capacity which is very relieved at 6GB. The Mali-G72 MP3 GPU is also capable of providing good visuals when used to play PUBG: Mobile games, offering ultra-smooth graphics options. And when used to play the Mobile Legends game, by default, the Galaxy M31 activates the 60fps high framerate feature. So that the movements that occur during play look smoother.
Samsung Galaxy M31 Battery Review
The star of the smartphone is the capacity of the battery. Samsung Galaxy M31 is equipped with a battery with a capacity of 6,000 mAh, even bigger than the flagship Galaxy S20 Ultra at 5,000 mAh. During several weeks of use, it’s really hard for me to finish this battery in a day. Want to be used to watch Netflix, occasionally play PUBG Mobile, access social media, be a mobile hotspot when the home internet connection is interrupted, the average usage is constant in two days, before the battery finally reaches a percentage of 10%. Samsung provides support for fast charging 15-watt for Galaxy M31. Not the fastest, and certainly makes charging long enough. The total time needed can be up to 3 hours, but it is very reasonable, considering its capacity which is indeed jumbo.
Conclusion of Samsung Galaxy M31
Large battery, SuperAMOLED screen for watching, good camera, spacious memory and good performance. If all of these factors are considered important for those of you who are looking for cheap smartphone, then the Samsung Galaxy M31 is clearly suitable for choice. Through this series, Samsung tries to provide the main features at the lowest possible price, by cutting other supporting features. The design is not as attractive as the Galaxy A-series, the fingerprint sensor is still conventional, there is no NFC, and the screen bezel is a little thick with the use of notches. If those things are essential, you can choose the newer Samsung Galaxy A50s or Galaxy A51. But if deemed unnecessary, the Samsung Galaxy M31 has the same processing power, with a cheaper selling price.