The Galaxy M20 represents the first credible option of Samsung to take competing phones from Xiaomi and Honor. Between the life of a stellar battery and a great-looking display, the Galaxy M20 should be high in your list of devices to be considered.
- Stunning battery life
- Display looks great
- Competitive performance
- Camera needs improvement
- Back of the phone looks unimpressive
Samsung has done it for a while, but the new Galaxy M20 is the answer of the company on the Redmi series from Xiaomi and the Honor smartphones from Huawei. Presented as “For Millenials”, mid-level competition, the phone is part of the new M series of Samsung smartphones that are designed to cater to a younger audience. But do you think it might be too late for Samsung to recover the middle segment? Let’s find out in our Samsung Galaxy M20 Review.
Samsung Galaxy M20 Review – Design
Let’s start with the negatives. The Samsung Galaxy M20 does not stray so far from the established design language of the company. Especially the back is border-boring and definitely does not look like Honor’s gradient finish. The matt blue plastic with a glossy layer on top is reminiscent of the finish we have seen on several other Samsung phones and comes as no-one off the air. Add to this the fact that the back is a fingerprint and a wipe magnet, so you probably want to get a case for yourself rather than later.
However, it is not that bad yet and I think the positioning of the fingerprint scanner is very good because it falls exactly where my index finger touches the phone. The fingerprint reader is also slightly raised to make it easier to find. Turn the phone over and you will see where most of the work has been done. The Galaxy M20 uses a brand new ‘Infinity-V’ display that, as you already guessed, has a V-shaped notch. The corresponding bezels are also fairly minimal, although we would have liked a smaller chin at the bottom.
On the right is the volume button and the on/off button while the SIM card tray is placed on the left side. Despite the large dimensions of the phone, I could easily reach the buttons. Samsung has nailed the feedback on the buttons and they have exactly the right amount of money. Unlike the Galaxy M10, the M20 uses a USB-C port along the bottom for charging and data transfer. While competing devices like the Redmi Note 6 and Honor 10 Lite continue to use the older Micro USB standard, it’s great to see that Samsung pushes the newer connector.
You will also find a headphone jack. Another departure from the Galaxy M10 is the speaker grille that is now placed along the edge of the phone. The phone sounds reasonably loud and clear and the sound is not muted when placed on a table. However, you can still cover the speaker while holding the device in landscape mode.
Samsung Galaxy M20 Review – Display
The Galaxy M20 uses a large 6.3-inch display with a height aspect ratio of 19.5:9. The longer ratio goes a long way to keep the phone comfortable. The screen resolution here is 1080 x 2340 pixels and the screen looks absolutely sharp. Although the notch in the water drop has increased the screen-to-body ratio considerably, I feel that Samsung could have done something more to make the chin smaller, because it is an immersive experience.
Although it is a TFT panel, the display is very lively. It is very light on the side of over-saturation, but the contrast-rich colors look great for multimedia consumption. Speaking of multimedia, the phone has support for Widevine L1, so you can stream high-resolution content from Prime Video, Netflix and other sources. The panel exhibits a very slight color shift at extreme angles, but this is not something that most users have to worry about. Black levels on the screen are also very impressive.
Going beyond the overall brightness of the screen, the Infinity V panel is even sufficiently bright outside. I have tried the phone under a bright winter sun and despite the highly reflective panel, the contents remain easily visible. Samsung has used Asahi Dragontrail glass on the phone that offers some appearance of protection against falls. Although the notch on the phone cannot be removed with the help of a software setting (for now), it is small enough to be unobtrusive.
Samsung Galaxy M20 Review – Hardware
The Samsung Galaxy M20 is powered by the Exynos 7904 chipset. Built on a 14-nanometer process, the chipset uses a combination of two Cortex A73 cores clocked at 1.8 GHz, combined with six Cortex A53 cores clocked at 1.6 GHz. Those two Cortex A73 cores make the difference in daily use. The phone also has a maximum of 4 GB of RAM, which should certainly help with multitasking. We have the 64GB version of the phone with us and about 51 GB is available for users. The storage can be further expanded. In fact, the phone offers dual nano-SIM card slots, as well as a special microSD card slot, so you do not have to lose on storage expansion options when using both SIM slots. The phone also supports Dual VoLTE.
Samsung Galaxy M20 Review – Software
With Samsung Experience 9.5 on Android 8.1.0, the complete software package is optimized for the hardware. The whole experience is as smooth as it gets and unlike a lost frame failure or two, it has never really slowed down or slowed down. There is a whole range of customization settings available to provide users with power and while the standard layout for long-term Samsung users must be known, it’s a breeze to personalize the entire interface. I was not a fan of the final stories in the magazine style that proved to be standard. The idea here is to display relevant news articles and content on the lock screen every time you turn it on. Fortunately, it is easy to switch off.
Pre-installed apps on the Galaxy M20 are quite limited and outside of a few utilities, a news app from Daily hunt, Office Mobile, OneDrive and LinkedIn were the only ones that stood out. Most of these can not be removed. Although the phone has a fingerprint reader on the back, it also supports face recognition-based unlocking. This works pretty well in good light but is no match for the fingerprint reader that we found remarkably fast. Smaller things like the animation around the notch when the phone tries to recognize your face are cool to see and show attention to details.
Samsung Galaxy M20 Review – Performance
Samsung did an excellent job by getting the maximum out of the Exynos 7904 chip on the Galaxy M20. The performance is for the most part pretty good. Apart from a lost frame drop or two, the interface was generally remarkably fluid. For daily use, the performance of the phone is more than sufficient. Our evaluation version with 4 GB RAM on board was well optimized to the point that we never really felt limited by the amount of RAM.
The phone did not show aggressive memory management and we could easily switch between apps. With PUBG running in the background, we were browsing the browser and shuffling between playlists on Spotify with ease. Continue to gaming options. The Exynos 7904 has a Mali G71 MP2 GPU that is quite competent for this category. In contrast to the comparably priced Honor 10 Lite, the phone does quite well with games such as PUBG. The phone is set to the media quality setting by default and contains more or less a decent 30FPS.
There were some frame drops but in general, the game experience is pretty decent. Throughout our Samsung Galaxy M20 Review, the smartphone did very well with network performance. In an area with a very poor mobile network, the phone still did an above-average job to connect to the network and the number of calls was far away. The call quality itself is very good.
Samsung Galaxy M20 Review – Camera
The Galaxy M20 has a combination of a primary 13MP sensor with an f/1.9 aperture on the back, along with a 5MP ultra-wide camera. The secondary camera has a field of view of 120 degrees, ideal for recording larger buildings or a large group of people in one frame. The camera on the Galaxy M20 is a bit of a mixed bag. With sufficient ambient light, the phone can capture beautiful images with a fair amount of details. There is something wrong with the way the phone manages the white balance. Images can sometimes seem a bit overexposed with unnatural colors.
The wide-angle camera is a useful addition, but again, a sensor with a higher resolution would have been ideal. The limited dynamic range of the primary camera extends to and is perhaps a little more visible in the ultra-large camera. Meanwhile, the performance in low light is rather disappointing. Images generally have a lot of noise and the aggressive noise reduction fills in details. Zooming in on the image reveals digital noise in the form of splits.
Samsung Galaxy M20 Review – Battery Life
Putting hardware aside, Samsung has done a phenomenal job in optimizing the Galaxy M20 for better battery life. The 5,000 mAh cell goes with me forever and on average the phone lasted two days of use for me. Now, your usage can vary, but with multiple social media apps, Reddit, e-mails and more, I could still get a constant display of eight hours. With a video loop test, the phone managed 20 hours before it was shut down. You would expect that a phone with a 5000mAh battery needs an eternity to recharge. However, the phone supports fast charging via the USB-C port and takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes to be recharged all over with a fast charger already in the box.
Samsung Galaxy M20 Review – Conclusion
I think that Samsung has finally succeeded in building a phone that marks almost all the ticks that a young smartphone buyer is looking for. Whether it’s the absolutely fantastic battery life, vivid display or satisfying performance, the Galaxy M20 can easily hold its own against competitive handsets from Xiaomi, Honor, and others. The most obvious competition for the Galaxy M20 is, of course, the Redmi Note 6 Pro and upcoming Redmi Note 7. While the Xiaomi’s phone has a bit more power under the bonnet, the bigger display and the bigger battery on the M20 should make a winner for most. Similarly, the phone is an obvious choice compared to the Honor 10 Lite, which we found to yield reasonable average performance.
Priced for INR 10,990 (around 150 USD) for the basic version with 3GB RAM and INR 12,990 (around 180 USD) for the 4GB RAM and 64GB storage version, the Galaxy M20 is easy to set up, a fantastic choice for any smartphone buyer in the sub INR 15,000 extension segment. The smartphone will be available from 5th February exclusively on Amazon and Samsung’s official website.
That’s it for our Samsung Galaxy M20 review! What do you think of Samsung’s M-series phones? Let us know in the comments section!