There was a time when Samsung ruled the smartphone scene in India, especially the budget segment. Then the wave of Chinese brands brought along Xiaomi which tossed Samsung off its very comfortable “number one brand in the country” surfing board and claimed it. Xiaomi, with budget-friendly price tags and relatively high-end specs, won over the market and users and has been holding on tight to the top spot on the charts for more than a year now. And it seems Samsung has finally decided to play the Chinese brand’s game, giving consumers relatively higher-end specs at an affordable price. The Korean brand is not only launching smartphones but even a whole new series to take on Xiaomi. The series, of course, is the Samsung Galaxy M series and after introducing the Galaxy M10 and Galaxy M20 earlier in the year, Samsung has now added another ten to the series by releasing the Galaxy M30.
May be plastic, but looks fantastic
The Galaxy M series clearly comes with a theme. The glossy polycarbonate backs, the drop notch displays, vertical camera units on the top left and the oval fingerprint scanner, all have been the trademarks of the design language of the series. And the M30 speaks the same language. Most of the time anyway. it, if not exactly the same.
The smartphone comes with a glossy polycarbonate back but unlike the other two M series smartphones that have relatively plain backs, this one comes with a gradient finish, with a shade of silver-greyish blue at the top blending into a darker blue shade on the lower part, giving the elder brother a slight design edge over its younger siblings. The device carries a combination of three cameras (yes, you read it right!), in a vertical capsule on the top left side of the back followed by a dotted LED flash. A little on the right from the camera unit, you will find the oval fingerprint scanner and just below it lies the company’s logo.
Many companies have been opting for glass or glass-like backs for their smartphones but most brands go slightly overboard with bright, shiny colors. Samsung, however, has kept it pretty subtle with the Galaxy M30. The glass-like polycarbonate back mixed with a subtle color gradient makes the M30 look good. The smartphone might not turn heads in amazement from some, but it is not going to get you judgemental, cringing looks from others either.
M Gets AMOLED
The back of the M30 may have run to the second base with a single shot but it is the display of the device, especially at its price point, that hits a home run. The Galaxy M30 boasts a 6.4-inch Full HD+ display with a screen resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels but that is not what makes it special. For most smartphones under Rs. 15,000 sport LCD displays but our friend, the Galaxy M30 has taken the game up a notch (a drop shaped one at that) and has brought a Super AMOLED display to the party. The display of the M30 is bright, responsive and the contrast and color reproduction is one of the best we have seen in the price band. Keeping up with the trend, the display comes with a drop notch on top. While bezels on the sides and top are pretty much a thin black line, the same cannot be said about the chin which is relatively thicker.
Thanks to the “big is the new better” size trend, the Galaxy M30 will not seem as big to you as it would have if it was launched a few years ago. You cannot comfortably handle the smartphone with a single hand but it is not a pain to use and is impressively slim. The phone sits well in the hand. The polycarbonate back gets smudges but because it is not that reflective, the smudges do not show as much.
Ticking all them spec boxes
It is not only the design of the Samsung Galaxy M30 that is impressive but the spec as well is pretty competitive too. As we pointed out, the smartphone brings along a 6.4-inch full HD+ Super AMOLED display, which is one of the biggest USPs of the device, considering you mostly get LCD panels under Rs. 15,000. The Galaxy M30 is also powered by the same chipset as its younger brother, the Galaxy M20. It comes with Samsung’s in house Exynos 7904 chipset under the hood coupled with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage (it is also available in a 6 GB/128 GB variant). Storage can be expanded up to 512 GB via microSD card in both variants. The Exynos 7904 chipset is comfortably a mid ranged SoC. The processor is slightly more powerful than the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 but does not match the strength of the Snapdragon 660, as per some experts. Our experience with the M20 was certainly smooth enough, so we certainly have high hopes.
The sub Rs 15,000 price bracket is popular for a lot of features and one of those features is dual cameras. Samsung gives you three! The M30 comes with a combination of three sensors on the back, comprising a 13-megapixel main sensor with f/1.9 aperture and PDAF, accompanied by a 5-megapixel ultrawide-angle lens and a 5-megapixel sensor for depth analysis both of which come with f/2.2 aperture. On the front, the company has decided to go with a 16-megapixel shooter with f/2.0 aperture, which again is not a bad number for the price. The Galaxy M30 also serves you a piece of (Android) Oreo 8.1.0, topped with Samsung’s in house ExperienceOS 9.5. This might taste a little stale to some as new Pie has been around for quite a while now.
Samsung has packed a few surprises in other departments as well. Samsung has paid a bit of attention to the sound on the M30 and has coupled it with Dolby Atmos sound. It also brings a dedicated microSD card slot along with two nano SIM slots. At a price range which is pretty much home to the micro USB port, Samsung has delivered a Type USB C port on the Galaxy M30, making the device the first in the M series to have that feature. And that port charges a large 5000 mAh battery, with support for Quick Charging. Other connectivity options on the device include 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS.
The Note 7 Pro could have a headache
The Samsung Galaxy M30 is priced at Rs. 14,990 for the 4GB/64 GB variant while the 6 GB/128 GB variant costs Rs. 17,990. The design and the spec sheet of the Samsung Galaxy M30 combined with price make it one of the toughest competitors in the segment to beat. Yes, the Redmi Note 7 Pro is more than a pro in the segment, but it still needs to sleep with an eye open, with competition like the Galaxy M30 around. To find out how well does the phone really perform, wait for the detailed review.