It might be relatively new, but Samsung’s Galaxy M series is already forging a reputation for itself in the extremely competitive mid-segment of the Indian smartphone market, and laying siege even to the likes of Xiaomi’s Redmi range. The brand has already had a fair deal of success with the M10, M20 and M30 devices in the series – it claims to have already sold 2 million units of them in all – and now it has brought the Galaxy M40 to the party.
In design terms, the M40 largely follows the M series template with a front that is dominated by the display and a glossy carbonate back. The main new design element is the addition of a punch hole notch in the top left corner of the 6.3-inch full HD+ Infinity O display. The display is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 but is not an AMOLED one, which is a little surprising when you consider that the Galaxy M30 had an AMOLED display. It nevertheless seems bright enough at 480 nits and thanks to that punch hole notch, bezels have been almost banished, giving the device a 91 percent display to body ratio.
The back remains solid, slightly glossy carbonate (that picks up smudges) and has the triple camera set up in a vertical, slightly protruding capsule in the top left corner, with a slightly small-ish oval shaped fingerprint scanner in the upper middle part. In what seems like a design touch borrowed from the RealMe Pro book, the middle lens in the three camera arrangement has a shiny, silver border. At 7.9 mm thin and 168 grams, the Galaxy M40 is a reasonably compact and light phone by day to day standards, but do not expect it to dazzle people with its looks.
It might not turn too many heads with its relatively routine appearance but on paper, the M40 is the most powerful device of the M series. It is the first M series phone to come with a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor (the others ran on Samsung’s own Exynos chip) – it is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 chip, which has won rave reviews in the Redmi Note 7 Pro. And it is backed up by 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage, expandable to 512 GB if you are ready to give up one of the two SIM card slots on the device to a microSD card.
There is some heavy duty camera muscle on show too – like the M30, the M40 too has a triple camera set up on the back, but the cameras are markedly superior: a 32-megapixel main sensor with f/1.7 aperture, an 8-megapixel ultrawide camera with 123-degree field of view and a 5-megapixel depth camera. 4K video is supported as is slow motion. The punch hole in the display holds a 16-megapixel front-facing selfie shooter. Connectivity options include 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS, and USB Type C. There’s no 3.5 mm audio jack, which is a surprise, though Samsung has tried to soften the blow by providing USB Type C earphones in the box.
Interestingly, the M40 sports a 3500 mAh battery, which is well below the 5000 mAh one on the M30, although it too comes with support for fast charging (there is a 15 W charger in the box). And while the phone runs on Android 9 (Pie), it comes with Samsung’s OneUI, rather than the Experience UI which we had seen on other Galaxy M devices, which should mean a much less cluttered interface.
All of this at a starting price of Rs 19,990, which puts the Galaxy M40 right in the midst a battle not just with the likes of the Redmi Note 7 Pro and the Realme 3 Pro, but even the Poco F1, which has just received a price cut and offers a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip at a comparable price. Some might even wonder if the AMOLED-laden and larger battery bearing M30 itself might not be a better deal, and others might even be tempted by the Galaxy A30 or Galaxy A50, both of which also bring bigger batteries and AMOLED displays to the mid-segment brawl.
A lot depends on the processor and how much it delivers (Samsung assures us that the phone can easily handle PUBG and Fortnite), as well as the triple camera arrangement, which Samsung claims is superior to the one on the M30. As of now, we can safely say that the M40 has a few mid-segment mountains to climb. To find out just how well it fares against the Redmi and Realme brigade, stay tuned for our detailed review.