Samsung Galaxy M31 First Impressions: Galaxy M30s plus 1
Adding camera muscle to a bestseller
Samsung has been playing catch up with other brands when it comes to selling smartphones online exclusively. And one of the series that has put the brand up on the online map is the Galaxy M series. It has introduced some devices that have gone ahead and become the most popular devices from the company in different quarters and to keep that streak alive, the series is now seeing a new entrant, the Galaxy M31. It brings a few improvements in terms of numbers, specs and price even while retaining the broad genetics of its predecessor.
M30s in black- I’m mid-segment and I like it
Merely a quick glance at the Galaxy M31 will give away which clan it belongs to. The smartphone has a very strong M30s essence to it. The front is dominated by the tall, drop notched display. It has comparatively thin (but definitely visible) bezels on three sides while the chin is slightly thicker. The back of the smartphone is the same, very-evidently-plastic, shiny material, only there is no color gradient like its predecessor. To us, the plain black back was actually more refreshing than disappointing. The proud plastic back stretches out to the side and meets the front of the phone, also acting as the frame of the phone.
The back holds the rectangular unit on the top left that is home to four cameras and an LED flash. Right next to it sits a squoval physical fingerprint scanner to unlock the smartphone and the brand’s logo is present on the lower half. The back draws fingerprints and smudges like a flame draws a moth and just like the latter relationship, this one does not end well either. We received the Space Black unit and the smudges were very pronounced on this, so much so that while taking pictures of the phone we found ourselves wiping that back more often than doing the actual photography. The smooth, plastic back makes the phone a little slippery which means the grip gets a little compromised. Not getting a case in the box did not do much good either.
The right side holds the dual SIM card and dedicated microSD card slot while the left side carries the volume rocker and the power/lock button. The top of the phone is bare while the base houses the 3.5 mm audio jack, the USB Type C port, and the speaker grille.
The Galaxy M31 measures 159.2 x 75.1 x 8.9 mm which is very close to its predecessor and weighs 191 grams. The phone feels incredibly light to hold considering it houses a massive battery, something for which one can thank the plastic back.
The smartphone looks average at best. It is a mid-segment phone and is not at all ashamed of it. It is not a mid-segment phone, pretending to be (even) an upper mid-segment phone. It is not going to turn heads, does not feel too sturdy or grippy, but is just about decent for the price.
A little different, a lot similar
If the design of Galaxy M31 was more than inspired by its predecessor Galaxy M30, that changes a little in the specs and features department. The two phones do have a lot of similarities but the ‘+1’ in the nomenclature does add a bit to the feature muscle of the phone. Just like the Galaxy M30s, the M31 also comes with a 6.4 inch, tall super AMOLED display with a screen resolution of 1080×2280 pixels. Both screens have a waterdrop notch on top to house the front camera and pretty much the same aspect ratio.
The M31 is also powered by the same processor as the M30s, the Samsung Exynos 9611. That said, matters have changed in the RAM department where the Galaxy M31 comes with only a 6 GB RAM variant (as opposed to 4 GB and 6 GB RAM variants of the Galaxy M30s) with different onboard storage options, i.e, 64 GB, 128 GB to choose from, which can be expanded up to 512 using a microSD card. The two phones also have the same battery capacity of 6,000 mAh with support for 15W fast charging. The brand bundles a 15W fast charger in the box.
The major difference between the M30s and the M31 comes forth in the camera department. The M30s had a triple camera primary unit where the main sensor was 48 megapixels. The M31, on the other hand, comes with a quad-camera primary set up with a 64-megapixel main sensor, with an f/1.8 aperture. The other three cameras on the set up are an 8-megapixel ultrawide sensor, a 5-megapixel macro sensor and another 5-megapixel depth sensor, all three with f/2.2 aperture. Matters have improved in the front camera department as well. The M30s had a 16-megapixel front-facing camera while the M31 comes with a 32-megapixel camera on the front with f/2.0 aperture.
The Galaxy M31 also has an edge in the software department as it comes with Android 10 out of the box and is topped with Samsung’s One UI. The phone also brings USB OTG to the table which was missing from the M30s.
A few bucks more
All these differences do add a bit to the price tag of the Galaxy M31. It comes with a starting price of Rs. 15,999 as opposed to the Galaxy M30s which came with a starting price of Rs. 13,999. Does the extra RAM and improved cameras on the Galaxy M31 give it the edge worth the extra bucks? Especially when you consider all the competition from the likes of Realme and Redmi (and now even Poco) in that segment. You will have to wait to find that out in our detailed review. But the Galaxy M31 does reek of all things that make a Samsung Galaxy M series phone which definitely puts our hopes on high.