[First Cut] Samsung Galaxy M12: Fighting on good old basics
Going up against some very well-specced competition
- The Galaxy M12 comes with a 90 Hz refresh rate display, a large 6000 mAh battery, and Android 11 out of the box.
- It might seem a little on the bulky side but ticks off most boxes for specs at this price point, although some might feel disappointed at the absence of a full HD display.
- Starting at Rs 10,999, it faces very stiff competition not just from the similarly priced Redmi 9 Power and Poco M3, but also the just released Redmi Note 10.
With its M series, Samsung has literally been going toe to toe with the likes of Redmi and Realme in the “value for money” mid-segment stakes over the past year and a half, often matching them in the price to performance ratio and adding its own touches to a very competitive zone. The M12 sees it try to continue that trend. Well, kind of.
Solid and substantial – design and specs
For, unlike the Galaxy M31s and Galaxy M51 that threw some very good specs at the competition, the Galaxy M12 seems to take a slight step back and rely on a back-to-basics effort. The design is a little on the basic side, with the front being all-display with a drop notch. Samsung has tried to add a touch of the unusual on the back with a dual-tone touch – a very finely striped upper portion and a metal-like lower part, with a square camera set up in the top left corner. Samsung calls it a Haze and Matte design, and while it does feel a little different from other devices in this price segment, we do not see it getting the sort of attention its Realme Narzo, Redmi Note, or Poco (especially the M3) counterparts do. We got the black variant and while you also get blue and white, we like the understated black best.
At 9.7 mm, the M12 is a little bulky, and at 221 grams, it is not lightweight either. That said, it is built on very solid lines and is one of the few phones that we think will take the odd fall and bump easily. There is no dust and water resistance though. There is a fingerprint scanner on the side, a placement which we continue to cheer!
That solidity extends to its spec sheet. There is nothing that will make you look up in surprise, but the basics have been addressed very well indeed. The 6.5-inch display is (a little surprisingly) an LCD one and while it does come with a 90 Hz refresh rate, which is a rarity at this price point, it is not a full HD one, which is disappointing when we consider that the likes of the Poco M3 and the Redmi 9 Power have full HD displays in this price range. Powering the phone is an octa-core Exynos 850 chip which we saw in the more expensive Galaxy A21s last year. It is a lower mid-segment chip known particularly for its power efficiency but is supposed to be a notch below the Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 in terms of gaming performance. Not a benchmark buster but definitely a competitive chip. It is backed by two RAM and storage options – 4 GB/ 64 GB and 6 GB / 128 GB, with the option to expand storage thanks to a dedicated microSD card slot.
Big battery, big competition too
Mind you, power management would not really be too much of an issue because the M12 packs in a massive 6000 mAh battery (which might explain its size and bulk). It also comes with a 15W charger that supports fast charging. It is impressive but not necessarily unique – the Poco M3 and Redmi 9 Power come with similar-sized batteries. Ticking off the boxes is a 48-megapixel sensor, what Samsung chooses to call a “True 48 MP” sensor, aided by a 5-megapixel ultrawide and two 2 megapixel sensors for depth and macro. The front-facing camera is an 8-megapixel one. Connectivity-wise, you get 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS. There is no NFC though. And well, in terms of software, you get Samsung’s OneUI 3.1 on top of Android 11, which is a bit of a rarity at this price point.
At a starting price of Rs 10,999 for 4 GB/ 64 GB (Rs 13,499 for 6 GB / 128 GB), although there is an introductory offer of Rs 9,999, the Galaxy M12 goes up against some very stiff competition. The most obvious challengers are the Redmi 9 Power and the Poco M3 which have devices that come with full HD displays and comparable specs at similar prices. Looming on the horizon also is the just-released Redmi Note 10 which starts at a slightly higher price (Rs 11,999) but brings a very good Super AMOLED display for the price. The Galaxy M12 has a tough task ahead of it. To find out how well it fares and indeed if it can prove to be a viable option in a very competitive zone, stay tuned for our review.