Samsung introduced Galaxy M31 a while ago, presenting a huge battery and four cameras with the new phone, and here’s our review about it.
Last year Samsung launched a new family of smartphones designed to compete with the Chinese rivals that rose in countries such as India. Xiaomi, realme and other companies began to threaten the reign of Samsung in the mid-range and entry-level.
The Samsung Galaxy M20 was the first of the phones that were announced and this year and we have seen several more, including the Samsung Galaxy M31. It is a slightly improved version of last year’s Samsung Galaxy M30s.
Samsung Galaxy M31 features
Processor: Samsung Exynos 9611, 4 x 2.3 GHz @ Cortex-A73, 4 x 1.7 GHz @ Cortex-A53
Screen: 6.4-inch Full HD+ AMOLED
RAM and ROM: 6GB, 64GB with MicroSD up to 512 GB
Cameras: Rear – 64MP f / 1.8, 5 MP macro, 8MP ultra wide, 5MP depth, Front – 32MP
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0, Dual SIM, 4G, A-GPS | GLONASS, USB-C, NFC
Sensors: Rear fingerprint reader
Battery: 6,000mAh Li-Po with 15W fast charge support
OS: Android 10 with One UI 2.0
Weight: 191g (6.74oz)
Nobody associated the Samsung Galaxy M family with having a groundbreaking design or the best materials. The very idea of its presence was based on offering decent features at a very reasonable price, and something had to be sacrificed.
We did not expect a big jump compared to the Galaxy M20 from last year. There has been almost no change beyond a slight treatment on the rear plastic to give the design some life.
What most caught our attention is undoubtedly the bulkiness of this phone even with a plastic build. It is the cost that we have to pay to have a huge 6,000mAh battery, one of the largest we saw in a phone if we do not take Chinese hybrids that are half smartphone half portable battery into account. Despite all that, the front frames are not especially large and are even on par with models that cost almost double that.
Samsung phones mostly use their own processors. This time we see Samsung Exynos 9611. The performance is adequate to perform all kinds of tasks, in general, but it suffers when we demand a lot.
The same happens with the internal memory of 64 GB, with the popular apps’ current storage usage, it can be a dire situation in a year, but you can add a MicroSD and store everything other than system data there. In theory there is the possibility of buying the 128 GB variant, but the price will be higher as well.
6 GB RAM is the average for this price range, would be adequate for all you wanna do.
As for connectivity, we have dual-band Wi-Fi, a reliable bluetooth, NFC and a headphone jack. A second speaker is missing, but it is not something that can be demanded in this price range.
In the last couple of months, we’ve seen phones with spectacular screens, curved glass, high refresh rates, high resolution or HDR support. This phone does not have any of that and still has a very decent screen.
Samsung has opted for a 6.4-inch AMOLED panel with FHD+ resolution, similar to the high-end phones from one or two years ago. Yes, it is true that it does not have HDR10 compatibility, but we are in a price range in which no phone has it.
The viewing quality is quite good and even when we tilt it to look for the greenish tones, we find it quite difficult to see them, which implies that the panel is not of a low category. The color accuracy is pretty good as well.
As for the customization options, we can modify the display mode, the color temperature and the white balance.
Cameras – Photography
The cameras are usually the worst part of the phones from mid or entry ranges. Samsung Galaxy M31 has four rear cameras, one being a depth sensor. The main sensor has 48MP and gives us a shooting speed and a quality in decent lighting conditions, that has reminded us of the Galaxy S20. Of course it’s not the same cameras, but at least we can say that this is one of the best aspects of this phone.
Samsung Galaxy M31 review
The wide-angle sensor uses a somewhat poor resolution of 8MP, although the daytime results are acceptable, as long as we don’t enlarge the image. The image quality with respect to contrast, shadows and dynamic range are much better than we expected, and with the price of this phone, everything is justified.
Finally we have a macro sensor of 5 MP but the quality of the images will depend a lot on the light. The negative side is you can’t focus by touching the screen.
At low light conditions such as night shots, the quality has fallen dramatically, not so much in the main sensor, which is still usable. But the wide angle lens shows that we are not dealing with a phone designed for photography.
The front camera has a 32 MP sensor and although the resolution is sufficient, it seems to us, that the details could have been better. Although there is an option to take group selfies, it is a digital cutout since the phone only has one front camera.
Samsung Galaxy M31 review
Cameras – Video
We liked shooting videos with the Galaxy M31 a lot, the phone was able to stabilize with the wide angle, even better than the main camera. The quality is good with decent lighting as usual, and it is worse in bad lighting, as it happens with the photographs.
The front camera’s videos are not stabilized, but color and dynamic range is well above other more expensive models.
The 6,000mAh battery of this mobile is without a doubt the star feature, as it was in its predecessor. This means that we can use it for two days in a normal intensity. The quick charge is appreciated, it could have been somehow better but still OK for this price range. This model offers better mobility than almost any Samsung, or anyone with similar specs. But if we confront it with the models from other brands, there is not as much difference, and the 6,000 mAh is not noticeable as much as it should.
Samsung Galaxy M31 review
Samsung continues betting on OneUI and polishing the UI day by day. This interface is a favorite for many users and the truth is that in operation and design we have no complaints.
There are interesting Samsung apps for those who play, such as Game Launcher and Game Booster.
Gestures, night mode, the ability to turn on when you lift it and activate facial recognition are all good features.
On the other hand, it would be really great to use the Do not disturb mode without having a permanent notification there.
The animations also better be rethought when returning from an app horizontally to the desktop, because it is displayed in this position for one second before going vertical again. It seems that fluidity is not good in some cases.
Galaxy M31 were created to rival with the phones from the Chinese brands. This Galaxy M31 can do it, but it is not a clearly superior bet to all its rivals, at least for the starting price.
There are undoubtedly alternatives with better features and design, and Samsung should have launched this model with a slightly more adjusted cost, although it can boast good details such as battery or screen.