For most of this decade, there has probably been only one brand that has consistently stayed among the top of the charts in the smartphone space. One of the keys to Samsung’s success has been a diverse portfolio of products at every key price point. Chinese brands like Honor and Xiaomi have mounted a spirited challenge especially in the sub Rs 20,000 segment where Samsung is being pushed to a corner. It’s why Samsung’s M series phones are a big deal for the Korean chaebol. The brand launched the Galaxy M10 and the M20 that range from 7,990 and 12,990 covering key price points in the highly competitive value for money segment. We put the focus on the top-end M20 device. Does the Galaxy M20 have what it takes to take on the likes of the Redmi Note 6 Pro and the Nokia 6.1 Plus?
In case you’re curious about the M prefix, it refers to Millennial. Samsung is after the Indian millennial consumer with this India-first device and makes a significant design deviation for the very first time. The Galaxy M10 and M20 become the first Samsung devices to sport a notch of sorts. Samsung calls it an Infinity V display with a teardrop-type notch that is easy to ignore. Yes, this is all-screen with a screen: body ratio of over 90%. The 6.3-inch FHD + display (2340 x 1080 pixels / 19.5: 9 Aspect ratio / 409 PPI) is bold with great colours; it’s easily one of the better displays in this category. And if you enjoy videos or Netflix on the go, you’re sorted with the formidable battery – 5000 mAh, that should comfortably last you over a day even with heavy multimedia usage. Samsung has kitted the M20 with a USB Type-C cable which is a good touch for this segment. There’s also a 15W fast charger bundled with the box that can fire up the massive 5000 mAh battery in just two hours.
The M20 is powered by a Exynos 7904 1.8GHz Octa-core Processor. The top-end version that we tested comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. There’s also a dedicated slot for expandable memory (up to 512 GB). We pushed the device with our gaming and multi-tasking tests and the results were average. The device registered a score of 107962 in our AnTuTu benchmark test which was lower than some of the competition.
The display is certainly one of the M20’s biggest strengths but the device is slightly thick. The powerful battery is well worth the extra heft though. The M20 offers a fingerprint sensor and a face unlock feature that both work quite seamlessly. Samsung has certainly improved its custom UI over the last couple of years. The M20 features Samsung’s fairly pleasing Experience 9.5 UI and Android 8.1. An Android 9.0 (Pie) update is not due until the second half of the year which is a tad disappointing.
The M20 features a dual rear camera (13MP/F1.9 aperture + 5MP). Samsung has cleverly integrated a wide-angle lens as part of this dual set up with a 120-degree field of view. This was a feature we saw in pricier devices like the A7 and A9 and is a first for the budget segment. It sets this camera apart from the competition. The rear cam and the 13MP selfie cam with a Live Focus feature produce good results in ambient light conditions but disappoint in lowlight. That keeps with the trend for smartphone cameras within this price band that don’t always shine in low light.
The Samsung Galaxy M20 is a genuine and much-needed effort from Samsung to counter the continuing domination from its aggressive Chinese competitors. It gets quite a few things right, including a crisp display and a solid battery but it’s not perfect. That’s true for most smartphones in this segment that have their share of flaws. Does this have the potential to be a blockbuster? We’ll find out soon enough.
The Samsung Galaxy M20 costs Rs 12,990 (4GB + 64GB) / Rs 10,990 (3GB + 32GB) and comes in Ocean blue and Charcoal black.