The Rs 20,000 – 30,000 smartphone segment is seeing a spurt in action. Consumer buying priorities have changed. OnePlus’ Nord has garnered a lot of attention as the brand aims to capture ground in a price band that is likely to gain traction. It’s why Samsung’s Galaxy M31S is well timed. It makes some key improvements to the M31 that we checked out for Man’s World in March this year. The M31S also offers a price advantage over the Nord but does it have what it takes to rub shoulders with OnePlus’ strong mid-market device. The short answer is yes.

We’ve seen more than 50 shades of blue in the smartphone space over the last couple of years. The new Mirage Blue still stands out with a brilliant blend of metal and blue hues. The M31S looks premium despite its plastic back and this new shade can take some of that credit. The other welcome design change is the placement of the fingerprint sensor that now moves to the dimpled power button on the right spine of the device. I’ve been partial to power buttons that double up as fingerprint sensors; this one’s easy to set up and very responsive. The M31S shares the same 6000 mAh battery as the M31. It adds to the extra heft of the device but the two day battery life (even with quite a bit of camera usage and screen time) makes it a worthy compromise. Samsung adds a 25W fast charger to the box, that powers the device in quick time.

The 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display (1080 x 2400 pixels / 405 PPI) pushes the screen: body ratio beyond 86%. It’s easy to ignore the punch hole for the 32MP selfie cam that shoots sharp selfies. Samsung’s Live Focus Portrait mode opens up a few options too. The display is quite immersive and one of the best at this price point. Colours are vibrant and we also dig the dark mode that plays out quite nicely on the device. The heavy duty battery also makes sure you’re covered for those binge watching sessions.

On paper, the M31S’ camera might look quite similar to its predecessor but it’s actually a significant improvement. Samsung switches to the Sony IMX682 sensor for the primary 64MP lens on this device. The ultra-wide lens also gets a leg up – it’s now a 12MP lens. The 5MP Macro lens and the 5MP depth sensor are similar to the M31. The quad cam is a formidable package at this price and shoots sharper images vis-à-vis the M31. Lowlight images are better; the dedicated night mode makes an impact. Samsung adds the Single Take mode (found on its premium devices) that allows you to hold the camera shutter as the phone snaps a bunch of images and videos. It then adds the best shots to a dedicated album. This is a fun feature and a clever move to bring it to this price segment.

In terms of firepower the M31S should please most users. The Geekbench scores (1174 – in our test) were similar to the M31, the device is powered by the same Exynos 9611 processor. The device didn’t really huff or puff during our gaming and multi-tasking tests. We checked out the 6GB/128GB variant; there’s also an 8GB/128GB variant. Both variants support Micro SD cards (up to 512GB).

The Samsung Galaxy M31S is a solid mid-range offering from Samsung. It looks good, the display is vibrant while the camera and battery won’t let you down. It might be a big clunky for some users though. There’s a host of useful add-ons like reverse charging (via USB-C) that allows you to charge another device (with a cable bundled with the box). And then there’s the Mirage Blue.

The Samsung Galaxy M31S costs  Rs 20,499 for the 6GB/128GB version and Rs 22,499 for the 8GB/128GB variant. It comes in two colours – and is available in Mirage Blue and Mirage Black