Samsung Galaxy M30 Review: Its impressive display and battery could keep Redmi away

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New Delhi | Updated: April 1, 2019 12:36:07 PM

The Samsung Galaxy M30 display is one of the gorgeous ones out there

Samsung Galaxy M30 has an Infinity-U Display

When Samsung introduced the Galaxy M series earlier this year, it had a pretty clear idea of selling smartphones that cram as many features as they could for their price and suit the needs of the young users. Of course, it is the underlying rivalry with Xiaomi that Samsung is hoping to beat with the help of Galaxy M series to reclaim the title of #1 smartphone company in the budget category. Samsung launched the Galaxy M10 and Galaxy M20 back in January that turned out to become two of the company’s hot-selling smartphones. With Galaxy M30, Samsung is broadening what it thinks can be ballistic enough to keep Xiaomi and other rivals at bay.

Samsung Galaxy M30 is a mid-range smartphone that sits atop Galaxy M20 (Review) and Galaxy M10 in the family. It’s also Samsung’s answer to the likes of Redmi Note 7 and Realme U1 that are quite popular in the Rs 15,000 – Rs 20,000 segment. Priced at Rs 14,990 and Rs 17,990 for the 4GB/ 64GB and 6GB/ 128GB variants, respectively, Galaxy M30 adds fierce competition for the stalwarts but at the same time helps Samsung come out of its old image among the young buyers. Can Galaxy M30 bring what it takes to become the king of mid-range category? We find out.

Samsung Galaxy M30 Design, Display, and Hardware

For a mid-range smartphone, it has become quintessentially necessary to deliver well on looks because it’s one of the demands current buyers put across while choosing the best one of the lots. Samsung has very well taken care of the demands of the ‘millenials’ by giving Galaxy M30 a gradient touch at the back. There are two colours – Gradation Black and Gradation Blue – both having the gradient with grey as the common colour. Although the body still sports plastic, it looks refreshing with the finish.

Why plastic, you ask? Well, Samsung is taking baby steps with its reinvented strategy for the mid-range segment and while a glass back would have been great, it would also have been an act of just submitting to what Samsung’s rivals are doing. Companies such as Xiaomi, Nokia (HMD Global), and Honor are already offering smartphones with glass backs in this range. Samsung did differently here. The plastic used on Galaxy M30 is sturdy and the handset feels solid in hands. It has rounded corners and fits well in hands without prodding palms, however, the tall footprint becomes unmanageable when we had to pull down the notification shade.

The phones in the Galaxy M series have one thing in common – their beautiful display. The Samsung Galaxy M30 is no exception as it comes with a Super AMOLED full-HD+ display that bears a water drop-style notch, aka Infinity-U Display. Borrowed from the flagship siblings, the 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display on Galaxy M30 is dead gorgeous and a bonus – we are saying this because no other company is using an OLED display on a phone for this price category. The colours on the Galaxy M30 display are vibrant and look crisp. This is partly because Samsung has turned the Adaptive Display mode on by default for display that you can change to three other modes – AMOLED Cinema, AMOLED Photo, and Basic. We liked the viewing angles on the Galaxy M30. The display is well responsive under direct sunlight and offers brightness good enough to read the text.

Samsung did never really favour the emergence of cutouts on display but even it had to eventually succumb to the user demands. After the first two models in the Galaxy M series, the Galaxy M30 has a dewdrop/water drop/teardrop notch on the top, which Samsung likes to call the Infinity-U Display. It is the home for the front camera. We did not feel the notch to be an oddity as we have become used to seeing them. But if it is something that bothers you, Samsung lets you hide the notch on Galaxy M30 in full-screen app settings, although the implementation of this functionality seems half-baked – the upper edges after hiding the notch are neither rounded nor sharp.

The Samsung Galaxy M30 has a mix of good hardware under the hood. There is an Exynos 7904 processor with eight cores powering the Galaxy M30. It is the same processor as the one on Galaxy M20. Six Cortex A73 cores are clocked at 1.6GHz while the rest run at 1.8GHz. There is a Mali-G71 MP2 GPU available for gaming and graphics-intensive apps.

There is 4GB or 6GB of LPDDR4x RAM, as well as two storage options. The storage can be expanded up to 512GB via microSD card in case you are into recording videos frequently. It supports dual VoLTE SIM cards and we found the calls loud and clear in our testing.

There is a fingerprint sensor on the back of the smartphone, which we found working fine after getting the hang of its odd position. Although, the process of registering the fingerprint for the first time is a little tiresome.

There is a 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom of the phone, besides the USB Type-C port, primary microphone, and the speaker grille. The left edge of the device has the power button and volume rocker that are pretty tactile and do not feel loose.

The top surface has a secondary microphone for noise cancellation while the right side houses the SIM tray with a dedicated slot for microSD card. The earpiece speaker has been moved to stay atop the camera, at the periphery of the screen slab.

Samsung Galaxy M30 Camera

When Samsung launched the ‘world’s first’ triple-camera phone, Galaxy A7 (2018), we were not quite sure of how three cameras were going to elevate smartphone photography. In our Galaxy A7 review, we noted most pros but there were cons too. There is a 13-megapixel primary sensor with an aperture of f/1.9, a 5-megapixel f/2.2 depth sensor, and a 5-megapixel ultra-wide sensor with a 123-degree field of view. The first two are basically the ones that we found ourselves using most of the time – the third one, not so much.

Let’s start with the ultra-wide angle sensor first that are becoming ubiquitous on smartphones even if they are barely needed. The idea to capture more elements in a single frame is about right when the camera is implemented well. Samsung has done its part in making sure the sensor captures a photo with a great field of view but the fisheye effect still ticks us off. We have seen other companies sanitising their sensors for a better wide-angle photo. The Galaxy M30 captures many elements into one frame with the 5-megapixel ultra-wide sensor but detailing is not very good. To rectify the shape distortion, the Gallery app has a tool that we found to be worsening the situation. Instead of correcting the shapes, it inflates their outer edges to bleed through the photo, resulting in an absurd wide-angle photo.

Now back to the ones that we used the most – the 13-megapixel and 5-megapixel depth sensors. The photos shot in broad daylight are crisp, retain a lot of information, and have a wide colour gamut. Photos taken indoors look washed out. When clicking the subject against the source of light, the images tend to overexpose the background but it’s doable. Photos shot in dark are good but could be better if we measure the device up against the rivals. We took some macro shots using the camera and they come out impressive. The portraits shot using the secondary 5-megapixel sensor are decent. The sensor detects distinct edges but sometimes struggles in tricky shooting conditions.

On the front, the Galaxy M30 has a 16-megapixel sensor with an f/2.0 aperture. The selfies are good enough to go on Instagram and other social media platforms. When clicking selfies indoors, the camera softens the skin tone a little bit. The beauty mode is also turned on by default, which anyone would barely mind. The Live Focus is just average for the selfie camera but we will say again, the photos are impressive if you want to share them on social media. There are AR Stickers as well for you to play around.

The rear and front cameras can record 1080p videos, however the aspect ratio changes when you switch to the 19.5:9 mode. Before begin recording videos, the Camera app lets you see a preview of what the video is going to look like, which we liked.

Here are the camera samples:

Samsung Galaxy M30 Performance

Samsung has gone for the Exynos 7904 processor that we last saw on the prequel Galaxy M20. We did not have any major complaints from the processor the last time and this time is just the same. The Galaxy M30 handles apps and games quite well in regular use. We did not find the device showing stutters while we multitasked. However, the memory-intensive apps and games do take their time to open, sometimes even 10 seconds.

Gaming on the Galaxy M30 is fairly decent. PUBG Mobile chooses to run on medium settings but we changed to even lower settings for a lag-free experience. Asphalt 9: Legends can be played at toned-down graphics. 30 minutes into gaming and the upper side of the device begins to warm up; 45 minutes later the heat begins to cause uneasiness.

 

The fingerprint sensor situated at the back is quick to recognise fingerprints but the positioning was a problem before we got used to it. There is facial scanning available on the Galaxy M30 but it works at its best in good lighting. We had to unlock the phone using the fingerprint sensor in dimly-lit environments, even though the display brightness shoots up to ease facial scanning. The speakers are just average – you can properly hear voices in movies in the silent but may need earphones when it’s noisy around. There is Dolby Atmos sound for the output to earphones only.

The Galaxy M30 has Samsung Experience 9.5, which we have seen on Galaxy M20 and Galaxy M10 devices, and still runs Android 8.1 Oreo. It’s intuitive, easy to use, and has the ‘One UI’ appeal to it, even though Samsung’s strategy to discriminate between budget phones and flagship phones in terms of software sounds a little off. There are gestures to make the Galaxy M30 operable in line with other phones. There are preloaded Samsung apps, Google apps, and Microsoft apps, much like what you get on any Samsung smartphone. You can get rid of a few of them though.

Samsung Galaxy M30 Battery

The battery is one of the strong pursuits of the Galaxy M30. There is a 5000mAh battery packed underside the device and it is more than enough. The Samsung Galaxy M20 too packed a 5000mAh battery and we found it really impressive. We found the device going past 24 hours on a single full charge. We played music for over 1 hour, watched an episode on Netflix, clicked some photos outdoors for about 35 – 40 minutes, played games for 40 minutes, used social media apps and WhatsApp for good 4 hours.

Samsung has bundled a 15W charger with the Galaxy M30 that takes about two hours to completely charge the phone.

Verdict

Samsung seems bullish about turning around its business in the budget smartphone market. We say this because the Galaxy M series is delivering what it takes to take over the reins from Xiaomi. The Galaxy M30 has one of the most beautiful displays we have seen in this price category. We loved how we sometimes did not feel we are looking at a sub-Rs 15,000 phone, thanks to the sAMOLED Infinity-U Display. There is also the 5000mAh battery that is crucial for many in this price range.

But it is not there yet – there are a few offputting compromises you will have to make if you choose Samsung over Xiaomi. For example, the cameras on Galaxy M30 are good but we have seen better on phone by rival companies. At a starting price of Rs 14,990, Samsung Galaxy M30 seems like a good option but you may want to browse for a better deal.

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