Following the successful launch of the Galaxy S10 series, Samsung has also been rolling out waves of mid-range phones to appeal to younger audiences, and to those seeking affordable alternatives. This includes the Galaxy M20, from Samsung’s newly introduced M-series which originally debut in India this year.
The M-series is the company’s answer to providing an affordable phone range without compromising quality. The M20 is a decent example where functionality comes first, and fluff is second.
Build and Design
The Galaxy M20 comes with a 6.3-inch with a V-display notched screen. The generous screen real estate is also complimented by its 1080 x 2340 px display where images appear vivid and sharp, which is excellent for your Youtube-ing needs. The notch doesn't bug me that much (I’m an all-screen enthusiast), but the OS does lack the option to hide it if you ever wanted to do so.
The phone’s rear features a glossy polycarbonate back which does not feel premium, nor does it feel plastic-y cheap. While the copy I received from Samsung was the Charcoal Black variant, the phone also comes in Ocean Blue for those who are looking for something that stands out more. For those who are expecting a bit more pizazz might be left wanting since you won’t find much in the M20’s straightforward and simple design.
The phone is powered by Android Oreo out of the box, but a Pie update is expected to come out sometime this year. With Android Pie prominent in current generation smartphones released in the market today, it's a wonder why Samsung didn’t roll the M20 out with it.
Under the hood, the Galaxy M20 is equipped with the Exynos 7904 Octa-core processor, 3GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage (expandable to 512GB). For standard everyday use, the phone performs smoothly even when multitasking, and with split-screen mode activated. Gaming is where the M20’s performance and limits would be more apparent, but it’s not as bad as you’d expect. In most games, framerate averages at 30fps or so, and has not dipped lower than that in my tests. For PUBG at least, loading times are usually long on the M20, but that’s the only con that I’ve noticed. In short, you can game with the Galaxy M20, but don’t expect it to be on par with an actual gaming phone.
The battery is where the M20 shines the brightest. It has a capacity of 5,000 mAh, and that alone could last you over two days if you’re not a heavy user. It’s normal for a battery of such capacity would take some time to charge, but thankfully the phone does come with fast charging via USB-C, which takes about a little over two hours for a full charge.
The Samsung Galaxy M20 skipped the triple and quad camera bandwagon, and is kitted out with a 13MP main with 5MP ultra-wide dual camera setup instead. On the front, the phone is equipped with a 8mp selfie camera. At the price point that the M20 is going for, it’s understandable as to why Samsung decided to ditch the extra camera modules and megapixels. Not to say it’s a bad thing since the dual camera setup is still packed with multiple modes that includes pro, beauty, live focus, and continuous shooting.
Image quality, for me, is a mixed bag. In daylight, photos taken on the main camera appear sharp with a high dynamic range of details, and bright colours. It didn’t fare that well with the ultra-wide as the hdr details of the former is now muddied by artifacts when given close inspection. Both cameras performed at a par when it comes to low-light. While not horrible, the aggressive noise reduction done to the images are painfully obvious.
Video-wise, the M20 comes with only one mode of video capture, which is 1080p at 30 fps. The only downside is that it lacks any form of stabilisation, so you’re bound to experience a very bumpy video playback when a lot of motion is involved while shooting.
Amusingly, it’s speculated that from Samsung’s marketing of this phone series, the “M” actually stands for “millennial”. So that kind of gave us an idea of to whom this phone is targeted to, which does make sense given that the M20 is a very good option as a teenager’s first smartphone. Its specifications are not as glamorous compared to a flagship phone, but is sufficient enough for day-to-day use and if you don’t mind not having the extra fluff. To top it off, the phone’s massive battery life is a highly desirable feature that is not commonly found in most smartphones at this time. If you’re considering the Samsung Galaxy M20 as a secondary or a backup phone, I highly recommend it.