Samsung Galaxy M31 – One of the Best Budget Pick

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By Akhil Kapoor - 
Tue, 7 Apr'20
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Introduction

Korean tech giant Samsung, one of the oldest companies and among the top titans in the mobile industry, always manages to capture the limelight through it’s unique and low-priced mobiles. This time Samsung Galaxy M31 gathers all the attention. 

The brand lovers always try looking out for Samsung Galaxy series prices and specifications to know whether it fits their budget or not. The ‘M’ series of Samsung has gained a lot of applause and thanks to the hardware updates and the pricing that it always brings with itself.

Samsung Galaxy M31 is perhaps the most affordable handset compared to it’s predecessor in both price and upgraded features. The Samsung Galaxy M30 and the Galaxy M30s, quickly-paced their way in the market and company strengthened its position in this segment through high selling of these smartphones. And now the successor of Galaxy M30s, called as Galaxy M31 has set its foot in the market and will attract the attention of a lot of Samsung lovers.

The Galaxy M31 continues to impress the customers through AMOLED screens which would give a better impact on colours and animations. The phone has a 6000 mAh battery along with a fast 15W charger and enables to connect to both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi networks. So as to minimize the cost, the company has not provided any IP rating for this phone but still, it can sustain a depth of 1 meter for a duration of 1 minute which is an unexceptional behaviour that the phone possesses. 

The main highlights of the Galaxy M31 include the rear camera setup and a large battery. The phone features a quad-camera setup with the main sensor being a 64-megapixel one.

Read More: Smartphone Reviews

So let’s get into the discussion about the review of the Samsung Galaxy M31 detailing the features that would thrill you as well as give you an idea about whether you should really buy this phone or not. 

Prices in India, Variants, Availability

The Samsung Galaxy M31 is launched in India with a price tag of Rs. 14,999.

The phone is available in two storage variants – 6GB of RAM paired with 64GB of storage, and the other with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.

The Samsung Galaxy M31 comes in two colour variants – Black and Blue.

galaxy m31 variants

Box Contents

Here we have the first impression of the unboxing of Samsung Galaxy M31 which encompasses:

  • Samsung Galaxy M31 smartphone
  • 2-pin 15W (9V-1.67A / 5V-2A) fast charger
  • USB Type-C Cable
  • Sim ejector tool
  • A Start Guide along with Warranty manual.

Specs at a glance

Before we get into the Galaxy M31 and its in-depth review, let’s have a quick look at the key specifications. Here is the list of what the Galaxy M31 is offering in just Rs.14,999: 

  • Display: 6.4-inch sAMOLED, 2340 x 1080 (FHD+), 
  • Chipset: Exynos 9611, Mali G72 GPU
  • RAM & ROM: 6GB/64GB, 6GB/128GB
  • Software: ONE UI 2.0, Android 10
  • Rear cameras: 64.0 MP + 8.0 MP + 5.0 MP + 5.0 MP
  • Selfie camera: 32MP
  • Battery: 6000 mAh Battery
  • Weight: 191g
  • Dimensions: 159.2 x 75.1 x 8.9

With key specs discussed, let’s jump right into the review of the Galaxy M31.

Design and Build

The design of the Samsung Galaxy M31 is pretty simple and with minimal distractions. The display goes right up to the top of the edge having a notch for the front camera. One can easily watch videos in landscape mode for full view by resting your thumb on the small chin that the phone has. The curvy design gives a better grip to hold the Galaxy M31. Due to the curvy edges, the power button becomes easy to reach. The infinity V-display prevents the user from distractions to a greater extent and manages to provide a better experience.

galaxy m31 display

To make the Galaxy M31 look more premium than it actually is, Samsung used a sheet of 2.5D curved glass and carved it on the top of the display that fits right into the plastic unibody of the device.

The body of the phone includes the power button on the right side with the volume rockers just above it. The device’s 2+1 dedicated SIM card slot is housed on the left, while at the bottom the phone has a Type C charging port flanked by a 3.5mm jack and a mono speaker grille on each side.

The back part of the Galaxy M31 has a pill-shaped fingerprint scanner set close to the phone’s quad-camera which is very similar to Galaxy S10 Lite, however, the lenses found in them are not the same.

galaxy m31 back

The phone’s body is made up of glossy plastic which is particularly prone to picking up smudges. The phone’s weightlessness even after having a 6000mAh battery makes it applause-worthy. The plastic body of the phone makes it more durable than glass phones. However, there are some demerits of the plastic body.
The fingerprint scanner present in Galaxy M31 is excellent. You just need to tap the finger to register your print and then the phone unlocks with a lightning-fast pace with just a slight tap on the sensor. Samsung in the previous year had taken feedback on the lackluster sensor of the M30s so that implement a better one on Galaxy M31 and apparently, it brought out something better.

Also Read: Compare Mobile Phones in India

The build quality of the Samsung Galaxy M31 is perhaps admirable. There is IP68 rating for the dust or water resistance, but the phone feels sturdy in hand. The rear panel is a massive fingerprint magnet, especially on the black colour variant. You can clean it but it never gets cleaned completely and the moment you hold it again, you get to see the smudges. The plastic is also soft so it is assumed to pick up hairline scratches easily. The other annoying feature with the plastic used is that the surface of the back becomes uneven. One can see this when light hits your device and gets bent. The plastic is mostly bumpy around the fingerprint sensor and the area between the camera and the fingerprint sensor. This is one of the demerits with the design that is not pleasing to the eyes. The bottom of the phone holds the headphone jack, a USB-C port and a single loudspeaker.

But overall, thanks to the curved edges and efficient weight shifting towards the lower part which prevents the phone from falling while you’re using it.

Display

The Galaxy M31 has a large 6.4-inch, 2340×1080 resolution on an AMOLED panel. Samsung calls this design as Infinity U Display, due to the U-shaped notch present at the top. The display on the Galaxy M31 is perhaps better, if not called perfect. The display has a good brightness level along with better legibility outdoors. If the auto-brightness is turned on, then the display can get even brighter than what the brightness slider will show manually. At night the brightness level tends to ramp up suddenly with smaller adjustments, making it harder to achieve an accurate brightness level.

galaxy m31 front

The viewing angles are although adequate but not sufficient and satisfying than what we see on AMOLED panels on devices that are apparently expensive than this model. If you shift your angle a bit off the axis, the colours tend to lose the warmth as the reds in the image desaturate. The image also gets a very distinct green tint to it, easy to notice in the whites. This is not noticeable when outdoors or in bright light but in the dark, it becomes pretty clear and cannot be avoided. The display on the Galaxy M31 supports Widevine L1 certification for allowing you to access the streaming content in HD.

It’s a great display when it comes to price and most people would be most satisfied with the fact that they are getting an AMOLED panel instead of an LCD.

Performance

The Samsung Galaxy M31 is powered by a Samsung Exynos 9611 processor based on the 10nm process. It’s the same chipset that is present in Galaxy A51. This chipset basically provides some amazing results in day-to-day scenarios and you won’t face any sort of lag or shutter. But yes, in case of multi-tasking or pushing the phone, some signs of lag can be observed. In the gaming section, one can play casual games like Subway Surfers, Johnny Triggers and more without any lag, but if you talk about high-end games like PUBG Mobile or any game of Asphalt series, the phone does a decent job, not perfect for such games though. One will notice that the phone warms up quite a bit in case of extended gaming sessions.

Software

When it comes to the software front, Galaxy M31 runs on Android 10 with company’s custom user interface OneUI 2.0 running on top of it. The UI of Galaxy M31 has been refined well when compared to the previous versions and gets a new feature of Dark Mode, which is perhaps a good thing. Apart from this, gesture-based navigation controls with Focus Mode, Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls are installed internally in the phone’s system. Apart from this, some standard features like double-tap to wake, gesture-based screenshot and much more comes with the device. My Galaxy application that comes within the phone is, however, an annoying app because it keeps on sending notifications throughout the day.

Cameras

The Galaxy M31 also carries a good camera system which is quite impressive and appreciating when it comes to the price. Galaxy M31 has a quad-camera setup, with a primary 64-megapixel lens that is pretty well accommodated to your use. In addition to this, there is an 8MP wide-angle lens, a 5MP depth camera and a 5MP macro lens. The 32MP selfie camera is hidden inside the waterdrop notch on the display.

galaxy m31 camera

When we see the price, we gladly try to manage to click shots that are generally pleasing to the eye and are rich with attractive colours and enough details. In Low light conditions, the camera results in average shots. Although, the Night Mode comes to the rescue and takes significantly better images during the night time.

Read about Best Camera Smartphones

The ultra-wide-angle lens on the device makes the phone quite versatile at clicking different type of pictures with a large variance. In the real world, this ultra-wide lens accompanies an all-new way to look at frames and click images fitting in more space. It gives the ability to include a wider expanse in the frame by simply tapping a button inside the camera application. The videos captured are also pretty good. There is plenty of details that one can extract from the photos and videos along with an excellent dynamic range, and the same goes for video recording. The Galaxy M31 is perhaps the cheapest Samsung phone that can sport 4K video recording at 30 fps, and other than lack of stabilization, videos that are captured in daylight look pretty good and pleasing to eyes.

In brief, according to the price, the variance and quality of the camera that Galaxy M31 brings with itself are satisfactory and up to the mark.

Battery

Samsung Galaxy M31 has an unmatched battery capacity of 6000 mAh. This is the USP of  Galaxy M31. It lasts for almost two days on a single charge even after a lot of gaming and streaming content. The charging is slow relatively with the 15W fast charger in-the-box. 15W charger is considered a fast charger but takes over 120 minutes to completely charge the battery. 

Audio, Connectivity, Biometrics

The audio quality of the Galaxy M31 is quite good with the Dolby Atmos 360 surround sound support, but again there are some demerits that come along. The phone is equipped with only a single bottom-firing loudspeaker that suffices your need when you are in a small room or area but a large room would not allow you to hear properly even with the volume turned high. Every Galaxy phone, however, comes with the same properties of audio and there’s nothing that has changed in this new version. But yes, there’s a plus point that this phone doesn’t allow distortion of noise even at the highest volume.

For security, we get the same rear-mounted physical fingerprint scanner that we have seen on previous M series smartphones. The fingerprint scanner is quick and works fluently to unlock the smartphone. We also get face unlock feature as an alternative through the selfie camera, which does a decent job with face recognition.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • 64MP Quad-Camera setup
  • 6000 mAh battery
  • sAMOLED display

Cons:

  • Same old processor
  • Plastic unibody design

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy M31 is seen to be more or less similar in features when compared to Galaxy M30s, just with slight differences like a macro camera, a higher-resolution primary camera, more RAM on the base variant, and a newer software which is perhaps out of the box. And when it comes to pricing then Galaxy M30S base variant which is priced at Rs 12,999, is a better pick. If you wish to spend a minimum amount of 15000, then Galaxy M31 would offer you excellent value for money. Although Samsung could have brought many more updates in this new version of Galaxy M series, like a better feature-packed software, better quality from the 64MP rear camera in low light, and perhaps an Infinity-O display with smaller bezels and a bit more. But again, since the pricing is less when compared to the features it gives, all these kinds of nitpicks shouldn't probably affect your decision of purchasing the phone.