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Samsung Galaxy M42 5G Review – The New Mid-Range Benchmark

- Updated: 26th May 2021, 21:22 IST
  • 1
    Review Summary
  • 2
    Introduction
  • 3
    Prices in India, Variants, Availability
  • 4
    Box Contents
  • 5
    Specs at a glance
  • 6
    Design and Build
  • 7
    Display
  • 8
    Performance
  • 9
    Software
  • 10
    Cameras
  • 11
    Battery
  • 12
    Audio, Connectivity, Biometrics
  • 13
    Pros & Cons
  • 14
    Verdict
Review Summary

Samsung Galaxy M42 5G is the latest smartphone in the M-series and the first to get 5G support. It does bring a few ups and downs through including Snapdragon 750G, 6GB/8GB RAM, 128GB of UFS 2.1 storage. However, its lacklustre display sticks out like a sore thumb. However, Samsung’s branding, 3 years of Android software, and 4 years of security patches make it an apparent winner in the software aspect. It is the cheapest 5G smartphone but hey, there’s no 5G network in India so I don’t think choosing to buy a 5G phone at this time is a wise choice.

PROS

  • Qualcomm snapdragon 750G
  • 8GB RAM + 128GB internal storage
  • 48MP Quad-camera setup
  • Large 5000 mAh battery
  • Samsung Pay and Knox security

CONS

  • No FHD+ display
  • 60Hz standard refresh rate
  • No Gorilla Glass protection
  • Only 15W fast charging
  • Plastic build
Key Specs
Battery Capacity5000 mAh
Operating SystemAndroid v11
Screen Size6.6 inches
Highlights:
  • 5000 mAh

  • Android v11

  • 6.6 inches

Introduction

The affordable segment in India is hugely dominated by the Chinese OEMs but Samsung has a strong following too. Talking about one of the latest entries, Galaxy M42 5G is one of the most affordable smartphones from the South Korean giant with 5G support which is enough to give it a tough competition against others. It is the first 5G smartphone in the Galaxy M-series and offers much more on the table such as an impressive design, decent performance, excellent battery life among others.

 

In order to pen down a review, I have been using Galaxy M42 5G for more than a week, and here’s what I found out.

Prices in India, Variants, Availability

Samsung Galaxy M42 5G is available in India in two trims. The base is a 6GB+128GB model with a price tag of Rs 21,999/-. The top-tier variant that offers 8GB+128GB storage has a price tag of Rs 23,999/-. You can avail exchange offers on Amazon India with a discount of up to Rs 12,550/-. Look out for other deals and discounts that you will come across on both Amazon India and Samsung India websites.

Box Contents

Specs at a glance

Before we talk in detail about the  let’s see what the on-paper specs look like?

  • Display: 
  • Processor: 
  • Storage: 
  • Software
  • Rear cameras: 
  • Battery: 
  • Weight
  • Dimensions: 

Design and Build

Design-wise, I think Samsung has got this one bang on. Samsung Galaxy M42 5G arrives with an Infinity-U AMOLED display and the bezels around the display are average-sized. You are still paying a lot for a budget phone and the bezels seem chunky but you can still find a lot of smartphones with slimmer bezels.

The back panel is made up of polycarbonate with a checkered and textured panel. The back panel has four sections with varying textures with a glossy back panel to it. The topmost section is clad in black and has a quad-camera squaricle setup which protrudes just a tad bit above the back panel.

The pattern changes as you go from the top-most section to the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th section alike. Samsung Galaxy M42 5G weighs 193 grams which makes it light while the curved edges allow for better handling and grip. In fact, OneUI 3.1 under the hood excels in one-handed usage so I highly doubt you will have any issue using the phone with just a single hand.

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About the I/O ports, the device arrives with a power button and a volume rocker with nice tactile feedback to it on the right. The bottom has a USB 2.0 port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a bottom-firing loudspeaker, and a microphone. Finally, the SIM Card slot is on the left side. The top has a secondary microphone as well.

Display

When it comes to the specifications, Samsung Galaxy M42 5G packs in a 6.6-inch Super AMOLED Infinity-U panel with an HD+ resolution and a standard 60Hz refresh rate. Now even though the specs look good, I wouldn’t say Samsung has gone right with it as they could have got some upgrades on M42 5G for sure.

First up, the display is huge but since the weight balance is good and overall the phone has a prowess over one-handed usage, you won’t feel that it is ginormous enough that you won’t be able to reach every nook and corner of the display. The resolution is locked at HD+ which means the pixel density is lower. This translates into a brighter display with punchy colours but the sharpness takes a hit as many of its rivals are equipped with FHD panels and I hoped Samsung could use an FHD panel too. In any case, the viewing angles on Galaxy M42 5G are great.

The device is locked at a standard 60Hz refresh rate which is another blow depending upon what’s your take on the refresh rate settings. Samsung could have at least upgraded to 90Hz, however, the brand is allergic to massive upgrades since it packs in even its flagship phones with 25W max charging support so you know, you have to trade-off somewhere with the brand at some time.

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Next up, Galaxy M42 5G display is Widevine L1 supported so viewing HD videos on it is bliss. But it is still lacking a better FHD panel and that will bug some of the users for sure. Hopefully, it uses a super AMOLED panel so that’s a relief. The display has a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 on top so scratches and smudges should stay away from along with protection against falls although it has some limitations so don’t try to throw your phone off the balcony just to try its durability.

Performance

Specs-wise, the device packs in a Snapdragon 750G chipset which is manufactured on an 8nm node. It has a dual-cluster arrangement consisting of two 2.2GHz Kryo 570 cores and six 1.8GHz Kryo 570 cores. It is tagged along with Adreno 619 GPU. The device is paired with 128GB UFS 2.1 storage and 6GB/8GB of LPDDR4X and that’s all the figures available. These specs put forth the Galaxy M42 5G against many of its competitors including Xiaomi Mi 10i, however, you cannot simply believe the specs listed on paper. Here’s how the phone actually performs in real use cases.

There’s no doubt having a Snapdragon chipset is a win in itself because I don’t think Exynos chipsets are competent enough. The Galaxy M42 5G is the second smartphone in the M-series to get a Snapdragon chipset and the first smartphone to get 5G in the series as well.

I have tried and tested the phone for a while now and do understand where it shines and where it flops. Day-to-day tasks on Galaxy M42 5G such as browsing the internet, calling, messaging and texting, watching videos, and listening to music among others. Thanks to higher RAM storage and better RAM management, the device is able to perform really well in tasks such as multitasking, toggling between apps, switching between an array of them, and so on.

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No doubt testing graphics-intensive games on Galaxy M42 5G makes or breaks a phone against its on-paper specs or honey-clad reviews. It was able to take the hit playing Call of Duty: Mobile on the highest available settings without much hassle. Yeah, sure the resolution makes the display less sharp but the processor still keeps the game running with little frame drops at times after playing for some time. Overall, I found the performance more than average which is way better than having an average performance with Helio or Exynos processors.

Software

On the software front, Samsung Galaxy M42 5G comes equipped with Android 11-powered OneUI 3.1, and no doubt it has an excellent interface. It is a full-fledged version and not a Core version which means it has all the features you would assume on OneUI 3.1. This includes a secure folder, Knox security, a tonne of customization options, a dark theme, and more.

But the device has too much bloatware which is something I personally don’t link on a smartphone. You will have to disable much bloatware since many of them are uninstallation. Plus, Samsung has offered three years of major Android upgrades and four years of security patches to name a few.

Cameras

Samsung Galaxy M42 5G is equipped with a quad-camera setup at the back. This includes a 48MP primary sensor paired with 8MP ultra-wide-angle sensor, a 5MP macro, and a 5MP depth sensor housed in a square camera bump. The front has a 20MP sensor housed in a U-shaped notch.

Talking about the camera quality, the primary sensor captures quality shots. Apparently, the shots have high saturation along with balanced exposure although details aren’t adequate. The primary sensor takes quality shots in abundant lighting conditions although you will have some grains during night mode.

Galaxy M42 5G’s 8MP ultrawide sensor grabs shots with a wide 123-degree field of view. You will end up capturing more of the surroundings than with a regular wide-angle camera. Apparently, the shots are average and there’s nothing that shines about it. Overall, Galaxy M42 5G is equipped with an average camera setup.

You can get quality macro shots using the 5MP macro sensor that you can capture up close and it does look good. The sensor lets users tap to focus on the subject to get the images in focus. Finally, the depth sensor works with the primary sensor for depth-related effects.

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The selfie sensor grabs convincing shots as well and overall, the shots have ample details, sharpness, exposure, and other features in the daytime while nighttime photography is where Galaxy M42 5G suffers a bit. Images at night are filled with noise and grains especially when around the region which is darker than the rest. The portrait shots using the selfie shooter tend to make out of the subject and the background thereby applying a convincing blue effect on it.

About the video recording capabilities, Galaxy M42 5G can capture 1080p to 4K resolution videos at 30fps and with electronic stabilization. It is not better than OIS but it does save the footage from jitter although that doesn’t mean you won’t see any jitteriness.

Battery

The 5,000 mAh battery pack strapped under the hood is a hefty one as it manages to give you at least a day of backup with a mix of moderate and heavy usage. You will easily end up getting more than 7-8 hours of SoT. You can still end up getting to the next day on a single charge if you use the phone wisely.

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The battery life is a pro but having a 15W charging brick is something of a concern for you. No doubt you will end up spending 2 hours and 10 minutes (approx) tethered to the charging brick which is something that seems awful when people aren’t ready to spend time tethered nowadays. Since you are paying a premium price for a 15W charging brick, it is a con right here.

Audio, Connectivity, Biometrics

Samsung Galaxy M42 5G is paired with a single bottom-firing loudspeaker which is loud as it could get. It isn’t the best of the best but really does its job. Having a stereo speaker would have made quite a significant difference but at least you have a 3.5mm headphone jack to strap on your headphone with the phone.

Talking about the various connectivity features on-board, you get a 3.5m headphone jack, a USB Type-C port, an NFC, support for Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth v5.0 with LE and A2DP, and finally, support for BDS, Galileo, Glonass, and A-GPS.

Samsung Galaxy M42 5G comes furnished with an under-the-display fingerprint scanner (UD FPS). Although it is reliable and unlocks the phone many times, I believe the animation that follows it is a bit slow. This transforms the overall experience as if the FPS is slow. Note that the fingerprint scanner doesn’t have flagship-grade precision, responsiveness, and reliability but it is average. Facial recognition on the other hand depends on software and may not be reliably compared to the FPS. It takes time to unlock the phone using it so a year, I would still prefer using the in-display fingerprint sensor.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Qualcomm snapdragon 750G
  • 8GB RAM + 128GB internal storage
  • 48MP Quad-camera setup
  • Large 5000 mAh battery
  • Samsung Pay and Knox security

Cons

  • No FHD+ display
  • 60Hz standard refresh rate
  • No Gorilla Glass protection
  • Only 15W fast charging
  • Plastic build
Verdict

Samsung Galaxy M42 5G is the latest smartphone in the M-series and the first to get 5G support. It does bring a few ups and downs through including Snapdragon 750G, 6GB/8GB RAM, 128GB of UFS 2.1 storage. However, its lacklustre display sticks out like a sore thumb. Xiaomi Mi 10i is undoubtedly its biggest rival and pound for pound, it brings the best specifications in the same price segment.

Buying the latter makes a lot of sense. However, Samsung’s branding, 3 years of Android software, and 4 years of security patches make it an apparent winner in the software aspect. It is the cheapest 5G smartphone but hey, there’s no 5G network in India so I don’t think so choosing to buy a 5G phone at this time isn’t a wise choice.



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