Samsung Galaxy M20 Review

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Design

Face up, the Galaxy M20 looks nearly identical to recently launched budget phones like Honor 10 Lite and Realme U1 with a water drop notch and thin bezels. That said, the phone brings along a completely new, but very basic design from Samsung this time. It’s nowhere close to the J-series or the On series handsets that we’ve seen in the past. 

The phone gets a polycarbonate body which undoubtedly feels good to hold. The finish is glossy and smooth to touch, and it does not imitate glass like most phones in its range. It is curved on all sides, making it fit in your hand perfectly. It has an oval fingerprint sensor, placed in the center back, which is easy to reach. 

The Galaxy M20 is 180 grams as it packs a 5000mAh battery, but that doesn’t make the body thick. We would say it’s not the best design from Samsung or in its own league, but it’s practical and one of the few phones that fit pleasingly well in hand. 

Samsung is not going for the most premium looks here, and it doesn’t need to either. The material and finish are impressive, it fits superbly well in hand, doesn’t catch fingerprint, isn’t prone to cracking and slides into pockets like water. After all, this, if it doesn’t imitate a premium phone, it’s ok.

The left side of the phone has a SIM card tray and the volume rocker is on the right, while the bottom has a USB Type-C port, a speaker grill and audio jack.

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Display

The display of the Galaxy M20 is a 6.3-inch FHD+ (2340 x 1080p) PLS TFT panel. PLS (Plane Line Switching) is Samsung’s proprietary display design which is similar to IPS (In-Plane Switching) technology. If you’re surprised to see the term TFT, it’s just the terminology that sounds dated, but Samsung has worked on the PLS technology and it’s visible on this device. 

The display has rich colours, impressive viewing angles and outdoor visibility. It’s one of those displays that catch your eye the moment you turn on the phone for the first time. It’s adequately sharp and quite bright. However, if you’re nitpicking and comparing it to the AMOLED panels on J-series phones by Samsung, then, of course, you won’t get the deep blacks and highly saturated colors. 

As a standalone display, the Galaxy M20 has a good one. It is at par with what the competition is offering.

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Interface and Reliability

There was a phase when Samsung’s TouchWiz UI faced a constant backlash for its heavily loaded interface and unnecessary features. But you can’t deny the fact that Samsung has improved the interface over the years. Samsung Experience (version 9.5 UX) is a more modern and smoother. But as always, it remains one of the highly customisable interfaces and allows users to tune the appearance as they desire. For instance, you can choose icon packs, change the icon size, the size of the grid, and so on.

The UI is similar to what we’ve seen on Samsung’s high-end phones. It has a swipe-up style app drawer with smooth animations and app transitions. There are no sign of hiccups or lags in the UI, but if you find it getting slow after a point, you can make it snappier by turning off animation scales from Developer Settings.

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Specs and Performance

The new Exynos 7904 octa-core chipset powers the Galaxy M20, and believe us, it’s no slouch. We reviewed the 4GB RAM variant and the performance till now has been impressive. The chipset strikes a noticeable balance between battery consumption and raw power. 

We used almost every type of application on the phone to see if there’s some area where it shows sign of stutters, but the M20 has impressed us so far. Of course, if you intentionally push the limits and run 20 apps in the background, you will see sluggishness. On most of its part, it feels at par with the Snapdragon 636 chipset, but it is still slightly behind when it comes to games. 

We played PUBG Mobile on medium settings and the M20 did struggle a bit to run the game smoothly. However, when compared to other handsets in the same range, it’s still second best for PUBG Mobile after the Snapdragon 636 devices like Redmi Note 6 Pro.

There’s another fact about the M20 that can’t go unignored. Like most Samsung handsets that Galaxy M20 has a SAR rating of 0.248 W/kg whereas, the competing Note 6 Pro has a SAR value of 0.755 W/kg and Honor 10 Lite has a SAR value of 0.6W/kg. For those who don’t know, higher SAR value means more exposure to RF (radiofrequency) energy absorption by human body. The lesser the safer. 

Overall, the M20 is a truly balanced smartphone that goes neck to neck with the best performing phone in the market right now. 

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Battery life

One of the biggest talking points of the Galaxy M20 is its gigantic 5000mAh battery, which also rare from Samsung. On top, we’ve spoken about the quest to balance raw power and battery life earlier. Having a big battery on a budget phone has slowly become a parameter which more brands like Moto, Asus have also been following after Xiaomi. 

Over a day’s usage, you get more than 12 hours of battery life on each charge after a busy day. Which also means if you’re traveling without a power source for 24 hours, the M20 can easily sail you through the journey if used calculatingly. The best part is that the Galaxy M20 supports Samsung’s adaptive fast charging via USB Type-C and also brings along a 15W fast charger in the box. During our tests, the phone went up from 30% to 80% in 60 minutes. 

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Camera

The Galaxy M20 comes with a dual camera setup on the back having a 13MP primary camera on the back with f/1.9 aperture paired with a 5MP secondary sensor with f/2.2 apertures. 


Rear Camera

With everything that the M20 has to offer, a set of quality snappers would have made it a perfect phone to buy at its price. It has f/1.9 aperture and a 13MP sensor, but images are not the best we have seen with these settings. This could be due to inceptive camera software or similar, but at this point in time, it doesn’t match with the specs it has on paper.

Low light images are marred by noise. The M20 can still create good-looking scenes, but they’re not as good as we expected them to be. Colour reproduction is decent, though details and sharpness are just about average.

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Verdict
Unlike some of its current competitors, Samsung has immense brand power. A lot of people might have chosen other options recently based on specifications and features, so having closed that gap, Samsung stands to regain a lot of the customers it has lost. Buying a Samsung phone doesn’t feel like a gamble in the way that it might with less established brands. The Korean giant is capitalising on this in its Galaxy M-series marketing by underscoring its huge service network, spanning 1,650 service centres across over 6,000 talukas all over India.

The race between all these models is pretty tight. It seems that the Galaxy M20 doesn’t quite catch up to all of its rivals’ advantages, but at least it is very competitive for the first time. We hope this is the beginning of a new era for Samsung.


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