Launching the Galaxy M series of smartphones in India was an unexpected move (in a good way though) from the South Korean giant Samsung considering the track record of the mid-range devices launched so far.
One thing that didn’t change in Samsung’s point of view over the year is their desperate attempts to capture the Indian market. After a long and failed attempts, Samsung came up with a much-needed breakthrough to tackle the Chinese handset makers.
Unlike Samsung’s previous mid-range smartphones, the Galaxy M series carries a refreshing ideology which is simple and on-point. This makes the Galaxy M series of smartphones a worthy contender to its Chinese counterpart.
For the starters, Samsung launched the Galaxy M10 smartphone in the Indian market a few weeks back at a starting price of Rs. 7,990. We got hold of the device for a few days and came up with the review.
The Samsung Galaxy M10 looks more or less like its big brother Galaxy M20 except for the fingerprint scanner. The new Galaxy M10 comes with a shiny yet grippy plastic back giving no scope for slipperiness. The front side is dominated by 6.2-inch HD+ display with a thin chin at the bottom. The device measures 7.7mm in thickness and weigh around 163 grams.
On the top, there is a 5-megapixel camera in the notch and the earpiece is present on the top edge. Automatic brightness adjustment takes a bit of time to adjust to the surrounding environment. The phone has a gyroscope and magnetic sensor, otherwise known as a magnetometer for VR, but it doesn’t have a notification LED.
On the right side, there is a power button and the volume rockers. On the left side, there is a single tray that houses dual nano SIM slots and a microSD card slot that accepts cards up to 512GB. At the bottom, there is a 3.5mm audio jack, MicroUSB port, loudspeaker grill and the primary microphone.
On the back, there is a 13-megapixel primary sensor with f/1.9 aperture, secondary 5-megapixel 120° Ultra Wide Lens for wide-angle photos.
The Samsung Galaxy M10 sports a 6.22-inch (1520 × 720 pixels) HD+ 19.5:9 TFT display with a pixel density of 270 ppi. It has an 82.1% screen-to-body ratio. Unlike other some Galaxy smartphones with AMOLED display, this budget device comes with TFT display and its good.
The display looks bright with good colour reproduction, text looks sharp and offers good viewing angle too. Having said that, the sunlight legibility becomes an issue and it is not up to the mark. The Galaxy M10 doesn’t come with any Corning Gorilla Glass protection as such.
Just like few Samsung phones, we came across quite a few mistouch in the Galaxy M10 especially while holding it. Having said that, it would be great if Samsung identifies different situations in which this can happen and tackle it.
Just like other notch phones, the Galaxy M10 has the option to hide the notch, and an option to select apps you want to use in full screen. In addition to it, there is a Blue light filter that is said to reduce eye strain by limiting the amount of blue light emitted by the screen, but the option to schedule Blue light filter is not available.
The Samsung Galaxy M10 comes equipped with rear dual camera setup — 13MP with LED flash, f/1.9 aperture and 5MP ultra-wide angle camera with f/2.2 aperture. The front side is taken care of 5MP front camera with f/2.0 aperture.
The front side is taken care of 5MP front camera with f/2.0 aperture. Coming to the image quality, daylight images are good, macro shots are fine, but it is hard to focus and the HDR shots were better. Live focus is not the best in detecting the edges and same goes with Low-light outputs as well. Images with flash are good even in close-ups and are not overpowering. The 5MP selfie camera is above average when compared to other devices at this price range, but not good enough in general and for social media shares.
Check out the camera samples below (Click the image to view full resolution sample)
Coming to the software, the phone runs on Android 8.1 (Oreo) with Android security patch for January 2019. Samsung has not announced when the phone will get Android Pie update. On the top of Oreo, it has Samsung Experience version 9.5, which is the company’s new UX that is more refined compared to its TouchWiz UX.
Other than the familiar features that we had seen in the Samsung Experience UX, this has new lock screen stories powered by glace which shows news along with an image before you unlock the phone. You can choose from 19 categories, with daily digest being the default.
The advanced features option has Games Launcher that gathers your games downloaded from Play Store and Galaxy Apps into one place for easy access, one-handed operation mode that lets you use the phone easily with one hand, finger sensor gestures to open and close the notification panel using the fingerprint sensor, multi-window, direct call to make a voice call by picking up and holding the device near your ear while viewing call, message, or contact details, Smart alert to set the device to alert you if you have missed calls or new messages when you pick up the device, Easy mute to mute incoming calls or alarms by using palm motions or facing the device’s screen downwards, Panic mode to Send SOS message by pressing the Power key three times and more.
The Device maintenance option lets you manage your device’s battery life, storage, RAM usage, and security all in one place.
Apart from the usual set of utility apps and Google Apps, the smartphone comes with Facebook app and Microsoft Apps — Office Mobile, OneDrive and LinkedIn. You get option to install apps when you are setting up the phone. Out of 3GB of RAM, you get 1GB of free RAM when the default apps running in the background. Out of 32GB of internal storage, around 20GB of storage is usable.
Music Player and FM Radio
Google Play Music is the default music player. It has an equalizer, Dolby Atmos, UHQ upscaler, Surround and Tube Amp Pro sound effects that can be enabled from the settings. All these improve the audio when listening through earphones. It has FM Radio support with support for recording. Placement of speaker grille is bit awkward and the output is average. But, audio through third-party headphones is good.
Unlike M20, the Galaxy M10 lacks fingerprint scanner. Having said that, it has support for Face recognition. With face unlock, it takes good 3 sec to unlock the phone, which might frustrate you at times. Also, it doesn’t work well in the low light environment. Not implementing a fingerprint scanner is a bummer, but considering the budget from, we are more than happy with it.
The connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth v5 and GPS with GLONASS. It has support for USB OTG. It has 4G connectivity with support a lot of bands and has Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) support for Reliance Jio, Airtel and more.
It also has dual 4G VoLTE support, which is good. The dialer and messaging have familiar UI. Since this is a dual SIM phone, you get an option to select either SIMs when calling or sending a text message. Moving on, the call quality is good, and we did not face any call drops and the earpiece volume was loud.
The Samsung Galaxy M10 is powered by Octa-Core Exynos 7870 14nm processor with Mali-G71 GPU under the hood. Talking about casual usage, the M10 performed well up to our expectation. In this case, casual usage includes watching Youtube, Calls, Internet and Whatsapp’ing. However, when it comes to gaming, it’s just average, since this has Mali-G71 MP2 GPU that is not powerful compared to Adreno 509 or Adreno 512. Check out the synthetic benchmark scores below.
The Samsung Galaxy M10 comes equipped with 3430mAh battery. In our usage, it offers excellent battery life. In our One Charge rating, the Samsung Galaxy M10 scored 18 hours 48 minutes, better than the M20 since this has a low-resolution screen. Charging with the bundled charger takes over 2 and half hours to reach 100% from 0%, and 0 to 50% took over an hour.
Samsung is off to a good start with Galaxy M series and without a doubt, the Galaxy M10 is huge leap for Samsung under mid-range segment compared to its predecessors. This budget device is simple, straight forward and on to the point. Barring few things like mediocre camera, slow charging and not-so-good speaker setup, this device is worth a try, provided if you are a casual user. For intense gamers, it’s better to skip this . It starts at Rs. 7,990 and goes on sale every few days exclusively on Amazon.in.
Photography by Siraj