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Samsung Galaxy M20 review: The perfect Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro alternative

Everything you need to know about Samsung’s new Galaxy M20
Everything you need to know about Samsung’s new Galaxy M20 (HT Photo)

Samsung Galaxy M20 is available in India at a starting price of 10,990.

Brand: Samsung
Product: Galaxy M20
Specifications: 6.3-inch full HD+ display, Exynos 7904 octa-core processor, up to 4GB of RAM, up to 64GB storage, 13MP and 5MP rear cameras, 8MP front camera, 5,000mAh battery
Price: 10,990 (starting)
Rating: 4/5

Xiaomi overshadowed Samsung for more than one year with back-to-back successful phones, Redmi Note 4, Redmi Note 5, and Redmi Note 6 Pro. Samsung did offer budget phones under On and J series, but they were no match to Xiaomi's aggressive price tags and high-specced devices. With Galaxy M, Samsung has finally gotten the price and specifications balance right. Samsung Galaxy M20 in particular marks the company's change in approach to the highly competitive budget segment.

Samsung Galaxy M20 features a big 5,000mAh battery, highest ever on a budget Samsung phone. It also comes with Infinity-V display, Samsung's own version of notch display. Backed by up to 4GB of RAM and powerful Exynos 7904 octa-core processor, Samsung Galaxy M20 takes on Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro and Motorola's Moto One Power.

Design: Better but not perfect
We have talked about Samsung Galaxy M20's design in length in our first impressions. Here's a brief recap.

Samsung Galaxy M20 comes with a glossy finish on the back. Compared to older J-series and On-series phones, M20 looks quite different, thanks to a smaller waterdrop-like Infinity-V display on the front and newer and trendier colour options.

While the design is definitely better than older Samsung budget phones, Galaxy M20 is unapologetically thick and relatively heavier than other phones in this range. The back panel is also quite prone to fingerprint smudges and is a bit slippery, especially if you have sweaty palms.

A closer look at Samsung's new design for its budget phones
A closer look at Samsung's new design for its budget phones (HT Photo)

Either you can snap on a back cover or just keep wiping the back panel after some time. It's a small trade-off users will have to make in exchange of bigger 5,000mAh battery and glossy finish.

Camera: Near excellent
Samsung Galaxy M20 is one of the few sub 13,000 phones to offer dual rear cameras. The phone comes with a 13-megapixel sensor with f/1.9 aperture and 5-megapixel ultra-wide sensor. It has an 8-megapixel selfie-camera with f/2.0 aperture.

Galaxy M20 impresses with its camera quality. Images are rich in details. Unlike a few other Samsung models, images don't go over the board in terms of saturation. You'll really like taking macro shots from the phone. It goes without saying the daylight performance of the phone is very impressive. The quality comes very close to Xiaomi's even more premium Mi A2.

Samsung Galaxy M20 camera: Without wide-angle sensor (top), with wide-angel sensor (bottom)
Samsung Galaxy M20 camera: Without wide-angle sensor (top), with wide-angel sensor (bottom) (HT Photo)

The phone allows you to capture in ultra-wide mode as well (via the on-screen ultra-wide). As pointed out in our first impressions of Galaxy A9, the wide mode gives a little fish-eye effect, which may not be suitable for all kinds of photos. But if you want to capture more real estate without moving much, the sensor will get the job done.

Samsung Galaxy M20 at maximum zoom
Samsung Galaxy M20 at maximum zoom (HT Photo)

We also liked the Live focus mode that allows you to achieve DSLR-like depth-of-field effect. Unlike several other Android phones in this category, Live Focus doesn't smudge the edges of the subject or over blurs the background. Selfie enthusiasts will definitely like the Live Focus mode.

Experience, performance: Smooth and fast
Samsung Galaxy M20 edges out the competition with its sharp display (over 90% screen-to-body ratio and 19:5:9 aspect ratio. Despite full HD+ resolution, the display seems much better than any of other budget phones. From watching high resolution content to browsing web pages, the 6.3-inch notched display doesn't disappoint. As far as the Infinity-V cutout goes, it doesn't really bring anything new to the table.

Samsung Galaxy M20 doesn't disappoint when it comes to the performance. With up to 4GB of RAM and in-house Exynos 7904 octa-core chip, Samsung Galaxy M20 handles graphic-intensive games such as PUBG Mobile, Asphalt and Marvel Contest of Champions with ease. Basic tasks such as web browsing, multimedia streaming and surfing social networking platforms run without any problem.

The 5,000mAh battery onboard can easily last over a day even on heavy usage which includes all radios turned on, long sessions of multimedia streaming and web browsing, and gaming. On moderate to light usage, you can probably squeeze up to two days of life from the phone.

The phone, however, still runs on the dated Android 8.1 Oreo software which is a big bummer. With Android Q just around the corner, Galaxy M20 should offer Android Pie at the earliest. As seen in Moto One Power, Android Pie's adaptive battery and display features can really help further boost the battery life.

Samsung Galaxy M20 is one of the best under 13,000 smartphones in the market right now. Apart from the looks, it offers near perfect camera and performance for its price. If you've been looking for a Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro alternative, Galaxy M20, the top-end model with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of built-in storage, is definitely worth considering.

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