The new Samsung Galaxy M20 was launched in mid March recently and it goes on sale exclusively on Shopee platform on 20th March 2019. This first online-exclusive model is also the first of the Galaxy M series smartphone to debut in Malaysia with more to arrive soon.
I had the privilege to review this mid-range M series for a week or so the other day and there are some hits and misses when it comes to its overall usage performance.
So here’s my full review of the new Samsung Galaxy M20.
Design and Specifications
My first impression of the M20 is that it is almost identical to the Galaxy A30 that I also had in hand for review. But the biggest difference other than it being slightly smaller is that the M20 is much thicker. This is to house the huge 5,000mAh battery in its belly. The obvious thickness and weight is noted almost immediately. But the overall size still looks cute and it fit firmly in my hands.
A little bit about the battery, the juice will last you about 2 and a half days on a normal use without being too heavy on gaming. When I tried the M20, I can’t seem to drain the battery even if I wanted to. PUBG gaming only uses 10% of the battery after two 40-minutes games each. Of course the phone is set to medium graphic settings for the M20 but we’ll dive deeper into it later.
Now the Galaxy M20 comes with 6.3″ PLS TFT capacitive touchscreen and NOT with AMOLED. But the display brightness and colours are crystal clear and punchy. The display is also a 1080 x 2340 pixels, with 19.5:9 ratio which makes the display looks slightly narrow and taller.
On the right side of the phone is the usual volume rocker and power button while the SIM slot is placed on the left side of the phone. Nothing much on top except for a tiny microphone hole and we have the headphone jack, USB type-C port and the loud speaker at the bottom.
On the front side, it comes with a V-shape notch at the top to house 8MP f/2.0 front selfie camera. It is not that intrusive while viewing anything on the display and the size of the notch is just right.
At the back is where we can see the fingerprint sensor in the middle with 2 camera setup on the left side. One thing I like with the camera setup on the M20 is that the camera module does not protrude out too much. It is almost flush to the body, which is great.
The Galaxy M20 main camera is a 13MP, f/1.9 while the secondary ultrawide angle camera is a 5MP, f/2.2 equivalent to 12mm. The LED flash sits right below the two cameras.
It comes in two colour variants, Ocean Blue and Charcoal Black. The unit that I receive was the Charcoal Black version. It has a smooth surface at the back so it is a fingerprint magnet.
In the heart of the Galaxy M20 sits a Samsung Exynos Octa-core (2×1.8 GHz Cortex-A73 & 6×1.6 GHz Cortex-A53) SoC that is supported by a Mali-G71 MP2 GPU. My test unit comes with a 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage setup. They do have a lower version that comes with 3GB + 32GB of memory but I suggest you go for the former.
On another note, the Galaxy M20 comes with Android 8.1 Oreo instead of the newer 9.0 Pie but it has the Samsung Experience 9.5 software in it. At the time of writing, there are news flying around that mentions it being able to upgrade its OS to Android 9. So we shall wait for that.
Performance and Usage
This is where the fun begins.
As usual, one of the method that I use to gauge the performance of a smartphone is to install and play PUBG Mobile on it. If it runs smoothly, means it’s good. So I installed PUBG on the Galaxy M20 and give it a go.
A prompt on the automatic settings in PUBG shows that the device requires medium settings. I can’t set it to high unless I use a third party add-on such as GFXtool but I wish to see how it performs as it is.
I started a game and I was quite pleased with the standard graphic renders by the M20 at this point of time. I know that I have to start playing in order to know the gameplay performance. As expected, it runs quite smooth at 30fps which is the medium setting. The phone doesn’t heat up at all and the battery last a very long time for each rounds. I can play more than 10 games on the M20 and still have 50% of juice afterwards.
Game details are high, screen is bright and vibrant although it is not an AMOLED display. And the bottom line after many gameplays later, I give a thumbs-up for the M20’s performance. It’s not great, but it’s above average.
A quick test run on Antutu 3D Benchmark scored the M20 a 107768, crossing the 100k mark. This is a mid-range device so don’t expect it to score high against the flagships. But it does the job well enough.
Now thanks to the large 5,000mAh battery, the Galaxy M20 will stay alive for as long as you last in 24 hours. In fact, it lasted more than 24 hours.
I pulled the charger out as soon as it hits 100% in the morning and see how long it can last for my daily usage. It reduced to 90% around 2pm and to 80% around 6pm. At night, I played a few rounds of PUBG with it and reduced the juice further to 60%. Then I went to sleep.
The next morning, I woke up and see that I still have 55% of juice left so I didn’t bother to re-charge it at this point. The day went by once again and I still have 30% of juice left by around 6pm. The remaining 30% drained up right before I went to sleep but not before I finished 2 rounds of PUBG.
I can safely say that I managed to use the phone for 2 days on a single charge. Of course I don’t use it too heavy every single time except for the usual chat apps and social media binge. But to have it last that long is great.
This has always been a favourite subject when it comes to new phones. That’s why I review this last.
A quick recap on the camera, the Galaxy M20 main camera is a 13MP, f/1.9 while the secondary ultrawide angle camera is a 5MP, f/2.2 equivalent to 12mm. The LED flash sits right below the two cameras.
The ultrawide angle lens on the M20 is just okay in my opinion. I’m not sure whether it is the software or the lens itself where I notice some flaws. The image that it produces is not that sharp nor vibrant. It’s a hit and miss actually. In good light, it captures beautifully but when the light is low, it’s just not that good.
The normal main shooter however is good. Just like most phone cameras nowadays, it is hard to tell the difference by each device anymore. You just have to look at it yourself. I can only see the result by looking at how the post-processing of a photo is done by the build-in camera app. Too sharp is no good. Too soft is no good either. Out-of-focus is totally a no go for me.
So here are some sample shots for you to see.
Now take a look at the wide angle and ultra wide angle photo comparisons below and see what I mean. The distortion is also quite obvious here.
I don’t know about you but the above comparison obviously shows the ultra wide angle problem here. I notice some dull looking details and most of it are out-of-focus. Lighting matter maybe? But…
At a different place, the ultra-wide angle works well hence why I said it’s the lighting matter earlier. And I did mention that it is a hit and miss thing. Sometimes it got it right, sometimes it doesn’t.
Same goes for the photos above. The ultra-wide angle got the focus and colours right. At least it’s not that weird looking. Honestly, I prefer to shoot with the ultra-wide angle. But because the M20 has a little miss sometimes, I didn’t play much with the ultra-wide angle.
Selfie shots are good. It does make my face a little flawless so I have no complaints here. Details are good and the live focus function works well too. I love the bokeh effect and the Galaxy M20 does it well, just like most of the latest Galaxy series. Samsung have improved the front facing camera and made it a standard for all Galaxies. That’s just my guess.
If you’re looking for a smartphone that can last you the whole day or until the next day, you may want to give the Galaxy M20 a view. The huge 5,000mAh battery does comes in handy when you’re always out and about.
Performance wise, the M20 delivers a good overall handling for the normal routine apps especially for social media and chats. Multi-tasking is a seamless task for the M20, all thanks to the ample 4GB of RAM that comes with it. As I said, choose the 4GB version rather than the 3GB version. Better go for higher RAM nowadays for a good future proof smartphone.
As for the camera quality, it does has its good moments. As weird as it seems, it doesn’t produce good photos at a certain type of lighting. But majority of the times, it does really well. I don’t know about those who have tried the M20 before but that’s just me.