Samsung Galaxy M-lineup is known for offering big batteries and good cameras. Add to that an AMOLED display as well. The Galaxy M31s is no different. It comes with a quad rear camera setup, a 6.5-inch AMOLED Super display, and a massive 6,000mAh battery. However, it compromises in one department. But is it a big compromise? Or is it still a good device? Let’s find out in our Galaxy M31s review.
The Samsung Galaxy M31s features a familiar plastic back with a gradient coloring. The Mirage Blue colorway that we received starts off with a silver-tone and changes to Blue as you go downward. Further, mid-frame, back panel, and buttons on the device are all polycarbonate. I’m not a fan of glossy backs and this one is no different. It registers fingerprints and scratches easily. I used the phone for 10 days and the phone’s back edges are already scratched. I only kept it on the table or bed. Hence, I’d suggest you use it with a case. Notably, Samsung doesn’t provide a TPU case in the box.
The company is likely to have opted for polycarbonate to keep the weight on the lower side as the phone packs a 6,000mAh battery. It doesn’t help with the looks though. That said, the Galaxy M31s doesn’t feel cheap by any means. The weight is evenly distributed, and it feels solid, but slippery in the hand.
The rear panel holds the quad rear camera setup situated at the top-left corner in a vertical rectangular module. The right edge houses the power button that also has an embedded fingerprint sensor, which works eight out of ten times. There is certainly room for improvement with the fingerprint authentication. Coming to the left edge, it holds the SIM-tray with dual SIM slots and a dedicated microSD card slot. At the bottom you’ll find a 3.5mm headphone jack, USB Type-C port, and the speaker, while the top edge is clean.
The Galaxy M31s features a 6.5-inch 1080 x 2400 pixel (FHD+) Super AMOLED display with an Infinity-O notch at the top. I personally prefer the punch-hole notch to be situated on the left side but this one doesn’t cause any hindrance while browsing or watching videos. However, while the front camera is active, like when on a video call, the software forms a black ring around it (as you can see in the above image), and that translates to an ugly round dot. Surprisingly it blinks at times when I’m browsing the web on Chrome.
Talking about the 6.5-inch FHD+ display, it is very good. I watched two seasons of The Office, and it was fun. The screen is bright and vibrant, and I had no issues while viewing it under direct sunlight. It can get pretty low too, so reading ebooks at night wasn’t a problem either. However, it doesn’t feature a high refresh rate, which is quite common in the segment these days. I missed it, but it wouldn’t be a deal-breaker. Overall, I’m content with the quality of display provided on the smartphone.
The Samsung Galaxy M31s is powered by the Exynos 9611 SoC that can also be found on a range of Samsung smartphones including Galaxy A50, Galaxy A51, Galaxy M30s, and the Galaxy M31. As compared to the Galaxy M31, this one offers an 8GB RAM option with 128GB of internal storage.
In day-to-day usage, the processor handles tasks well. The RAM management isn’t aggressive either. However, it is a different story with Twitter. Using the social media app on this device was a disaster. I was bothered with frame drops while scrolling through the app. However, it must be noted that it is more of a problem at Twitter’s end since other apps work fine.
As for gaming, I played PUBG Mobile and Asphalt 9. The former defaulted to HD graphics and High frame rate. I changed the graphics to HDR with the default frame rate, and the frame drop was apparent. I changed it back to HD graphics, which made the game more fluid and playable. Overall, it’s decent for the casual gamer.
I noticed slight lags at times while switching from one app to the other. Moreover, searching for apps in the app drawer as well as searching for things in the Settings app takes a couple of seconds. Samsung compromised in the performance department and I experienced it at times. I’m not sure how well the chipset would perform over time. That said, most users won’t notice (for now) the year-old processor.
I experienced no call issues. The mic is decent and the earpiece if as you’d expect it to be. The voice of callers sounded clear. Although, my unit kept disconnecting from the Wi-Fi when I was in my room – about 10 meters away from the router. It doesn’t happen usually.
Like other Galaxy M-series devices, the Galaxy M31s comes equipped with a massive battery of 6,000mAh. I expected it to last two days, especially after using the Motorola One Fusion+ (review) that gave me a SOT of 10 hours easily with each charge. However, that wasn’t the case. While the smartphone lasts an entire day, it fell short on my expectations.
It isn’t bad by any means. The battery life is very good as it will last you more than a day. It gave me a screen on time of 5-6 hours and lasted one day with 15-25% battery left while going to bed. My usage included reading on Chrome, 30 minutes of Prime Videos, browsing through Twitter, jumping between Instagram, WhatsApp, and Telegram, and clicking a few pictures. Notably, the phone doesn’t get hot with extended usage or while clicking pictures. If your usage is anything like me, you can expect the Galaxy M31s to last you an entire day easily.
Further, the smartphone supports 25W fast charging. It charges up to 60% from zero within the first one hour. The charging speed hits a plateau once it reaches 80% and it charges to a full 100% in about hours. Additionally, you need not worry about the availability of fast charger as Samsung includes it in the box. It comes with a C-to-C.
The Samsung Galaxy M31s sports a quad rear camera setup with the primary lens of 64MP Sony IMX682 sensor. It is assisted by a 12MP ultra-wide-angle lens, a 5MP depth sensor and a 5MP macro camera.
The smartphone captures 16MP shots by binning the output of its 64MP primary sensor. It performs as we had expected, the shots taken in bright daylight offer adequate details. They are sharp and have a good dynamic range. However, you cannot zoom into a shot when using the 64MP mode. Notably, the picture isn’t blurred out when zooming in after taking a shot.
As for low light, the Galaxy M31s captures decent snaps. There is less noise and it manages to keep the details. It must be noted that Night mode results in some cropping and the shooting in it doesn’t offer a drastic change. However, the images are slightly better in details.
Interestingly, Samsung was able to bring its Single Take feature from the Galaxy S20 series and the high-end A-lineup to the Galaxy M31s. It basically lets you capture up to ten seconds of footage with a wide range of capture modes, including Live Focus, Smart Crop, video, and AI filter. It will work well for those who are inexperienced with handling cameras but it delivers photos and videos at a lower resolution. Further, there is a Live Focus mode for portraits, which lets you set the level of blur before taking a shot. It is able to capture the specs too and (at times) doesn’t blur the frames.
Coming to the ultra-wide shots, I’m quite happy with the performance. The dynamic range is good, colors are on-point but details are lower when cropped as compared to the primary sensor, which was expected. I noticed that photos are warped at the edges, and you can see in the samples above. Plus, it can make buildings look tilted and backwards flattened
As for the macro camera, it’s there because it works. The sensor captures more details than those usual 2MP macro cameras. It lets you get very close to the subject but the color accuracy could have been better.
Coming to the front camera, it is 32MP shooter that saves 8MP normal shots and 12MP wide-frame pictures by default. If you are steady while hitting the shutter button, you are in for a detailed shot. Again, there is Live Focus mode that helps you capture portrait shots. It has good edge detection. However, low light selfies have lesser details.
Overall, Samsung has done well in the camera segment.
The Samsung Galaxy M31s runs Android 10 with One UI on top but there is a catch. This is One UI Core 2.1, which is a stripped-down version of the complete One UI experience that comes with Samsung flagships. With the “Core” version you don’t get features like Samsung Pay and Secure Folder. However, it wouldn’t bother you much.
The UI is as you’d expect from Samsung – an Android UI with a slew of features. There is Always-On Display customizations, you can add animated wallpapers on the lockscreen, and control history panes for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The screen lights up when a notification arrives but you can only see the app icon and not the notification. Moreover, there is an option to automatically wipe the whole device if the unlock code is incorrectly entered 15 times in a row. One UI brings many more features to the table.
The only complaint I have with the software is the presence of bloatware and unnecessary notifications. Though the latter is not as frequent as Xiaomi but it is there. Moreover, while setting up the phone, it tries to make you select all optional extras and apps. If you are not careful, you’ll end up with even more bloatware. And, for some reason, apps are updated through the Galaxy App Store and not the Google Play Store.
The Galaxy M31s is said to receive updates till Android 12 and four years of security updates. That’s a welcome move from Samsung.
Samsung Galaxy M31s review: Conclusion
At Rs 19,499, the Galaxy M31s is a decent device. It features a bright and vibrant display, a good set of cameras, offers a day of use easily with a decent software experience. However, you can’t get-it-all in the segment, and the brand has to compromise somewhere. Samsung chose to settle with a year-old processor.
If you are in the market for a device that captures great images while offering a good display and battery life to consume content, this is the phone to go for. As I see it, the Galaxy M31s is a device for content creation and content consumption. It is not for the power-hungry crowd. That said, if you are looking for alternatives, the Motorola Fusion+ and Redmi Note 9 Pro Max are a couple of choices for you in the same price range.
|Bright display||Performance can trouble over time|
|Good battery life|
|Above average cameras|