Samsung’s Galaxy M Series’ lineup of affordable, budget smartphones has been around for a little over 8 months now. The fist generation M-Series handsets include the Galaxy M10, the Galaxy M20, the Galaxy M30, and the Galaxy M40. All these handsets were well-received by the masses and continue to be sold across various online and offline platforms across India. Last month, Samsung expanded its M-Series by launching the brand new Samsung Galaxy M30s. As evident from the name, the M30s succeeds the ‘original’ Galaxy M30 from early 2019. This updated model features several upgrades over its predecessor – including a faster processor, better cameras, and a larger battery. I have been using the Samsung Galaxy M30s as my primary smartphone for a little over two weeks now and thought it was about time I pen down my thoughts on this excellent budget handset from Samsung.
Samsung Galaxy M30s13,999
The Samsung Galaxy M30s doesn’t look too different from its older sibling – the M30. The phone retains the same 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display with the same waterdrop notch as well. The phone gets extremely thin bezels and even the earpiece is located towards the edge of the frame. While this was initially a concern for me, I did not face any issues with calls during my time with the phone. Unlike the Galaxy M40 – which is positioned above the M30s – this phone retains the 3.5mm jack which is located at the bottom edge where the USB Type-C port is also located. On the right side of the phone, we have the standard power and volume buttons.
The SIM tray which in this case is a triple-slot tray is located on the left side. At the rear, the first thing you would notice is the triple camera array flanked by a single LED flash about which we shall talk in detail later. The phone also gets a fingerprint scanner at the rear which was ergonomically positioned. The color variant that we received was called ‘Sapphire Blue’ which looks good. But I liked the Pearl White option better. The third color option is Opal Back. At 188 grams, the Samsung Galaxy M30s is quite heavy. It is also visibly thicker than your average budget smartphone. What you do get in return for this added girth is a humongous 6,000mAh battery which is perhaps the largest for any smartphone in this segment.
Being a Samsung, it does not come as a surprise that the company ships the Galaxy M30s with a Super AMOLED panel. That being said, the company has, in the past, taken some strange decisions like equipping the pricier Galaxy M40 with a TFT LCD panel. As for the M30s’ panel, this was one of the better displays I have used on a sub INR 20k handset. This sAMOLED panel measures 6.4-inches across and has FullHD+ resolution.
The viewing angles are excellent and the colors look saturated. The display is also quite bright and I faced no issues using the phone even in direct sunlight. Within the display settings, users can further customize their preferences ny either switching from the ‘Natural’ color mode or changing it to “Vivid”. Most users, in my opinion, will like the Vivid option more and that was the setting in which I used my phone for the entire duration of this review. Samsung does not offer additional display customization options with the M30s and honestly, most users in this price segment would not be tinkering around with these settings anyway. With 400 nits, of peak brightness, this was among the brightest AMOLED panels I have seen in this price segment. The panel also boasts a contrast ratio of 78960:1.
While some of the first generation M-Series devices from Samsung shipped with the company’s older Samsung Experience 9.5 UI, all the newer handsets come with the better OneUI installed. In the case of the Samsung Galaxy M30s, the phone runs One UI V. 1.5 atop an Android 9 Pie core. At the time of his review, the phone shipped with the August Security Patch. Samsung’s One UI has received universal praise for its ease of use and in particular, single-handed usage. Needless to say, you will get the same experience on the Galaxy M30s. Even with the large display, most users should not face issues reaching apps and drop-down menu.
While Samsung has more or less removed all bloatware with OneUI, there are some minor annoyances like the occasional notifications from Samsung’s own “My Galaxy” store. Thanks to the AMOLED panel, you do get the option to use the always-on display feature that lets you take a look at notifications, and the time when the display and the handset are locked.
Samsung has included the Digital Wellbeing option on the M30s which tracks the overall usage of the device and reminds them to control excessive usage of the phone. Some India-centric applications have also been included – one of which is the Dual Messenger feature that lets you use two instances of the same app at the same time. This feature is definitely not new but is useful nevertheless for people who wish to use two WhatsApp numbers at the same time on a dual SIM handset. The handset also comes preloaded with apps like Netflix, Facebook, and OneDrive.
Hardware and Performance
One area where the Samsung Galaxy M30s receives a significant upgrade over the M30 is the chipset. While the M30 came with the Exynos 7904 SoC, the M30s gets the faster Exynos 9611 SoC which is also found doIng duty on the Samsung Galaxy A50s. The Exynos 9611 is a slightly upgraded version of the Exynos 9610 SoC and is packs in an octa-core processor with four Cortex-A73 cores and four Cortex A-53 cores. For graphics, you get the Mali-G72 GPU. The phone comes in two versions; a base 4GB+64GB version and the pricier 6GB+128GB version that we received for review.
Thanks to OneUI, the general software performance was great. Coming from flagship-grade handsets with 90Hz and 120Hz displays, I initially found the display to be slow to respond but that was just a matter of getting used to. The default animation effects that Samsung uses on some of its entry-level devices also make the UI feel slower than it actually is In fact, these default animations setting is the only thing I would want Samsung to change on its budget handsets.
I did not face any major issues with the general performance of the Samsung Galaxy M30s. The UI was zippy and apps opened pretty fast. Even the fingerprint scanner performed really well and was pretty accurate too. The phone also supports the face unlock feature and the process of registering your face is also pretty quick. If you are interested in buying the M30s specifically for gaming, the large 6,000mAh battery will be definitely of help. I played both Asphalt 9 and PUBG Mobile on the M30s and was able to play the former without any major issued or heating problems. I did, however, face some initial issues with PUBG Mobile and there is an occasional frame drop while playing the game.
Camera and Imaging
The camera setup on the Samsung Galaxy M30s is a major upgrade over its predecessor. While the number of cameras remains the same, it is the primary sensor that sees a major upgrade. Instead of the 13-megapixel sensor used on the previous model, the M30s gets Samsung’s own 48-megapixel sensor for its primary camera. This sensor is mated to an f/2.0 lens. The secondary wide-angle camera also sees a resolution bump from 5-megapixel on the M30 to 8-megapixels on the M30s. The field of view – at 120 degrees – remains the same. The third depth-sensing camera seems to be the same 5-megapixel unit that was also used on the M30. At the front, the M30s retains the 16-megapixel sensor which is mated to an f/2.2 lens. By default, the primary 48-megapixel camera captures images in 12-megapixel resolution. However, you can choose to capture a true 48-megapixel image from within the settings. The setting to switch to this ultra-high-resolution image, however, is nested inside the aspect ratio settings – a rather strange place for it to be.
The camera settings also gives users an option to select an AI-powered scene optimizer feature. Once turned on, this feature allows the phone to ‘recognize’ objects in front of it and optimize the image output. The camera UI is similar to what we have seen in other Samsung handsets The camera app also packs in several features – including Samsung’s Live Focus mode that is used to achieve good bokeh effect. The phone also gets a Night Mode that users can invoke whenever they feel the ambient light is too low. Switching between the primary and the ultra-wide-angle lens is also very easy and is just one click away. The phone also supports video recording using the ultra-wide-angle camera. Since we have invoked video recording, it is also important to note that while the handset supports 4K video recording, it cannot do 1080p 60fps videos. The phone also supports a super steady video mode which works pretty well for a device that does not feature optical image stabilization.
During daytime, the M30s produces excellent images with great details and nice dynamic range. There is a tendency to enhance the blues and this seems to be an inherent characteristic of this 48-MP sensor and I noted the same behavior on the Galaxy A50s which uses the same sensor. While the details come up great, I did notice an evident lack of sharpness in some of the daylight samples. However, this is pronounced only when you try to zoom in onto an image – something most people don’t do anyway.
Images using the ultrawide angle camera does have an issue of barrel distortion. But in my opinion, that only enhances the overall appeal of the image – making it look more dramatic and grand. As with the primary camera, details come up great on the UW angle camera as well – that is until there is good enough light. Low light images are better captured using the primary camera with the low light mode on.
The Samsung Galaxy M30s with its massive 6,000mAh battery is undoubtedly the battery life champion in its segment. The Realme 5 which sells for around the same price and also happens to be similarly sized gets a battery that is 1000mAh lower in capacity. The M30s also supports Samsung’s 15W adaptive fast charging and comes with a fast charger and cable in the box. Even with the fast charger, it took me around 2 hours and 40 minutes to charge the phone from zero to 100 percent. This might sound slow but then, I am constantly reminded that we have a 6,000mAh battery in there. The Samsung Galaxy M30s will easily last you a day and half even with relatively heavy usage. Even with the screen brightness set to full, I got more than 9.5 hours of screen on time with the device which is unheard of. Needless to say, the battery is one area where you will have zero complaints about the Samsung Galaxy M30s. Just don’t forget to charge it overnight.
There are two variants of the Samsung Galaxy M30s; with the base option priced at INR 13,999 and another option priced at INR 16,999. The base variant of the device makes for an excellent choice if you are looking for a reliable handset with great battery life. It can also double up as a decent gaming device. The competing Realme 5 Pro is slightly more expensive as of this writing. Another handset that you can consider is the Redmi Note 8 Pro which offers a more premium design and hardware specs. If you are looking at the top-end version of the M30s, you do get higher storage at a price lower than that of the Realme XT. The M30s also competes with the Vivo Z1X which has also been rated as a good budget handset. Overall, Samsung has nailed the pricing of the M30s this time around and I am pretty sure the phone will fly off the shelves across India.