Samsung Galaxy M31: Full review
Build quality8.5
Design7.5
Ease of use9
Performance8
Value for money9
8.4Overall Score

Samsung released the online-exclusive Samsung Galaxy M31 last May 29. If you haven’t heard yet it’s another bang for your buck because it features a super AMOLED screen, 64MP camera, 6,000 mAh battery, and supports Dolby Atmos, all for the price of P13,990.

Design and build

The Samsung Galaxy M31 is positioned as a lower midrange smartphone, with a plain and glossy finish that comes in black and blue. It’s also a smudge magnet but at least it has a nice heft to it giving it a solid and upscale touch. It weighs 191g because of its huge 6,000mAh battery. On the right it has the usual power button and volume rocker; while on the left, it has the card tray for two nano-SIM cards and microSD. On the bottom we have the headphone jack, USB-C port, microphone and speaker that supports Dolby Atmos. It also has another microphone on top.

Up front it has a 6.4-inch super AMOLED screen with FHD 2340×1080 resolution. It has very thin bezels, thanks to Samsung’s signature Infinity Display.

Biometrics and security

On its back, it has the rectangular fingerprint scanner placed right in the middle. The scanner has thin borders around it which made it a bit difficult to find with your finger but at least it ran smoothly. There were a few issues we experienced with the facial recognition, especially in unfavorable lighting. 

Camera

We have a dew drop notch on the top, which houses the 32MP selfie camera. You can use the Live Focus to gently blur the background to your liking or have an 81° wide angle. The colors are really crisp and they pop out in favorable lighting.

Left photo: solo selfie setting Right photo: 81° wide-angle selfie

For the main camera on the back, it has a grid-like matrix that houses the 64MP main camera, 8MP ultra-wide, 5MP focus, and 5MP macro.

The photos were very true to their colors. They capture every detail. The ultra-wide lens has a 123° viewing angle.

Left photo: Main camera, Right photo: Ultra wide mode

The focus lens has an adjustable depth of field when the live focus is on and it was pretty accurate, separating the subject from the background.

Live Focus

The macro lens shot is best taken when you’re 3-5cm away from the subject. Shooting in macro, the photos lose a bit of detail and color as they become lighter and less vivid.

It features super steady video mode but lacked brightness and it can appear a bit grainy in unfavorable lighting. It also has night mode which could be better because the photos taken weren’t very bright and were a bit blurry.

Left photo: Main camera, Right photo: Night mode

Under the hood

As mentioned, it has a 6,000mAh battery, which is actually one of the highest mobile battery capacities you can have, although it only has a 15W Flash Charger and took us a little more than two hours to fully charge. It lasted us an average of two days with light to moderate usage and gaming from time to time. 

It’s powered by the Exynos 9611 with an octa-core CPU, four of which have 2.3GHz for intensive tasks, and only 1.7GHz for the other four cores for light usage. It has 6GB of RAM with a 128GB storage expandable up to 512GB. Multi-tasking was fine. However, when we were trying out Asphalt 9, which is a processor-intensive game, we experienced quite a number of frame drops.

Verdict

For the pros, it has the super AMOLED screen, 64MP main camera, 32MP front cam , 6000mAh battery, Dolby Atmos–and it’s a Samsung–all for P13,990. However, for the cons it’s plain-looking, although that’s not actually a big issue. It also took longer to charge and there were a few frame drops. Overall, this midrange smartphone would work fine for your day-to-day use—surfing the internet, taking photos, and watching movies.

In the box:

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