There’s no denying fact that the Indian smartphone market has been overtaken by Chinese players. Despite the massive competition, Samsung has somehow managed to keep its grip alive. Probably the biggest threat for the company is Xiaomi, which is currently the number one smartphone manufacturer in the country offering a wide range of smartphones.
To regain lost glory, the Korean tech giant announced an India-first smartphone series, the Galaxy M. According to the company, the new range is targeted at millennials with a focus on design, dual-camera and battery life. The Galaxy M10 and M20 are the first two devices priced at Rs 7,990 (2GB + 16GB) and Rs 8,990 (3GB + 32GB) and Rs 10,990 (3GB + 32GB) and Rs 12,990 (4GB + 64GB) respectively.
The Galaxy M10, along with the Galaxy M20, is one of the first handsets from Samsung featuring a water-drop notch above the 6.2-inch display, or what the company likes to call ‘Infinity-V’. This gives the phone a more modern look with the display going almost to the edges, with a slim border and chin at the bottom. It’s not the sharpest display with its 720p resolution, but it is nice and bright with punchy looking colours and good viewing angles. It's no AMOLED even though there is a decent amount of contrast.
Now the M10 is made out of plastic, but the glossy finish especially with that Ocean Blue colour, looks rather interesting. In fact, a bunch of budget smartphones today are available in some or the other shade of blue, so the flashy look definitely works in Samsung’s favour. Overall, it has a sturdy build with the volume and power keys offering a tactile feedback.
Surprisingly, Samsung’s Experience UI over Android 8.1 Oreo is stable and well optimised. It could do away with all of those pre-loaded apps, but overall it offers a feature rich experience. You get the option of an interesting dynamic lock screen wallpaper, navigation gestures, face-unlock, Dolby Atmos audio support and the option to keep the app-drawer on or off.
Other notable features on the device include dual-SIM with dual VoLTE support on both as well as a dedicated microSD card slot.
Unlike the 5,000mAh battery on the Galaxy M20, this one comes with a 3,400mAh unit. Thanks to the battery optimisation features, the handset manages to last all day without working up a sweat. Having said that, it does take a lot of time to charge the phone as it doesn’t come with fast charging support.
Like most phones in its category, the Galaxy M10 also sports a dual-camera at the back. But unlike most dual-camera phones which offer a secondary sensor for depth sensing, Samsung is bringing a regular camera paired a wide-angled unit. The 13-megapixel and 5-megapixel combo can shoot just about average images, but that wide angle option can add a bit of fun as you capture a lot more within your frame. Overall quality of images is definitely not up to the mark, but if you just want to click some memories it should do fine.
Now being a sub-Rs 10,000 smartphone, it isn’t the best performer. It is powered by Samsung’s Exynos 7870 1.6GHz octa-core processor, which is probably more than two years old. It is paired with either 2GB of RAM with 16GB storage or 3GB of RAM with 32GB of storage (which is the one I have reviewed here). Personally, I think a 4GB RAM option would have been the sweet spot as it would have left some headroom for apps to load faster.
The M10 manages to hold up well with multiple apps running at the same time as the memory management system kicks off apps efficiently. However, gaming experience on the handset was rather disappointing. Don’t even expect to have a lag-free experience on games like PUBG Mobile or Asphalt 9, which in my testing ran at low settings with inconsistent frame rates.
Should you buy it?
The buzz around the new Galaxy M series sadly doesn’t live up to the expectations, particularly the M10. I am not saying its a bad phone, but considering the online generation, it is going to become a victim of the specifications wars, something which Xiaomi has aced ever since it launched in India. Having said that, the Galaxy M10 is a great start from Samsung to regain its position in the Indian budget smartphone market. It isn’t the perfect device at its price, but it certainly manages to offer a nice set of features that are equally matched when compared to the competition. With that, the brand name is definitely going to help this new smartphone to gauge more audience.