We go hands-on with Samsung’s newest budget hitter

Let’s be brutally honest here: Samsung’s phones have never been the best choice once you went down a certain price range. Sammy’s phones are pricey, but they were pricey for a reason: Samsung’s top-tier manufacturing methods and R&D efforts meant that their phones were better made if not necessarily better specc’d than the competition.

But with their market share slowly eroding in several countries thanks to fresh competition from Chinese brands, Samsung had to revamp their strategy. The company’s new Galaxy M series of smartphones is the first line from the Korean chaebol to go head-to-head with phones from companies like Xiaomi and Realme, and the Galaxy M20 has what it takes to win fans back.

The phone has essentials down but doesn’t feel basic

The Galaxy M20 is a budget phone, so Samsung had to nix a few things to keep the price down. The body of the phone is plastic, not metal or glass, which is pretty much par for the course for devices in the M20’s price range.

Despite that though, the M20 doesn’t feel cheap. Once you hold it in your hands you can see Samsung’s stellar build quality ooze out of the phone’s curved body. That plastic back will probably fare longer than the faux glass plastic that other brands use on their phones to make them look more expensive than they actually are, and will probably take the abuse of not being in a case well.

Samsung had to eat their words regarding notches with the 6.3-inch display of the Galaxy M20 since it features a small dew-drop notch at the top. And no, the phone doesn’t have Samsung’s Super AMOLED panel which has become a trademark for their phones – instead, it uses an FHD+ resolution TFT display.

The company hasn’t skimped out on the essentials – there’s a fingerprint reader at the rear, along with dual SIM and a separate expansion slot for microSD cards so you’re no longer forced to choose between more storage or an extra SIM.

The phone has a 13-megapixel primary camera along with a 5-megapixel wide camera. There’s an 8-megapixel selfie camera as well. We’ll be diving into a separate first shots article for camera performance later on so you can see how the phone’s camera performs.

Inside beats Samsung’s home-grown octa-core Exynos 7904 processor, which is said to be at the same level as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 636 chipset. From our limited time with the phone, the device felt quick and snappy with the chipset, though only a full test will reveal if it’s enough for day-to-day use.

Annoyingly the Galaxy M20 still comes with Android Oreo 8.1 and Samsung’s Experience 9.5 UI.

The battery of the Galaxy M20 is pretty spacious though, coming in at 5000mAh. A big battery is kinda useless though without fast charging, and thankfully the phone supports 15W fast charging via USB Type-C, and bundles a 15W quick charger with every purchase.

The Galaxy M20 is priced at Php 10,990 and goes on sale tomorrow on Lazada, Shopee Argomall, Abenson, and MemoXpress. Each purchase comes with Php 150 Globe load, Php 100 Garena PIN, and Php 100 Razer PIN.

Samsung Galaxy M20 specs

  • Samsung Exynos 7904 octa-core processor
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 6.3-inch Full HD+ Infinity-V display, Dragontail Glass
  • 32GB of expandable storage (up to 512GB)
  • 13-megapixel f/1.9 primary and 5-megapixel¬†f/2.2 wide-angle rear cameras with PDAF, LED Flash
  • 8-megapixel f/2.0 front camera with Live Focus
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
  • Fingerprint scanner, USB-C
  • 5000mAh battery with 15W quick charging
  • Android 8.1 Oreo