Hands-On, Smartphone

Samsung Galaxy M20 Hands-On: An Attractive Basic Smartphone

Affordable Samsung devices are usually not particularly interesting, but the Samsung Galaxy M20 is quite different. Not only does it have an attractive price tag, its hardware under the hood aren’t particularly bad either.

I got my hands on the Galaxy M20 at its launch event earlier today, and even though this is a basic smartphone, I’m impressed with what it offers – especially at this price point. If all you want is a long-lasting, affordable smartphone, you should really consider the Galaxy M20.

Before we get to it, let’s talk about the Galaxy M20’s most attractive aspect: price. There’s only one variant of the M20 in Malaysia, which comes with 64GB of internal storage and 4GB of RAM. How much does it cost? RM799, and it’s available exclusively on Shopee.

For that kind of money, you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck. 64GB of storage is already quite generous at this price point, and if that’s not enough for you, the Galaxy M20 also features a dedicated microSD card slot. It’s not a hybrid slot, mind you: this phone’s SIM tray can accommodate two SIM cards and a microSD card at the same time.

Memory capacity aside, the Galaxy M20 feels reasonably snappy too. Powered by an Exynos 7904 1.8GHz octa-core processor (yes, the very same chipset found in the Galaxy A30), the M20 can switch between apps relatively quickly – quick enough to not feel cumbersome. Of course, this is by no means a lightning quick smartphone, but it’s definitely good enough for a phone in this segment.

If there’s one area the Galaxy M20 excels in, it would be battery life. Equipped with a huge 5,000mAh battery, I’m confident the M20 can deliver excellent battery life. Not many phones have a battery with this capacity, and it charges via USB-C too.

Not surprisingly, the Galaxy M20’s affordable price tag is reflected in the phone’s design and build quality. It feels cheap, plasticky, and yes, it has a “Infinity-V” notch at the top of the display. On a brighter note, the bottom bezel isn’t all that big, giving the phone a relatively sleek appearance.

What about the Galaxy M20’s display quality? Pretty good. Sporting a 6.3-inch 2340 x 1080 LCD display – nope, it doesn’t have a Super AMOLED panel – it’s a good-looking screen with vibrant colours and good brightness. Viewing angles are great too, though colours do shift slightly when you look at the display off-angle.

When it comes to software, the Galaxy M20 doesn’t offer Samsung’s latest user interface. Unlike the Galaxy A50 and A30, the M20 doesn’t run on One UI. Rather, it’s still running on Samsung Experience 9.5 based on Android 8.1 Oreo.

That’s not to say Galaxy M20 doesn’t have good software experience, of course. Samsung Experience is still a good version of Android, and it feels lightweight, polished, and aesthetically pleasing. Besides, Samsung confirmed that the Galaxy M20 will be updated to One UI sometime in the future.

Camera performance is, unfortunately, not one of the Galaxy M20’s best qualities. Sporting a dual-camera system made up of 13MP + 5MP wide-angle sensors – with an 8MP selfie camera – it’s not particularly fun to shoot with this phone. The camera interface feels sluggish, the shutter speed is slow, and detail preservation (especially with the 5MP wide-angle sensor) is not great.

But to be fair, I was shooting with the Galaxy M20 in less than ideal lighting; it may be able to deliver better shots in brighter environments. On top of that, most phones in this price range don’t have particularly great camera performance anyway, and the M20 is no exception.

The Samsung Galaxy M20 is an affordable, no-nonsense smartphone with a very generous 5,000mAh battery. It’s certainly a phone worth considering for folks that want a long-lasting device that won’t break the bank, and as a whole, it’s a reasonably fast phone too.

Samsung’s range of affordable smartphones have not been particularly exciting for quite some time now, but the Galaxy M20 is changing things up quite a bit. In fact, even the Galaxy A50 and A30 are very respectable mid-rangers too, and both will be introduced in Malaysia tonight.

Now that Samsung is putting more emphasis on its mid-range offerings, it’s an interesting time to be shopping for a smartphone in this segment. Having more options is always a good thing, and the Galaxy M20 is an option worth considering.