Samsung Galaxy M30s review: more like an XL update

Rating: 7.88/10

Pros:

  • Super AMOLED display is best-in-class
  • 6000mAh battery
  • 15W charging
  • 48MP primary camera takes great shots
  • OneUI software feels premium

Cons: 

  • Average build quality
  • more powerful processors available

Samsung was once the king of the Indian smartphone industry with enviable market share and massive mind share that only a few brands ever had. While the mind share stays pretty intact, the market share for Samsung has dropped and the no.1 spot no more belongs to the South Korean giant. To regain that market share, Samsung came out with the M series earlier this year and from the looks of it, the brand is regaining a lot of lost market share. The M30s is the newest addition to the M series family that comes only a few months after the original M30. Well, let’s find out if the M30s is worthy of regaining some of that market share for Samsung. 

Samsung Galaxy M30s Design: the bare minimum

The Samsung Galaxy M30s follows the same footsteps of the first M series phones this time with a few gradient finishes. Now, the one that I have isn’t necessarily the most beautiful one and I would’ve liked the white one a lot more. The build quality while is standard Samsung it could’ve been better. The buttons are on the right side and are pretty standard. The headphone jack produces sound that doesn’t disappoint anyone, and the single speaker is also loud enough for everyday use. 

The fingerprint scanner sits at the back but it easily reachable that said, the camera module looks unnecessarily large. The LED flash on the side is the only thing enlarging the module, so I would’ve wished to see it in one straight line. The M30s though is your functional design with less flashy things and more functional design choices. The battery already makes the phone heavy which is why Samsung uses light polycarbonate so that the phone doesn’t become too heavy. All in all, the M30s’ design certainly doesn’t make you say “I want that” but it does a good job of supporting the whole experience.

Samsung Galaxy M30s Display: the best in class

The display on the M30s, just like the M30, is a gorgeous Super AMOLED display which produces inky blacks, high contrast, and punchy colors. The color shift is also well under control and that AMOLED display also makes way for an Always On Display which is extremely customizable as well. The display is the exact same as last year’s device in every way which here is a good thing because the M30’s display was already one of the best in its price. 

The brightness levels are good and the color temperature is near accurate. There is Widevine L1 support too and the phone, while it is not HDR supported, it lets you playback HDR videos on YouTube. The display is very good for enjoying multimedia and during my review period, I thoroughly enjoyed watching movies and playing games on this punchy display. The display is the absolute best that you can find in this price range currently. 

Samsung Galaxy M30s Performance: massive upgrade, still not the best

The Samsung M30s gets an upgrade in this department with the new Exynos 9611 chipset which is a new version of the 9610 we saw last year in the A50. The M30s gets the first big upgrade here, from an Exynos 7904 to 9611 makes a large difference in performance and it is felt. Everyday performance is snappy, and I encountered no stutters or lags in that usage. The storage used inside is UFS2.1 which produces sequential read speeds of about 485MB/s and sequential write speeds of 176MB/s. This makes sure that app opening speeds and daily usage stays snappy. 

The benchmark scores also place the Exynos 9611 anywhere between SD 660 and SD 712, somewhere near the 675 range processor wise. Playing games on this is not the best in this price range and processors like the Snapdragon 712, 710 among others beat this chipset in performance. That being said unless you are a gamer that performance difference will not be felt. Using as my primary device, I would use WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram on a regular basis, but apart from that I also played these smaller puzzle games in order to fidget primarily and in doing so I never felt like I was using an underpowered phone. As such, I can assure you that your daily experience won’t be any different.

Samsung Galaxy M30s Software: most premium software experience for the price

The area where Samsung phones now clearly have an edge at least in this price range is software. Samsung’s new OneUI was a big upgrade over their previous skins which was, for the lack of better words, uninspiring. It’s built on top of android 9 Pie and will hopefully soon be updated to android 10 when that starts rolling out.

The software experience of OneUI is the same software experience that you get on the Note 10+ and S10+ as well. This makes the software experience on the M30s one of the most premium experiences in this price range. There’s a fair bit of customization available on the phone with the lock screen and home screen, widgets, theme store, and even the ability to change system font.

The phone supports project treble but no seamless updates are supported. There is bloatware on the phone for sure and a ton of apps that come pre-installed but the experience is barely hindered because of that. 

Samsung Galaxy M30s Cameras: bright, colorful, and appealing

The Samsung M30s comes with a triple camera setup with the standard 48MP sensor with an 8MP ultra-wide sensor and a 5MP depth sensor. This is a massive upgrade over the M30 and is more in line with the competition. Surprisingly the camera array is very similar to the Samsung Galaxy A50s. Now, the camera quality from the standard camera is pretty good, the dynamic range is impressive and the color science looks very appealing at the very least. The oversharpening is also well under control hence making pictures look naturally detailed. The standard camera also does a great job in low light and with the new night mode, it does even better. 

The wide-angle camera also gets an upgrade and seems to be doing a good job of maintaining that dynamic range. That said the wide-angle camera is the last thing you should be using in low light. As for the selfie camera, it stays the same at 16MP and produces selfies that you’d expect from a Samsung device. That said, you can turn the beauty mode off and get more detailed natural-looking shot if you want. 

Samsung Galaxy M30s Battery: the USP

The Samsung Galaxy M30s biggest standout feature even after sporting a gorgeous AMOLED display and triple camera setup is the 6000mAh battery. This massive number is boasted by barely any mainstream smartphone in this price range which is why it makes heads turn when reading the spec sheet. That 6000mAh battery has been phenomenal for me and in my two-day trip recently, I only had to charge the phone once at the end of the second day before I left for home and that too when used as a primary. 

The 6000mAh battery takes about 2 hours 20 mins on average to fully charge with the 15W charger inside the box. Yes! You do get a 15W charger inside the box this time.

Conclusion

The Samsung M30 wasn’t a phone that I recommended very often and while it was a good smartphone the competitors were too far ahead. The M30s unlike the name suggest is not a small update going by my thoughts it’d be an M30XL. Jokes aside, the camera setup gets a massive boost with a higher resolution standard as well as wide-angle camera, processor jump from 7904 to 9611 is significant and the battery performance with both the 6000mAh size and the 15W charger is hard to beat. While the M30s is still not the best most powerful phone in my eye, it’s as close as ever. 

Compared to the Realme 5 Pro and the Samsung M30 has a less powerful processor and the 5 pro has arguably better cameras, but the display, software experience, and battery performance is unbeatable on the M30s. The vivo Z1 Pro, on the other hand, has a bigger LCD display and a big 5000mAh battery and a slightly better processor as well, but the display quality is unbeatable on the M30s and the smaller display and bigger battery will mean better battery life. 

The one phone we have to talk about here is the A50s primarily because both these smartphones are the same except for a few tiny differences. The A50s looks more premium and shiny, there is an in-display scanner, and the battery is smaller. That makes the choice between these two phones easier. If you want long battery life and productivity then M30s, if you want that style as well then get the A50s. 

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Sreehari
sree.hari@u2opiamobile.com

Sreehari is in love; in love with technology. His enthusiasm for new gadgets can be seen in his videos. He single-handedly built Mr. Phone's YouTube channel and continues to persevere with Nitesh in making world-class tech videos. Sree - as everyone calls him affectionately - is also a big fan of Artificial Intelligence and Industrial Design. If he is not working on gadget reviews, Sree is a trained Carnatic singer. When you meet him, do to request for his rendition of Kabira by Arijit Singh.