Samsung has started a new Galaxy range of devices — the Galaxy M. The company launched two phones in the series, the M20 and the M10. Of the two, the M20 clearly has the better hardware. But on the flip side, the M10 comes with a much more affordable price tag, starting at Rs 7,990 as compared to the Rs 10,990 that the M20 commands.
But just what do you get and miss out on? Read on.
Looks like the M20
The M10 looks almost exactly like the M20, with a similar “drop notch” display and a glossy plastic back with dual cameras on it. The display at 6.22 inches is slightly smaller than the 6.3 inch one on the M20 and the phone is also slightly slimmer. But perhaps the most distinguishing point between the two devices is the fact that the M10 does not have a fingerprint sensor on the back.
It does not have one on the front either, so you are going to be relying totally on your face or a passcode/pattern to unlock this one. All said and done, the M10 looks a lot like its elder brother, which is a bit of a mixed thing — it is smart enough but not really a stunning device to look at. Not that there are many at its price point.
Slightly lower specced
The M10 cuts some spec corners to get its lower price tag. The display is HD+ and not full HD+, and the processor powering the device is the more modest Exynos 7870 (the M20 had the Exynos 7904). RAM and storage options are at 2 GB/ 16 GB and 3 GB / 32 GB, while the M20 starts at 3 GB/ 32 GB. That said, it also comes with a dedicated micro SD card slot apart from dual SIM card slots, allowing you to expand storage to 512 GB.
The battery is slightly smaller at 3400 mAh, and there is no fast charging here. The connectivity options, however, are all there — 4G, Bluetooth, Wi Fi and GPS. These are relatively lower mid-segment specs, but we have not mentioned the cameras. Ah, that’s because they are the next point.
Same dual cameras as the M20… yay!
Perhaps the most outstanding feature of the M10 is the fact that it features the same rear dual camera set up as seen on the M20: a 13 megapixel main sensor and 5 megapixel secondary sensor. The secondary sensor is a 120-degree ultra wide angle camera, which allows you to capture more area, although at a lower resolution.
This means that you are going to get some of the best photographs you can get from a phone at this price point, along with a whole lot of shooting options and tweaks. The cameras are very good for good light snaps, and even do a decent job in low light. For the price, these are very good cameras indeed. The front snapper, however, is different, from the M20 — 5 megapixels as compared to 8 megapixels. And well, while you get reasonable selfies and a lot of shooting options and stickers, we would call the selfie camera a very poor cousin of the rather good snappers at the back.
Don’t push it and it will excel
With that sort of hardware, it would be naive to expect the M10 to set performance records. The display might be only HD+ rather than full HD+ but it is bright and handles colours well, and the phone copes with routine tasks like web browsing, social networking and messaging very well indeed.
You can even get through some sessions of Subway Surfer, Temple Run and Candy Crush Saga without any lags. But yes, do not even think of getting a very smooth PUBG experience on this device. It is clearly meant more for routine work than niche play. The phone runs on Android 8.1 with Samsung’s interface on top. While we would have preferred Android Pie, the phone supports gestures and generally works smoothly enough.
On first sight, we felt that the 3400 mAh battery on the M10 was a bit on the smaller side. However, thanks perhaps to the lower resolution display on the phone, it actually lasted us a day of normal usage with a few hours of calls, and constant email and social networking. Yes, there is no fast charging but with its lower capacity, the battery does not take long to charge. We must confess we were surprised here.
Face unlock does not beat the fingerprint one
One of the most notable differences between the M20 and the M10 is the fact that the latter does not have a fingerprint scanner. Did we miss it? Not for routine tasks like unlocking the phone, for which the Face Unlock feature on the phone worked well enough.
However, the phone itself warned us that the feature could be fooled by photographs and videos — which was not very reassuring. And considering that we are getting fingerprint sensors on phones at this price point, we really wish Samsung had not cut this particular corner.
A good price… if you do not want the earth
At Rs 7,990 for the 2 GB/ 16 GB variant, the M10 is very competitively priced. No, it does not deliver a path-breaking performance but goes along steadily and ticks most mainstream usage boxes.
Those cameras on the back are its biggest USP, though, as is the reliability that many associate with the Samsung brand name. It is easily the best device from an “established” and older brand at this price point. Its closest rival is the Redmi 6 from Xiaomi, which brings a slightly better (if smaller and notchless) display and a fingerprint sensor, although its battery is smaller.
Traveller’s Tip: When it comes to sheer security, on Android devices, the fingerprint scanner or a passcode is generally more secure than face unlock. No, this is not an Apple vs Android debate, but at the time of writing, most Android devices did not have secure enough face unlock mechanisms and could be fooled by videos and photographs. We are hoping that this will change in 2019, and until then, better be safe than sorry.