Until last year, Samsung was struggling to compete against Chinese phone manufacturers like Xiaomi, Oppo and Realme in the budget segment in India. The company had to come with a fresh new strategy and plan, which is what led to the Galaxy M series. At the start of 2019, Samsung launched the Galaxy M10, M20 and M30 phones, which offered new designs, better hardware, attractive displays at competitive prices. In a market as dynamic as it is right now, these phones, no matter how popular they may be, can look dated in a matter of six months. This is why we now have the Galaxy M30s, launched in India starting at Rs 13,999.
The Galaxy M30s is one of the many 'S' series phones that Samsung has been quietly launching in recent weeks. The M30s, as the name suggests, is a refreshed model of the popular M30. Similarly, we have the M10s, A30s and A50s that are updated versions of the M10, A30 and A50 phones. Compared to its predecessor, the M30s packs a bunch of noteworthy upgrades like a massive 6,000mAh battery and a new Exxon's 9611 chipset. Are these upgrades enough to make you buy the Galaxy M30s over phones like the Realme 5 Pro and Redmi Note 7 Pro? We review the M30s to find out.
Galaxy M30s Design
The design of the Galaxy M30s is not too different from the M30. It gets a similar plastic unibody panel on the back with a triple camera setup on the top left corner and a fingerprint sensor placed above center, making it easy to reach. The only major visual difference is that the triple camera setup gets a wider, rectangular module to house the LED flash and "48 megapixel" branding. The design choice feels unnecessary, and is perhaps done simply to differentiate the M30s from the M30.
Again, going with plastic does make the Galaxy M30s feel less premium compared to some of the competition out there, but I really do mind this at all. It keeps the phone feeling lightweight at 188 grams, which is mighty impressive for a phone packing a big 6,000mAh battery. It weighs only 14 grams more than its predecessor. The M30s feels great to hold with a seamless curved panel that meets the display up front.
The M30s comes in three new colours - Opal Black, Sapphire Blue and Pearl White. Our review unit was in Sapphire Blue and it looks pretty good. It offers gradient hues of blue that shifts towards aqua blue or turquoise. It looks refreshing, but those looking for a subtler look may want to go for Black or White options instead.
The M30s gets all the necessary ports. There's a Type-C port on the bottom next to a 3.5mm headphone jack. There's a single speaker grille on the bottom as well. There is also a triple card slot that can hold two nano SIM cards and a microSD card (up to 512GB).
If I had to find one issue with the design of the M30s, it would be the buttons on the side. The power button and volumes aren't clearly defined as they are quite flush with the frame. This means they lack that tactile, clicky feel and can be often hard to make sense of.
Galaxy M30s Display
On the front, the Galaxy M30s gets a similar 6.4-inch FHD+ (2340x1080) Super AMOLED Infinity-U display as the M30. The display was a major highlight of the Galaxy M30, so it's nice to see that the company hasn't changed things here on the M30s. It looks as bright and attractive as you would expect from a Samsung display. Bezels around the screen are slim, except for a slightly thick chin. You still get around 90 per cent screen-to-body ratio, which is great.
The Super AMOLED display on the M30s offers excellent viewing angles. By default, the screen offers slightly muted and realistic colours, but you can switch to Vivid mode in Setting if you want punchier and saturated colours. Blacks are deep, which looks good with Night mode enabled.
The M30s screen is great for watching videos and playing games. With a 1080p resolution, videos and texts appear sharp. The M30s also comes with Widevine L1 certification, so you will be able to stream content on platforms like Netflix and Prime Video in true HD resolution.
Galaxy M30s Performance and Software
Samsung Galaxy M30s is powered by a 2.3GHz Exynos 9611 octa-core chipset based on a 10nm process. This is the same processor that also powers the new Galaxy A50s. The Exynos 9611 SoC is equipped with a Mali G72 MP3 GPU and is paired with up to 6GB of RAM. We received the 6GB + 128GB variant, which offered a largely smooth experience.
When it comes to raw benchmark performance, the Exynos 9611 scores decently with a multi-core score of 1,272 on Geekbench 5 and 1,32,319 on AnTuTu. These scores are slightly lower than the Snapdragon 665 SoC that powers phones like the Realme 5 and Mi A3.
In real world usage, the Galaxy M30s feels smooth during the initial days. It will be interesting to see how the processor performance over time, but you won't find a lot of reasons to complain about it right now. In fact, my experience with the Exynos 9611 SoC was better than the Snapdragon 665 chipset powering the Realme 5.
The Galaxy M30s can run games like PUBG in default high graphics without any noticeable lags. You do get the option to bump the graphics up to HDR, but this will lead to choppy gameplay with frequent drops in frame rate.
With a massive battery under the hood, a 30 minute session of PUBG drained the battery by only 7 per cent. The phone did get slightly warm after a while, but nothing alarming.
The Galaxy M30s ships with One UI based on Android 9 Pie. It's a relatively clean software experience compared to skins like ColorOS and FunTouch OS. One UI does not offer a lot of bloatware apart from a few preloaded apps like Snapchat, Helo, Netflix, Dailyhunt and Prime Video. Some of these apps are useful, while others can be uninstalled. Browsing through the UI is smooth and has been designed to make it easy for one-handed usage.
One UI also brings a system-wide night mode, which turns the background completely black. This looks great on the M30s' AMOLED display as blacks look deep. It also helps conserve battery life, although that's not much of a concern with the M30s. While there are some useful features with One UI such as Digital Wellbeing and Always On Display, you should also be prepared for occasional ads to randomly show up in the notification panel.
Galaxy M30s Camera
The M30s gets an upgrade in the camera department as well. The 48MP triple camera setup is a major buzzword this year and Samsung is catching up to that trend. The M30s offers a 48-megapixel main sensor using its own GM1 sensor.The camera system includes an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens and a 5-megapixel depth sensor. On the front, the M30s offers a 16-megapixel selfie camera.
The camera apps is quite basic and easy to use. You get some modes on the bottom like Photo, Live Focus, Video, Super Slow-mo, Pro, Panorama and Night and Food. You can also easily switch between the standard and wide-angle lenses in Photo and Video mode. There is an AI scene optimiser on board and auto HDR. The M30s also comes with beautifying effects that tend to smooth an image by default. Since this is a 48MP camera, the sensor will shoot in 12MP resolution by default and uses pixel binning to stitch four adjacent pixels to offer a brighter and clearer photo. You can also shoot in raw 48MP resolution by changing the ratio to 3:4 (48MP).
Talking about the performance, the Galaxy M30s has no trouble capturing bright and attractive photos in daylight conditions. Using the default 12MP mode will offer vibrant colours and good contrats. Dynamic range is also wide and noise is controlled. Switching to the wide-angle lens will offer a new perspective, letting you click a wider area at close range to the subject. It is best used in daylight, however, as wide-angle captures look grainy and noise indoors or in low light.
The 48MP mode can capture a lot of details even of far of subjects. You'll be able to zoom in quite a bit and still find some clarity. However, Sony's 48MP sensor on phones like the Realme X offers better slightly better clarity when zooming in. The 48MP mode is also best used in bright daylight conditions.
The dedicated Night mode can only be used with the main camera. It comes in handy in low-light conditions, extending the shutter time to allow more light into the frame. Sometimes, the camera manages some decent low-light photos with low noise and good detailing. Live Focus does a decent job at separating the subject from the background, but the sensor tends to overexpose the frame at times.
The 16MP selfie camera does a decent job when it comes to capturing selfies outdoors under bright light. By disabling the beauty mode, selfies look sharper and facial features look more natural. The selfie camera starts to struggle indoors and in low light, offering softer selfies with a lot of grain.
Galaxy M30s Battery
The biggest feature that separates the Galaxy M30s from every other smartphone right now is the battery. This is the only smartphone in India as of now that offers an insanely large 6,000mAh battery. It even makes the 5,000mAh battery on the M30 look small in comparison. With a huge 6,000mAh battery, Samsung says the M30s will offer a two-day battery life with ease, and I found this to be true and then some.
The Galaxy M30s is easily a two-day battery life. In fact, it may last well beyond two days for users on mild usage. During the review period, I stressed the battery life quite a lot, playing a lot of games, streaming videos combined with frequent social media browsing. Even with all that going on, the M30s managed to last me around a day and a half on a single charge with close to 9 hours of screen on time, which is fantastic. Standby battery drain is minimal as I found battery dropping only about 3-4 per cent overnight with Always On display enabled.
Unfortunately, the M30s comes with only a 15W fast charger in the box much like the M30. It takes over two hours to charge the "monstrous" 6,000mAh battery, which is quite slow. It would have been nice to see a faster 18W charging support for the M30s considering the size of the battery.
Should you buy the Galaxy M30s?
The Galaxy M30s is worthy upgrade to the M30. With a bigger 6,000mAh battery and new Exynos 9611 processor, the M30s feels more relevant than the M30 and i in a better position to take on the competition in the affordable mid-range segment. It's introductory launch price of Rs 13,999 also makes it more affordable compared to the Rs 14,990 launch price of the M30.
At this price point, the Galaxy M30s is a great choice for anyone looking for a smartphone with a long-lasting battery. The 6,000mAh battery is clearly the biggest reason to buy the M30s, but it is also nice to see the phone offer an all-round experience. Day-to-day performance of the phone and the 48MP triple cameras are good given the price, and Samsung never fails when it comes to delivering a stunning display.
That being said, the Realme 5 Pro will pose a stiff competition to the M30s as it offers slightly better performance with a Snapdragon 712 SoC and a 48MP quad camera setup for the same price. Some of the advantages the M30s has over the Realme 5 Pro is its stunning AMOLED display, massive battery life and cleaner One UI software.