Large brands find it increasingly harder to fight for the hearts, minds and wallets of customers in the budget segment. Many manufacturers heroically leave the segment to make more mid-rangers and flagships. But sometimes comebacks do happen. In this review, we have a "comeback” from the market leader. So what is Samsung Galaxy M10?
Samsung Galaxy M10 specs
Copied from GSMArena:
- Technology: GSM/HSPA/LTE
- Launch: Announcement January 2019
- Status: Available from February 2019
- Dimensions: 155.6 x 75.6 x 7.7 mm, weight: 163 g
- Materials: glass front, plastic back
- SIM: Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, both in standby mode)
- Display: Type PLS TFT capacitive touchscreen, 16 million colors, 6.22 inches, 96.6 cm2 (~ 82.1% of the frontal area)
- Resolution: 1520 x 720, aspect ratio 19: 9, 270 ppi
- Platform: Android OS 8.1 (Oreo), updated to Android 9.0 (Pie); Samsung Experience 9.5, updated to One UI
- Chipset: Exynos 7870 Octa (14 nm) CPU, 8-core (1.6 GHz Cortex-A53), GPU Mali-T830 MP1
- Memory: microSD slot, up to 1 TB (not combined), Built-in 16 GB, 2 GB RAM or 32 GB, 3 GB RAM
- Cameras: The main camera is double: 13 MP, f/1.9, 27 mm (wide angle), 1/3.1", 1.12µm, PDAF + 5 MP, f/2.2, 12 mm (ultra-width), LED flash, HDR, panorama Video: 1080p @ 30fps
- Selfie camera: 5 MP, f/2.0, 32 mm, video 1080p @ 30fps
- Sound: External speaker, 3.5 mm jack, active noise reduction with a dedicated microphone
- Communications: WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot, Bluetooth 4.2, A2DP, LE, GPS A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, FM Radio, USB microUSB 2.0
- Sensors: accelerometer, approximation
- Battery: non-removable Li-Ion 3400 mAh battery
- Colors: Ocean Blue, Charcoal Black
- Models: SM-M105F, SM-M105G, SM-M105Y, SM-M105M
- Price: about 100 EUR
Our video about Samsung Galaxy M10
If you do not want to read the text - watch the video!
Positioning and price
Due to the fact that this is the most basic solution, with the basic technical characteristics, it’s the cheapest smartphone from Samsung. The price tag for the 2/16 GB version costs about 100 Euro. This device offers bare minimum: there’s no NFC nor quick charging - nothing to increase the cost of the device.
What’s in the box
I got a pre-sale sample in my hands. The box includes: manuals, a charger, a cable and a SIM card eject tool.
Design, materials, elements’ configuration and build quality
Galaxy M10 looks a bit like a flagship. The keyword is "a bit." Slightly tall "chin" and the plastic of the rear panel makes it unambiguously clear that the device is not of "noble blood". Nevertheless, plastic does not creak and is pleasant to the touch.
Also there’s a dual main camera, and thin bezels around the display, and a miniature trendy notch with a selfie camera.
The only (very, very subjective, by the way) nuance of the design of the back panel. I bet that in 10 seconds you will be able to name at least 5 more smart phone models that look absolutely identical. On the other hand, these are simple trends, and you should not cling to them. On the bottom is a speaker, more about it later.
I am ambidextrous and it was hard for me to use it with my left hand, I had to either change the grip in order to reach the volume key and lock button located on the right, or simply use your my right hand.
On the left is a slot for two nanoSIM cards and a microSD memory card with a capacity of up to 1 TB.
Below is the 3.5 mm audio jack and microUSB port. I’ll be frank – in 2019 (yes, even in budget sector) I would like to see Type-C. Yes, I know - all budget phones come with microUSB. But someone should take the first step sooner or later, right?
I have a blue version of the device on the test, which looks beautiful. The design visually makes the smartphone more expensive. Although I am not a fan of blue, I admit that it does look nice.
Samsung Galaxy M10, as I said earlier, is a basic level smartphone. Moreover - I personally was scared by 2 GB of RAM. As it turned out - in vain. Yes, a bunch of apps will shut down in the background, or launch slower. But all of this is acceptable. Mali-T830 runs PUBG at minimum settings with no problems, as well as NFS No Limits. AnTuTu showed me 62956 points.
Still, do not expect miracles. But you can’t call it a weak smartphone either: it’s worth the money. I am also surprised at the lack of heating. 40 minutes of benchmarks, 10 minutes of NFS and a 20-minute session in PUBG did not even make M10 warm.
If someone 5 years ago had told me that I would be comfortable with a 6.22” smartphone, I would have laughed. And I would call it a phablet. Or a “shovel”. Now, such things are a norm. The resolution is not for VRs and Cardboards - 1520 x 720, pixel density - 270 ppi with an aspect ratio of 19:9.
The matrix is PLS, with IPS' viewing angles and color reproduction, and in terms of brightness it even exceeds IPS in budget models. Even in direct sunlight, information stays readable. The automatic brightness control is slow, though.
Personally, I was quite comfortable with this screen - both reading and surfing the Internet, and playing games.
When it comes to cameras in the budget segment, usually all one can say is “it’s a camera alright". But not in this case. Of course, the revolution did not happen, but the cameras for this price segment are quite okay. Galaxy M10 cameras need light, lots of it. Here it is necessary to shoot during the day and sleep at night. The main modules are 13 Mp and 5 Mp with f/1.9 and f/2.2, respectively. The pictures come out quite bearable, and taking into account the price tag you can even say normal.
The color rendition is more or less honest, without the hysterical greens, famous from other Samsung products. And here in this regard, everything is more or less "as is". The second camera is a full-fledged ultra-width module, but it does not know how to measure the depth of field, it is done by digital witchcraft. And in order to blur background, you need a human face. The feature is far from perfect, but quite usable.
And ultra-wide module can warp pictures. Let me translate it into English: ultra-width makes a bulge effect. And when you press the clever special button "to adjust the shape", it removes this bulge, slightly cropping the picture around the edges.
If you are a photo enthusiast, and you want thousands of subscribers to your Instagram account, you’d be better off with another phone. Or master witchcraft in Snapseed.
The selfie camera: 5 megapixel f/2.0. No miracles here either, but selfies turn out fine. Despite HDR, the backlight is plain bad for this camera. Of course, there are stickers, how else?
Both cameras shoot in Full HD at 30 frames per second. Nothing interesting – see the samples for yourself.
PUBG without headphones (yes, I know, PUBG without headphones is like hiking without matches) is very quiet. Very quiet - the footsteps of enemies were first drawn on the mini-map, and only then became audible. During the incoming call, the speaker volume of the smartphone is quite enough.
But overall it’s… fine. You have Dolby Atmos, but we've talked about it enough times, so it makes no sense to re-write it all over again. The sound is quite sensible for the undemanding user, and the demanding can play with the equalizer.
Samsung Galaxy M10 Battery life
The built-in non-removable battery Galaxy M10 has a capacity of 3400 mAh. It is enough for a usual day of use. For example, setting up the smartphone, installing PUBG, NFS, updating the Google Apps, Samsung apps, watching a 20 minute video on YouTube, playing PUBG for 20 minutes in, 5 races in NFS, taking a picture, doing 15 minutes of benchmarks - all this has drained 12%. I mean, from 100% to 88%. And this is at the maximum brightness of the display. A very good result.
There is no fingerprint sensor. But there is face unlocking. It hardly works in pitch darkness, but it works, even if not as quickly as I would have liked. But around the notch you have a neat animated strip. Fancy.
The smartphone does not have NFC and WiFi ac standard, only n. You can forgive it WiFi, but NFC is a must for every modern phone. On the other hand, NFC in budget smartphones is still not common. And the rest - well, you’ve got Bluetooth, radio...
Firmware and software
My pre-sale model, on Android 8.1.0 Oreo with Samsung Experience version 9.5 interface soon will be updated to Android 9.0 with One UI interface. Be thankful there’s no TouchWiz - RIP - but the interface looks similar to M20’s – it’s a more advanced version of M10, with a fingerprint sensor.
I will add that the system works stably, smoothly, although at times I would like it to be smarter. But it looks great.
Samsung Galaxy M10 is, well… okay. An okay smartphone for a child, a non-demanding adult or a senior. A kid can play a game, an adult can watch something on his way to work and seniors… I don’t know what they do with a smartphone. It’s a universal device that does all it’s supposed to do.
Are there downsides? Of course, there are – it’s certainly not perfect. Do you want USB-C in the budget segment? But the mass buyer would probably be furious (an unusual cable, you know). Looking for contactless payments? Go buy Galaxy M20.
Personally, I like this smartphone. It’s... charismatic, you know? It looks good, and I managed to run my favourite games, with no problems. And I remind you, I had a pre-sale sample, and not the production model. So the camera, and everything else on the software part can be improved. Don’t blame me for disinformation.
If everything written above doesn’t impress you, I’d recommend reading the review of M20, the “big brother” of Galaxy M10.
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