Almost A Perfect Budget Phone
In this review, I’ll be discussing the new Samsung Galaxy M32. I have used this phone for around two weeks now alongside the Redmi Note 10S, which is arguably the best budget phone right now. I have already talked a lot about the Samsung Galaxy M32 in my early impressions so I will try to keep this review short and share my experiences here.
Samsung Galaxy M32 Specifications:
- Body: 74 x 159.3 x 9.3mm, 196 gm
- Display: 6.4-inches “Infinity-U” Super AMOLED, 90Hz Refresh Rate, 800 nits peak brightness (HBM), Gorilla Glass 5
- Resolution: FHD+ (2400 x 1080 pixels), 20:9 aspect ratio, 411 PPI
- Chipset: MediaTek Helio G80 4G (12nm Mobile Platform)
- CPU: Octa-core (2×2.0 GHz Cortex-A75 & 6×1.8 GHz Cortex-A55)
- GPU: Arm Mali-G52 MC2
- Memory: 4/6GB LPDDR4X RAM, 64/128GB eMMC 5.1 storage (expandable)
- Software & UI: Android 11 with Samsung’s One UI Core 3.1 on top
- Rear Camera: Quad-camera;
– 64MP, f/1.8 primary sensor, PDAF
– 8MP, f/2.2 ultra-wide camera, 123º FOV
– 2MP, f/2.4 portrait lens
– 2MP, f/2.4 macro lens
- Front Camera: 20MP f/2.2 sensor (notch)
- Audio: Loudspeaker, 3.5mm headphone jack
- Security: Side-mounted fingerprint sensor, Face unlock
- Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Geomagnetic, RGB Light, Virtual Proximity
- Connectivity: Dual-SIM (Nano), WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (Dual-band), Bluetooth 5.0, GPS / AGPS / Glonass / Galileo / Beidou, USB Type-C, 4G LTE
- Battery: 6000mAh with 25W fast charge (15W adapter inside the box)
- Color options: Light Blue, Black, Laser Green
- Price in Nepal: Rs. 24,999 (4/64GB) | Rs. 27,999 (6/128GB)
Samsung Galaxy M32 Review:
Allow me to start things off with what I have liked about the M32 and the aspects where it is better than the Note 10S. First, it has to be the display.
- 6.4-inches FHD+ Super AMOLED display
- 90Hz refresh rate, Gorilla Glass 5 protection
Although both these phones share a similar AMOLED Full HD screen on paper, I found the one on the M32 to be superior. It has better colors, especially the skin tone in videos, and the contrast levels are also quite accurate. Plus, with the 90Hz refresh rate on board, this screen feels smooth while navigating through the UI.
This is especially noticeable if you are coming from a 60Hz panel. Its brightness is sufficient for both indoors and outdoors usage too. And I didn’t notice any touch issues on the M32 either which is usually the case with the Redmi Note series phones.
Surprisingly enough, Samsung has included Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 protection here, while the Note 10S only features Gorilla Glass 3. So, apart from the outdated and ugly-looking notch, this phone pretty much delivers an excellent viewing experience.
- 6000mAh battery with 25W fast charging
- Only 15W adapter provided inside the box
Likewise, the battery is another major win for the Galaxy M32. Here, Samsung has fitted in a big 6000mAh cell on a relatively small body. And during my time with it, I didn’t feel like I was holding a typical bulky phone. Regardless, I got around 9 hours of SOT (Screen-On Time) under heavy usage which translates to, like, at least a day and a half of battery back up.
On moderate usage, I managed to squeeze out up to 11 hours of SOT which makes it an easy 2-day battery phone. With all this, I can confidently say that the Galaxy M32 is almost in the same league as the Galaxy M62 and the iPhone 12 Pro Max when it comes to battery endurance.
For charging, I didn’t use the 15W power brick provided inside the box since it will definitely take a lot of time to fill up this mammoth 6000mAh battery. Instead, I got myself Samsung’s 25W PD (Power Delivery) charger which is compatible with the M32. Here, this 25W charger takes just 1 hour 45 minutes to take the phone from 0 to 100%.
It would have been better if Samsung retired its 15W charger and started providing a 25W charger on the phones that support it by default. Or maybe just don’t include one altogether since this move effectively goes against the eco-friendly practices that we saw in the company’s flagship Galaxy S series smartphones this year.
- Quad-camera setup at the back
- (64MP main, 8MP ultrawide, 2MP macro, 2MP portrait)
- 20MP selfie camera inside the Infinity-U notch
Anyway, another show-stealer for the Galaxy M32 is its camera quality. You see, at this price range, the cameras of almost all the Chinese brands are sub-par and I think this is where Samsung truly shines thanks to its excellent optimization.
Here, its normal images have excellent colors and look brighter and livelier in comparison to the ones from Redmi Note 10S. The highlight preservation is also spot-on in most scenarios, whereas the Note 10S messes up with exposure.
Similarly, M32 locks the focus perfectly in difficult situations, while Note 10S fails miserably. Hence, Galaxy M32’s primary camera is much better than the Note 10S by a long shot.
Additionally, portraits also share the same story, where the M32’s photos are livelier. The ones from Note 10S aren’t bad by any means, but I prefer the skin tone and background colors of the M32.
Also, I got more consistent results with the M32 than the Note 10S in terms of color optimization.
Moving on, selfies are also superior on the M32.
It optimizes your skin tone, making them look better whereas you will find that the images from Note 10S have this unnatural contrast.
The other two lenses, the ultra-wide-angle, and the 2MP macro camera are kinda hit or miss.
Here, although the ultra-wide-shots look better than the Note 10S on most occasions with a wider field of view, overall, it outputs soft and darker images.
Plus, the dynamic range isn’t as good as the main camera either.
The macro images, well, as you can see, lack sharpness, and are quite dull.
Similarly, as the sun does down, nighttime images don’t work as well as daytime shots.
They are lacking in terms of details and overall, the images are not worth sharing on social media.
Night mode doesn’t do any big favor either, but it does improve the exposure and details by a bit.
Nevertheless, let’s now talk about not-so-good aspects of the M32 and the key areas where you’ll find the Note 10S doing a much better job. The first thing that comes to mind has to be its video ability. While M32’s photography department is outstanding for the price, it doesn’t reciprocate this achievement when it comes to the videos.
In fact, it’s inferior to the last-gen Galaxy M31. Here, you can only shoot up to 1080P 30fps videos and there’s no 4K 30fps or 1080P 60fps mode. The stabilization is poor and neither has Samsung included the Super Steady Mode here.
In comparison, Xiaomi provides EIS on the Note 10S, and hence, its footage comes off better stabilized. If it’s any consolation, the ultra-wide-angle videos from the M32 are steadier than those from its main cameras. Likewise, the slow-mo videos do a better job on the M32 if you compare it against the Note 10S.
- Octa-core MediaTek Helio G80 4G SoC (12nm)
- 4/6GB LPDDR4X RAM, 64/128GB eMMC 5.1 storage (expandable)
- Android 11 with Samsung’s One UI Core 3.1 on top (upgradeable)
Another aspect where the Galaxy M32 is just about average is in the performance department. It features MediaTek’s Helio G80 chipset, which is found on much cheaper Redmi devices, and Samsung’s own Galaxy F22.
I got myself the base 4GB RAM variant of the M32. After using it for 2 weeks as my daily driver, I found that its performance isn’t as bad as I’d initially anticipated, although it still isn’t as good as the competition.
Plus, the bigger culprit for this sub-par performance is the eMMC storage. Here, the Helio G80 powering the phone doesn’t support the faster UFS 2.1 standard. Now that’s quite hysterical because Samsung is the world’s No. 1 flash memory brand and the first company to develop 3D V-NAND storage.
With the eMMC storage protocol, the random read and write speed is much slower on Galaxy M32 in comparison to UFS 2.1 storage-powered phones. As a result, anything from opening apps to installing them is a tad bit slower on the M32.
UI / UX
Still, Samsung’s One UI rendered no problem throughout my usage. Unlike with Xiaomi phones, dark mode is well-optimized, the 90Hz mode is smooth for the most part, and there is no overheating issue either.
Plus, Samsung is offering quarterly security updates for up to 4 years and at least 2 generations of Android updates with the M32. That being said, the ultimate truth remains that this is a slower phone compared to the Redmi Note 10S, and you will notice this especially when playing graphically demanding games.
Even when I played Genshin Impact in the lowest of settings, the gameplay isn’t smooth as I’d hoped for. But since this game is extremely GPU-hungry, I will let it slide. Moving on to PUBG Mobile, I played the game under Smooth graphics and Ultra frame rates here and Samsung seems to have optimized it enough to run it smoothly.
I didn’t feel any choppiness or lags either and the gameplay was much better than Genshin Impact. Still, the graphics detail you’re getting isn’t as good as the one on the Note 10S. Call of Duty Mobile, which is one of the optimized games to run even in low-end chipsets, plays smoothly on the Galaxy M32 at Medium graphics and High frame rates.
Similarly, higher FPS games like Wargames, Critical Ops, and Mortal Kombat run smoothly at 90fps and fully utilize this 90Hz screen.
So, it seems like Samsung has optimized games to run fairly smoothly on this phone despite the hardware limitations. Plus, after more than an hour of gameplay, it only drained the battery by 10%, which is quite impressive. Still, let me reiterate that demanding titles like Genshin impact don’t yield a good experience and the overall UI/UX experience isn’t very smooth here.
Design & Build
- 74 x 159.3 x 9.3mm, 196 grams
- Plastic back/frame, glass front
Adding to the list of average aspects of the M32 is its design. It has a plastic back and during my usage, my unit has already suffered some scratches on the back. Additionally, Samsung could have given some colorful options as they did with the A22 as well.
And finally, you only get a mono speaker here. Even though this speaker is okay when watching movies, I kinda miss the stereo effect when listening to songs on Spotify.
In Samsung’s defense, they have retained a 3.5mm headphone jack and included a good DAC too. Moreover, this side-mounted fingerprint scanner works pretty well and I faced no trouble with it.
Samsung Galaxy M32 Review: Conclusion
To wrap up this review, if not for the performance, the Samsung Galaxy M32 would have almost been the perfect budget phone of 2021. I don’t mind its plastic body or the fact that it doesn’t have a stereo speaker. But, reliable performance is something of an absolute necessity for heavy users like me. Also, if you are a demanding user and play a lot of games, you should stray far from this phone.
That being said, if you are a moderate user like my sister, who only plays lightweight games like Ludo and Candy Crush, but wants an excellent battery life, great display, and reliable cameras that can take good photos from both front and the back, the Galaxy M32 is indeed an ideal phone for you.
Likewise, if you don’t have enough budget for the M32, you can consider getting the cheaper F22 which I am currently testing out. And from my early impressions, I can tell you that you won’t be missing out on too much with the F22.
Samsung Galaxy M32 Review: Pros & Cons
- Vibrant 90Hz AMOLED display
- Gorilla Glass 5 protection
- Excellent battery endurance
- Decent camera performance
- Samsung’s One UI is optimized
- No 25W charger inside the box
- Downgraded videography ability
- Relatively inferior performance
- Plastic build, dull color options
- Doesn’t have a stereo speaker