Samsung Galaxy M40 impressions: Makings of a mid-range champion

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Samsung Galaxy M40 front display

Samsung’s attempts at capturing the middle of the market has been anything but subdued. A steady-spate of launches that have seemingly filled in every possible gap in pricing has led to a whole lot of new Samsung phones, but not all have been worth a recommendation. The all-new Samsung Galaxy M40 sits a notch above the Galaxy M30, a phone that we generally liked but didn’t quite have the cachet to win over the Redmi-loving crowd.

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Here are our first Samsung Galaxy M40 impressions.

It’s all about the design

Samsung is definitely playing up the design card with the Galaxy M40. This is a great looking phone that brings a display hole to a whole new price point. The Infinity-O cutout is similar to what we’ve seen on the Honor View 20 and the Galaxy S10e and presents itself as yet another way to avoid a notch. The display itself looks great and the Full HD+ resolution looks tack-sharp on the 6.3-inch panel.

Samsung Galaxy M40 back panel

It comes as no surprise that the Galaxy M40 is an incredibly comfortable phone to hold and use. This is a science that Samsung has got down pat. The ergonomics are great and the phone simply slips into your hand like few do in the price range. It helps that the phone weighs a mere 168 grams.

Like almost all of the A and M series of devices, the Galaxy M40 continues to use polycarbonate for its construction. This is great for every-day resilience, as the material resists damage from drops in a way that glass simply can’t. On the flip side, it doesn’t look and feel quite as premium.

Samsung Galaxy M40 volume and power button

The back of the Galaxy M40 is a fingerprint-magnet and you will find it nearly impossible to keep clean. The ultra-glossy finish reflects light from all angles and has an interesting-looking gradient pattern along the sides. For me, the clean-looking solid colors of the Redmi Note 7 line look just a bit more elegant.

The Galaxy M40 retains a standard fingerprint sensor over at the rear, and in our limited testing, we found it to be fast enough. Face recognition is available as an option and works rather well even in less-than-ideal light.

Oodles of power

  • Snapdragon 675
  • 6GB RAM
  • 128GB storage
  • Expandable via micro-SD

The phone is running on a Snapdragon 675 chipset with six gigabytes of RAM. This is the same combination as that on the Redmi Note 7 Pro. Suffice it to say there is enough power here to run anything you might want. As always, Samsung has done a fantastic job at optimising One UI for the hardware and the usage experience is absolutely sublime.

Samsung Galaxy M40 camera cut out

In fact, the user experience is what strikes me as one of the selling points of this new breed of Samsung devices. Yes, there are a few preloaded apps, but none of them get in the way and most can be removed. Moreover, the lack of any ads in the interface, notification bar or system apps is a big selling point that shouldn’t be ignored.

An upgraded camera

  • 32MP primary camera with F1.7 aperture
  • 5MP depth sensing camera
  • 8MP ultra-wide camera
  • 4K video recording

We weren’t all that impressed by the camera on the Galaxy M30. However, it looks like Samsung went back to the drawing board for the Galaxy M40. If our initial impressions are anything to go by, the phone shows a big improvement over previous devices in the M-series as far as imaging is concerned.

There are three camera sensors over at the back with the primary being a 32MP unit that is paired with an f1.7 lens for better low-light performance. The secondary is a 5MP depth sensor with the fourth being an 8MP ultra-wide camera.

The phone tends to oversaturate images just a bit with a hint of over-sharpening too. You won’t find much of detail if you are the kind to pixel-peep. Looked at on the phone though, the photos look rather splendid and ready to share on your favourite social media platform.

The wide-angle camera is a blast to shoot with and you can get some very creative angles with it. In daily use, you might find it useful to capture a large group of people or perhaps a building that is just too big in the frame.

Low-light or indoor imaging is definitely the Galaxy M40’s Achilles’ heel. Even on an absolutely still subject, we observed a lack of details and a generally, low-quality image. We’ll talk a lot more about the phone’s imaging capabilities in our full Galaxy M40 review.

Battery life could be a mixed bag

  • 3,500 mAh battery
  • 15-watt fast charging

We’ve not had enough time with the Galaxy M40 to make up our mind about the battery life on the phone, but it definitely lags behind competitors in sheer battery capacity. The 3,500 mAh battery on the phone is a fair-bit smaller than the 4,000 mAh unit we are used to seeing on phones in this category.

On the other hand, it is great to see Samsung finally embrace fast-charging across most of their portfolio. The Samsung Galaxy M40 supports 15-watt fast charging over USB Type-C and ships with a fast charger in the box.

Samsung Galaxy M40:  Our thoughts

In our 24 hours with the Samsung Galaxy M40, the phone left us with a positive impression. The hardware is plenty powerful and the phone excels in all the right ways. While comparisons will be drawn with phones like the Poco F1, there is enough grunt here to satisfy all but the most hardcore power seekers.

Samsung Galaxy M40 camera module

On the other hand, the excellent display, great ergonomics and versatile camera are all useful additions that improve usability in a meaningful way. It is still early days, but the Galaxy M40 has the makings of a credible mid-range champion. The phone is priced at 19,990 rupees (~$280) and will be available starting June 14.

What do you think about Samsung’s M series? Are they on the right track or would you rather buy a Xiaomi phone? Let us know in the comments.

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