An entry-level 5G smartphone that ticks most of the correct boxes- Technology News, Firstpost

An entry-level 5G smartphone that ticks most of the correct boxes- Technology News, Firstpost

Pros
– Great battery life
– 90Hz display
– 5G capabilities at a budget price point

Cons
– Display’s resolution and contrast
– Slow charging

Price: Rs 13,999

Rating: 4/5

The Samsung Galaxy M13 5G is one of the most affordable 5G smartphones in India. Samsung is positioning the M13 5G, with its 11 5G bands, as the perfect gateway into 5G internet in India, in case you don’t have a 5G capable smartphone. The smartphone has some pretty solid things going for it at least on paper. For example, it has a solid 5,000 mAh battery, a 50MP primary sensor, theoretically up to 12GB RAM and a bunch more nifty features.

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Image Credit: Tech2 | Mehul Reuben Das

But then, there are also some glaring omissions as well. The fact that it is equipped with an HD+ display, it uses a year-old SoC, and that its fast charging isn’t all that fast, does take away some of the points. 

So how exactly does the Galaxy M13 5G fare out? At the price point at which Samsung is offering the Galaxy M13 5G, how well does it fit the Value For Money tag?

Samsung Galaxy M13 5G Review: The design
The M13 5G has a very clean aesthetic. Samsung hasn’t used any fancy back panel or cleverly designed camera island – instead, the two cameras sit almost flush to the back panel, tucked away in the top-left corner. The plastic unibody has a soft, matte finish which makes the device nice to touch. And although the smartphone comes with a matte finish it still is prone to smudges and fingerprints. Luckily for us, our test unit was the Aqua Green variant and does not show those smudges that easily. Darker colours, like the dark blue or the brown variant, will show more fingerprints

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Image Credit: Tech2 | Mehul Reuben Das

Because the phone is made of polycarbonate, it feels average to hold, and is rather light, Having said that, the device still feels solidly built. The edges are rounded, which, along with the lack of a slippery surface at the back makes the whole device easy to hold on to, especially when using the device with a single hand.

On the front, we get a teardrop notch on the front display that houses the front facing camera, and some pretty thick bezels on all four sides. As expected with any display today that has such bezels, the bottom bezel is the thickest.

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Image Credit: Tech2 | Mehul Reuben Das

We get a power button at the side of the Galaxy M13 5G which also doubles up as a fingerprint scanner. The power button also accompanies the volume rockers on the right side of the device. The left side of the device has the smart SIM tray which can house 2 SIM cards. Here, we also get the provision to add a microSDXC card of up to 1 TB, thanks to the microSD slot.

At the bottom, we see a speaker grille, the 3.5mm audio jack, as well as the USB Type-C port, which is rated at USB 2.0 speeds.

All in all, the design of the device is pretty clean and simplistic, nothing too premium or wild. On the plus side though, it does feel solid and sturdy in the hand.

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Image Credit: Tech2 | Mehul Reuben Das

Samsung Galaxy M13 5G Review: The display
The M13 5G comes with a 6.5-inch HD+ PLS LCD display with a resolution of 720×1600 pixels and supports a variable refresh rate of up to 90Hz. The display has a peak brightness of 400 nits, which gets pretty bright, but not bright enough, especially when you’re outdoors. The display is also protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3.

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Image Credit: Tech2 | Mehul Reuben Das

And while the display will get the job done for most users, colours on the display seemed a little muted because of the contrast of the display. The display in itself felt a little washed out and lacked the classic punchiness and warmth that is typical for displays in Samsung’s phones, even in phones that come with with an LCD panel. 

So obviously, there is no point in comparing the display with an OLED panel. Moreover, the HD+ resolution may seem fine while casual usage, but it becomes quite apparent when you’re watching videos, playing games or reading something against a white background. 

Samsung Galaxy M13 5G Review: The camera
To save costs, and keeping practicality in mind, Samsung has used a simple dual camera setup on the rear instead of going for a quad or a triple camera setup. I think more and more smartphone makers should take this route instead of adding on more camera units and sensors on the back that do not make any sense and worse, do not take even half-decent photos. 

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Image Credit: Tech2 | Mehul Reuben Das

The M13 5G’s dual camera setup features a 50MP primary sensor with an f/1.8 lens and PDAF, along with a 2MP depth sensor with f/2.4 lens. The photos out of the primary camera are decent enough and nothing to write home about. Give the M13 5G adequate light and you’ll get good photos with good details. 

Low light photography isn’t something that we would recommend the M13 5G for – the images are just okayish. Even the night mode doesn’t seem to do much – it reduces the graininess of the photos, but also smudges out a lot of detail. The shots taken under low light are grainy but that’s to be expected.

The UI for the camera is pretty basic and simple, neat. You get a pro mode to play around with the settings, along with panorama, food and night modes. Videos, again, are decent enough. You sure won’t be using this to make A grade quality vlogs or anything like that, but they will get the job done. The camera is limited to 1080p at 30fps as far as video is concerned

As for the front facing camera, it is a 5MP unit that is placed behind the teardrop notch on the display. The images seemed fine when we opened them on our workstations, but they looked a little washed out on the display of the device. The skin tones were good enough. However, the images from the front facing camera were grainy, despite the fact that the images were so heavily processed that all little details from the skin were almost wiped away. The front facing camera also pulls the duty to unlock the phone with the face, there are no sensors for that.

Click here for some unprocessed and uncompressed images from the Samsung M13 5G.

Samsung Galaxy M13 5G Review: The performance, software experience and UI
The M13 5G is powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 700 chipset, an octa-core SoC running at 2.2Ghz. Our unit was equipped with 128GB for storage and 6GB of RAM, which can further be expanded to up to 6GB thanks to RAM Plus for a total of 12GB RAM. The additional 6GB is taken from the storage, so do keep that in mind.

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The Dimensity 700 SoC is good enough if you’re not a power user.The smartphone handles juggling between apps pretty well, and most daily tasks can be carried out without a hitch. 

It can handle gaming as well, but users will need to temper their expectations. I was able to play games like Asphalt 9 and Call of Duty Mobile. The gaming experience was adequate enough under the Balanced graphic setting. You get smooth, playable frame rates, but not at a very good visual preset. Call of Duty Mobile did jitter a little though.

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Image Credit: Tech2 | Mehul Reuben Das

As for the software experience and UI, the M13 5G comes with One UI 4 and Android 12 out of the box, but Samsung has already rolled the Android 13 update out. One UI 5.0 is as solid as One UI 4, and only better, so there’s really nothing to complain on that front. Yes, there is some bloatware, but it isn’t egregious. As for other neat tricks by Samsung, there is also auto data switching which ensures that the phone is connected all the time.

For connectivity, the M13 5G gets WiFi 6E, BlueTooth 5.0, 11 5G  bands, a 3.5mm audio jack and USB-C at USB 2.0 speeds. 5G connectivity is pretty solid on the M13 5G. We tested 5G connectivity using AirTel and were about 350-400 metres away from a tower and were getting about 105 MBPS. During the half an hour we were using 5G to watch YouTube videos, the device got a little warm, but not to the extent where it would be conspicuous, and we saw a significant drop in battery.

Samsung Galaxy M13 5G Review: The battery life
This is where the M13 5G is at its strongest. The 5000 mAh battery that M13 5G carries can easily last a day with heavy usage. You’ll easily get over 10 hours of screen on time at 70 per cent brightness. Our typical usage included watching videos, browsing the internet, some amount of gaming, going through emails, conference calls with the office etc.

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Image Credit: Tech2 | Mehul Reuben Das

The only downside is that the charger we get with the M13 5G is a 15W charger, which means that charging the device is slow as per today’s standard. It took us a good 2.5 hours to charge the device back 100 per cent, once we had drained it out.

Samsung Galaxy M13 5G Review: The verdict
The M13 5G is a pretty average phone that is competing in a very crowded segment, and faces some pretty solid competition. The Samsung Galaxy M13 5G is among the cheapest 5G smartphones in India, among the likes of the Poco M4 5G and M4 Pro 5G, the Motorola Moto G51 5G, all of whom are slightly more expensive than the M13 5G’s price tag of Rs 13,999. 

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Image Credit: Tech2 | Mehul Reuben Das

Despite using an SoC that is almost a year old, the device manages to hold its own. And given the Galaxy M13 5G’s price, battery life, 90Hz display and the fact that it does really well on 5G, it is really difficult to fault the device for the omissions that Samsung chose. Having said that, Samsung could have done better with the display. 

All in all, if you are in the market looking for a 5G smartphone at the cheapest possible price, that will actually function and last you more than a year, then the Samsung Galaxy M13 5G is the safest way to go.

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