Samsung Galaxy M10 review
Dual-camera setup with an ultra wide-angle lens
Despite its drawbacks, the Galaxy M10 has a trick up its sleeve - an ultra wide-angle lens. That's a rare commodity in the low-end segment and it's cool to see the feature making its way down the price ladder. It's a low-resolution 5MP sensor with f/2.2 lens and 1.12µm pixels but it will do for dramatic effects and posting on social media.
The main camera is 13MP with f/1.9, 1/3.1" in size and 1.12µm pixels. The main unit also supports PDAF (Phase Detection Autofocus) and it can shoot up to 1080p videos at 30 frames per second.
The front-facing unit is 5MP with f/2.0 opening but supports HDR and 1080p@30fps video recording. And before we dive into the pixel-peeping, let's take a look at what the standard camera app menus can offer.
It's a pretty simple one - swiping left and right will switch between camera modes and right above the shutter button, you will find a couple of additional quick toggles for the aspect ratio, the front-facing camera, color filters, and the flash. There's also the switch between the normal and ultra-wide angle camera. Tapping on the settings icon gives you a bit more control.
The front-facing cam also supports a cool gesture - just show your palm to the camera and a 3-second countdown will start and take the selfie. It's a must-have feature if you ask us and it works quite well.
The camera modes include a Beauty mode, Stickers, continues shot, Panorama and Pro. All are pretty self-explanatory but the Live focus is actually the bokeh or the so-called portrait mode. You have the option to adjust a few settings like color pop and skin tone before you take the shot.
What we found a bit irritating is the video recording mode. The viewfinder doesn't display the correct framing of the shot for video so you will have to hold the record button to frame properly before starting the recording. It's a bit of a hassle.
Given the price range of the phone, it's too naive to expect great performance in the camera department. There are too many hardware limitations, which can't be bypassed with software optimization. Having said that, the Galaxy M10 does have a couple of strong suits when it comes to still photography.
The contrast is nice, colors are okay and there's a good amount of detail. However, no matter if you use HDR on auto, on or off, you should expect a limited dynamic range. Shadows look way too dark and there are a couple of clipped highlights as well but the former issue is way more prominent. You can see that most of the photos turned out to be pretty dark even on this bright sunny day.
The wide-angle camera has a pretty prominent barrel distortion and there's no built-in algorithm to take care of this. But that's what you get from most ultra wide-angle lenses anyway.
The detail, on the other hand, is better than you'd expect from a 5MP unit and if the light conditions are met, the noise is limited. The wide-angle photos also turned out to be brighter than the normal ones but highlights are clipped.
Now that we're done with the pixel peeping, let's take a look at how the Galaxy M10 stacks against some of its competitors in our controlled environment test.
The portrait shots capture the natural skin tone and detail is okay. However, the edge detection is below average - as the price range of the phone. You can almost say it selects the blurred subjects randomly. And interestingly enough, we found out that the wide-angle camera isn't utilized as a depth sensor so the whole edge detection is done entirely by software, hence the rather underwhelming result.
Selfies are okay - natural skin tone with enough detail and rather impressive HDR capabilities. Keep in mind, though, that switching over to portrait mode will turn off the HDR and photos become a bit smoother.
Once the night drops, the noise becomes more prominent, the narrow dynamic range is once again problematic and you can even see a watercolor effect if you look from up close. The light sources lose their natural color as well. There's no dedicated night mode as well so you will completely lose detail in really dark environments.
Nonetheless, we find the low-light performance to be on par with the competition.
The low-light conditions took a toll of the wide-angle lens - no detail, hard to focus on the subject, plenty of noise but light sources appear more natural than on the normal nighttime photos. Curious.
Due to hardware limitations, the Galaxy M10 can record videos up to 1080p at 30 frames per second. There are no other modes or features to go with it and it was to be expected. You can, however, use the secondary ultra-wide-angle camera for video recording as well.
To be frank, we were pleasantly surprised by the video quality - colors are punchy, there's no apparent noise during the day but the problem with dynamic range is here to stay. This time around, the highlights are more problematic. The same applies to the ultra wide-angle videos.
There's no stabilization and no toggle to turn it on so videos will always appear quite shaky.
And here's a side by side comparison between the Galaxy M10 and two of its competitors in video recording.
- 05 May 2023
I have it now for 3 years and it's absolutely good, I love this phone 😀
- 12 Apr 2021
I had bought the M10 and I feel that this phone was created to bolster the M20. All the marketing campaigns focus on the M20 and there's not a whole lot on the M10. Still, this feels way better than its Chinese competitors though I will say...
- 17 Sep 2020
superb phone. when i bought this i was upset for no fingerprint sensor, why i am not purchasing m20 , and always comparing with m20. because m20 is only 1k costly form this phone. but time passes and passes. after all average phone. but this is also ...