Samsung Galaxy M30 review

GSMArena team, 26 June 2019.

OneUI to rule all Samsungs

The Galaxy M30 arrived at the office with Android Oreo on board and a Pie update waiting in the notification shade. We installed that, and we'll be looking at the Android 9.0-based Samsung OneUI that we're already quite familiar with from other handsets. For practical purposes it's the same software experience you'd get on any recent Samsung phone with Pie on it - effectively, it's as if you have the flagship S10, with a welcome twist - there's no Bixby on the M30.

Samsung Galaxy M30 review

There is an always on display feature, enhanced for OneUI with the option to only show when you double tap on the screen. You can set up a daily schedule as before, or keep it truly always on.

Biometric security on the M30 is two-fold - it has the fingerprint sensor on the back, and then there's a basic, camera-only face unlock. Our experience with fingerprint recognition on the M30 was identical to what we observed on the M20 - the single swipe to enroll is simple but makes us think it might be the type of reader Samsung used to put on its phones a while ago. The recognition success rate was not stellar, but unlock speed was reasonably fast as long as you give the phone a few seconds between the unlock attempts.

Always on display - Samsung Galaxy M30 review Always on display - Samsung Galaxy M30 review Always on display - Samsung Galaxy M30 review Face unlock - Samsung Galaxy M30 review Fingerprint reader settings - Samsung Galaxy M30 review Fingerprint reader settings - Samsung Galaxy M30 review
Always on display • Face unlock • Fingerprint reader settings

You're then taken to the homescreen with the large colorful OneUI icons. You'll likely appreciate the fact that the quick toggles pull all the way down for easy reach - one of OneUI's key features. Less handy is the way folders still open full-screen with the apps in them high up - not very easy to reach, no. Another thing that's changed for the worse since the previous Samsung Experience is the handling of multi-window with most of the options now missing, which is on top of the already clunky native Pie implementation, for which Google is to blame.

Homescreen - Samsung Galaxy M30 review Notifications - Samsung Galaxy M30 review Quick toggles - Samsung Galaxy M30 review Folder view - Samsung Galaxy M30 review Task switcher - Samsung Galaxy M30 review Multi window - Samsung Galaxy M30 review
Homescreen • Notifications • Quick toggles • Folder view • Task switcher • Multi window

Pie is all about gesture navigation and Samsung's offering one take on the process. Conventional buttons are replaced by swipes from the bottom of the screen with the swipes doing what the buttons that used to be there did. Similarly to the also available navigation bar, you can swap the back and recent apps keys, and you can also hide the gesture pointers altogether. It's not quite the full-on gesture interaction you can have on a Xiaomi or a Huawei phone, but it's Gesture navigation alright.

Samsung's also implemented a Night mode, which turns UI elements black or dark gray. It works in settings and notifications as well as in-house apps like the Gallery and the Samsung browser. Open the Play Store, for example, though, and the magic is ruined. Until Google implements a system-wide Dark mode with Android Q, you would have to switch each app manually, if it has that capability in the first place.

Gesture navigation options - Samsung Galaxy M30 review Gesture navigation options - Samsung Galaxy M30 review Night mode - Samsung Galaxy M30 review Night mode - Samsung Galaxy M30 review Night mode - Samsung Galaxy M30 review Night mode - Samsung Galaxy M30 review
Gesture navigation options • Night mode

In line with the rest of the UI changes, the general Settings menu has been revamped too. It's pretty compact, and some of the settings you might be looking for have ended up elsewhere. For example, the Device care sub-menu now accommodates the Battery settings and information, storage and memory management and the security features.

Tapping on the Battery icon will open up the familiar battery menu full of settings and adjustments. Aside from the usual info and features which you'd find on pretty much every other Android handset, Samsung has added a couple of additional options.

You have three power modes - Optimized, Medium-power saving and Maximum power saving. Optimized is the default one with performance cranked up to the maximum. In the upper right corner of the battery menu sits another sub-menu giving you more granular control over your power consumption.

Google's push for the so-called Digital wellbeing has reached Samsung's One UI too. If you were ever wondering how much time you spend on your phone and which apps you mostly used, the Digital well-being sub-menu would give you the details. It's cool, but it will probably stay unused by most users.

Settings - Samsung Galaxy M30 review Settings  - Samsung Galaxy M30 review Device care - Samsung Galaxy M30 review Battery settings - Samsung Galaxy M30 review Digital wellbeing - Samsung Galaxy M30 review Digital wellbeing - Samsung Galaxy M30 review
Settings • Device care • Battery modes • Digital wellbeing

Samsung still uses its in-house Gallery app for browsing photos and videos, while music playback was outsourced to Google Play Music a while ago - but with the help of proprietary Samsung sound enhancements. There is also an FM radio app on board, a proprietary My Files file manager app, the Game launcher utility. What's missing is Bixby.

Gallery - Samsung Galaxy M30 review GPM - Samsung Galaxy M30 review Audio settings - Samsung Galaxy M30 review FM Radio - Samsung Galaxy M30 review My Files - Samsung Galaxy M30 review Game Launcher - Samsung Galaxy M30 review
Gallery • GPM • Audio settings • FM Radio • My Files • Game Launcher

Synthetic benchmarks

The Galaxy M30 is powered by Samsung's in-house Exynos 7904 chipset, the same SoC you'd find in the M20, A30, and A40. Despite the larger number, it's essentially a downclocked 7885, and that certainly makes sense in some way to someone at Samsung. The CPU has eight cores in a 2+6 configuration - 2xCortex-A73 at 1.8GHz (2.2GHz in the 7885) and 6xCortex-A53 at 1.6GHz. The GPU is Mali-G71 MP2 all the same.

The M30 has two RAM/storage versions, and we have the base 4GB/64GB one, which should be plenty. There's also a more expensive variant with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, but that seems like a waste given the dedicated microSD slot on the M30.

Samsung Galaxy M30 review

Having reviewed the M20, we knew very well what to expect from the M30's benchmark runs. It delivers a two times improvement over the M10 in single-core GeekBench but is relatively underpowered in such tasks and is bested by Snapdragon 710 Realmes and lagging a lot behind the Snapdragon 675-based bunch. That pretty much the case under multi-core loads too.

GeekBench 4.1 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro
    2404
  • Samsung Galaxy A70
    2391
  • Motorola Moto Z4
    2371
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
    1650
  • Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite
    1628
  • Huawei P30 Lite
    1534
  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)
    1532
  • Realme X
    1475
  • Realme 3 Pro
    1471
  • Samsung Galaxy A40
    1325
  • Samsung Galaxy A30
    1319
  • Samsung Galaxy M20
    1313
  • Samsung Galaxy M30
    1311
  • Samsung Galaxy M10
    724

GeekBench 4.1 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro
    6620
  • Samsung Galaxy A70
    6584
  • Motorola Moto Z4
    6515
  • Realme X
    5915
  • Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite
    5894
  • Realme 3 Pro
    5881
  • Huawei P30 Lite
    5523
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
    5411
  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)
    4418
  • Samsung Galaxy M30
    4188
  • Samsung Galaxy M20
    4160
  • Samsung Galaxy A30
    4146
  • Samsung Galaxy A40
    4112
  • Samsung Galaxy M10
    3662

It's of little consolation that the M30 inches ahead of the A30 in Antutu, when competitors like the Realme 3 Pro and the Redmi Note 7 are so far ahead.

AnTuTu 7

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro
    180754
  • Motorola Moto Z4
    173234
  • Samsung Galaxy A70
    167750
  • Realme 3 Pro
    155647
  • Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite
    143257
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
    139075
  • Huawei P30 Lite
    129887
  • Samsung Galaxy M20
    108658
  • Samsung Galaxy A40
    106388
  • Samsung Galaxy M30
    101651
  • Samsung Galaxy A30
    96550
  • Sony Xperia L3
    78894
  • Samsung Galaxy M10
    64144

The M30's GPU isn't really a powerhouse itself, and in GFXBench it hovers around half the number of frames per second that Redmi Note 7 Pro is capable of, with the Realme 3 Pro posting scores three times as high as the Galaxy.

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Realme 3 Pro
    23
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro
    17
  • Samsung Galaxy A70
    15
  • Motorola Moto Z4
    15
  • Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite
    15
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
    15
  • Huawei P30 Lite
    14
  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)
    9.9
  • Samsung Galaxy A40
    8.1
  • Samsung Galaxy A30
    8.1
  • Samsung Galaxy M30
    8.1
  • Samsung Galaxy M20
    8
  • Sony Xperia L3
    6.1
  • Samsung Galaxy M10
    3.2

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Realme 3 Pro
    20
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro
    15
  • Motorola Moto Z4
    14
  • Huawei P30 Lite
    13
  • Samsung Galaxy A70
    13
  • Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite
    13
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
    13
  • Sony Xperia L3
    11
  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)
    8.7
  • Samsung Galaxy A40
    7.4
  • Samsung Galaxy A30
    7.4
  • Samsung Galaxy M30
    7.3
  • Samsung Galaxy M20
    7.1
  • Samsung Galaxy M10
    6.3

GFX 3.1 Car scene (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Realme 3 Pro
    13
  • Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite
    9
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
    9
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro
    8.7
  • Samsung Galaxy A70
    8
  • Huawei P30 Lite
    7.7
  • Motorola Moto Z4
    7.2
  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)
    6
  • Samsung Galaxy A40
    5.2
  • Samsung Galaxy M30
    5.2
  • Samsung Galaxy M20
    5
  • Samsung Galaxy A30
    4.5
  • Sony Xperia L3
    2.7
  • Samsung Galaxy M10
    2

GFX 3.1 Car scene (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Realme 3 Pro
    11
  • Motorola Moto Z4
    8
  • Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite
    8
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro
    7.9
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
    7.7
  • Huawei P30 Lite
    7
  • Samsung Galaxy A70
    7
  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)
    5.2
  • Sony Xperia L3
    5
  • Samsung Galaxy A40
    4.6
  • Samsung Galaxy A30
    4.6
  • Samsung Galaxy M30
    4.6
  • Samsung Galaxy M20
    4.4
  • Samsung Galaxy M10
    3.7

The Galaxy M30 has an adequate processing power with a decently potent CPU and a GPU that's not quite up to the standard of the competition. It's not slow, but if you're looking for performance, the M30 shouldn't be on top of your list. There's the occasional stutter when you play 3D games, and honestly, Samsung could have outfitted its midrangers with more powerful chipsets to keep them more competitive.

Reader comments

If you like photography then A30, if you like Battery then M30

  • gobikrishnan

past of 5 month is i am using this mobile good perfoemance

  • Nikunj Hirpara

LTE-Advance (Carrier aggregation) is not working for this handsets. I've raised it to Samsung team but not getting proper response from them. Processor being used for this Phone is Samsung in-house processor (Exynos). Seems they are not able to d...