Samsung Galaxy M30s review

GSMArena team, 25 Dec 2019.

Android 9 Pie-based One UI

It's been a while since Samsung transitioned over from Samsung Experience to the so-called One UI so we are pretty familiar with the new looks and features. And in this handset, One UI shines bright as the design is primarily focused on one-handed use and it's quite useful with this tall 6.4-inch display.

Samsung Galaxy M30s review

The notification shade, for example, brings down the quick toggles upon a second swipe down so it's easier to reach all the shortcuts with your thumb. All of the system apps and menus are designed the same way - most of the UI elements with which you can interact are within thumb's reach and placed in the lower half of the screen. The same goes for the Settings menu as well - when you open the general settings menu, you can bring down the upper rows down to the bottom for easier reach.

Home screen, notification shade, app drawer and recent apps menu - Samsung Galaxy M30s review Home screen, notification shade, app drawer and recent apps menu - Samsung Galaxy M30s review Home screen, notification shade, app drawer and recent apps menu - Samsung Galaxy M30s review Home screen, notification shade, app drawer and recent apps menu - Samsung Galaxy M30s review Home screen, notification shade, app drawer and recent apps menu - Samsung Galaxy M30s review
Home screen, notification shade, app drawer and recent apps menu

Anyway, one of the first things we've noticed is that the Galaxy M30s offers an Always-on display feature. This is one of those rare occasions where a mid-range handset packs the highly sought after functionality. It's found in the Lock screen menu and it doesn't offer all of the customization options the flagship models do but the basics are there. You can set it to be always on, or show at current time or show upon a single tap on the screen. The so-called FaceWidgets offer a few other options such as weather, alarm, music or today's agenda - they can be shown on the lock screen and on the always-on display.

General settings menu, always-on and FaceWidgets - Samsung Galaxy M30s review General settings menu, always-on and FaceWidgets - Samsung Galaxy M30s review General settings menu, always-on and FaceWidgets - Samsung Galaxy M30s review General settings menu, always-on and FaceWidgets - Samsung Galaxy M30s review General settings menu, always-on and FaceWidgets - Samsung Galaxy M30s review General settings menu, always-on and FaceWidgets - Samsung Galaxy M30s review
General settings menu, always-on and FaceWidgets

The Display menu lets you tinker with brightness, blue light filter, color calibration and touch sensitivity. The usual stuff. Perhaps you'd be more interested in the system-wide dark mode toggle as well as the Navigation bar sub-menu. The latter lets you choose between the good old software buttons and Samsung's full-screen gesture-based navigation.

Display settings and gesture navigation options - Samsung Galaxy M30s review Display settings and gesture navigation options - Samsung Galaxy M30s review
Display settings and gesture navigation options

A single swipe from the middle takes you back to the home screen, swipe up from the left summons the recent apps list and if you swipe up from the right of the center acts as a back button. Pretty straightforward. You can swap the position of the recent apps and back buttons if you are used to the other way around.

As far as biometrics go, the face unlock is decently fast and accurate but, of course, less secure. We have one small complaint about the fingerprint reader. The reader is of the cheaper kind and requires you to swipe your fingertip when enrolling one. It feels as if the scanner is fast enough to unlock the phone but the screen takes a bit more time to light up. It could be due to some software optimization or the chipset isn't fast enough to read the fingerprint data. One thing is for sure - there's a bottleneck somewhere in there and we've seen better fingerprint reader implementations at this price. It's not a deal-breaker by any means but it's something worth considering as well.

Fingerprint setup - Samsung Galaxy M30s review Fingerprint setup - Samsung Galaxy M30s review
Fingerprint setup

If you feel the software sluggish or you are not a fan of animations, Samsung has put a neat toggle that reduces animations. The phone would feel speedier, although we'd like to note that the at no point the phone felt sluggish or choppy. We had a snappy and fluent experience overall with no hangs or freezes.

In the same Advanced features menu, you will find some useful gestures like lift-to-wake, double-tap-to-wake, smart stay (keeps the display on while you are looking at it) and a swipe on the fingerprint reader can bring up or down the notification shade. We found the gestures to be reliable enough.

Advanced features, gestures and motion - Samsung Galaxy M30s review Advanced features, gestures and motion - Samsung Galaxy M30s review
Advanced features, gestures and motion

At the end of the day, if you are coming from a much older Samsung smartphone, you will find the newer One UI a lot whole different. It would take some time getting used to but compared to other custom skins of Chinese competitors, for example, Samsung's skin is considerably more mature in a sense. And there are plenty of features to go through with most of them being a rare sighting in this price range such as the always-on display feature.

Performance

One of the biggest, if not the biggest, upgrade the M30s has to offer over its predecessor is the chipset. The new Exynos 9611 inside offers better power efficiency than the old Exynos 7904 thanks to the refined and efficient 10nm FinFET manufacturing process. The new Exynos is notably more powerful as well due to 4x higher clocked Cortex-A73 cores ticking at 2.3 GHz and the 4x low-energy Cortex-A53 cores working at 1.7GHz. The improved Mali-G72 MP3 GPU on board should also offer better raw performance graphically-intensive tasks.

Samsung Galaxy M30s review

The M30s comes in two flavors, 4GB/64GB and 6GB/128GB and our review unit is of the first kind and features UFS 2.1 storage.

And here's how the chipset fares against the competition.

GeekBench 4.1 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Redmi Note 8 Pro
    6999
  • Xiaomi Mi 9T
    6863
  • Realme 5 Pro
    6106
  • Motorola Moto G8 Plus
    5641
  • Samsung Galaxy M30s
    5566
  • Samsung Galaxy A50
    5396
  • Samsung Galaxy M30
    4188

GeekBench 4.1 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Mi 9T
    2537
  • Redmi Note 8 Pro
    2472
  • Realme 5 Pro
    1913
  • Samsung Galaxy A50
    1715
  • Motorola Moto G8 Plus
    1530
  • Samsung Galaxy M30s
    1489
  • Samsung Galaxy M30
    1311

GeekBench 5 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Redmi Note 8 Pro
    1622
  • Samsung Galaxy M30s
    1334
  • Motorola Moto G8 Plus
    1325

GeekBench 5 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Redmi Note 8 Pro
    493
  • Samsung Galaxy M30s
    350
  • Motorola Moto G8 Plus
    314

AnTuTu 7

Higher is better

  • Redmi Note 8 Pro
    224759
  • Xiaomi Mi 9T
    211915
  • Realme 5 Pro
    182765
  • Samsung Galaxy M30s
    152075
  • Samsung Galaxy A50
    144574
  • Samsung Galaxy M30
    101651

AnTuTu 8

Higher is better

  • Redmi Note 8 Pro
    279355
  • Samsung Galaxy M30s
    180321
  • Motorola Moto G8 Plus
    168699

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Redmi Note 8 Pro
    29
  • Xiaomi Mi 9T
    27
  • Realme 5 Pro
    27
  • Samsung Galaxy M30s
    16
  • Samsung Galaxy A50
    14
  • Motorola Moto G8 Plus
    13
  • Samsung Galaxy M30
    8.1

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Redmi Note 8 Pro
    24
  • Xiaomi Mi 9T
    24
  • Realme 5 Pro
    22
  • Samsung Galaxy M30s
    14
  • Samsung Galaxy A50
    13
  • Motorola Moto G8 Plus
    12
  • Samsung Galaxy M30
    7.3

GFX 3.1 Car scene (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Redmi Note 8 Pro
    18
  • Xiaomi Mi 9T
    16
  • Realme 5 Pro
    15
  • Samsung Galaxy M30s
    10
  • Samsung Galaxy A50
    9.2
  • Motorola Moto G8 Plus
    7.1
  • Samsung Galaxy M30
    5.2

GFX 3.1 Car scene (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Redmi Note 8 Pro
    14
  • Xiaomi Mi 9T
    13
  • Realme 5 Pro
    12
  • Samsung Galaxy M30s
    8.7
  • Samsung Galaxy A50
    8
  • Motorola Moto G8 Plus
    6.5
  • Samsung Galaxy M30
    4.6

3DMark SSE 3.1 Unlimited

Higher is better

  • Redmi Note 8 Pro
    2439
  • Xiaomi Mi 9T
    2329
  • Realme 5 Pro
    2253
  • Samsung Galaxy M30s
    1477
  • Samsung Galaxy A50
    1353
  • Motorola Moto G8 Plus
    1128
  • Samsung Galaxy M30
    645

As you can see, there are more powerful alternatives in the price range. The Exynos 9611 is more powerful than the Exynos 7904 inside the M30 and does alright most of the time. It still stuttered in certain game titles so if you plan on doing a lot of gaming you might want to look either at rivals with more capable chipsets or at one of Samsung's more premium offerings.

Reader comments

  • Vivek

I bought M30s mobile and once their warranty completed, It restarted in loop. Reset factory, Software update not worked. I have visited samsung service center and they told me to change motherboard. It cost 9k almost device price. I have read...

  • ABC

Very bad mobile phone

  • Anonymous

I bought this m30s phone in Jan.2020..After 1.year of running it is hanging.... Not able to use..., Technician says mother board has to be replaced...I never expected this cheap quality from a technical giant company...Most of m30s phones are not wor...