Picking the best Samsung phones under P15,000, three devices come to mind — Galaxy M31, Galaxy A31, and Galaxy M31s. The first two are already available for purchase in the Philippines for P13,990 and P14,990, respectively. Just last week, the company announced the Galaxy M31s in India with a starting price of INR 19,499(~P12,700). It will go on sale on August 7. If we are to describe it in a few words, it’s like the M31 and A31 had a baby. To be specific, let’s talk about their differences and similarities.
What are the similarities?
True to Samsung roots, all three phones feature FHD+ Super AMOLED, with screen sizes between 6.4-inch and 6.5-inch. Through Gorilla Glass 3 is present as well, the company hasn’t mentioned the version it uses for the A31. But trend-wise, the M31s leads the pack with a centered-pinhole cutout for the selfie camera. Not it’s like a big deal, but it will entice regular consumers more over the teardrop notch. As for the design, all three are still on Samsung’s glass-tic solution; polycarbonate material made to appeal like glass. We do have to mention, however, that only the A31 uses an in-display scanner.
Spec-wise, all three are sporting 6GB RAM and 128GB expandable storage via dedicated microSD slot. At least, in the Philippines. In India, higher models with higher capacities are available. As for the M31s, in case it arrives in the country, we expect it to be the 6GB/128GB model and not the 8GB.
The similarities continue to the cameras, with each sporting quad-lenses and a single selfie sensor. The same goes for the batteries, with 5000mAh for the A31 and 6000mAh for the rest.
Why Choose Galaxy M31?
At 191g and 8.9mm thick, the Galaxy M31 is the heftiest of the bunch. That is until we get the official dimensions and weight of the M31s. Despite it, it’s still a handy phone, thanks to the screen size. Much like the Galaxy A51, the M31 uses the Exynos 9611, alongside One UI 2.0 on top of Android 10. The chipset isn’t the best for playing games, but it’s enough to handle the most popular ones with frequent stutters at higher settings.
If you’re looking for the best cameras, the M31, with the M31s, sits atop the A31. We’re looking at 64MP sensor, 8MP ultrawide, 5MP macro, and 5MP depth. Thanks to the chipset, video recording reaches up to 4K@30fps with EIS on lower resolutions. What’s more, the 32MP selfie camera is also capable of UHD recording! In other words, your TikTok game is crispy in detail and plenty in sharpness.
Another reason to get the M31 is the massive 6000mAh battery, though coupled by a (not so) fast 15W charging via USB-C that takes more than three hours to go from zero to full.
If there’s a feature you need to take into consideration when picking up the M31, well, that’s the design. Whether it’s red, black, or blue, the aesthetic doesn’t appeal like most smartphones today. You definitely want to put a case on it to make it more interesting.
Why Choose Galaxy M31s?
Imagine the M31, but with a better paint job and faster charging; that’s the M31s. For the most part, you get the same performance, camera, and battery experience. But, there are a few changes to take note.
Starting with the display, the Super AMOLED is not only great to look at, but the pinhole cutout makes the entire phone look more expensive than the A31 and M31. The camera, particularly the ultrawide lens, got upgraded from 8MP to 12MP. Though not substantial, ultrawide shots should get you better detail at the very least.
Despite the AMOLED screen and absence of rear fingerprint scanner, the M31s still features a capacitive type, this time, embedded on the power button on the side. You may be missing out on a futuristic feature, but it’s the essentials that really matter. The M31s supports 25W fast charging, which, in theory, should make top-ups around a little bit over two hours and a half. Additionally, the blue variant fades in two colors, making the phone more appealing than its predecessor.
If only the M31s is in the Philippines, it would easily be our best recommendation among the three.
Why Choose Galaxy A31?
While the Galaxy M series is Samsung’s most affordable mid-range lineup, the Galaxy A isn’t too far behind. The A31 is a step in feature and design compared to the two devices. Firstly, it has a geometric pattern on the back that shines in red, black, blue, and white. It’s also the thinnest and lightest among the group. Secondly, the fingerprint scanner gets embedded onto the display. And as reviewed, it’s decently fast considering the price tag. So, what else does it have to offer? Well, not a lot, really.
The battery is smaller but still generous at 5000mAh, with fast charging capped at 15W. The 48MP quad-cameras and 20MP selfie seem to be decent, but it can only capture up to FHD@30fps video. As to why is that, the Helio P65’s ISP, simply, doesn’t support it.
The only reason why you should get the A31 is that the M31s isn’t available in the country, and you want the latest tech and better-looking phone. You really need to be specific with your needs to make it the best phone for you.
Which is the best phone?
See the price breakdown:
- Galaxy M31 – 6GB/128GB – P13,990
- Galaxy A31 – 6GB/128GB – P14,990
- Galaxy M31s – 6GB/128GB – INR 19,499(~P12,700)
- Galaxy M31s – 8GB/128GB – INR 21,499(~P14,000)
Obviously, the M31s is the best phone out of the three. But due to the lack of availability, the M31 still remains as the one to get. The A31 is hard to recommend when the M31 exists. However, if you want the closest thing to A31 but with better cameras, the Galaxy A51 retails for P17,990.
|Specs||Samsung Galaxy M31||Samsung Galaxy M31s||Samsung Galaxy A31|
|Display||6.4″ FHD+ Super AMOLED Infinity-U, Gorilla Glass 3||6.4″ FHD+ Super AMOLED Infinity-O, Gorilla Glass 3||6.4-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED, Infinity-U notch, Gorilla Glass|
|Design||polycarbonate body||polycarbonate body||polycarbonate body|
|Dimensions and Weight||159.2 x 75.1 x 8.9 mm, 191 g||159.2 x 75.1 x 8.9 mm, 191 g||159.3 x 73.1 x 8.6 mm, 185g|
|CPU/Chipset||Octa-core (4×2.3 GHz Cortex-A73 & 4×1.7 GHz Cortex-A53)
/ Exynos 9611 (10nm)
|Octa-core (4×2.3 GHz Cortex-A73 & 4×1.7 GHz Cortex-A53)
/ Exynos 9611 (10nm)
|Octa-core (2×2.0 GHz Cortex-A75 & 6×1.7 GHz Cortex-A55)
/ Helio P65 (12nm)
|GPU||Mali-G72 MP3||Mali-G72 MP3||Mali-G52 MC2|
|Storage||128GB UFS 2.1 with dedicated microSD slot of up to 256GB||128GB UFS 2.1 with dedicated microSD slot of up to 256GB||128GB UFS 2.1 with dedicated microSD slot of up to 256GB|
|Connectivity & Ports||4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi ac, GPS, USB-C, audio jack||4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi ac, GPS, USB-C, audio jack||4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi ac, GPS, USB-C, audio jack|
|Security||face unlock, rear-mounted capacitive scanner||face unlock, rear-mounted capacitive scanner||face unlock, in-display scanner|
|Audio||mono speaker||mono speaker||mono speaker|
|OS||Android 10.0; One UI 2.0||Android 10.0; One UI 2.0||Android 10.0; One UI 2.0|
|Colors||Ocean Blue, Space Black||Black, Blue||Prism Crush Black, Prism Crush Blue|
|Price||Php 13,990||INR 19,499(~P12,700) and INR 21,499(~P14,000)||P14,990|
|Release Date||February 2020 (India), May 29, 2020 (Philippines)||July 30, 2020 (India), TBD (Philippines)||April 2020 (South Korea), June 15, 2020 (Philippines)|