Samsung's Galaxy M series has yet another addition in the form of the Galaxy M51. The Galaxy M series has not only grown in size but also in price. With the Galaxy M51, the M series now has an offering priced above Rs. 25,000. While most manufacturers have been chasing performance, Samsung is running a different race with the Galaxy M51 — this model packs a 7,000mAh battery which is huge compared to all its competitors. Does that mean this phone is only good at one thing, though? I review the Galaxy M51 to find out.
I did spend some time with the Galaxy M51 when the smartphone was first launched, and wrote my first impressions of it. I did have a few concerns about its size and weight, but after using this smartphone for a few days I can say that it is easy to live with. One might think that a 7,000mAh battery would make a phone very bulky, but that isn't the case here. Samsung has managed to distribute the weight quite well, and the phone doesn't feel like it'll tip over. However, it weighs 213g and you will feel this after using it for a while.
Samsung has gone with an Infinity-O display, which means there's a hole at the centre of the top of the screen for the front camera. The screen borders are thin all around. The display measures 6.7 inches and has a tall 20:9 aspect ratio. This makes it hard to reach the top of the display while holding the smartphone in one hand. There is Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection on the display.
Samsung has gone with a side-mounted fingerprint scanner embedded into the power button. It's well positioned and I could unlock the smartphone quite easily while holding it in either hand. The volume buttons are also on the same side but sit higher, making them a little tough to reach. You still get a 3.5mm headphone jack on the Galaxy M51, and it's positioned at the bottom along with the USB Type-C port and speaker.
The Galaxy M51 has a ‘Glasstic' back and I wouldn't be surprised if people mistake it for a smartphone from the Galaxy A series. I had the Celestial Black colour which is super glossy and picks smudges up very easily. There was no protective case in the box so I had to keep wiping the phone to maintain that glossy shine. The quad-camera module sits in the corner almost flush with the back of the phone.
Samsung ships a 25W charger in the box, something I also saw with the Galaxy M31s. This should help charge the massive battery relatively quickly.
While many models in the Galaxy M series have been powered by the Exynos 9611 SoC, Samsung has used the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G for the Galaxy M51. This is a significant bump in terms of hardware and gives the Galaxy M51 an edge. Samsung offers 6GB RAM and 8GB RAM variants, priced at Rs. 24,999 and Rs. 26,999 respectively. Storage is the same for both at 128GB but you do have the option to expand that using the dedicated microSD card slot.
Samsung's 6.7-inch Infinity-O display has a full-HD+ resolution but it does not have a high refresh rate. Some of its direct competitors such as the OnePlus Nord and the Realme X3 do offer this modern feature. That aside, the Super AMOLED display on the Galaxy M51 is gorgeous. You can tweak the colour output through the Settings app, and it gets sufficiently bright when outdoors.
The Galaxy M51 ships with Android 10 and Samsung's OneUI Core 2.1 on top. My unit was running the August Security patch which is recent. Having used a lot of Samsung phones recently, the UI was very easy to navigate around. Samsung has added a bunch of useful customisations to Android 10. The Samsung Galaxy M51 also gets the new Nearby Share feature which makes transferring files between supported devices very easy.
The smartphone also has features such as Dual Messenger, gesture navigation, Game Launcher, and more. Since the top of the tall display is hard to reach, Samsung has also added a gesture that lets you pull down the notification shade and quick toggles by swiping down on the fingerprint sensor, which is very helpful.
Samsung does preinstall a few Microsoft and Google apps, as well as Dailyhunt, Chingari, MX TakaTak, Moj, Snapchat, Candy Crush Saga, and Amazon. Dailyhunt and Chingari push notifications aggressively after being launched. If you don't use these apps I would recommend that you uninstall them from the device. Samsung's My Galaxy app also pushes notifications for Covid updates as well as promotional content.
The Samsung Galaxy M51 offers snappy performance and it never showed any sign of slowing down while I was using it. I found the fingerprint scanner to be quick to unlock the smartphone, and it never really needed more than a single attempt. The face recognition feature also had the same speed and accuracy. I enjoyed watching videos on the Galaxy M51 thanks to the display's punchy output. Since the front camera hole is in the centre, some people might find it distracting.
I ran a couple of benchmarks to see where the Galaxy M51 stands compared to some of the competition. In AnTuTu, the Galaxy M51 managed to score 2,64,696 points. In Geekbench 5's single-core and multi-core tests, it returned 548 and 1782 points respectively. The OnePlus Nord (Review) which is priced in the same range scored a little higher in these benchmarks. As for graphics performance, the Galaxy M51 managed 59fps and 27fps in GFXBench's T-Rex and Manhattan 3.1 benchmarks respectively.
Asphalt 9 ran well at the Default quality setting and bumping the graphics up to High did not cause stutters either. The Galaxy M51 could run this game without any lag. Playing for 15 minutes resulted in a two percent drop in the battery level. The phone did not get warm to the touch even after this.
I know a lot of people will be curious about the battery life, just as I was, because you don't see a phone with a 7,000mAh battery every day. With my basic usage running benchmarks, taking photos and making a few calls, the phone lasted me for over two days on a single charge. In our HD video loop test, the phone managed to go on for 32 hours, which is the highest performance we've seen in a long while from any phone at any price. The supplied 25W charger is quick, and it took only around two hours to charge the phone completely.
Samsung has gone with a quad-camera setup on the Galaxy M51 and the configuration is quite similar to what we saw on the Galaxy M31s (Review). There's a 64-megapixel primary camera with an f/1.8 aperture, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide angle camera with a 123-degree field of view, a 5-megapixel macro camera, and a 5-megapixel depth sensor. There have been no significant changes to the camera app either. The default photo mode has Scene Optimiser enabled by default but you can disable it.
The Galaxy M51 was quick to lock focus, and the Scene Optimiser could quickly recognise what the camera was pointed at. Photos taken in daylight turned out well with good details and decent dynamic range. Objects at a distance were recognisable and some text was legible. The Galaxy M51 also enables HDR automatically in bright scenes, resulting in good shots. I found the wide-angle camera to be useful for capturing a wide field of view, but there was noticeable distortion at the edges of photos. The lower resolution wide-angle camera also does not capture the same level of detail as the primary sensor.
You get 16-megapixel shots by default from the Galaxy M51, but you do have the option to take photos at the full 64-megapixel resolution. Photos shot at the full resolution had better details but lacked sharpness as well as dynamic range. The Single Take feature works exactly like it does on the Galaxy M31s and offers multiple output options after recording a 15 second clip.
Closeup shots taken with the Galaxy M51 were sharp and had a soft depth effect for the background. Samsung's Live Focus mode lets you shoot portraits and even preview the level of blur in the viewfinder before taking a shot. The output had decent edge detection as long as the subject was still. You also have the option to change the level of blur after a shot is taken, as well as change the type of blur. The 5-megapixel macro camera lets you get close to a subject and captures adequate details.
Low light camera performance was decent and photos looked good as is, but you will notice fine grain on zooming in. There is a Night mode which crops the primary sensor's output to minimise shakes and delivers slightly brighter photos with better details. Night mode is available for the wide-angle camera as well, and delivers similar results.
Selfies taken with the Galaxy M51 were very good, and the phone smoothens them by default. Photos are shot at 8 megapixels by default but you can switch to a wider 12-megapixel resolution. You also have the option to capture 32-megapixel full resolution selfies. In low light, the selfie camera performed well and managed to capture good details. You can also take selfie portraits using the Live Focus mode. With a mask on, the AI did not recognise my face and failed to blur the background, but it worked as expected without the mask. This is something Samsung might be able to fix with a small update.
Video recording tops out at 4K for the primary as well as the selfie cameras. There is a slight shimmer effect at 1080p as well as 4K when the smartphone tries to stabilise footage. This is visible while shooting in daylight as well as in low light. Samsung does offer a Super steady mode which uses the ultra-wide angle camera and does a much better job. However, it only shoots at 1080p only and the output is darker.
With the Samsung Galaxy M51, the Galaxy M series now caters to a much wider range of prices. I am sure the Galaxy M51 has grabbed a lot of attention because of its big 7,000mAh battery, and it really does deliver very good battery life. The Snapdragon 730G SoC also offers good performance and will keep people happy at this price point.
The cameras are good but video stabilisation could do with some tweaks to improve performance. The Galaxy M51 will easily outlast most of the competition with each charge, and if battery life is high on your priority list then the Galaxy M51 should be a strong contender. The OnePlus Nord (Review) would be a suitable alternative if you are more focused on general performance.
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