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Samsung Galaxy A31 Review: Affordable, Yet Feature-Packed

Samsung Galaxy A31

The Samsung Galaxy A31 just got released and Samsung sent us a unit for review. With Samsung’s asking price of RM1,099, the device is packed with a tonne of features and that’s what got our interest piqued. Here’s our review of the Samsung Galaxy A31.

Specifications – Samsung Galaxy A31

CPUMediaTek Helio P65
RAM6GB
Storage128GB
Display6.4-inch Super AMOLED FHD+
Camera48MP Main
8MP Ultra-Wide
5MP Macro
5MP Depth
Camera (Front)20MP Main
Battery5,000mAh
15W Fast Charging
ConnectivityUSB Type-C
NFC
3.5mm Audio Jack
microSD Expansion
ColoursBlue, White, Black
PriceRM1,099

Design

Samsung Galaxy A31

The Samsung Galaxy A31 is thin and light, and it feels just right in my hands. I have big hands, so the phone feels compact, allowing me to comfortably use it single-handedly. The phone’s back is made of plastic, with this vector-like design on the back. Both the back and the sides also have a firm grip, meaning the phone will not easily slip from your hand or on a surface.

On the right side, you will find the power and volume buttons, and on the bottom is where the USB Type-C port, mono speaker grille, and 3.5mm audio jack lies. And on the left, there’s the SIM tray portion, while the top only has the microphone.

Despite it having a quad-camera setup, the camera bump is fairly minimal and I really appreciate it. That means the phone doesn’t wobble at all when I place it on the table.

There’s not much to shout about the phone’s design, just your standard smartphone design layout.

Display

Samsung Galaxy A31

The Samsung Galaxy A31 has a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display, and that is just amazing. For the price, you’re getting a great panel that even has Always On Display. And, you can even customise the Always On Display with different layouts and colours from the Settings.

The phone also has a narrow 20:9 aspect ratio, which is good, because content is spread out taller, instead of wider. That also means less scrolling when you’re viewing content like long form articles, or just scrolling on Facebook.

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Samsung Galaxy A31 Review: Affordable, Yet Feature-Packed 27
Samsung Galaxy A31

When it comes to viewing experience, the Galaxy A31 is just a pleasure to look at. Watching movies, or playing games, everything looks bright and crisp. Colours are extremely vivid with high contrast, and the blacks are really black. Details are crisp, and the screen can get really bright, which brings out the colours even more. Based on your preferences, you can change the One UI 2.0’s system to use the standard light mode, or save that extra battery life with dark mode. 

Another thing I really love about the Galaxy A31 is that despite being a mid-range device, it comes with full-screen navigation gestures. And the best part is, it’s really smooth too. I have outgrown the traditional navigation bar on the bottom, so it’s really great to see Samsung include this in the A31.

User Experience

Samsung Galaxy A31

The Samsung Galaxy A31 is great to hold and look at, but when it comes to using it, I was kind of disappointed. It’s powered by a MediaTek Helio P65 processor, paired with 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of internal storage.

The phone feels smooth most of the time, but for some reason despite the large amount of RAM, it can sometimes (very rarely) hang or just take really long to load an app. For example, I was setting up Samsung Pay on the device, and when it came to setting up a PIN for it, the screen hanged. This happens rarely, but just thought I should point it out.

Another thing is that I felt the system’s animations were a little too slow. I wish it were a little faster, or if I could, completely turn them off, so I can get to the app I need faster. That would’ve made the entire experience much faster and snappier.

Performance

Samsung Galaxy A31

We put the Samsung Galaxy A31 through a couple of tests to see how the CPU and GPU would perform. We used GeekBench 5 and 3DMark’s Sling Shot tests for performance testing.

In GeekBench 5, the device scored a 348 on the single-core test, while the multi-core test returned a 1,184 score. For Sling Shot Extreme, the phone got a 829 on OpenGL ES3.1, and an 857 on the Vulkan test. For the standard Sling Shot test, the phone scored higher at 1,103. These are just numbers, but when translated to real-life usage, we move on to the gaming section.

Gaming

Samsung Galaxy A31 Review: Affordable, Yet Feature-Packed 31

Gaming on the Samsung Galaxy A31 is mediocre for me. Games perform “okay”, because the device doesn’t support the higher end settings in certain games. For example, in Call of Duty: Mobile, it doesn’t even support medium graphic settings, and the frame rate can only be set to “Medium”. Depth of field can be turned on but that’s about it.

Samsung Galaxy A31 Review: Affordable, Yet Feature-Packed 32

In Asphalt, the game could only be played on “Default” settings. If you push it to “High Quality” settings, the game suffers from frame drops and screen hangs, and animations slowing down. You’d have no choice but to go back to “Default”, but at least the game would still be playable.

Samsung Galaxy A31 Review: Affordable, Yet Feature-Packed 33

Because of these lowered settings, gameplay is smooth and details are alright. Games are still very much playable, with the rare frame drops here and there. They’re still fun, just that you won’t be able to play them at their highest or maxed out settings.

Camera

Samsung Galaxy A31 Review: Affordable, Yet Feature-Packed 34

The Samsung Galaxy A31 performs quite well and there isn’t any shutter lag too. Seeing this is a mid-range device, I was expecting it to have the aforementioned issues, but it’s great that I was wrong. Pictures come out vivid, but a little over saturated. With enough balanced light, pictures can be detailed, but if there’s too much light, then images will also be prone to overexposure. As for night shots, there isn’t any night mode included, so the pictures tend to look slightly grainy and blurred in lit areas.

Here are some of the photos I took with the Samsung Galaxy A31:

Audio

Samsung Galaxy A31

The speaker on the Samsung Galaxy A31 is a mono speaker system that is downward firing. It doesn’t sound extremely good or anything, just a standard speaker that does what it’s meant to do. Volume is loud (which is good), but the lows are really flat and the mids are a little hit and miss. Even the treble is rather bland, and when the volume gets too high, you can hear some distortion too.

Battery

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Staying only at home, I’ve used the Samsung Galaxy A31 with the below routine on two settings – Wi-Fi only, and Mobile Data only. Wi-Fi scenario is to simulate how the phone’s battery level would be used when you stay at home the whole day, and mobile data would be to simulate if you were out and about the entire day.

Here’s what my daily routine looks like in CMCO:

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  • Wake up at 10am.
  • Scroll social media and eCommerce apps till 11am.
  • Get ready and go to work at my PC till 12.30pm.
  • Play games and surf social media while having lunch till 2pm.
  • Resume work at 2pm.
  • Listen to music from my phone with wireless earphones and speakers (I switch from time to time) while I work till 5pm.
  • Chill on the couch and surf social media and watch YouTube videos till 7pm-ish.
  • Have dinner while playing games till 8pm.
  • Netflix from then till 12pm.
  • Surf social media and eCommerce sites till 1am then sleep.
  • NOTE: Replying WhatsApp messages, taking calls, and replying emails are done throughout the entire day.

On Wi-Fi only, I end my day with about 44% battery. And on mobile data only, I end my day with about 37% battery.

The Samsung Galaxy A31 has a huge 5,000mAh battery that supports 15W fast charging. It took me quite a while to deplete the battery. From 10am in the morning, the battery only died out at 1.35pm the next day. To charge it back up, it was quite slow. A full charge took about 2 hours and 2 minutes.

Conclusion

Samsung Galaxy A31

The Samsung Galaxy A31 is packed with a tonne of features that are great for a mid-range phone, but it suffers from the occasional lag here and there. That being said, the phone’s asking price of RM1,099 is made justifiable with the inclusion of a large screen, a huge 5,000mAh battery, 48MP quad-camera system, NFC, and USB Type-C. These features are a great step forward, and we look forward to seeing Samsung put out even greater affordable mid-rangers.

Written By

Chief Content Developer at The AXO

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