Samsung’s M-series is known for its big battery smartphones that can easily last you more than a day. Back in May, we reviewed the Galaxy M14, which proved to be a solid smartphone under Rs 15,000. Now Samsung is back with another addition to the M-series lineup. The Galaxy M34 is slightly pricier than its younger sibling, M14. With a 6,000 mAh battery, this smartphone promises to last for 2 days. But how does it perform in other aspects? Read our Samsung Galaxy M34 review to find out.
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Samsung Galaxy M34 review: Design and Display
Samsung has brought uniformity to their smartphone releases this year. This isn’t just restricted to the design language of the phones, but also their retail boxes. The Samsung Galaxy M34 ships inside a sleek rectangular box, as opposed to the bulky M Series boxes of the past. While sleek is almost always good, this is certainly one of the exceptions. Upon unboxing the package you will realise that it doesn’t ship with a power adapter. A sad trend which has now found its way to affordable smartphones as well. Nevertheless, inside the box, you get the smartphone, some reading material, a SIM ejector tool, and a USB Type-C charging cable.
The Samsung Galaxy M34 retains the all-too-familiar design of the flagship S Series. The plastic back panel horses the vertically arranged triple camera setup. While we like that an affordable smartphone gets the same design as the company’s flagship release, we do miss every smartphone having its own unique personality.
The plastic back of this smartphone attracts fingerprints and smudges very easily. Using this smartphone in the thick of the monsoons when humidity levels are at their highest meant constantly wiping the back to get rid of any unwanted smudges. You can also bypass this problem by slapping a case on the phone. The right edge of the curved frame houses the volume rocker and the side button. The side button also doubles as a fingerprint scanner. The hybrid SIM slot has been positioned on the left side of the frame. At the bottom, you get the 3.5mm headphone jack, a USB Type-C port, a primary microphone, and the speaker grille. The secondary microphone has been placed at the top edge of the frame.
The highlight of this smartphone is its 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display that has a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz. With a peak brightness of 1,000 nits, this display is perfectly legible under direct sunlight. The touch response is phenomenal, something that we’ve come to expect from Samsung smartphones. We’d suggest splurging some extra cash and going for the M34 over the M14 for this display alone.
We played HD content on the M14 across different OTT services. The quality of images relayed on the screen left no room for complaint. If you’re upgrading from a smartphone with an LCD display, you’ll immediately notice the richness in colour that this display produces along with those deep deep blacks. While this smartphone is great for media consumption, the only thing that keeps it from being ideal is the single-speaker grille. If there’s a loud fan running in the background, you will need to plug in a pair of headphones. The single speaker unit simply isn’t powerful enough to overcome the noisy environment.
Samsung Galaxy M34 review: Performance and Cameras
Samsung Galaxy M34 is available in a storage capacity of 128GB with two RAM variants – 6GB and 8GB. Powering this smartphone is Samsung’s in-house Exynos 1280 SoC. OS duties are handled by Android 13 with One UI 5.1 on top. The 6GB RAM variant is priced at Rs 18,000 while the 8GB variant costs Rs 19,000.
We used the M34 for a range of tasks and it didn’t display any gaping flaws in its performance. The smartphone managed to handle basic tasks like media playback, instant messaging, social media browsing, and more with absolute ease. We ran a dozen apps in the background, and the smartphone did a good job of optimising their usage without affecting the overall performance. We did not experience any lags or jitters in everyday use.
However, the smartphone did get warm and presented a few hiccups while carrying out heavy tasks like video recording and editing, navigation, and rigorous gaming. We played Call of Duty Mobile on this smartphone and were left a bit underwhelmed. Simply put, the Exynos SoC is just not good enough to carry seamless gameplay. Framedrops were a little too common and the experience lacked the ideal level of fluidity. On the Geekbench 6 test, this smartphone got a single-core score of 943 points and a multi-core score of 2,033 points. This isn’t too far from Galaxy M14’s score of 921 and 2,056 points.
While the M34’s performance may have left a little more to be desired, it did not let us down on the OS front. You get the full One UI experience on this smartphone, while its younger sibling, M14, has to settle for the Core version of the OS. Another reason to go for the M34 over the M14. You get special features like Secure folder, Knox security, Bixby routine, Link to Windows, Samsung Health, Samsung Pay, and more on the Galaxy M34.
The 6,000 mAh battery on this device is one of its major selling points. We were easily able to push the battery backup on this smartphone to two days on moderate usage. This even included watching a couple of hour-long episodes on Netflix and twenty-minute gaming sessions. At the end of the second day, we had about 10% charge left. If you cut down on gaming and media consumption, you can easily push this smartphone to the third day. With 25W charging, the M34 takes a little over 90 minutes to charge.
We did not have high hopes for the Galaxy M34 when it came to the camera performance. After all, this smartphone is known for its battery. But the results from the 50MP primary camera left us pleasantly surprised.
The images taken in outdoor conditions had the perfect balance of colour richness and saturation. In some cases, we felt the sky was left underexposed when it formed the background of the image, but overall, we were quite happy with the results. The colours truly ‘popped’ in the images and the level of detail was quite impressive.
Images taken from the 8MP ultrawide lens are on the softer side, but they still retain the richness in colour. Most smartphones in this price range don’t offer an ultrawide lens at all, so its inclusion in the camera array is good to see. You certainly won’t be ignoring this lens while taking images from the M34.
The camera app on this smartphone also has a Portrait Mode. The M34 does a good job of edge detection and subject separation. Again, the colours in this mode were tuned to near perfection. We also took some shots in Night Mode, but it failed to leave a mark. The phone relies on a good amount of artificial lighting to take passable shots.
The 13MP selfie camera produces decent results. We like that there’s no overt skin tone correction. The selfies we took managed to capture a good amount of detail. The Portrait Mode produced good results for the front camera as well. The ‘Fun’ mode built into the camera lets you play around with different Snapchat filters.
If you’re looking for an affordable smartphone for everyday use, the Samsung Galaxy M34 fits the bill nicely. It offers a tremendous display, a monstrous battery unit, and a remarkable camera setup. Sure, the Exynos 1280 SoC is not the most powerful processor out there, but if your smartphone usage does not exceed routine tasks, you won’t notice its limitations. At Rs 18,000 the Samsung Galaxy M34 ticks all the essential boxes.
Samsung Galaxy M34: Pros
- Great Display
- Good camera performance
- 2-day battery backup
Samsung Galaxy M34: Cons
- Underwhelming processor
- Does not come with the charger in the box
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