Galaxy M40 initial impressions: One too many limitations for the price
When we were first handed out Galaxy M40 units at Samsung India’s briefing event for the fourth Galaxy M smartphone, it took some time for us to find out that the M40 doesn’t have a headphone jack. Samsung kept the part about the headphone jack–or the lack thereof–out of its presentation, instead focusing on aspects like the triple rear camera setup, the Infinity-O display, and the Snapdragon 675 that powers the M40.
And while I didn’t pay much heed to the lack of a headphone jack initially, a few hours later I started wondering how Samsung was expecting to sell a budget phone without a headphone jack in the Indian market. Granted, the Galaxy M40 is more of a lower mid-range device than a budget one and has a matching price tag, but not being able to connect traditional wired audio gear is a rather big limitation that could turn off a lot of prospective consumers.
Of course, it would be unfair to pass judgement on a smartphone based on just one limitation. I’ve been using the Galaxy M40 as my primary device for a few days, and this hands-on will tell you my initial impressions of the phone. A review will follow soon.
LCD punch hole display that lacks the charm of an AMOLED panel
The 6.3-inch Infinity-O display on the Galaxy M40 is an LCD panel, and while it’s not a boring display by any means, it does have some backlight bleed around the punch hole and at the bottom of the display that you wouldn’t see on an AMOLED display. The bezels are quite small at the top and the side, though, which makes it feel quite compact for a device with a 6.3-inch screen.
Here’s something interesting: The Galaxy M40 has no earpiece grill for calls. It employs what Samsung calls ‘On Display Sound Technology’, and it looks like Samsung has just hidden the earpiece under the display, as calls sound very hollow. The lack of an earpiece grill doesn’t seem to really help further shave off bezel, but it works as a marketing gimmick I guess.
Where the Galaxy M40 has impressed me in my short time with it is in the performance department. The Snapdragon 675 is a very capable chipset, and combined with 6GB of RAM, the M40 doesn’t have any hiccups in day-to-day use. It also runs PUBG at the maximum graphics settings with a smooth frame rate, although the frame rate setting maxes out on ultra so you won’t be able to access the Extreme option found on more powerful devices.
No headphone jack, not-so-big battery
The Galaxy M40 comes bundled with USB Type-C earphones in the box, but Samsung has conspicuously left out a Type-C to 3.5 mm converter, meaning you will have to buy one yourself to use your existing wired headphones with the device. And what’s even worse is that the M40, unlike the previous M series phones or the new Galaxy A smartphones, has a hybrid SIM slot instead of two dedicated SIM slots and a microSD slot. Samsung says it has been able to make the M40 compact and thin by removing the headphone jack, but is a slimmer design a high priority for consumers?
The battery on the Galaxy M40 isn’t very big, either. At 3,500 mAh, it’s a whopping 1,500 mAh smaller than the battery on the M20 and M30. The M30 with its 6.4-inch display and a 5,000 mAh battery is only slightly larger than the M40, and combined with the hybrid SIM slot, it’s proof that removing the headphone jack doesn’t really offer any meaningful benefits. Thankfully, the Snapdragon 675 is an efficient chipset, so I was able to get six hours of screen time with over a day of total usage after the first full charge single charge.
Galaxy M40 feels like a device with many compromises
I can’t really say much about other aspects of the Galaxy M40, like the triple rear camera setup, without putting the phone through its paces, so you’ll need to wait for our review to find out if the Galaxy M40 is a compelling package. But, to be honest, I can already see what my verdict will be. The Galaxy A50 is a better option, thanks to its AMOLED display, bigger battery, and traditional features like the headphone jack and dual SIM slots in addition to a microSD slot, all for a lower price. The M40 just feels overpriced in comparison, and I have a feeling it will end up being the least successful Galaxy M series smartphone yet.