The Galaxy M42 5G is the first Samsung M-series smartphone to receive 5G support. In addition, it turns out to be the most affordable smartphone in the entire Samsung stable, which offers 5G connectivity. Samsung chose the capable Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G processor for the Galaxy M42 5G, but also equipped it with an HD + display that sticks out like a sore thumb in this price range. So can the Galaxy M42 5G help Samsung stay ahead of the competition, or has the company cut too many corners? Here is my review
Price of Galaxy M42 5G in India
The Samsung Galaxy M42 5G starts from Rs. 21,999 for the base version, which has 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. The higher version with 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage is priced at Rs. 23,999 th most common Available in Prism Dot Gray and Prism Dot Black.
Galaxy M42 5G design
Samsung Galaxy M42 5G is a great smartphone and has some resemblance to Galaxy A42 5G. The Galaxy M42 5G has a large 6.6-inch display with rather thin bezels around it. At the top is a dew drop, which Samsung calls the “Infinity-U display”. Galaxy M42 5G has a polycarbonate back panel that has a glossy finish Samsung called “Glasstic”. The glossy finish is a magnet for fingerprints and stains are easy to see.
The back panel of the Galaxy M42 5G is visually divided into four blocks, from top to bottom. The upper quarter has a thick black glossy finish as the color becomes lighter with each block as you go down. The lower three segments have an additional fine dotted line that scatters light in different colors. Samsung has aptly named the color Prism Dot Black, while the other, lighter color option is called Prism Dot Gray.
Galaxy M42 5G is 8.6 mm thick and weighs 193 grams, which is manageable. It is comfortable to hold and the buttons were easily accessible with the device in my hand. It has a built-in fingerprint scanner, which is convenient and easy to reach when using the device with one hand. The SIM tray is to the left of the plastic frame, while the 3.5mm headphone jack, USB Type-C port and speaker are at the bottom. There is only the secondary microphone on top.
You get a quad camera setup of the Galaxy M42 5G in one module in the upper left corner of the back. This square-shaped module doesn’t stand out much, which is good. Samsung Galaxy M42 5G has a 5000 mAh battery and supports 15W fast charging. Samsung also includes a 15W charger in the box, which is slower than what the competition offers. Surprisingly, even Galaxy M51 (Review) supports and comes with a faster 25W charger, although it is located just below the Galaxy M42 5G.
Galaxy M42 5G specifications
The first thing that caught my attention was the fact that the 6.6-inch AMOLED display has only HD + resolution and has a refresh rate of 60Hz. This low resolution display is very disappointing considering the price that Samsung sets for this smartphone. Samsung sells its Galaxy M21 (Review) for Rs 12 499 with Full-HD + AMOLED display. On the plus side, you get a built-in fingerprint scanner, which makes it one of the first smartphones in the Galaxy M series with this feature. A full HD + display and a side-mounted capacitive fingerprint scanner would be my preference here.
Fortunately, the cost-cutting exercise does not continue in the implementation department. Galaxy M42 5G is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G processor, which we have also seen with direct competitors in India such as Xiaomi Mi 10i (Review) and Moto G 5G. Samsung offers the Galaxy M42 5G in two versions, with 6GB or 8GB of RAM. The storage of both options is 128GB. You can expand the storage by up to 1TB, but since the Galaxy M42 5G has a hybrid tray with two SIM cards, the expansion comes at the expense of a second SIM. Samsung could offer an even higher version with more storage space.
In terms of software, the Galaxy M42 5G runs OneUI 3.1 on Android 11. This is not the version of the OneUI Core that some other Galaxy M series smartphones run. During the review, the phone had an April Android security patch, which is acceptable. OneUI feels very familiar if you come from a Samsung smartphone, and even if you aren’t, it’s very easy to get used to. I found pre-installed software to inflate the device, which I was not happy with. I would recommend uninstalling these applications immediately if you do not intend to use them.
Galaxy M42 5G performance
Samsung has chosen a capable processor for the Galaxy M42 5G and definitely offers. I didn’t notice any delays or stuttering, the application load time was reasonable and with 6 GB of RAM on my multitasking review unit it wasn’t a problem. The AMOLED display is piercing, but the low resolution is the ointment fly. I found that the brightness of the display is suitable for indoor use, but the visibility outdoors may be a little better. The fingerprint display scanner quickly unlocked the phone and never needed a second try.
Galaxy M42 5G managed to gain 357,881 points in AnTuTu. It also scored 652 and 1837 points in the Geekbench 5 single-core and multi-core criteria, respectively. Because this phone has an HD + display, it gains an advantage in graphics tests, managing 56 frames per second in GFXBench Manhattan 3.1.
As for the games, I played Call of Duty Mobile, which by default was high for both graphics and frame rate. It could be played at these default settings without any problems. I noticed that the top of the phone warmed to the touch after playing for twenty minutes, but not to an alarming degree. The casual games went well and the phone showed no signs of heating.
The 5000 mAh battery in the Galaxy M42 5G allowed me to go much easier in one day without the need for recharging. In our HD video cycle test, the phone lasted 22 hours and 55 minutes. This is a good time, but Samsung is reducing the brightness of the display after the battery percentage drops below 15%. Charging is relatively slow at 15W, and the phone reached 26 percent in 30 minutes and 51 percent in an hour.
Galaxy M42 5G cameras
The setup of Samsung’s four cameras is quite standard. The Galaxy M42 has a 48-megapixel main camera, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, a 5-megapixel depth sensor and a 5-megapixel macro camera. For the selfie, he has a 20-megapixel dew shooter in front. The software on the Samsung camera remains the same and I had no problems finding the right photo mode. The AI in the camera application quickly recognizes what it is aimed at and adjusts the camera accordingly.
I took a few pictures in daylight in cloudy conditions and the Galaxy M42 5G managed to achieve good results. The colors looked nice, though slightly enhanced, and had good details. The ultra-wide camera has a lower resolution and the details are lower compared to the photos taken with the main camera. There was also a distortion on the side of each frame.
Close-ups turned out well with good colors and details. The phone also controls background blur. The portraits had good edge recognition and I could change the blur level before taking a picture. I could also edit portrait photos in Photo Gallery to apply more effects. The macro photos were decent, with good details.
In low light, landscape photos are of medium detail and not as clear, although the noise is under control. In night mode, the frame is slightly cut, but the output is brighter and has slightly better details.
By default, selfies have activated beautification, which smoothes the textures of the skin. The selfies worked well and the phone could recognize faces even with the masks on. The low-light selfies also had decent details.
Video recording reaches 4K 30fps for the main camera. Stabilization was enabled by default, but I found it to be average because there were minor shakes at the output. Super Steady mode uses the ultra-wide angle camera and provides better stabilization. 4K shots were not stabilized, and low light shots were strictly average.
Galaxy M42 5G is now the most affordable 5G smartphone that Samsung offers. It packs into a capable processor and offers good performance. However, Samsung cut some corners with the display. HD + resolution at Rs. The price of 21,999 is very disappointing.
Given that 5G networks are not yet available in India, you could consider the Galaxy F62 a worthy alternative. If you are looking for a specially designed 5G smartphone, Xiaomi Mi 10i (Review) and Realme X7 (Review) are better alternatives to the Galaxy M42 5G at this price level.