Samsung Galaxy M40 (left) has a modern design compared to the Redmi Note 7 Pro
Samsung Galaxy M40 and Redmi Note 7 Pro both sport Snapdragon 675 SoC
Samsung Galaxy M40 looks more modern thanks to the hole punch display
The Redmi Note 7 Pro has a bigger 4000mAh battery
The Redmi Note 7 Pro is one of our top-rated smartphones under Rs. 20,000, thanks to its powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 SoC and good cameras. There aren't many competitors that offer as much value for money. Samsung has been trying to crack the same segment with its new Galaxy M series and A series since the beginning of this year but the Galaxy M30 could barely stand up against the Redmi Note 7 Pro when we put the two phones head to head. The South Korean tech giant has now launched the Samsung Galaxy M40 to take another stab at this price segment. The Galaxy M40 is also powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 SoC, but comes with a hole-punch display, which is a first at this price level. So which one should you pick? We compare the two to find out.
Redmi Note 7 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy M40 design
The Redmi Note 7 Pro (Review) and the Samsung Galaxy M40 (Review) take different approaches when it comes to design. The Redmi Note 7 Pro has the relatively common glass sandwich design. It has Corning Gorilla Glass at the front and the back, which should help it resist scratches to some extent. The Redmi Note 7 Pro has a plastic frame in the centre, with power and volume buttons on the right side while the SIM tray is to the left. The power button is easy to reach, though the volume buttons do need a bit of a stretch.
At the bottom, the Redmi Note 7 Pro has a USB Type-C port along with a loudspeaker. It has a 3.5mm headphone jack and an IR emitter at the top. Xiaomi has opted for a dual camera module on the back of the Redmi Note 7 Pro, which protrudes slightly causing the phone to rock when placed on a flat surface. This phone also has a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner which is easy to reach.
The Samsung Galaxy M40 looks more modern and has a hole-punch display which houses the selfie camera. We saw noticeable vignetting on the screen at the bottom edge and around the camera hole on our unit, which was visible on lighter backgrounds.
The Samsung Galaxy M40 has rounded sides which make it comfortable to hold in the hand. It has a plastic back that did pick up minor scuffs when we were reviewing this phone. The power and volume buttons are on the right side of the device, and we found the volume buttons to be slightly higher than the ideal position.
Samsung Galaxy M40 has a hole punch design compared to the dewdrop notch of the Note 7 Pro
On the left, the Samsung Galaxy M40 has a hybrid dual-SIM tray, while the USB Type-C port is at the bottom alongside the loudspeaker. At the top, it only has a secondary microphone, and misses out on a 3.5mm headphone jack. You get a Type-C headset in the box but there is no Type-C to 3.5mm dongle, so you won't be able to use your existing headphones without buying one yourself. At the back of this phone is a triple camera setup which sits in a slightly protruding module. The Samsung Galaxy M40 also has a capacitive fingerprint scanner at the back, but it is positioned slightly too high for our liking.
Both smartphones have thin bezels to the sides of their displays, while their chins are comparatively thicker. While the Redmi Note 7 Pro has its earpiece squished between the display and the plastic frame, the Samsung Galaxy M40 does not have an earpiece and instead uses screen sound technology which means that the upper edge of the display itself vibrates to produce sound.
While the Redmi Note 7 Pro has better build quality, we prefer the more modern design of the Samsung Galaxy M40.
Redmi Note 7 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy M40 specifications and software
The Redmi Note 7 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy M40 are both powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 processor. The Redmi Note 7 Pro is available in two variants, one with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, and the other with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, priced at Rs. 13,999 and Rs. 16,999 respectively.
Samsung's Galaxy M40 on the other hand is available in one configuration only, with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, priced at Rs. 19,990. This means the price difference between similarly configured variants is Rs. 3,000. Storage is expandable on both smartphones thanks to their hybrid dual-SIM slots, but it will come at the cost of dual-SIM functionality.
Both smartphones' displays sport full-HD+ resolutions, and while the Redmi Note 7 Pro sports an LTPS In-Cell panel, the Galaxy M40 has a PLS TFT LCD panel. In terms of connectivity, both smartphones have dual 4G VoLTE, Bluetooth 5, dual-band Wi-Fi, and FM radio. The Samsung Galaxy M40 has NFC, while the Redmi Note 7 Pro has an IR emitter which can be used to control IR electronics.
The Redmi Note 7 Pro packs in a 4000mAh battery and supports Qualcomm's Quick Charge 4.0, but you only get a 10W charger in the box. The Samsung Galaxy M40 has a smaller 3500mAh battery, supports fast charging and comes with a 15W fast charger.
Both Samsung Galaxy M40 (bottom) and Redmi Note 7 Pro sport a USB Type-C port
The Redmi Note 7 Pro runs MIUI 10 on top of Android 9 Pie. It has some preinstalled bloatware and is known to push spammy notifications from time to time. Even stock apps like Mi Video and Music would send us such notifications. The Samsung Galaxy M40 on the other hand runs One UI on top of Android 9 Pie. In the past we have seen that One UI can also get spammy if you aren't careful about what you allow during the setup process.
Since both smartphones offer theme support, you can customise their UIs the way you like. Digital Wellbeing, an Android Pie feature that monitors your device usage habits, is available on the Samsung Galaxy M40 but is missing on the Redmi Note 7 Pro.
We also found that the Redmi Note 7 Pro offers the option to tweak the display output and you can also change the colour temperature of the panel. The Samsung Galaxy M40 does not offer these settings. However, we found that the Galaxy M40 has the brighter panel with better contrast.
The speakers were also louder on the Samsung Galaxy M40.
Redmi Note 7 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy M40 performance and battery life
We already know that both these smartphones offer the same core specifications. We had the base 4GB variant of the Redmi Note 7 Pro to test against the Galaxy M40 with its 6GB of RAM. However, both these smartphone delivered practically identical performance in day-to-day usage. Both smartphones took roughly the same amount of time to launch apps and switch from one app to another.
In benchmarks, both phones posted similar scores. In AnTuTu, the Note 7 Pro managed 178,570 points while the Galaxy M40 scored 171,177 points. In Geekbench 4, the Note 7 Pro managed 2,389, and 6,593 in single-core and multi-core tests while the Galaxy M40 scored 2,320, and 6,406 in the same tests.
The Galaxy M40 scored 38fps in GFXBench T-Rex and 14fps in Manhattan 3.1. The Redmi Note 7 Pro scored 41fps and 15fps in the same tests respectively. It is neck-and-neck between these two smartphones when it comes to performance.
We played PUBG Mobile on both these smartphones to gauge gaming performance. These smartphones run the game at the High preset by default with the graphics set to HD and frame rate set to High. We found that both smartphones stuttered occasionally during gameplay, and both got warm to the touch after just 10 minutes.
The Samsung Galaxy M40 (top/ left) has a triple camera setup while the Redmi Note 7 Pro has a dual camera setup
Both these smartphones manage to run on for a full day with regular usage but it is the Redmi Note 7 Pro that has a slight advantage thanks to its higher battery capacity. In our HD video loop test, the Redmi Note 7 Pro managed to go on for 19 hours and 23 minutes, whereas the Samsung Galaxy M40 only managed 15 hours and 30 minutes.
While charging, we noticed that the Samsung Galaxy M40 filled up quicker thanks to its smaller battery and faster charger.
Redmi Note 7 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy M40 cameras
These two smartphones take different approaches to photography. The Redmi Note 7 Pro has a dual camera setup with a 48-megapixel primary sensor and an f/1.79 aperture, along with a 5-megapixel depth sensor. The Samsung Galaxy M40 has a triple camera setup with a 32-megapixel primary camera that has an f/1.79 aperture, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide angle sensor, and also a 5-megapixel depth sensor. The primary sensors on both these smartphones deliver 12-megapixel photos by default, but you can change the output to full resolution in each one's settings.
Photos taken by the Samsung Galaxy M40 in daylight were sharper and had slightly better detail, but this phone was slower to lock focus in comparison to the Redmi Note 7 Pro. When taking macro shots, we let the AI on both smartphones detect what we had pointed them towards.
After taking the shots we noticed that the Redmi Note 7 Pro had been a little too aggressive with processing, causing a loss in detail and below-average colour reproduction. The AI on the Galaxy M40 is slower than the Redmi Note 7 Pro's, but it delivered significantly better detail and more accurate colours.
While taking pictures in low light we observed that the Samsung Galaxy M40 had a harder time focusing and would take longer to get it right. Photos taken by both smartphones at night had grain but we noticed that the Redmi Note 7 Pro slightly oversharpened its output at night. We put the Redmi Note 7 Pro in Night mode and waited for the Galaxy M40's scene optimiser to switch to Night. The Samsung Galaxy M40 delivered a brighter photo with slightly better details.
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We also took a few portrait shots with these two smartphones and found that the Samsung Galaxy M40 delivered better output. Our subject was sharper, the colour tone was more natural, and edge detection was better. On the Redmi Note 7 Pro, we found that the focus was a little soft and the photo had a warm colour tone.
With selfies, we observed that while both smartphones managed roughly the same amount of detail, the Galaxy M40 managed better colours and had the better colour tone while the Redmi Note 7 Pro's shots were slightly warmer. With beautification set to Auto, it was the Samsung Galaxy M40 that had the better output. Portraits taken in selfie mode showed good edge detection on both smartphones, but once again the Samsung Galaxy M40 was better at setting the exposure, resulting in better shots.
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Both smartphones are capable of recording at 1080p, 1080p 60fps, as well as 4k. We found that the Samsung Galaxy M40 lacked video stabilisation in all these shooting modes. As a result, 1080p footage taken from the Galaxy M40 was shaky while the Redmi Note 7 Pro did stabilise it. There is no stabilisation in 4k mode on both these phones but the Samsung Galaxy M40 had better colours, while the output from the Redmi Note 7 Pro was boosted.
Overall, the Samsung Galaxy M40 inches ahead of the Redmi Note 7 Pro when it comes to photo quality. However, the slow autofocus is annoying and you'll need to be patient with this phone when taking photos.
Verdict These two smartphones are going head-to-head in the sub-Rs. 20,000 market but there's a price difference of Rs. 3,000 between similarly configured variants. So which one should you pick? Well, the Samsung Galaxy M40 (Review) sports a more modern design and has a better display. The Redmi Note 7 Pro (Review) uses premium materials and has an IR emitter which could be useful to some people. Both these smartphones are on par with each other when it comes to performance, and while both can spam you with notifications, the Galaxy M40 is a little better in this regard.
Camera performance is where the Galaxy M40 shines, delivering better photos in most lighting conditions compared to the Redmi Note 7 Pro. However, its autofocus is slow and we needed to be patient when taking photos, it also lacks stabilisation which was one of the reasons the phone scored lower in the review. The Redmi Note 7 Pro had scored a higher when we reviewed it but the camera performance seems to have taken a hit since. Xiaomi had released a couple of software updates which claimed camera improvements, and the introduction of new AI camera modes. This could have caused the camera performance to be different from when we reviewed it. Both smartphones' batteries will last for over a day with regular usage, but the Redmi Note 7 Pro has the bigger one.
If you are looking at the higher priced variant of the Redmi Note 7 Pro, it might make sense to spend that little extra and buy the Galaxy M40 instead. However, if you are fine with the base variant of the Redmi Note 7 Pro, it offers significantly better value for money.
Is the Samsung Galaxy M40 Good Enough to Beat Redmi Note 7 Pro? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.
Aditya Shenoy reviews smartphones, wearables, headphones and speakers for Gadgets 360, out of Mumbai. Aditya is a reviewer for Gadgets 360 and has written extensively about smartphones, software updates, and upcoming devices. Aditya is available on Twitter at @adishenoy, and you can mail him at email@example.com, so please send in your leads and tips.