24 hours with the Samsung Galaxy M02

There is a smartphone for all kinds of users, and if I were to classify the Samsung Galaxy M02, it would be a budget handset geared towards those looking for their first smartphone. I’ve spent an entire day using the Samsung Galaxy M02 for the first time, and here’s how that day went:

June 4, 2021

7:29 am – 100%

I typically set up phones before I start my 24-hour phone stories, but it’s been a busy week so far, so the only thing I’ve been able to do is transfer accounts via Samsung’s Smart Switch. So, I’m going to spend some time logging into the apps I use regularly.

LiTT tip #1: Use Samsung’s Smart Switch app to easily import your apps, accounts, messages, and more from your previous device to your Samsung Galaxy phone. You can do it for both Android and iOS, which you can learn more about here.

Since I use and test different devices at varying price points, I notice the bit of a lag that comes with a lower-spec’d phone like the Galaxy M02, even from just navigating the interface and the settings. But these kinds of phones usually have first-time smartphone users that it wouldn’t be that noticeable to them.

I do like that Samsung added its Adapt Sound feature and Dolby Atmos to this phone. Adapt Sound is an easy way to personalize the audio coming out of your earphones, so you get the best listening experience.

LiTT tip #2: You can access Adapt Sound through Sounds and vibration > Sound quality and effects.

Samsung has also brought Dark Mode to the Galaxy M02 if you’re looking for that feature. It will not affect battery as it would on OLED or AMOLED screens, but it’s there if you want to use it. (Android Authority published an article in April talking about why it’s not always the best to rely on Dark Mode all the time.)

As expected from a budget phone, there is no fingerprint scanner here. But you can still secure the phone with either a pattern, PIN, or password. There are still several pre-installed apps I can do without on this device.

8:35 am – 93%

The Galaxy M02 is still updating apps, so I’ll be watching YouTube videos on the phone while it goes through this process. It has a single bottom-firing speaker that’s slightly on the average side volume-wise, but it works in a pinch. 

This phone sports a pretty big 6.5-inch PLS IPS screen with a 1,600 x 720 resolution and 20:9 aspect ratio. With its resolution, you can watch YouTube clips in 1080p.

It has a teardrop notch for the 5-megapixel front-facing camera that you might take notice of at first. But with the big display, you can choose not to have the videos your watching take up the entire screen. Personally, either option works for me. I tend to ignore the camera after a while. This phone has somewhat thin bezels on the side, but it has a slightly thicker chin, which is typical for budget smartphones.

10:33 am – 78%

Post-breakfast, I spent some time setting the phone up and taking some shots of it. I love the texture and color of the unit Samsung sent over for us to test. It has this paint-like splatters in a yellow-red color to add a pattern to the red-orange-like color of the device. Unfortunately, this specific shade won’t be available in the Philippines. But you can also get the Galaxy M02 in black, blue, and gray. From the press renders I’ve seen, the gray option has that sort of paint splatter effect similar to this red. The textured back is nice to hold and gives this device that extra grip.

11:46 am – 66%

I’ve been dipping in and out of social media apps like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. And this phone I’ve realized will benefit from using the Lite versions of apps. I have the 2GB RAM + 32GB storage option. It’s also available in 3GB + 32GB option. You do have the option to expand storage via microSD.

I know I’m not the target user of this device. But for basic functions like taking calls, I had no trouble hearing who I was talking to on the other line. It easily connects to 4G and even the Bluetooth earbuds I’m using. I’ve been able to message people easily on apps like Facebook Messenger and Telegram. But as I’ve noticed, you can’t quickly switch between apps, which I tend to do on pricier smartphones.

1:41 pm – 52%

Before I started prepping for a quick lunch, I listened to music and messaging friends on Telegram. I then spent the time watching YouTube videos while I ate. For single tasks, this handset works just fine. I’m typing this piece right now on OneNote using the phone. I can still listen to music while I write without any issue.

I haven’t mentioned it yet, but this phone runs on a Mediatek MT6739W with Android 10-based One UI 2.0. The interface is clean and easy to navigate through. There are fewer pre-installed, but I still want fewer apps that come out of the box.

4:54 pm – 28%

As I worked through the afternoon, I used the Galaxy M02 as a secondary screen to make it easier to write up this story for LiTT. I also took its cameras for a spin to see what it has to offer. As the phone is a simple, entry-level device, its cameras are also on the basic side. You get a dual-camera setup at the back with a 13-megapixel primary wide lens and a 2-megapixel macro sensor. In front, there’s a single 5-megapixel selfie camera.

In bright environments, it is possible to get some pretty good, social-media-ready photos. But you have to make sure you practice and take as many pictures as you can. In some instances, the images won’t look as sharp. You will lose the details in the lights and darks in a photo, but again I’m not expecting a phone that retails for less than PHP 5k to perform miracles.

For videos, you can record up to 1080 at 30 frames per second.

7:28 pm – 18%

After taking sample shots, I mostly used the phone as a secondary screen as I worked on my PC. Since I kept the screen on for most of the day, it isn’t surprising that I drained the battery quickly. After this time check, I answered some messages and a quick social media check, but I’ve mostly left the phone alone.

June 5, 2021

7:04 am – 3%

I was able to squeeze out around 45 minutes of use this morning. I took that video you see below, did a quick Duolingo lesson, and even played a round of Cooking Battle in Medium settings before the phone drained a bit before 8 am.

First thoughts

I knew from the get-go I wasn’t the target market for this phone. But for those starting out on owning and using a smartphone and want to get a Samsung device, this is one of the cheapest Samsung smartphones you can get.

From my initial impressions, it could handle most of my typical work and social media apps, especially when consuming content. I still need to do some game tests, but I expect it to work reasonably well with casual games and possibly take on more graphics-heavy games but in the lowest settings possible. If there’s anything specific you’d want to know about the Samsung Galaxy M02, hit us up on social media.

The Samsung Galaxy M02 (2GB) retails for PHP 4,490.

Buy the Samsung Galaxy M02 HERE.