Samsung Galaxy J3 2016 Review

by Vishal Toshiwal 0

Samsung hasn’t always been so desperate to keep its mid-range handsets in the game, but with brands like Xiaomi, Honor, Lenovo and now LeEco gunning for taking lead in the mid-range market in the country, company has to do something to have its presence among the Indian Youth, who are more likely to buy the handsets priced in Rs 10K range. That’s why the South Korean brand has launched the new Galaxy J3 handset, and also it’s a new iteration to the J3 handset launched last year. So, there’s that too.

What company wants to achieve by releasing this handset is that they want to compete with handsets like Redmi Note 3, Honor 5X, Vibe K5 Plus and Le 1S, just to name a few. But we all know Specification-wise it has already lost the war, although, there are many users who prefer to get the handset from big brands like Samsung, LG and HTC. Out of these three brands, Samsung is the only one who has a good number of handsets in mid-range. If you might remember, the On5 & On7 smartphone launched last year. We have the company’s latest handset for about a week, so you’ll see some insights about the device that’ll help you decide whether you should be purchasing this handset or not. Now without further delaying, let’s talk about the Galaxy J3 in details.

Design

The brand never fails to amaze me with its consistent design skills, yes, some would take this the wrong way, but keeping almost similar design language with a hint of a tweak here and there, the company manages to deliver a handset that feels good in hands. Offering a pretty tight grip and compact design to operate one-handedly is quite a good thing. The device doesn’t have a full metal construction but with a frame made out of aluminum makes it quite a sturdy device. And seeing a removable back panel and the battery pack is refreshing, as many smartphone manufacturers are adopting the unibody design. Call me old school, but it’s quite brilliant design, which company has improved upon over the couple years.

Talking about the ports and buttons placements, it’s quite similar to any other Samsung handset, on right edge you’ll see power key and left edge houses the volume rocker keys. While the top edge has a volume rocker and bottom edge has a microUSB port. On the rear side, you’ll see the camera module placed on top center alongside is the LED Flash and a loudspeaker grill. Overall, we felt that design of his handset is quite sturdy and would definitely please the Samsung consumers.

Display

The real estate on this handset is of 5-inch packing 720p resolution, which counts to the pixel density of 294 PPI (Pixel Per Inch). I mean it isn’t the best display among the mid-range, but it is on par with many handsets. Though, what might interest you here is the Super AMOLED display technology used. The company is known to offer this technology on most of its premium handsets, and there are some mid-range handsets that ships with that technology, now Galaxy J3 is added to that list.

Samsung Galaxy J3 - Display

For a mid-range display, it feels quite brighter and takes on sunlight legibility quite easily, meaning you can see the content even while browsing in direct sunlight. But only when the brightness level is at highest. Moreover, I didn’t mind casual YouTube browsing, because of the Super AMOLED technology, as the colors looked quite impressive even for a 720p display.

Interface, Apps

Another consistent feature that Samsung never changes on its handset is the design of the TouchWiz UI. Well, for the past couple of weeks, I have been using the Galaxy S7 as my primary device, where the TouchWiz feels buttery smooth, it has been established that there are some improvements on the custom Android skin made for the premium flagship device, but there is also a powerful chipset to allow the software to run quicker than it ever was. Now I can’t say the same about the Galaxy J3, which doesn’t have a powerful chipset, which we will get to in detail in next section, but the UI experience on J3 is decent enough to complete your daily operations easily. And I won’t get my hopes much farther than that.

Samsung Galaxy J3 - Lollipop

If you’re a person who is thinking to buy this handset and doesn’t do much heavy app usage then, you should be fine. Note that the internal storage on this device is only 8GB, out of which just 3.5GB is available for the user, other is used for system memory and pre-installed app. Yes, if you were wondering about the bloatware on the system, there are couples of apps pre-installed on the device, mostly Samsung’s default app for the system, while there is a set of Microsoft apps and few games, as well as third-party apps you will see on the app drawer. Talking about the free RAM, when no background apps were running, at that time around 600MB of RAM would be free out of 1.5GB RAM. The remaining amount of RAM would be allocated for default apps and system.

Hardware & Performance

You might not be familiar with the processor powering the Galaxy J3, as it’s not the MediaTek or Qualcomm either. It’s a Spreadtrum SC7731, which is a Quad-core processor clocking at 1.3GHz, alongside is the Mali 400 MP2. Now I wouldn’t say it would be giving tough competition in terms of performance, because, let’s face it, it’s not a powerful processor and that was experience when we played games like Riptide GP2 and Dead Trigger 2. Now these are not heavy games, but the chipset could barely offer decent gaming experience, much less switching between them swiftly.

Though I would have to say, it didn’t heat up much despite 30 minutes of gaming. Now moving on with benchmarking tools testing, we installed Antutu and Vellamo to check out how it would perform on a theoretical basis. For Antutu, the score was quite low at 25035, whereas the Vellamo revealed a score of 1832 for the browser, 776 for Metal and 1134 for Multicore. Overall, it felt like the device doesn’t have much to offer in terms of the performance.

Camera

The camera package on this handset includes 8-megapixel image sensor on the rear, which is assisted by the LED Flash. There is not much to the camera on this handset; it doesn’t have any fancy features like PDAF (Phase Detection Auto Focus) Technology or anything else for that matter. Moreover, it is unknown whether the aperture number of the lens is f/2.2 or f/2.0, although, it’s likely to have an f-number of 2.2. Making it not so favorable for the low light captures, thus, not a great camera to take out at your dinner table, or for those Saturday night parties. But one thing is for sure; it does manage to capture some decent macro shots in daylight, only after struggling for focusing, which is the annoying part. So, if you’re not the one who is patient or have steady hands, well, then it’s not a camera that you would like to use. While talking about the camera app, it is pretty similar to what you see on other Samsung handsets, full of modes like Pro, Panorama, HDR, Beauty Face, Sports and Continuous Shot. It’s intuitive app that one can easily understand, but unfortunately, the module is not that interesting.

The highest resolution of video recording it can record is of 720p resolution; we would have a least liked to see full HD resolution as many 8MP modules out there offers. For instance, the Xiaomi Redmi 2 Prime has the similar megapixel resolution but can record up to 1080p resolution videos. Moving on to the front facing camera module, it is a 5-megapixlel resolution shooter, which is nothing better than the rear camera, you can take decent pictures in the low light, probably because of aperture number. All I can say about the selfie camera on this handset is that it can fit a lot of people in one selfie. It’s not a wide-angle lens, but despite that it has the ability to fit a lot of members in one capture.

Battery & Connectivity

The battery capacity on this handset is at 2600mAh, by all standards in the mid range, it isn’t quite large, but considering the 5-inch 720p display and a processor that isn’t much of a powerhouse, turns to as an advantage for the device, as it offers pretty good battery life. During the idle time, the battery percentage hardly drop to 3-4%, while it lasted throughout the day with more than average usage, as we did YouTube viewing, played a couple of games and made some calls over network and WhatsApp.

Samsung Galaxy J3 (16)

While talking about the connectivity, the company is advertising the 4G network, because they have the only couple of handsets that are offering 4G connectivity under such pricing. It has a hybrid SIM, so you could either use two SIM cards at a time or one SIM card and a microSD card. Other usual connectivity options include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB OTG support, FM Radio, GPS/GLONASS and microUSB 2.0 port.

Verdict

There are many handsets that could easily compete with the Samsung Galaxy J3 in terms of specification. And also for starters, this handset doesn’t even have a fingerprint sensor, which is becoming the necessity as days goes by. There are some smartphones like Coolpad Note 3, Note 3 Lite, Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 and LeEco Le 1s that offers fingerprints sensor around the price range of Rs 10K. Now if you are thinking to go by specs, then it’s easy to ignore this handset, but if you’re looking for a brand that has been in the industry for long, which offers good after sales service, then Samsung is the name. Moreover, you get a sturdily built handset with some of the decent specifications company has ever produced in the mid-range.

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Vishal Toshiwal

Born in West India, raised in the North and currently chasing dreams in the southern part of India- Vishal is an entrepreneurial spirit, a tech enthusiast and a writer by profession, who is busy taking pictures when he is not writing. He would love to talk to you about the latest movies, TV shows and DC/Marvel comics. As a personal rule, he doesn't let a day get by without at least one dessert. Because, why not?