The South Korean giant Samsung has been quite active for the past couple of months in terms of launching new handsets, mainly focused on taking back the market share it lost in the mid-range segment, the company has been continuously launching a lot of handsets. While On5 and On7 had been kind of success to them, the company has decided to give an overhaul to its J-Series. Earlier in March they launched Galaxy J3 2016, which is the lowest variant in the series, but now they have also unveiled the Galaxy J5 2016 and Galaxy J7 2016. Though, we would be talking about the J5 2016 in this article.
The mid-range market has evolved like a phoenix from the ground, as it has seen tremendous growth over the past couple of years. This year seems to be particularly intense in terms of the competition heating up a lot. There are handsets like Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, Meizu M3 Note and LeEco Le 1s Eco to compete in the mid-range segment priced between Rs 10K-15K. Let’s talk about how the Galaxy J5 fairs out in this list, as we review this handset.
The Galaxy J5 might be the most sturdiest smartphone company has launched in this price range, it offers a solid build quality, all thanks to the metal frame, which makes edges quite stronger. Once you hold the device in your hand, you realize it feels quite strong. There is nothing fancy about the design, though; it sports the same aesthetic look you see on other Samsung mid-range handsets. Apart from shifting audio jack to bottom edge, every port and button have been placed where they have been on earlier mid-range handsets. Although, I would have to say that this time the edges looks refined as they sport curves. The physical home button is quite responsive. We have the gold color variant, which is quite shiny in a good way. Overall, it felt refreshing in terms of feel in hand, but in sight.
Even in the sub 10K pricing, a 1080p display has become a standard, which is certainly not followed by the display on the Galaxy J5, as it comes with only 720p resolution display. Moreover, what’s surprising is that while many companies are sticking to 5.5-inch real estate, Samsung introduced three J Series handsets with three different screen sizes, while J5 might sport 5.2-inch display size, it simply has more bezels on upper and down parts, which makes it quite a large device. The display that company uses here is a Super AMOLED and thanks to that the color reproduction looks quite interesting. Even though it’s a 720p display, one can simply enjoy watching videos. I often watched YouTube video while using this device and it was a fine experience. The screen isn’t fingerprint prone, so that’s a relief as you won’t see smudges on it.
The good news here is that you’ll see Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow based TouchWiz interface on this handset while the bad news is that you won’t get goodies like Always On Display, and Game launcher folder and other experimental features here. One thing that you can expect is the performance; it doesn’t have a ton of bloatware like it used to be on earlier models. But you’ll still find some Microsoft apps pre-installed as well as Opera Max. They certainly are quite resourceful apps, unlike any third party apps. If you don’t like, you can certainly disable them. The user available storage would be around 9.66GB out of 16GB. Note that internal storage can be expanded up to 128GB via microSD card in case you need more storage space. The brand touts its S Bike mode, which was also available on the Galaxy J3, it’s quite useful for users who ride a bike and don’t want to take calls while driving. Overall, I had a good experience using the TouchWiz UI.
Hardware & Performance
Well, it’s not the most powerful processor on this handset, but it does the job of carrying out everyday tasks pretty well. Sporting a Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 chipset, it is a Quad-core processor clocking at 1.2GHz, which is supported by Adreno 306 GPU for graphics processing. The device packs a 2GB of RAM and most of the time you can see around 980MB RAM available. The multitasking isn’t quite swift on this handset, but can be carried out painlessly. Talking about the gaming, well, the device isn’t made for hardcore gameplay, but that shouldn’t stop you from playing certain sets of the game on this handset such as Riptide GP2, Dead Trigger 2 and many more games on the similar line. The device doesn’t heat up a lot, but it does considerably go up to a certain temperature, but nothing extreme.
The camera package on this handset includes 13-megapixel image sensor on the rear while the front comes with a 5-megapixel resolution. Both the modules are accompanied by a Flashlight, although, on the rear you’ll see the dual setup while on the front it’s a single setup. The camera setup isn’t great; you’ll struggle to take shots as we did. The focusing seems to be the big issue here; you can take macro captures from this rear module, which is not the case with most Samsung devices camera. I wouldn’t recommend this handset if you’re looking for a camera companion to those adventurous trips.
The camera app on this handset is quite good, which is in line with its premium range of handset, though, you won’t see as many modes. But that is fine; I guess since it’s a mid-range handset. Talking about the front snapper, one thing for sure is that it is not a quick snapper, as takes time for focusing. Moreover, the results don’t look fine, they are filled with noise, so, the front-facing module is not good as well. The camera package is a total failure on this one.
Battery & Connectivity
Samsung has finally learned that a large capacity battery is the first thing needed for a good battery life. The Galaxy J5 sports a 3100mAh battery, which is quite enough considering the power efficient Qualcomm SD 410 processor, as well as 720 Super AMOLED display. We got more than the decent screen on time from the device, while the standby on this handset is good as well since the company has optimized the interface. Moreover, it’s a removable battery, so you can keep an extra battery pack if you are travel and replace with a fully charged battery. Since it doesn’t have a fast charging option, replacing the battery with another one having a full charge is a great idea. Talking about the connectivity, the device offers usual connectivity options like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, Dual SIM, 4G LTE support, DLNA, GPS and micro USB port. It’s interesting to see NFC support on this mid-range handset, as they would be quite useful once India starts accepting wireless payments.
The Korean giant has tasted success for its premium handsets; Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. But it looks like the brand is yet to crack a code for getting a mid-range handset right. As all Samsung achieved with this new 2016 model of the J5 was a better build quality and improvement in design, while it failed to offer a 1080p resolution display, good camera package, and a powerful chipset. Now if you’re a fan of Samsung and searching a good handset from this company, then I would say it live up to some standards, and can purchase this handset. While if you aren’t a fan, well, why are you even reading this review? Go! Register for the flash sales of Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 or LeEco Le 1s Eco, Or maybe wait for Meizu M3 Note to go on sale on May 31st, because it’s a good mid-ranger as well, which you can see in our detailed review.