Samsung is on the verge where it needs to produce good mid-range phones, as their market in the mid segment is being penetrated by other brands. And the scenario we are talking about is of the Indian smartphone market. The fastest growing mobile market in the world is currently a very highly competitive arena. To tackle that brand have introduced a new smartphone; the Galaxy ON7. The device priced at around Rs 10,990 couldn’t have came out to be at the perfect time than this when Samsung needs a real mid-ranger that can threaten the mid segment and take the crown back to the company. Now is the Galaxy ON7 that mid-range phone users have been waiting from the South Korean brand? We find out in the detailed review of the device.
The design has always been the strongest suites of Samsung; well there might be some expectations of change, but most of the times you’ll see company’s handsets offering sturdy built quality. And more than that a premium looks despite of the pricing. The same treatment has been given to their latest mid range handset, the Galaxy ON7.
The new phone from South Korean giant offers a solid, familiar design frame, which is covered with plastic stuff on edges. You take any series from the company, may it be E Series that offered plastic body or A Series that offered metal body. All through these handsets, the one thing has always been common, their form factor. Say it the company’s obsession, but that same design has been working for them since ages. We are in the hope that that will change one day, but that day isn’t here yet.
The power button is present on the right edge and on left edge you’ll find the volume rocker keys, for the 5.5-inch size; I’m not in favor of this placement, it just doesn’t feel right. Moving on with talk of ports, the microUSB, microphone and 3.5mm audio jack is placed on the bottom edge while the top edge is kept clean.
On the front, you could see that bezels take a bit of space on the device size, little on left and right while more on top and bottom. It’s because on top bezel, there is a microphone, set of sensors, camera module and a Samsung branding. Meanwhile, the usual physical home button and capacitive buttons takes the bezel space on bottom.
Samsung is known for the AMOLED display offerings on its high-end smartphone, and their Tizen power device, the Z3 is the first budget smartphone where they have used the Super AMOLED display. So, it was obvious question that why they didn’t offer those stunning displays for the newly launched ON Series of smartphone.
We took that little serious since offering a 720p resolution on a 5.5-inch is not good decision at all. When the companies are offering Full HD displays at a sub 10K price, sticking with low resolution isn’t going to make things easier for the company. On top of that, it leads to lower pixel density of 267 PPI (Pixel Per Inch), which makes even high resolution images pixilated.
Expecting more from a TFT screen is not worthy, if you’re into the real deal, then the screen on ON7 would not satisfy your needs. The color reproduction on the device looks dull, you can hardly call this screen fit for media consumption, the display gives preference to blue color, it seems like, as the blue shade follows everywhere.
Talking about the smudges left behind on the screen, the display is fingerprint magnet when it comes to leaving smudges. The fingerprints are visible on the display and they affect the clarity of the visual content on device. Though, it shouldn’t be a big issue, as those smudges don’t stick around after wiping them once. Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this display for media streaming despite the large real estate. The only thing likable about the display is the touch screen responsiveness; it’s quite snappy.
The software on Galaxy ON7 is based on Android Lollipop 5.1.1, which is the latest Lollipop version on the market right now. On top of the Lollipop sits the custom Android skin, the TouchWiz UI, which most of you would be familiar with. One of the oldest in the Android skin game, the interface from brand has been improved a lot from its previous generation.
The TouchWiz UI on Galaxy ON7 offers snappy performance and animations, thanks to the Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 410 chipset. The interface hasn’t changed much in terms of the app drawer, as you still have app drawer and home screen separate, which is a good thing. The icons are square but with round shape and that is something new from the old interface.
There is no themes dedicated app like Samsung offer on their high-end smartphones, but you can do a lot of personalization from the Samsung Galaxy Apps, where you can get icons pack, wallpapers or even third party themes to completely change the look with one-tap.
Talking about the bloatware, you get pre-installed apps, but the number has been reduced to couple of apps, which are in fact quite resourceful. Such as Smart Manager, My Files, Galaxy Apps, Mix Radio and Opera Max. We were not surprised to see less bloatware on the device, since Samsung has been following that policy from when company launched the Galaxy S6 smarphone, earlier this year.
The internal storage space on the device is of 8GB while around 4.11 GB was available for use, which is quite low. The remaining part is used by system and cache, which is usual thing. If you’re worried about storage space, you don’t have to, as the device has microSD card support. Moreover, you can also have any OTG attached to it. We have tested out the device and it was detecting the OTG drive pretty quick.
Hardware & Performance
The latest mid-range phone from Samsung, the ON7 is powered by a Snapdragon 410 processor, which is a chipset that has impressed us in the compact size phones, with few exceptions like Honor 4X. Now let’s find out how it pans out on this new smartphone. Supporting the chipset is the 1.5GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage on the device, whereas the GPU is Adreno 306.
The gaming part was pretty smooth on the device; we played games like Riptide GP2, Dead Trigger 2 and Asphalt 8. There seem to have no lag while playing all these games, as well as no frame drop. Looks like SD 410 holds up pretty well on that promise. The RAM might be low, which clearly restricts us from launching too many apps at a time, but even when I opened 4-5 apps at a time; it was swiftly able to shift between apps. But remember, opening more than two big games would take a toll on the system as we tried switching between above three games.
Talking about the heating part, the device was as cool as it can be during the gameplay and heavy apps usage. The processor is known for efficient performance thus the management of apps is pretty interesting. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about heating on the ON7. Out of 1.5GB of RAM, there would be around 600MB of RAM free while the system would use around 600MB and remaining 150MB would be used by apps running in the background.
The benchmark tests for Antutu and Vellamo would reveal the theoretical potential of the device, so we tested out the benchmark tools for ON7. The Antutu score for device was around 21000 and Vellamo for metal was 971, Multicore was 1115 and 2004 for the Chrome Browser test. Talking about the browsing, we did a demo to understand how web surfing feels like. The large real estate really helps in making browsing experience good.
The rear camera on the device is 13-megapixel, and I would say it is on par with other handsets in the range. But is it any good in actual? We tested out to know more about the sensor. The module is accompanied by the single LED flash, which does its job pretty well. You can see that in our low light camera samples below. But before that let’s talk about the color reproduction and other stats about the images.
The broad daylight captures on the device are as good as it can get for a 13MP module; Samsung has always been good with its cameras, and this module promises and delivers like any other Samsung device. The white balance on images might be little off, but that’s fine because it’s hardly noticeable. The important factor is that color reproduction was pretty amazing, and we liked the output regarding the color showcase.
The TouchWiz camera app is not as complicated as it used to be; the Android Lollipop forced the company to change certain things for good, and camera apps interface was one of them. Spending some time with a camera would make you master of modes in no time. Talking about the features of the camera app, you get modes like Auto, Manual, Panoroma and Continous Shot, all the modes have their purpose, but I would recommend using Auto mode all the time, because the camera app has a better judgement of how much exposure, white balance and ISO required for the scene.
The rear module is capable of recording up to 1080p video samples, and we tested out whether it is up to the mark or not, it was not surprising that we liked what we saw after recording the samples. It’s not stunning quality, but that’s the maximum output you can get from an average 13-megapixel sensor. The software stabilization helps in removing the shakes as much possibly it can, while you have to be steady to take good shots.
The selfie cameras are the rage these days, and there are many selfie dedicated camera phones out there. But I have always been astonished by what Samsung’s low hardware can achieve that even high-end hardware from Tier-2 brands can’t. There is an option of wide-selfie in case you want to fit in a large crowd in one selfie. As well as an interval shot to make sure you get a good capture. You can learn more about the camera in our detailed camera review of the Galaxy ON7
The 3000mAh battery capacity is more than enough for any device with a Snapdragon 410 processor and low power demanding 720p display. There’s more to being average joe in one part of overall specifications. The large battery capacity ensures that you can get through the day with more than average usage. It means less worry and more work done on your phone.
The thickness of 8.2mm and 5.5-inch screen size allowed the device to include such large battery pack, all this without making it any bulkier than Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G and even Honor 4X. Meanwhile, if you want the device to last much longer in emergency situations, then I would recommend the two power saving modes: normal and ultra. While you can use the normal power saving mode all the time, as it is quite the saver. You don’t always need the full horsepower to run basic operations; you can always switch it off when in need to play games or too heavy tasks.
Overall, the battery offers incredible standby time just as what we saw on the ON5. There it was 2% drop on the ON5 while the battery on ON7 did same percentage drop, which shouldn’t be concerning, as the device can last over the day with more than average usage.
The dual SIM connectivity is a must in a mid-range, and Galaxy ON7 fulfills that need pretty well. You also get a dual standby mode on the device, which in order allows you to take calls from second SIM even if you’re on a call from first SIM. And that is quite convenient feature.
Other important feature that ON7 offers is the 4G LTE network connectivity. We tested the call reception and data speed on the 4G network and was pretty satisfied with the stats and experience. Now a day’s every other company is launching a 4G LTE enabled smartphone at an affordable pricing. So, it was obvious for company to offer this support on their new mid-range product. The usual set of options like OTG, GPS, GLONASS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are supported on the device.
The Samsung Galaxy ON7 is not an extraordinary device with an amazing set of features; you can’t expect Tier-1 brand to offer such features in a mid-range budget segment. Instead, the company rolls with a handset that offers solid build quality, a reliable feel and good enough cameras that you could be happy with. Most of all, the performance of the device is what one would want from their daily driver.
Though, there are tons of options that you could go with instead of the Galaxy ON7. Such as the Honor 4X, Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G and Lenovo K3 Note. These devices have more RAM, better processor and much clear displays than ON7. So, it’s you who have to decide, whether you want to go with Tier-1 brand or not.