“With great fame comes great responsibility”. Samsung, known for launching new phones with very little changes here and there and still hogging up a pretty good user base, sure should pledge by it. The Galaxy J3 released in January, 2016 is a new addition to the J series of the Korean supergiant. Coming in three variants gold, black and white, this phone right here is a beast with the display and a decent buy for its price (₹8,990). So, let us dive right into the detailed review….
This device packs a 5-inch Super AMOLED display with a pixel resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels and a pixel density of 294ppi which is surprisingly amazing for the price it comes in, making this a value for money device in the display department.
AMOLED as we know it, naturally gives beautiful colours, deep blacks and also accounts to a pretty decent sunlight visibility. The outdoor mode that comes in as a replacement of auto brightness in the device certainly helps. All in all, there should be no issue with the usage in outdoor over-lit conditions and should give amazing display in indoor conditions too.
Moving on to the design, it takes up the same old Samsung bar style just spearheaded and could be called an old design. On the front, it has a 5-megapixel fixed focus camera, right next to which is the proximity sensor. Surprisingly it lacks a gyroscope (which helps in the VR headset usage) and a notification LED!! Also, lacking the ambient light sensor (although a cut-out is there). Backlit capacitive keys have been swapped with reflective ones, which are more readily visible, and a black bezel around the display glass feels incoherent with the rest of the phone’s styling as well as Samsung’s current mobile design direction as a whole. On the back, there is an 8MP auto focus camera with a single LED flash and a speaker grill present next to it like the other Samsung phones since 2012. All in all, the phone isn’t particularly ugly but just a little old school for a launch in 2016.
The 8-megapixel auto focus camera is average as compared to the other smartphones in below 10k bracket. The daylight shots are pretty good, but the image is not that bright. The HDR shots were not much different than the normal ones which makes HDR pointless, taking into account the extra processing time it takes. It simply falls below expectations in low lighting conditions because the result is too noisy to be useful. The video also disappoints, with poor audio recording caused by the lack of secondary microphone, slow autofocus and ordinary image stabilisation technology. Concluding, the camera isn’t the best out there with the usage, although looks good on paper. Basically, this device is not for the photography lovers out there.
Running on Android 5.1.1(Lollipop) with Samsung’s own UI on top, the software is pretty smooth and is one of the few UI’s on top of android. Going by their previous record, Samsung generally neglects their budget smartphones in terms of updates, so, an update to marshmallow looks pretty hazy. The drop down notification menu has enough toggles(customizable) for a casual user. The addition of a brightness bar seems legit, as, some compensation has to be offered for the lack of an ambient light sensor. Now, moving on to the main selling point, the S BIKE mode which can be triggered, by tapping the NFC tag or using the toggle in the notification menu. Once you activate the S bike mode, a pre-recorded message informs the caller that you are currently riding a bike. If the call is urgent, the caller can choose to press 1 to get through. You can then, choose to take the call if it is urgent and the Motion Lock feature lets you take the call only after you have stopped your bike safely. It also shows the total travel time and also lets you earn bronze, silver and gold badges after you have travelled 50, 500 and 1000km, respectively. This is definitely a good feature that every phone should come with, but it is highly doubtful if people would buy phone only for this feature. The ultra data saving mode powered by opera max is another good addition to the UI.
The main thing that makes samsung devices a blacklisted device for some people, is the amount of bloatware they sell, this one being no exception. It comes with games like midnight pool 2, Bubble bash 3, Zombie infection 2 which are too much of a luxury for a phone with just 4.7 GB of usable memory.
PERFORMANCE AND BATTERY
This device has a 1.5GHz quad-core Spreadtrum SC9830 processor under the hood, which offers average performance with occasional lags, but it doesn’t have any heating issues. 1.5GB of RAM can handle multitasking fine, but the Spreadtrum processor is not powerful enough compared to most mid-range 4G smartphones in the market right now.
Battery life being one of the most important selling point these days, Samsung has done nothing exceptional in this sector with 2600mAh, it easily lasts a day but it takes around two and a half hours to charge, which is pretty high, considering the turbo and fast charge options that comes bundled in other mid-range phones.
Priced at ₹8,990, this phone is average in my view and gives no compelling pros for it to be considered the best buy. The pros being, its Super AMOLED display, a decent battery life, and the S-Bike mode which are not enough for an Indian customer to go crazy for.
Their lack of ambient sensor particularly bugs me and the inbuilt storage is too less as compared to the other comparable phones in market. Buy this for its great display, but for the camera freaks out there, this phone is not the one for you. The J5 is still a better choice in my view if one wants to stick with Samsung else there are a lot of fish in the pond. Just to add a brownie point, Vodafone customers get the amazing double data offer with this purchase. Want it? No? High-five!