Since not everyone can afford Galaxy S7, Samsung since years ago has traditionally introduced a bucket load of different models across multiple price ranges. Compared to Chinese phone makers, Samsung used took rather a hesitant effort in bringing satisfactory values to those with shoestring budgets. But when the Korean manufacturer started to fire out the J series last year, the reception begins to turn into their favor.

Among the J series, there is J3 is in the middle. There are J1, J2, J5, and J7. J3 does miss out several essential features, and there are different models with different spec sheets, so please be wary.

PROS:

  • Vibrant screen, nice AMOLED display
  • Good battery life
  • Matte plastic

CONS:

  • Not so powerful
  • Tacky brightness setting
  • No Marshmallow

samsung-galaxy-j3-2016-review

When it comes to the word “Samsung,” and “affordable,” there could be only one thing that comes to your mind: a plastic phone. In fact, the entire back case is still covered by cheap plastic, although glass protects the front side. Samsung did try to deceive our eyes by painting the edge in an aluminium-like color in hope to make it somehow look like the all-metal A series. The overall looks still more expensive than the first generation of J series, J5 2015 for example.

The handling is pretty identical to S7, and similarly, it’s only 7.9mm thick. J3 has a 5-inch display at 720p, while S7 has 5.1-inch at 1440p. Instead of Gorilla Glass, Samsung chose to feature the Asahi Dragontail Glass in the handset.

Unfortunately, the J3 doesn’t have auto brightness mode. While Samsung already gave the handset an “outdoor mode,” the manual setting is still pretty much frustrating. But our compliment to them for bringing the Super AMOLED to help the J3 in battling outdoor light exceptionally.

Speaking of the power unit, you can’t bang on it for too much. The company funnily replaces the Snapdragon 400 found in the previous iteration with the Spreadtrum SC8830. It comes with four 32-bit Cortex-A7 cores running at 1.5GHz of speed rate. The RAM still stand at 1.5GB while almost everyone in the under $200 market already gets an upgrade to 2GB at least. The internal storage packs 16GB (8GB in lower J3 models), and there’s a microSD slot up to 256GB.

The primary camera has 8MP sensor with f/2.2 aperture and single LED flash. Frankly, the image result doesn’t seem so pleasing whenever you zoom in. The J3 also lack the dynamic range compared to other phones in the same class, such as Motorola Moto G4 with its great 13MP shooter. But it has HDR and Pro mode which allow you to take more crispy details but slower shutter speed. On the front, there’s 5MP sensor which performs just as the same as the rear one.

It has 2600 mAh removable battery which barely could stand a full day in general use. We found that the outdoor mode is quite an efficient solution to extend the durability as it doesn’t eat too much battery away.

Conclusion: For $175, the Samsung Galaxy J3 2016 has a line of fierce competitors to tackle. The screen quality does amazingly stand out, but the RAM and the camera are the most perceptible lackluster here. If you already understand the stability that Samsung used to bring, then you may not be needing to compensate the setbacks.