Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017) review
A prime example of budget phones getting better
In our Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017) review we find that even a budget phone has plenty to offer. The Galaxy J3 (2017) is the smallest and cheapest of the 2017 Galaxy J series but if you want a little more, then you should check out our Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) review and our Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) review.
The Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017) gives just a touch of the good stuff, with a metal housing that holds the glass front and polycarbonate back cover. Overall, the design sees an improved slimline design with, most notably, a camera module on the rear that now sits flush with the body.
As the smallest of the J series, the Galaxy J3 (2017) is very light at 142g and is reasonably slim at 8.2mm thick. Three colour choices should cater to all tastes with the choice of gold, black or blue.
Display and performance
At 5 inches, the LCD display isn’t too large and this has HD resolution, which equates to 1280 x 720 pixels.
There is nothing amazing to shout about in the performance area with a 1.4GHz quad-core processor with 2GB RAM. However, this Samsung phone will most probably perform better than the budget phone your are replacing.
Phone Set Up
Transferring content and backing up
Undoubtedly, the first thing that you will want to do is to transfer content over from your old smartphone or iPhone. For this, the Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017) has a 16GB memory, of which 10.3GB is free to the user.
There is a microSD card slot, so you can buy a memory card and boost the memory by up to 256GB. At this point, it is possible to create a Samsung account for free and this will give you access to the Samsung Cloud and 15GB of free space.
Samsung Cloud can be used to backup, restore and synchronise your content. You also may like to set up the Secure Folder, which encrypts your private data, files, apps and voice recordings.
If you are a budget phone buyer then the Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017) can also help keep your data charges in check. The Data Saver prevents apps from sending or receiving unnecessary data in the background and you can turn mobile data off altogether, if you just want to use Wi-Fi.
If you do keep mobile data active then there is a mobile data alert feature. You can also check the mobile data usage of individual apps, in order to identify apps that are eating up your allowance.
The Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017) runs Google’s Android 7.0 Nougat operating system. The standard series of Google apps are pre-loaded and these includes the Chrome browser, Drive, Maps, Duo, Gmail and more.
To make life easier, there is a one-handed keyboard, Google Voice typing and a multi-window split screen set up. This will let you run two apps side-by-side, which is great for keeping an eye on your social feed while watching a YouTube video or while browsing the web.
Samsung does a great job with its own apps and some are pre-loaded, while others can be downloaded from the Galaxy Apps store. Dual Messenger is the first such app and this allows you to have two messaging accounts open at the same time, so that you don’t have to log in and log out on a constant basis.
Other features on the Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017) includes Samsung Notes and Smart Alert. Smart Alert makes the phone vibrate when you pick it up, if there have been missed calls or notifications.
You will also find a handy Outdoor mode that brightens the screen for 15 minutes, for better outdoor visibility. Quick Optimisation keeps things running well and can delete unnecessary files, closes apps running in the background, scan for malware and clear unneeded items from the memory.
Music is projected well from the Galaxy J3 (2017) due to its side-positioned speaker. Located here, it doesn’t matter which way up you place the phone on a surface.
If you listen to music through headphones then you can enjoy sound effects such as Surround, Tube Amp Pro or Concert Hall. You can also customise the sound further with the built in equaliser.
Camera & Video
The high resolution 13MP camera has a f/1.9 aperture that lets in plenty of light, which is particularly useful under low light scenarios. You can launch the camera quickly by pressing the Home key twice and the floating camera button makes it easy to activate the shutter, in both portrait or landscape orientations.
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All of the shooting modes that you would expect to find are there, including Auto, Pro, Panorama, Sports, Sound & Shot and Continuous Shot.
5MP selfie cam
The 5MP selfie camera is on par with others in this pricing bracket. It benefits from a selfie flash and there is an on screen beauty button, which will instantly enhance your results.
Selfies can be difficult to take but the process is made easier on the Galaxy J3 (2017) by gesture recognition. Here, you can show your palm to the camera and the camera then activates the shutter for you, two seconds after making the gesture.
The 2,400mAh battery isn’t huge but it does perform very well. With this battery you should be able to enjoy up to 61 hours of music playback or up to 14 hours of internet use, 14 hours of video playback or up to 15 hours of talk time.
If you do get low on juice or know that you will be away from a charger for a longer period of time, then you can active the Mid or Max power saving modes.
Written by: Michael Brown