Samsung Galaxy J3 review
Samsung at an affordable price
The Samsung Galaxy J3 offers a rich experience with a budget-friendly price tag. With a from £7.50 entry price on a 24 month contract or from £155 SIM free, the Samsung Galaxy J3 is priced to please and here we take a detailed look at what this cheap Samsung phone has to offer.
Display - HD and Outdoor Mode
The Samsung Galaxy J3 has a 5” Super AMOLED HD display with a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels. Wake up the screen on this phone and compare it to another brand’s and it becomes quickly apparent that the J3 has one of the brightest and most colour vivid displays around.
Under bright sunlight, it is possible to activate Outdoor Mode, which ramps up the brightness. High screen brightness will of course drain the battery and to tackle this Samsung has thoughtfully added a 15 minute timer that returns the display to normal brightness levels, when this time period expires.
Design - Colours, weight and width
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Phone Set Up
Getting started - Email, data and memory
The Samsung Galaxy J3 comes with its own email client as well as the Gmail app. If the owner only has Gmail then using this app may be best. Otherwise the email client can be used to add emails account from other providers and more then one can be added, a benefit for those who have work and personal email accounts.
At this point of the set up, some may find it beneficial to set a data limit that matches the allowance of their contract and data alerts can also be added too.
The 16GB internal memory is ample and can hold roughly 5,000 photos or 2,500 songs. If need, there is a microSD card slot on the side for expanding the memory up to 128GB.
Customisation - Modes, privacy and security
The Samsung Galaxy J3 is certainly user friendly and there are several modes and features that lend themselves well to certain demographics. The first is Easy Mode, which offers larger icons and simplified app interactions.
The Galaxy J3 will also allow the user to select their dominant hand for menu placement in certain apps. The phone can also be set to offer Visual Voicemail and it is Hearing Aid Compatible (HAC).
The typical security options are available with pin, pattern and password lock screens. The owner can additionally choose whether to display sensitive information on the lock screen.
Another neat feature is Daydream and this needs to be activated from the settings menu. Once activated, the Daydream screen shows the time, date, weather and latest news headlines and can be set to show for up to one hour or whenever the phone is connected to a charger, giving an always-on display.
There are other Daydream apps available in the Play Store, giving other options such as showing notifications and set alarms.
User interface - Android, apps and Maps
The Samsung Galaxy J3 arrives with Google’s Android Lollipop operating system and this is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, which is pretty typical for smartphones in this class.
The J3 can download new apps from the Play Store or from the Samsung Galaxy App store, where apps made for Samsung can be found. New apps can be download using 4G, 3G or Wi-Fi, the latter of which is an option that saves the owners data allowance for when they are away from a Wi-Fi hotspot.
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Pre-installed apps includes Google Play Music that works with the rear mounted speaker. The app can shuffle music tracks and cast them to separate wireless speakers. When using the Samsung’s built in speakers, SoundAlive+ can be turned on for a surround sound effect and Tube Amp can be activated for a soft timbre effect like that offered by tube amplifiers.
Finally, Google Maps works with GPS for navigation services and maps can be downloaded for offline navigation. There are many other apps and features to discover on the Galaxy J3, such as Google Voice Typing and Wi-Fi hotspot creation for getting other net enabled devices online.
Camera & Video
Photography - Average resolution with plenty of features
The camera on the Samsung Galaxy J3 brings a class-typical 5MP resolution to the photographer. There are other phones in the same class with higher resolution cameras, like the HTC Desire 530, should this be a key feature desired.
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The feature set of the camera is fairly comprehensive and includes 4x digital zoom, HD video recording, an LED flash, photo editor, video editor and Geo-tagging. There are several shooting modes to choose between, such as Pro, Panorama, Continuous Shot, Beauty Face, Sound & Shot and Sports mode.
In addition to these features, the user can activate grid lines for lining up the perfect shot, set the actions of the volume keys, create slideshows and collages, crop photos and launch the camera quickly with a double tap of the home key.
Looking for more megapixels? Read the Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 review
The secondary 2MP selfie camera can capture selfies and the shutter can be activated by showing a palm to the camera.
Power - Respectable usage times
The 2,600mAh battery performs well and can offer up to 11 hours of Wi-Fi internet browsing, 14 hours of video playback, 77 hours of music playback or give a standby time of up to 14 days.
When needed, Power Saving and Ultra Power Saving modes are ready to help.
Verdict: The Samsung Galaxy J3 is a good smartphone that will attract the attention of those who want the Samsung brand without a hefty price tag.
Written by: Michael Brown