After the Galaxy S7, and A5, Samsung has turned its attention to its entry-level proposition for 2016. This has materialized with the renewal of the J series. Four terminals to address this very competitive price segment, with small margins but volume. The Korean, however, could not pass by.
The J’s also crystallize the firm’s efforts to clarify its ranges. Scrap all Mini, Core, Prime etc. declinations. You now have three letters and a Note. Period. This makes it much easier for consumers to know what they are buying and to assess the price/performance ratio at a glance or almost at a glance.
Rationalization effort that can be found within the J range itself, which consists of four terminals : J1, J3, J5 and J7, in order of increasing price and diagonal. After the test of J3, we tackle J5. Initially positioned at 229 euros, it is now quite easily found below the 200 euro level. What is Samsung capable of at this price? Answer in our test.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 was a symbol of Samsung’s investment in design. Efforts that have not ceased since and new evidence with the J5. While he obviously cannot afford the luxurious finishes of the S or A series, he has some aesthetic arguments. The first thing to notice are the metal slices, a material not found on J3 and J1.
The removable rear panel is made of plastic, but the firm has worked on the surface to limit the cheap feel that usually comes from the material. In reality, visually it feels more like metal. Once in hand, you inevitably tear a little bit, but you have to acknowledge the firm’s effort. There is also a fairly good feeling of solidity about the whole.
However, the object could have gained a few grams: 159, it feels in the pocket, as well as a few millimetres. 8.1 mm thick is nowadays a lot, but probably the counterpart of a removable battery. In the end, considering the budget restrictions imposed, Samsung is doing quite well on the design.
The big novelty on the 2016 J Series is the integration of an OLED display on the whole range, from J1 to J7. We know that Samsung has mastered the technology, and now also controls production costs. The firm is therefore well inspired by the integration on entry-level telephones to provide them with de facto above-average display. The advantages of the technology in terms of contrast and rendering are well known and can be enjoyed at low cost.
Samsung, on the other hand, makes do with 1280 x 720 by 5.2 inches and a resolution of 282 ppi. It’s a bit too little to make the pixels disappear completely, but they are still quite easily forgotten. We will therefore conclude by saying that in this price range, Samsung comes to a rendering largely up to scratch.
On the other hand, on performance. The J5 has a Snapdragon 410. The chip is built around four 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex A7 cores, which, on 720p, should allow it to behave smoothly. Unfortunately, in use, there are still slowdowns when launching an application, or after leaving it. Nothing dramatic, but the fluidity could have been improved. Same fight on the games, we won’t be able to fully enjoy it. Benchmarks show this very well.
Samsung makes up for the autonomy, if you don’t reach the level of a Galaxy A5 (2016), you will still be able to use your phone for 1 day without any problem, and the most economical ones will probably arrive in the early evening of the second day of use. That’s a good point. For storage, 16 GB will be required, of which 11 GB is for the user’s free use. However, it can be increased via a MicroSD card. Fortunately. By the way, the phone runs on Android 6 and supports 4G.
The J5 differs from the J3 by having a 13 mpx sensor, compared to only 5 on the J3. But above all, it opens at f/1.9, as much as the Galaxy S6. On paper, the results are more than honourable in low light conditions. Unfortunately, however, it is under these conditions that the sensor coughs.
In addition to the lack of light, we have also noticed difficulties with the focus. The phone sometimes has trouble fixing it, and when it does, it’s sometimes in the wrong place. It makes up for it in natural light as can be seen in the examples below. The J5 will probably remain confined to daylight or flash photography, where it does relatively well, even in the absence of a double-temperature flash. On the selfies side, we have 5 mpx, opening at f/1.9, it’s not great either, but Samsung has the merit to have placed a flash in the front.
Despite its few flaws, the J5 is a well-balanced phone that doesn’t suffer from any major shortcomings. If at 229 euros, it was perhaps a bit too expensive, having fallen below 200 euros, it becomes a terminal with an interesting price/quality ratio, but not extraordinary, especially when placed next to an Honor 5C for example, which offers a technical data sheet largely to its advantage.