Samsung recently refreshed its mid-range J series of devices, with the launch of the 2016 editions of the J3, J5 and the J7.

The Samsung Galaxy J7 is the flag bearer of the range, with a 5.5-inch sAMOLED screen, a 3,300mAh battery, 2GB of RAM and the Exynos 5 processor.

The smartphone, priced at about NGN 127, 000,.00 on Konga.com Does Samsung’s new mid-range competitor have what it takes to battle it out with these segment heavyweights? Let’s find out

Specifications

Display   : 5.5-inch 720p HD sAMOLED display
OS   : Samsung’s TouchWiz UI running atop Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
CPU   : 1.6GHz octa-core Exynos 5 processor
RAM   : 2GB
GPU   : Mali T830
Storage   : 16GB internal storage, microSD support
Cameras   : 13MP f/1.9 rear camera (LED flash), 5MP f/1.9 front camera (LED flash)
Connectivity   : Wi-Fi, 3G/4G/2G, GPS, Bluetooth, microUSB 2.0, NFC
Battery   : 3,300mAh
Dimensions   : 151×7.6×7.8 mm
Weight   : 170 grams
Price   : About NGN 127,000

Design/Connectivity

For many years, Samsung was known for making plasticky handsets with mediocre build quality and uninspired designs. All this changed though with the Galaxy S6 and the S6 Edge, ushering in a svelte metal and glass design that stunned many. From the days of the ungainly and bulky Galaxy S5, Samsung had transformed it’s ugly duckling into a beautiful swan with the Galaxy S6.

In fact, the design was so incredible, that suddenly the iPhone 6 started looking a bit stale. Now you will be asking why i am talking about the flagship Galaxy in an article reviewing the J7.

That’s because even though Samsung has made serious headways when it comes to design in it’s flagships, the same cannot be said for it’s low and mid-range devices.

Some attempts have been made by Samsung in the form of the metal infused A series and the inclusion of a metal frame and a brushed metal back in the Galaxy J5 and the J7. However, in light of the competition seriously stepping up it’s game when it comes to build quality and design, the Samsung Galaxy J7 looks stale and uninspired.

Hardware/Display

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The Samsung Galaxy J7 is powered by Samsung’s own Exynos 5 processor clocked at 1.6 GHz coupled with a Mali T830 GPU, 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage (expandable by upto 128gb via a microSD card slot) and a 3300mAh battery. It has a 5.5-inch 720p sAMOLED display.

Amongst the competition, the YU Yunicorn has a 5.5-inch full HD display and is powered by the MediaTek Helio P10 processor coupled with a 4GB of RAM, a 4000mAh battery and 32GB of internal storage, which can be expanded by up-to 128GB via a microSD card while the the Moto G4 Plus packs a 1.5GHz octa-core Snapdragon 617 processor, a 5.5-inch full HD display, microSD card support and either 2GB RAM + 16GB internal storage or 3GB RAM + 32GB internal storage, depending on the variant.

Software

TouchWiz is here to stay. Sadly.

The Samsung Galaxy J7 runs on Samsung’s own TouchWiz UI running atop Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. Doze mode, application permission control and all other Marshmallow goodness is on offer here, just with a heavy handed dash of Samsung’s customisation.

Samsung over the years has tried to de clutter and simplify TouchWiz, removing a lot of unnecessary and gimmicky features. But still, especially after using the Moto G4 Plus, TouchWiz seems a bit incoherent and messy.

Camera

The Samsung Galaxy J7 comes with a 13MP, rear camera with autofocus and LED flash and a 5MP front camera with a LED flash. Both the cameras have an aperture of f/1.9.

The rear camera is above average and is actually one of the better shooters in this segment. In well lit situations, it produces sharp and vibrant images with vivid colors and deep blacks. The camera is very quick to focus and produces little or no lag when processing images as well.

Battery Life

The Samsung Galaxy J7 is powered by a 3,300mAh battery unit which delivers surprisingly decent results. The device can make it through one day of light to moderate use without beating a sweat. However, expectedly, intensive use kills the battery before the sun sets.

The device doesn’t support QuickCharging, but still manages to attain a decent 40% charge in an hour. The battery life of the device, while not spectacular, is one of it’s high points and Samsung’s rather nifty ultra power saving mode, which applies a greyscale theme to your device, extends the battery life even further.

Likes

The Samsung Galaxy J7 offers great gaming performance, is good for selfie lovers with a front LED flash, has great battery life and handles day to day usage decently.

Dislikes

The Samsung Galaxy S7 has a dated and uninspired design, questionable build quality, a lowly 720p resolution display, only 2GB RAM and comes without a fingerprint sensor.

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy J7 is a rather mixed bag. It offers the SBike mode, decent day to day performance, is great for gaming, has a good camera setup, comes with a front LED flash and it’s battery life is above average.

However, at a price point of Rs 15,999, we find it extremely hard to recommend the Samsung Galaxy J7 as it has a dated and uninspired design, the back cover is of an appalling quality, it has only 2GB of RAM, the 720p sAMOLED display, while bright and colorful, lacks sharpness and it comes without a fingerprint sensor.

It is high time Samsung stops riding on it’s brand name when it comes to its mid-range and lower-mid range devices and understands the fact that the mobile landscape is undergoing a drastic shift with companies like OnePlus, Xiaomi and Asus redefining the definition of budget devices.

Samsung needs to stop recycling it’s age old designs and making safe, uninspired handsets which just blend in the crowd. With competition such as the Motorola Moto G4 Plus, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 and the One Plus X, it is inevitable that customers will ultimately start expecting more from the world leader.