Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) Review – The Bikers’ Phone
Samsung released a smartphone from the new Galaxy J (2016) series, the Galaxy J3 which is focused on bike riders. It offers compelling features for bike riders so that they can get a control over the phone calls while they are riding a bike. Other things to combine is the Galaxy J3 comes with a new design and a better battery backup to buy you a day without charge. With a price tag of ₹8990, let’s see what the smartphone has to offer. Here’s our Samsung Galaxy J3 review below.
What’s inside the Box
- Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)
- Battery (2600 mAh)
- USB Cable
- S-Bike Sticker (NFC Tag)
- User Manuals
Samsung Galaxy J3 Specifications
- Display: 5.0-inch HD Super AMOLED Display (1280 x 720 pixels)
- Software: Android 5.1.1 Lollipop with TouchWiz UI
- Fingerprint Scanner: No
- CPU: 1.5 GHz quad-core Spreadtrum SC9830 (Cortex-A7)
- GPU: Mali-400
- Memory: 1.5 GB RAM
- Storage: 8 GB internal storage, Expandable using MicroSD (up to 128 GB)
- Main Camera: 8 MP autofocus with LED flash
- Front Camera: 5 MP
- Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, GPS, GLONASS, USB on the Go (OTG), Micro USB 2.0
- Network: 4G LTE support, Dual Micro SIM (GSM + GSM)
- Battery: 2600 mAh (removable)
- Dimensions: 142.3 mm x 71.0 mm x 7.9 mm
- Weight: 138 grams
- Color Variants: Gold, Black, White
Design and Build
The Galaxy J3 (2016) is a 5-inch smartphone and extremely light in weight (138 grams). While the size is perfect to hold it in one hand, some people may find it pretty small those who like a larger screen. When you look at the Samsung’s new Galaxy J (2016) series, all of them looks the same to me. As with the new series, we liked the slim design of the smartphone.
We are surprised with its AMOLED display, the Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) comes with a bright AMOLED display. At this price, there are hardly any phones available to feature an AMOLED display. Keeping the magnificent display aside, the phone is built with plastic materials having rounded corners and frames similar to as seen in the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy A (2016) series. For the design part, Samsung has improved a lot with its budget phones’ build quality.
The shiny back cover is designed to look like a leather but it’s a faux pattern. We also noticed such similar design on their previous Galaxy On series. The good thing is, back doesn’t prone to fingerprints.
Having a 5MP front camera for selfie and 8 MP autofocus camera with LED flash on the back, the camera package is quite decent for the price. The Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) comes with a removable back cover as well as the 2600 mAh battery. Alongside you will find a speaker grill.
As expected, the touch buttons on the bottom aren’t backlit.
Removing the back cover is easy. The 2600 mAh battery can be removed by gently opening the removable back cover.
The Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) supports dual micro-SIM cards (GSM + GSM) with 4G network connectivity. The worst part in all those Samsung devices having removable back is removing the SIM cards once they are inserted.
A standard 3.5 mm audio jack is provided for the bundled earphones. On the bottom, there is a microphone and a Micro USB port.
Moving towards the left side, there is a standard volume rocker button which doesn’t feel flimsy. A power button is located on the right side.
The best thing I find in the phone is the display. Samsung Galaxy J3 used an AMOLED display having a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. While the display resolution is decent, the quality of the images appear pretty good and with nice colors and contrast.
While other smartphones in this price segment may offer a full HD display, Samsung could also have provided 1080p screen but that would certainly affect the battery life. At this price, the display is quite decent and you will enjoy the high brightness it offers. The viewing angles are okay, the display seems to be working as it should.
Software and User Interface
The Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) has Android 5.1.1 Lollipop with TouchWiz UI. That isn’t the latest version of Android, i.e. Marshmallow and Samsung should have come up with the latest Android version but hopefully, in upcoming updates, who knows Samsung can bring in the new updates to the Galaxy J3 (2016).
Well, talking about the software, the TouchWiz from Samsung is all the same that you have seen in other Samsung smartphones. To know more about the Software part, we have already covered in our reviews of Samsung devices.
An added feature is the S bike that keeps your phone silent and blocks all the notifications when you are on a ride. It helps you to remain undisturbed with the phone calls and SMS notifications when you are driving your vehicle.
An NFC tag is bundled with the phone which is used for activating the S bike mode. The tag is a small sticker that can be stuck on your bike. It can be used to activate and deactivate the S bike feature by tapping the tag with the phone.
Here’s a video showing how does the S bike mode work. We have already covered the Samsung S bike mode feature in our previous post.
The software also features an Easy mode, Smart Manager, and USB backup.
Hardware, Performance and Gaming
Coming to the hardware and the performance of the device, it boasts a 1.5 GHz quad-core Cortex-A7 processor and 1.5 GB RAM. The SoC is neither from Qualcomm nor from MediaTek. It’s a Spreadtrum SC9830 SoC having an old generation cores, Cortex-A7.
The smartphone performs okay with a few apps, however, when you install a lot of apps, the smartphone struggles. At times, the phone performs slow and lags a bit. While the YouTube video streaming and video playback ran just fine, the performance is not good for multitasking and apps that require a good amount of hardware resources.
The performance benchmarks show that the smartphone is underpowered. The AnTuTu scored 18457 points and Geekbench scored 261 points (single-core) and 870 points (multi-core). The performance on the Galaxy J3 (2016) is mediocre.
The system takes almost half of the RAM and the rest is free to use. Having 1.5 GB RAM is less nowadays. Most of the smartphone comes with at least 2 GB RAM in this price category.
Games Played on Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)
- Where’s My Water? 2
- Asphalt Nitro
- Temple Run 2
- Prince of Persia
The Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) is not meant for gaming. If you love to play games, only a few light games can be run smoothly, the medium and high graphics game will run slow. The GPU (Mali-400 MP) on the device is weak. We have tested three games, Where’s My Water? 2, Asphalt Nitro, Temple Run 2 and Prince of Persia. The Asphalt Nitro didn’t run well, and it was lagging on the menu interface itself. The game runs slow while the rest ran quite good since their requirements are low.
The Samsung Galaxy J3 comes with an 8 MP and 5 MP camera package. What do you think the camera could perform with the specs below?
Samsung Galaxy J3 Camera Specifications
- Camera: 8 MP Autofocus with LED flash
- Optical Image Stabilization (OIS): No
- Zoom: 4x Digital Zoom
- Features: Geo-tagging, Tap to Focus, Richtone HDR, Manual, Beautification, face detection, Continuous Shot, Panorama, Sound & Shot, Sports.
- Video: Max 1280 x 720 pixels video recording
- Front Camera: 5 MP
We have tested the camera and it certainly isn’t the best camera out there. While it performs as an average camera, the same is not good with the night photography.
The camera interface remains the same in all the Samsung smartphones. What else is noticed is the camera options are trimmed down because of the camera limitations. It features Richtone HDR, Manual, Beautification, Tap to Focus, face detection, Panorama, Sound & Shot, Geo-tagging, Continuous Shot, Sports.
What can we say, you can clearly see the image quality in the below-given samples captured with Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) camera. Have a look at them.
Initially, all the photographs seem to be good in the daylight conditions but when you look closely it lacks the details. However, due to the Super AMOLED screen, the colors and contrast show the image overall good. The daylight images are decent quality but the camera could perform better with this price range. The Richtone HDR takes images better any day compared to the Auto mode. The full 360-degree Panorama surprised us.
Storage and Connectivity
The Samsung Galaxy J3 has 8 GB internal storage with options to expand it using MicroSD. Other smartphones provide at least 16 GB storage. A promotional offer you get from Samsung and Microsoft is 100 GB of cloud storage on OneDrive.
The battery on the Galaxy J3 is removable. It holds the capacity of 2600 mAh which seems to be average but for a phone with low profile hardware can lead to a better battery life. Same is with the Galaxy J3, the battery performs great. The phone can last more than a day easily with moderate to heavy usage with GPS and NFC turned on.
I was pretty excited with the battery results. On normal use. playing games on the Samsung Galaxy J3 as well as using a few apps like YouTube, for video streaming for a while, a 1.5 hour of offline music playback, some social networking with Facebook and camera clicks with the primary 8 MP camera, the battery drained from 50% to 7% in 1 day 17 hours.
An advantage to the Galaxy J3 is the 720p AMOLED which helps to save battery. Another thing to note is the hardware, the processor on the smartphone is weak and hence, it doesn’t drain too much battery when you use it heavily. The battery saver in the TouchWiz can get you, even more, battery life.
Take a look at the battery table on the Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) below to see how the apps consume the battery.
Samsung Galaxy J3 Battery Test Table
|1080p Video||4%||20 minutes||Medium||Off (Wi-Fi, GPS, Data)|
|Prince of Persia||4%||20 minutes||Medium||On (Wi-Fi)|
|Where's My Water? 2||5%||20 minutes||Medium||On (Wi-Fi)|
|Bubble Bash 3||7%||20 minutes||Medium||On (Wi-Fi)|
|YouTube||5%||20 minutes||Medium||On (Wi-Fi)|
|SoundCloud||3%||30 minutes||Medium||On (Wi-Fi)|
|Music (Offline)||2%||1 Hour||Medium||Off (Wi-Fi, GPS, Data)|
|3%||20 minutes||Medium||On (Wi-Fi)|
Samsung brought an interesting concept of the S bike mode for those who rides the bike. Such feature can be very useful for the people who has a habit of talking on the phone when riding 2-wheelers. We liked the concept of the bike feature that assists the bike riders.
What good things this budget phone has to offer you is the battery life and a good design to appeal you. Also prominent is the Super AMOLED display. What’s not good is the performance of the device. The Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) is somewhat underpowered. Another thing not to consider is the camera while the camera performs like an average camera, it could have been made better. Here are some suggestions you should consider before you make the decisions to buy the Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016).
- Attractive Design
- Bright Super AMOLED Display
- Good Battery Life
- Light Weight
- 100 GB OneDrive cloud storage
- Mediocre Performance
- Average Camera