Besides the high-end Galaxy S series, the J series has been the most rewarding for the company, with the latest stats revealing that the Galaxy J3 2016 and J5 2016 were the fourth and fifth best-selling phones in Q1 2017.
With the introduction of the Galaxy J series, Samsung was trying to end the confusion that had been surrounding its naming strategy, but so far, this hasn’t done a lot to help. There are many people out there who can’t tell the difference between a Galaxy J7 2016 and a Galaxy J5 2016, for instance. If you are one of them, well, you are the in the right place. This article will differentiate the 2016 Galaxy J series in terms of major specs and features in a bid to help you know which one is which, just before you proceed to make a purchase.
Design and display
Just in case you didn’t know, the Galaxy J series is Samsung’s budget phones and as such, you won’t find the premium glass and metal designs that are common with the Galaxy S series. Nonetheless, the phones are superbly built to match their price range, with the J3 2016 featuring a plastic body as opposed to the metallic designs of the J5 2016 and J7 2016.
Samsung Galaxy J3 2016 is the smallest and lightest while the Galaxy J7 2016 is the biggest and heaviest of all. The former has a 5.0-inch Super AMOLED screen with a 1280 x 720 pixels resolution (HD). It measures 142.3 mm tall and 7.9mm thick and weighs 138g. The Galaxy J5 2016 has a 5.2-inch Super AMOLED display screen with the same resolution as the J3, but due to the bigger size, you end up with a less crispy display with 282ppi pixel density compared to 294ppi of the J3 2016. This J5 2016 model is a tad taller, thicker and heavier at 145.8mm, 8.1mm and 159g, respectively.
For the Galaxy J7 2016, you get a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED screen with the same HD resolution that downgrades the quality of pictures displayed even further thanks to the smaller pixel density of just 267ppi. In short, the smaller Galaxy J3 2016 has the sharpest display here, but there are some variants of the J7 2016 that come with a 1080p resolution, which changes the whole story. The Galaxy J7 2016 is also the tallest at 151.7mm, but it’s the thinnest at 7.8mm. Due to its size, the J7 is the heaviest at 170g.
Unlike the display quality where the Galaxy J3 2016 is the best, the Galaxy J7 2016 wins the technical specs battle. Under the hood, some models have a Snapdragon 617 while others ship with an Exynos 7870 SoC. These processors are meant to deliver the same performance and as such, they are paired with the same 2GB RAM. But as noted earlier, there’s a variant of the J7 2016 that ships with a 5.5-inch 1080p display screen. Well, this same variant also ships with a better 3GB RAM, but it’s only available in China.
For the Galaxy J5 2016, you get a budget Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 running the show. This is paired with a 2GB RAM, just like the J7, but it’s a weaker performer compared to the SD617. Both the Galaxy J5 2016 and Galaxy J7 2016 have the same 16GB storage and this can be expanded using a microSD card. As expected, the Galaxy J3 2016 is the weakest, featuring either a Spreadtrum SC9830 or an Exynos 3475 processor. These are entry-level chipsets that don’t have any wow effect on the performance of the phone. Regardless of the processor, all variants of the J3 2016 have the same 1.5GB RAM, but there are two storage options of either 8GB or 16GB with room for microSD card storage.
Due to the size of the Galaxy J7 2016, it gets the biggest battery capacity of 3300mAh. The Galaxy J5 2016 follows closely with a 3100mAh unit while the Galaxy J3 2016 gets the smallest – 2600mAh unit. The trio’s batteries are removable, but there’s no confirmed fast battery charging and all three phones use a microUSB port for charging.
Cameras, software, and pricing
Today, the most influential feature when buying a smartphone is the camera. Being budget phones, the Galaxy J series will not give you the type of photos that Galaxy S series gives you. But for their price, they are still great performers. Where the Galaxy J3 2016 ships with two variants, you’ll find some models with an 8MP/5MP camera combination while others will have a 5MP/2MP camera combination. In Kenya, you should get the former. Both variants support autofocus (AF), have the same f/2.2 aperture and a LED flash on the back. You also get impressive video recording of up to 1080p.
For the Galaxy J5 2016 and Galaxy J7 2016, you get a 13MP main camera with f/1.9 aperture, AF, LED flash and 1080p video recording. The front has a 5MP lens with the same aperture and LED flash, which translates to better performance in low-light conditions.
In terms of software, the Galaxy J3 2016 comes preinstalled with an older Android 5.1.1 Lollipop while the Galaxy J5 and J7 2016 have Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow out of the box. There have been talks of the two Marshmallow models getting an Android 7.0 Nougat treat later this year, but the J3 2016 is nowhere on this Nougat roadmap.
When it comes to the price, various retailers have their own pricing strategies. At the moment, there’s no sign of the Galaxy J5 2016 and Galaxy J7 2016 on Jumia, the leading retailer in the region, however, you can grab the Galaxy J3 2016 from the same platform for Ksh 12,999, cheaper than most retailers. For the Galaxy J5 2016 and J7 2016, you can visit Phones Arena Kenya, where the former is valued at Ksh 17,000 while the latter has a price tag of Ksh 22,500. If making a one-time payment is a problem for you, feel free to check out folks at Lipa Later, where you can have the phones paid in monthly installments.
So, which model do you prefer? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.