Samsung Galaxy J5 Prime Review
Although Samsung is the most popular Android manufacturer in the world, it is not exactly known for budget friendly and premium looking devices. For a long time, Samsung resorted to mediocre looking devices with cheap plastic construction. But in the past couple of device iterations, Samsung has adopted a new design policy. In addition to its top of the line products, the A and J series devices have tried bringing Samsung’s new premium looking devices to lower price points.
The Korean manufacturer hopes to continue this with the newest entries in J series of Android smartphones — J7 Prime and J5 Prime. These devices offer decent specs in a premium looking package. We have already reviewed the more expensive device among the two, the J7 Prime here. Now let’s take a look at the younger sibling — J5 Prime.
What do you get in the box?
As you open the box, you are greeted with the device itself. Removing the device and lifting the cardboard separator, here’s what you get:
- a SIM tray ejection tool
- pretty average sounding Samsung headphones
- a medium length USB cable
- a standard 5V/1A wall adapter with USB input (this phone does not support any kind of fast charging)
- a standard warranty information containing booklet
Unlike other manufacturers, Samsung is continuing the tradition of providing headphones with all of its devices. Although the included pair will not be able to please any audiophile, they are perfectly acceptable for listening to music casually and voice calling.
Considering this a mid to low range device, Samsung has packed some impressive specs in this beautiful device. A brief overview of its specifications is:
- 5 inches HD (720 x 1280p) IPS LCD display
- Dual SIM, dual standby mode (nano SIM cards)
- 1.4 GHz Quad-core Cortex-A53 chipset
- 2 GB RAM
- 16 GB internal storage with micro SD card support of up to 256 GB
- 13 MP primary camera with f/1.9 aperture, capable of shooting videos up to 1080p at 30 frames per second
- 5 MP secondary camera with f/2.2 aperture, capable of shooting 720p videos
Design and Build Quality
Like its bigger brother J7 prime, J5 Prime also has a completely metallic unibody design. The design screams class and glamor from every possible angle. At a single glance, most people would be remiss while guessing its actual price.
Although the design is modern and premium, it still retains the old school Samsung charm and familiarity. You can easily tell with the usage that it is a Samsung device, without ever taking a glance at the manufacturer logo on the device.
Due to having a 5-inch screen, the device is actually quite comfortable to hold in the hand. Its rounded corners make sure that a tight grip on the device won’t hurt your palms afterward.
Owing to its uni-body design, you cannot remove the battery. It also retains the arrangement of slots and inputs of J7 prime. Similar to J7 prime, you can access SIM and micro SD card slots through small trays along the sides of the device. The left side holds the slots for the primary SIM card along with another slot for the secondary SIM as well as the SD card slot. The left side also houses the volume up and down keys. Both keys, separated by a small wedge, have similar shape and design, and thus are somewhat difficult to distinguish from each other at times of urgency. I wish Samsung had made it easier to know which one rocks up the volume and which one lowers.
The right side of the device hosts the power key and a small slot for the loudspeaker. The loudspeaker, as is apparent from the size of the speaker grill, fails to impress with its loudness and sound quality. It is loud enough to make sure that no incoming calls will go unnoticed. You, however, cannot expect to fill a room with music with J5 Prime’s tiny speaker.
The positioning of the speaker also leaves something to be desired. You can easily cover the speaker with your fingers while holding it with one hand. This will completely block the sound coming from the device. So you might have to try holding your device differently if you want to hold it while it is playing back some audio.
The screen is an IPS LCD panel with HD resolution. It comes with good viewing angles and ample brightness. However, owing to a highly reflective glass panel, the outdoor visibility leaves a lot to be desired. Although, Samsung has tried to rectify this problem by providing an outdoor mode, it does little but pushing the display brightness to its maximum. Keeping the outdoor visibility aside, you will get good contrast and color representation when the content is being viewed away from direct sunlight.
The device’s resolution is on the lower side of the spectrum. Samsung’s decision to limit the device to only 720p resolution will annoy some users. Keen users will be able to notice some fuzziness around text and icons. Despite these shortcomings, being an IPS display, it offers good viewing angles and decent color production. The colors are a little bit unsaturated and on the cooler side of the spectrum. The whites were a little too white and the balance between blacks seemed a little off. Keeping that aside, the display exhibited accurate colors and gets the job done in most scenarios.
Software and Interface
Both J7 Prime and J5 Prime are running almost the same version of Samsung’s TouchWiz UI. J5 Prime lacks the BlinkFeed feature, which gives access to a Flipboard- Esque news feed on the left of the home screen. The interface is much more polished and a lot less clunky as compared to the previous generations. However, it still feels out of place when compared to a simple material design of Google. There has always been a love-hate relationship between users and the cartoonish TouchWiz UI, and not a lot has changed in this iteration of the Korean manufacturer’s skin for Android. Thankfully, if you are not a fan of the UI, Samsung has included a built-in theme manager to help you easily change the overall look of the device. The theme manager uses themes downloaded from the Samsung’s own store, which houses a collection of both paid and free themes.
The device is currently running Android 6.0 Marshmallow and is expected to be soon updated to Android 7.0 Nougat.
Performance and Battery life
The device is powered with a Quad core processor housing Cotex-A53 cores and 2 GB RAM. What this means in a real life scenario is that you get decent performance while sifting through daily tasks. However, you might face some slowdown when attempting to run some heavy application with 4-5 chrome tabs open in the background.
The Samsung Galaxy J5 Prime performed decently with scores of 36,285 in AnTuTu and 18,877 in Quadrant. In GeekBench 4, J5 Prime failed to impress with the single core score of 594 and the multi-core score of 1710.
When it comes to gaming, J5 Prime will be able to run the most common games smoothly with consistent frame rates. Games like Clash of Clans, Subway Surfer, Hill Climb Racing etc. run perfectly well with the available CPU and GPU. Some heavier titles, however, will run at lower than desirable frame rates most of the time. So if you are looking to play resource intensive 3D games, look elsewhere.
J5 Prime is equipped with a 2,400 mAh battery. This, coupled with the lowly 720p display, provides a great battery life to the device. To test the battery life on this device, I used it as a daily driver for almost a full week. My usage included consuming data, playing some mild games like Temple Run, Missiles etc. and using WhatsApp and Messenger. The phone easily lasted for a complete day. With heavy usage starting from a full charge overnight to nearly 11 pm, I consistently had about 20-30 percent battery left. The screen on time was consistently above 5 hours.
The charger that Samsung ships with the phone is a 5V/1A charger. This phone does not support fast charging so it warrants some patience while it refills itself. The charging time from 5 percent battery life to 90 percent is an hour and 49 minutes.
Fingerprint reader and other added features
Fingerprint reader in phones is not considered a novelty anymore. It has become an integral part of the user experience in newer phones. So it is no surprise that this phone also includes a fingerprint reader below the tactile home button in front of the device. The fingerprint reader performs exceptionally well and is quick to unlock the device. On average, it takes less than a second to open the device through the reader when the screen is closed.
The phone also includes a notification LED above the earpiece which can indicate missed notifications and battery status.
J5 Prime includes a 13 MP primary camera with f/1.9 aperture. It is capable of shooting 1080p videos at 30 frames per second. Samsung has a very good track record when it comes to phone cameras. As is expected from it, this phone is also no slouch when it comes to clicking pictures with the 13 MP primary camera.
In good lighting conditions and proper conditions, it can produce some very good looking shots. The wider aperture allows more light to enter the sensor and thus it captures even the minute details without breaking a sweat. Post-processing further complements the picture and introduces very little noise in pictures taken in broad daylight. However, most pictures taken at night turn out to be grainy and have a lot of noise. As long as you are not planning to do any late night photo shoots with the device, you should be pleased with the camera provided.
J5 Prime is not your regular mid-ranger or budget phone. It lies somewhere in the middle with a premium feeling design, decent specifications, and good camera. It is let down by its average resolution and mediocre performance in CPU and GPU intensive tasks. A breakdown of its offerings is:
- Build Quality 7/10
- Display 6.5/10
- Software 8/10
- Camera 7/10
- Performance 6.5/10
- Camera 7.5/10
- Battery Life 8/10
- Price justification 7.5/10
- Total: 58/80
J5 Prime is available in Pakistan for a retail price of 26,999 Pakistani Rupees. If you are looking for a solid device with premium build quality, above average battery life, good camera quality and do not mind compromising on screen resolution and gaming performance, this device should be on the top of your list.
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