Returning from the debacle of Galaxy Note 7, which was not even released in Pakistan, Samsung hopes to entice some of the disgruntled users back with a premium looking phone which is also light on the budget. J7 Prime is one such device from the Korean manufacturer.
What do you get in the box?
As you open the box, you are greeted with the device itself. Here’s what you get out of the box:
- 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
It is good for the customers that Samsung is not following the trending norm of only shipping the device and holding back on providing accessories.
Considering this a mid-ranger, Samsung has packed some impressive specs in this beautiful device. A brief overview of its specifications is:
- 5.5 inches FHD (1920 x 1080p) IPS LCD display
- Dual SIM dual standby mode (nano SIM cards)
- 1.6 Ghz Octa-core Exynos 7870 chipset with Mali-T830MP2 GPU
- 3 GB RAM
- 16/32 GB internal storage with micro SD card support 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
- 8 MP secondary camera with f/1.9 aperture, capable of shooting 1080p videos
Design and Build Quality
Continuing the fashion of building metallic J and A series smartphones since last year, the J7 also has a completely metallic unibody design. The design screams class and glamor from every possible angle. Without actually using the phone, or looking up its price online, most people will be remiss when guessing its price range.
Although the design is modern and premium, it still retains the old school Samsung charm and familiarity. You can easily tell it is a Samsung device, without ever taking a glance at the manufacturer logo on the device.
Despite having a 5.5-inch large screen, the device is actually quite comfortable in the hand. Although I have quite large hands being 6 feet and 3, the device didn’t feel freakishly large in the hands of people with considerably normal proportions.
New devices by Samsung in the J series, the J5 prime and J7 prime, although are on the lower end of the price spectrum, are made up of premium materials and do not seem cheap to boot.
Due to a uni-body design, you cannot remove the battery. Though, you can access SIM and micro SD card slots through small trays along the sides of the device. 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 only hosts the power key and a small slot for the loudspeaker. The loudspeaker is small and muffled in both size and quality. The sound quality is enough for making sure that no call goes unnoticed in a crowded area. You, however, can never expect to fill a room with music using the device’s speaker.
The positioning of the speaker is also very peculiar. You can easily cover the speaker with your fingers when holding in hands — which is not good. The size of speakers is small and will be covered completely without much effort on your part.
The screen is an IPS LCD panel with Full 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 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.
Due to a Full HD resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels, the device offers no clear signs of grainy texts or images on close inspection. Everything appears to be crisp and clear as it should be at this resolution. Being an IPS display, it offers good viewing angles and decent color production. The colors were a bit unsaturated for my taste and appeared a tad bit unnatural. The whites were a little too white and the balance between blacks seemed a little off. Keeping that aside, the display exhibited accurate colors in all conditions and gets a big thumbs up.
The device is running Android 6.0 with the latest version of Samsung’s TouchWiz UI. 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 Samsung’s own store, which houses a collection of both paid and free themes.
Performance and Battery life
The device is powered with an Octa-core Exynos processor and a Mali-T830MP2 GPU. What this means in a real life scenario is that you get good and consistent performance while sifting through daily tasks. However, you might face some slowdown when attempting to play resource intensive games and multitasking 7-8 apps at one time.
The Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime performed well with scores of 45,795 in AnTuTu and 23,955 in Quadrant. In 3D Mark Ice Storm Extreme, the J7 Prime returned a score of 5019. However, in GFXBench, the phone managed just 11fps. In GeekBench 4, J7 Prime failed to impress with single core scores in the range of 600 and multi-core score nearing 1700.
Although Samsung has been trying very hard to strip down TouchWIZ to make it more resource friendly, it is still among the worst skins when it comes to performance. I noticed some slow downs when jumping between a few heavy apps while having 3-4 tabs in chrome open. There were also a few crashes here and there but they can be attributed to lack of maturity in the firmware of the device and are expected to be patched up soon by Samsung.
J7 Prime is equipped with a massive 3300 mAh battery. This, coupled with the Full HD IPS display, provides great battery life to this device. To test the battery life on this device, I used it as a daily driver for a full week. My usage included consuming data, playing some mild games like Temple Run, Missiles etc. and using WhatsApp and Messenger. The phone lasted for a complete day and a half on average. The screen on time was consistently above 5 hours.
All in all, this phone provides good battery life and will easily get you through a complete day of normal to heavy usage.
Fingerprint reader and other added features
Fingerprint reader is becoming a norm in new phones these days. QMobile has introduced fingerprint reader enabled devices for as low as 15k in Pakistan. So it comes as a no surprise to anyone that this phone also includes a fingerprint reader below the tactile home button in front of the device. As is expected from a company like Samsung and the price tag of around 35k Rupees, 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.
J7 Prime includes a 13 MP primary camera with f/1.9 aperture. It can shoot 1080p videos at 30 frames per second. Samsung is known for its good smartphone cameras; this phone is no exception. In good lighting conditions and proper conditions, it can produce some very good looking shots. The wider aperture should allow more light to enter the camera and thus improve the image quality in darker conditions and in artificial lighting. 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 okay with the camera provided.
J7 sports an 8 MP front camera with the same wide f/1.9 aperture. There is nothing really to write more about. It is good for casual group pictures and random selfies. It does the job it is meant to elegantly.
J7 Prime is not in anyway a premium offering by the Korean manufacturer, it lies somewhere in the middle of budget phones and costly mid-rangers. It fills that slot perfectly with a balance of good build quality and price. To keep the balance in price, the phone is let down by average GPU and CPU performance.
- Build Quality 7/10
- Display 7.5/10
- Software 8/10
- Camera 7/10
- Performance 7/10
- Camera 7.5/10
- Battery Life 8.5/10
- Price justification 8/10
- Total: 60.5/80
J7 Prime is available in Pakistan for a retail price of 22,999 Pakistani Rupees. If you are looking for a solid mid-ranger with decent performance, good build quality, good battery life and camera quality, this is certainly a worthy option to consider.