Samsung’s Galaxy range of phones is one of the mobile industry’s biggest success stories – and it’s easy to see why. They team great design with strong performance, while also sporting Samsung’s easy-to-use version of the Android operating system. The Galaxy J3 sits at the lower end of Samsung’s smartphone family, but it still offers a lot of value for money.
It looks great, to begin with. The Galaxy J3 is slim, light and practically designed. It mimics the design of its higher end siblings, like the Galaxy S7, but does compromise when it comes to some materials. That said, it doesn’t feel cheap in your hand and despite its slim size, seems pretty sturdy.
The Galaxy J3 has a 5-inch, OLED display, which is a nice touch for a phone in this price range. The OLED technology means the J3 handles direct sunlight really well, as long as you turn on its “Outdoor” mode before you step outside. Colours look bright, photos are crisp and text is sharp enough. All in all, the display’s great for a value phone, although you’ll definitely see the difference in higher end handsets.
Samsung have equipped the Galaxy J3 with their own, custom version of Android: TouchWiz. It keeps things simple, while also allowing a fair amount of customisation. So if you’re used to Samsung phones, you’ll find the Galaxy J3 really easy to use. If you’re not a fan of Android, the Lumia 550 has very similar specs to the J3, but with a Windows interface. It comes down to personal taste, though – and we’re big fans of both Windows and Android.
The Galaxy J3’s camera is fairly good for a value phone. It captures images in daylight very nicely, with good colour definition. And if you’re taking selfies, the front-facing camera will do the job pretty well. It’s not so good in low light, although it does have a flash on the rear camera. The camera on the LG Nexus 5X is much better, but you’ll need to pay a little more each month for the privilege.
The Galaxy J3 does lag a little when it comes to performance, but not overly so. It’s not the most powerful phone in its price range, so major multi-taskers should probably look elsewhere. But it’ll handle games well and it’s definitely quicker than a lot of other value phones.
You’ll almost certainly need to pop a MicroSD card in the Galaxy J3, since it only comes with 8GB of on-board memory – a lot of which is already taken up by built-in apps. This is definitely annoying, but the J3 will take MicroSD cards up to 128GB – and it couldn’t be easier to slot one in. So if you’re willing to make the compromise and pick up a MicroSD card, you’ll have oodles of room for your photos, music and apps.
The J3 does consume power a bit quicker than the competition, partly due to its higher-end display. It shouldn’t be too much of a problem, as long as you keep a charger at your desk or in your bag, but there are other phones in the J3’s price range that’ll last longer on a single charge.
The Galaxy J3 is definitely a level up from your more basic smartphones. It’s not particularly mind-blowing in any category, but it’ll happily handle all of your standard daily tasks. It can be a little bit slow, but not overly so and you’ll definitely need to pick up a MicroSD card. As we said above, it’s a good all-rounder. And if that’s what you’re after in your phone, then the J3 is definitely worth considering.