Samsung Galaxy J2 Review


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Samsung launched the Galaxy J2, the company’s entry-level 4G smartphone priced at Rs. 8490 last month. It is the company’s first smartphone to feature new Ultra Data Saving mode powered by Opera Max that let users to save data by enabling data optimization. Is the Galaxy J2 worth the price? Let us find out in the complete review.

Unboxing

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We unboxed the smartphone recently, check out the video below.

Box Contents

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  • Samsung Galaxy J2 smartphone in Gold color
  • 2-pin Charger (5V-0.7A)
  • Earphones with microphone
  • 2000mAh battery
  • Quick Start Guide

Display, Hardware and Design

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The Galaxy J2 has a 4.7-inch Super AMOLED display with a pixel resolution of 964 x 540 pixels and a pixel density of around 234 PPI. The display is bright, has good viewing angles, offers vibrant color output and the sunlight visibility is also good. Blacks are perfectly black, thanks to the AMOLED panel. Since the pixel density is low text is not crisp compared to other smartphones with HD displays.

Since it doesn’t have an ambient light sensor you have to adjust the brightness manually using the slider depending on the conditions. There is an outdoor mode option that increases the brightness for 15 minutes or until the screen is turned off. The design of the smartphone is similar to other J series phones with curved corners and chrome rim on the sides.

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On the top there is a 2-megapixel fixed focus camera with f/2.2 aperture. Selfie shots have a lot of noise when captured indoors and it is decent in bright conditions. The front camera can record videos at VGA resolution. It has a proximity sensor next to the earpiece, but the smartphone lacks an ambient light sensor, even though there is a cutout for it. It also lacks notification LED.

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There is Samsung’s signature home button below the display. The capacitive touch buttons for menu and back are present on either sides of the home button. These are not backlit, neither offer haptic feedback when pressed.

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The power button or lock button is present on the right side and the phone is 8.4mm thick. The smartphone has shiny chrome rim running on the sides. Even though the rim is shiny, it doesn’t attract fingerprints.

The volume rockers are present on the left side, the micro USB slot is present on the bottom along with a microphone and the 3.5mm audio jack is present on the top.

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The Galaxy J series smartphones don’t have premium build compared to the Galaxy A series. Unlike the J5 and J7 smartphones, the back cover of the Galaxy J2 has leather-like finish. Even though it has plastic build, built quality of the phone is good and offers a nice grip when holding. It is 69mm wide, 136.5mm tall, and weighs 130 grams which is good for a smartphone with a 4.7-inch display. We have the Gold variant of the phone, but it also comes in Black and White colors.

There is a 5-megapixel auto focus camera on the back with single LED flash. The loudspeaker grill is present next to it. The 4G and Duos branding are present on the bottom part of the back.

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Opening the back cover reveals the SIM card slots, microSD card slot and a 2000mAh removable battery.

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The microSD card slot is present below the camera and the primary micro SIM slot is located below the expansion slot. The secondary micro SIM slot is present on the side. Both the secondary SIM and microSD slots are hot swappable, but you need to remove the battery to access the primary SIM slot.

Camera

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The 5-megapixel auto focus camera with f/2.2 aperture is just average. Daylight shots are decent, but the images are not bright. It is hard to focus for macro shots. Low light images have full of noise and images with flash are decent since it offers an ample amount of light and is not over powering. Apart from the auto mode, it has Pro mode that lets you adjust white balance, ISO and exposure manually, Panorama, Continuous shot, Beauty face, Sound & shot and Sports. The phone doesn’t have HDR mode.

Check out some camera samples (Click the image to view full resolution sample.)

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It can record videos at 720p HD resolution at 30 fps. Video is good for a 5-megapixel camera offering vibrant colors, but the audio is not crisp since it doesn’t have a secondary microphone. Check out the video sample below.

Software

Samsung Galaxy J2 Home and About

Coming to the software, it runs on Android 5.1.1 (Lollipop) with Samsung’s own UI on top, which has a lighter tone compared to Samsung’s KitKat-based UI.

Samsung Galaxy J2 Lock screen and Notification

You can launch the dialer and camera easily from the lock screen. The drop-down notification bar has several toggles and lets you customize the row accordingly. It also has brightness slider with a toggle for outdoor mode and an option to switch either SIMs as primary.

Samsung Galaxy J2 Themes, Smart Manager and Ultra data saving mode

It has three additional themes, apart from the default theme. It doesn’t have a Theme Store to download themes like the Galaxy J7. The Smart Manager app lets you manage your device’s battery life, storage, RAM usage, and security all in one place.

The Ultra data saving mode powered by Opera Max compresses cellular data across all contents such as videos, photos, media, almost all apps and websites. It compresses and reroutes data to the data-savings cloud using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). You can also add app exceptions if you don’t want data from an app to be compressed. It offers timeline of app usage and how much data is saved in a day or month. You can also check out data savings by individual app as well. Built-in data compression on a smartphone is a useful feature for a country like India where data packs are costly.

Samsung Galaxy J2 RAM, Storage, Move to SD

Out of 1GB of RAM, you get 892MB of usable RAM, out of which about 405MB of RAM is free when the default apps running in the background. Out of 8GB of internal storage, about 4.36GB of storage is usable. You can also move compatible apps to the SD card when you insert one.

Apps

Samsung Galaxy J2 Apps

Apart from the usual set of utility apps and Google Apps, the smartphone comes with MixRadio, which is available for all the Samsung phones through exclusive partnership with MixRadio. It doesn’t have any other bloatware or additional games.

Samsung Galaxy J2 USB Backup

It also has a USB Backup app that lets you backup and restore data such as images, audio, video and documents to or from a USB drive, when you plug in one.

Music Player and FM Radio

Samsung Galaxy J2 Music and FM Radio

It doesn’t have a dedicated music player, so you have to rely on Google Play Music. It also doesn’t have equalizer, but it has SoundAlive+ and Tube Amp sound effects that can be enabled from the settings. This improves the audio when listening through earphones. That said, audio through the bundled earphones is not the best, but the loudspeaker output is good. Even though the loudspeaker is present on the back, sound doesn’t get muffled when you place the phone on its back. It has FM Radio, which has a new and simple look. It also has auto scanning and recording, which lets you store the recorded files in phone memory or SD card.

Dual SIM and Connectivity

Samsung Galaxy J2 Dual SIM and Connectivity

It has the usual set of connectivity features such as Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1 and GPS. It has 4G connectivity with support for TD-LTE 2300MHz (Band 40) and FDD-LTE 1800MHz (Band 3) for India. Both the SIMs support 4G, but you can enable 4G only in one SIM at a time, while the other goes to 2G.

You can set preferred SIM for voice call, text and data from the SIM card manager. As usual it has Smart Dual SIM feature, similar to other latest Samsung Dual SIM smartphones. This automatically forwards calls from the phone number on SIM 2, even if a user is on the phone with SIM 1’s number. It also has USB on-the-go (OTG) support.

Performance and Benchmarks

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Coming to the performance, the 1.3GHz quad-core Exynos 3475 28nm processor offers average performance, but it doesn’t have any heating issues. 1GB of RAM can handle multitasking fine, but the Exynos processor with ARM’s Cortex A7 CPU is not powerful compared to Snapdragon 410 with Cortex A53 64-bit CPU found in most of the 4G smartphones in the market. Check out some synthetic benchmark scores below.

Samsung Galaxy J2 Quadrant

It managed to score 9746 points in the Quadrant Benchmark.

Samsung Galaxy J2 AnTuTu Benchmark

It scored 21704 points in the AnTuTu Benchmark 5.

Samsung Galaxy J2 GeekBench 3 Single-Core

It managed to score 351 points in the Geekbench 3 Single-Core benchmark.

Samsung Galaxy J2 GeekBench 3 Multi-Core

It managed to score 1158 points in the Geekbench 3 Multi-Core benchmark and grabs the last spot.

Samsung Galaxy J2 NenaMark 2

It clocked 59.6 fps and tops the NenMark 2 benchmark, mainly due to low-resolution display.

Samsung Galaxy J2 3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited

It managed to score 3645 points in the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited GPU benchmark. It has 600 MHz Mali T-720 GPU. We tried several games, and some games were decent, but graphics was not the best.

Battery life

Samsung Galaxy J2 One Charge Rating Pie Chart

Coming to battery life, the 2000mAh battery lasts for the whole day from average to heavy use such as 4G LTE, few hours of music playback, few calls, some web browsing and some gaming. With minimal use, it lasts for more than a day. The power saving mode and ultra power saving mode lets you extend the battery life. The smartphone also has a removable battery, so you can swap it easily when required. In our battery test the smartphone achieved a One Charge Rating of 12 hours and 56 minutes, which is good for a smartphone in the price range. Check out the complete set of Samsung Galaxy J2’s battery life test results here.

Conclusion

At a price tag of Rs. 8,490, the Galaxy J2 is just an average budget 4G smartphone from Samsung. It comes with a decent AMOLED display for the price, has 4G support on both the SIM slots and offers good battery life, but Samsung has missed out the ambient light sensor for auto brightness adjustment, yet again. Few additions such as Ultra data saving mode and MixRadio are good, but hardware matters too. Even though the camera is decent for a 5-megapixel unit, Samsung could have offered an 8-megapixel camera for the price. That’s the same for the processor and RAM as well.

Unlike most of the budget 4G smartphones, the Galaxy J2 is available both online and offline, which is good, but Samsung has a lot of competition in the price range, so the company needs to get more aggressive with the pricing. To summarize, here are the pros and cons of the smartphone.

Pros

  • Decent display
  • Good battery life
  • Dedicated SIM slots with 4G support on both

Cons

  • Lacks ambient light sensor
  • Average camera
  • Average performance

Author: Srivatsan Sridhar

Srivatsan Sridhar is a Mobile Technology Enthusiast who is passionate about Mobile phones and Mobile apps. He uses the phones he reviews as his main phone. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram