Samsung Galaxy J2 DTV Review - Clear Digital TV On The Go!

Watching TV is one of the major past time and way of relaxation for most Filipinos. However, not everyone can watch their favorite shows while on the road, free time at work, and anywhere else.
Samsung Galaxy J2 DTV Review - Clear Digital TV On The Go!
Samsung Galaxy J2 DTV review

Samsung knows this problem well and as a matter of fact, they already have a solution for it. The Korean smartphone giant has created the Galaxy J2 DTV specifically for the Philippines, their "first handset with full seg DTV" capability.

What made the handset interesting is it is paired with a 4.7 inch Super AMOLED screen for a nicer viewing experience paired with acceptable specs and LTE connectivity for a modern smartphone feel.

Will this be right DTV phone for you? Find out in this review!

Disclaimer: This unit was provided by Samsung Philippines for an honest review


Samsung Galaxy J2 DTV Specs

Display: 4.7 Inch qHD Super AMOLED 960 x 540 resolution at 234 ppi
CPU: 1.3 GHz 64 Bit Exynos 3475 quad core processor
GPU: Mali T720
RAM: 1 GB
ROM: 8 GB expandable via micro SD card slot up to 128 GB
Rear Camera: 5 MP f/2.2 w/ AF and LED flash
Selfie Camera: 2 MP f/2.2
Battery: 2,000 mAh
OS: Android 5.1 Lollipop w/ TouchWiz UI
Connectivity: WiFi, 3G, LTE, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, A GPS, dual SIM
Sensors: Accelerometer, proximity, sound
Others: Full Seg TV
Price: 6,990 Pesos

Note: We got the unit barebones, but its official retail package includes a USB wall charger and micro USB to USB data / charging cables.

Build Quality / Design

Main camera at the back
Slightly protruding main camera, single LED flash, and oddly odd speaker below, and volume rocker on the side

The Galaxy J2 DTV resembles the look of the older J2 without expandable antenna below. It's made out of mostly plastic materials which includes: its smooth chrome painted sides, buttons, and removable faux leather like back cover. In front, the screen is made out of glass.
Here's the J2 when opened.
Here's the J2 when opened. It shows the batteries, dual SIM slots, and micro SD card slot

While some may suspect its durability, we can feel that this has an acceptable construction for the price. Plus even without the use of glass protection from Asahi or Corning, it is not prone to scratches. With proper care, this will last. To be sure, get a case.
Here's the J2 when opened. It shows the batteries, dual SIM slots, and micro SD card slot
Power button on top and the selfie camera on the upper part of the handset
Micro USB charging port and microphone below
Micro USB charging port and microphone below
Power button at right
Power button at right
It's mostly plastic, but feels decent to hold and has the good standard Samsung design.
Design-wise, it is just right aesthetically. The phone doesn't look too big, has a slim profile, the chrome painted sides will make you think that it is made out of metal, and the textured faux leather back looks quite good. The bezel on the screen just a tad big, but that's still understandable for a low-priced phone like this.
The TV antenna
The TV antenna
Taking care of the non-removable antenna is a must!
Then its has the standard Samsung physical home button below, easy to reach port and button placements. Unlike most DTV ready phones, the Samsung Galaxy J2 DTV won't require you to plug an external antenna on your 3.5 mm jack to use the Digital TV function. However, taking care of it is a must as it's really thin and might not survive accidents.

Display Quality

4.7 inch AMOLED screen

One of things that Samsung highlights with the Galaxy J2 DTV is its use of an AMOLED 4.7 inch panel. Given that it only has qHD 960 x 540 resolution at 234 ppi, the quality of its screen is more than acceptable. It isn't just as sharp compared with HD panels, but it can produce Samsung's patented vibrant colors, saturation, and and proper viewing angles. However, it does't have an ambient light sensor so there's no auto adjustment present.
There's 5 points of touch!
There's 5 points of touch!
Digital TV plus AMOLED panel is a great combination!
Given that, we were quite pleased with its quality as it gave us the good vibrant colors we wanted to see while watching TV. Lastly, it has 5 points of touch for proper typing and swiping experience.

Battery Life

Impressive battery life bench score!

Powering the Galaxy J5 DTV is just a 2,000 mAh battery. Considering that it is using a power efficient chip and screen, the battery life could be a little better but should be far from stellar.
Battery life is much better than expected!
However and fortunately, it performed way better in our test. The handset scored almost 11 hours in our PC Mark Work Battery life test, that's something unprecedented for a phone with not that big battery. As a matter of fact, it got double the score of other phones with over 3,000 mAh battery we tested in the past. Yes this is just a benchmark, but it is still impressive and it means that this phone is optimized.

In real life performance, it is good enough to last for a regular day of work from 8 am to 6 pm. Lastly, it has Samsung's Ultra Power Saving mode to further increase battery life.

Audio Quality

Being a DTV capable device, good speaker loudness is required to make it more enjoyable. However, we think that that's one of the things that Samsung should improve next time. Why? The speaker of the J2 DTV has decent loudness, clarity, and details, but it's noisy on loud volume, peaky, and isn't as loud as expected.

On the headphone audio out, it can produce a decent warm sound signature that tends to be on the more bassy part that can produce good bass slams. However, it can overpower other frequencies of the spectrum which doesn't make the sound so clean. It is acceptably clear, but don't expect it to be a superb music player.

What I like here is the loudness, the Galaxy J2 DTV has good driving power that can play music in high volumes.

The microphone on the other hand is just right. It is great enough for doing clear calls. For recordings like videos, the mic also captures a lot of noise.

Camera

Unlike most of its similarly priced competitor, this handset doesn't have cameras with high-pixel count in front and at the back. As a matter of fact, its main camera is only using a 5 MP sensor w/ f/2.2 aperture and a 2 MP selfie camera w/ the same f/2.2 aperture.
The camera modes available
The camera modes available

Checking its camera interface, it looks like the standard Samsung mode that has different filters, panorama, beautify, sports, and pro mode. The pro mode is capable of showing grids, metering adjustments, exposure, ISO, and white balance. It just does't have the basic HDR mode that can be used to correct or rescue your stills. Shutter speed is fast, but focus and saving time isn't that quick.

For the quality of the photos its main camera can take, it is bearable, but lags behind the competition. It shoots images with beautiful punchy colors on daylight, but it won't look that refined and sharp. Noise is highly visible and dynamic range isn't that great.


Understandably, the main camera also struggles in close macro shots and conditions with poor lighting. In the dark, using the flash is recommended.

Rear Camera Samples

Bright daylight shot at Pinto art museum
Had a hard time in taking this exposed macro shot
Trying macro
Random indoor shot
Random indoor shot
Evening shot
Evening shot
On the selfie side, its 2 MP camera has face beauty and filters, but it doesn't have AF (auto-focus) just like most front shooters. Shutter speed has decent speed, but it'll still require you to have steady hands to avoid blurry shots.

In daylight, shots are okay and punchy saturation, though it tends to be yellowish at times. On lowlight, we missed other phones with screen flash as it didn't perform that well in that condition.

Selfie Camera Samples

Selfie indoor
Selfie indoor
Selfie at night
Selfie at night

Performance

Benchmark scores
Benchmark scores

Using Samsung's own Exynos 3475 quad core chip built on 28 nm process paired with Mali T720 GPU on just a 4.7 inch qHD screen. We hardly felt hiccups on light to moderate usage that includes phone use (SMS and calls), browsing, and opening our favorite social media applications. On games like subway surfers and Pokemon GO without AR, everything is seamless as well. With the use of its midrange GPU, playing Asphalt 8 on medium settings is playable too.
Processor used is decent, but RAM size is small at this price point.
However, its small 1 GB RAM isn't enough for the demands of multitasking nowadays. As a result, I usually close several apps first before opening heavy apps such the Asphalt 8 racing game.
TouchWiz UI on Android 5.1 Lollipop OS
TouchWiz UI on Android 5.1 Lollipop OS

On its software, this handset is running on a dated Android 5.1 Lollipop OS w/ TouchWiz skin on top. The TouchWiz skin is speedy, snappy, and loaded with several important features.
The smart manager and theme changer
The smart manager and theme changer

It includes the Smart Manager which can do power saving, clean storage, optimize ram, and secure your phone from malicious attacks. This phone also has a theme changer where you can replace the appearance of your handset depending on your color preference. 

However, it just don't have gesture features such as double tap to wake and etc.


Full Seg Digital TV support

Digital TV in action
Digital TV in action

The main highlight of this handset is its use of a DTV capability. It's the first handset from Samsung with full seg digital TV function. It means that it let you watch your favorite shows on the go using the clearer full seg broadcast. Aside from that, the phone also supports the one seg mode for standard broadcast.
DTV is easy to use and signal reception is strong!
DTV interface and settings
DTV interface and settings

Using the DTV function is plain and easy, all you need to do is press channel scan then select the channel of your choice. It includes most of the popular networks such as GMA, ABS-CBN, Sports and Action, Cinemo, and TV5. On top of that, there we also got signals from Yey!, GNTV, Knowledge Channel, DZMM Teleradyo, and KBO. It also has an auto mode which selects either one seg or full seg broadcast depending on the signal available in the area.
Then the DTV app has an option for full screen mode (stretched), to listen via Bluetooth, record the show on TS format, screen capture, and set parental controls for censorship.

Pros - Solid DTV experience on a budget device, decent performance for an affordable Samsung phone, good AMOLED screen, long battery life, LTE capable
Cons - Plasticky build, 1 GB RAM isn't enough to handle heavy multitasking, cameras not on par with similarly priced competitors

Verdict

If you love to watch TV, you'll love this handset as a portable clear Digital TV on the goAs a phone it has acceptable performance, long battery life, stable LTE connectivity, and rarely heats up. However, it has some catching up to do against its similarly priced competitors in terms of specs.

Other than that, if watching TV is your main purpose and you want something as portable as a phone, the Samsung Galaxy J2 DTV works!

GIZ Rating: 3.75/5 Stars
    Comments