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Samsung Galaxy J5 Prime Review - Prime Enough?

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The sub PHP 10K range is a very hotly contested price bracket in our local smartphone scene. Why? At this budget, most smartphone makers has devices with pretty good build, attractive design, and decent overall performance.
Samsung Galaxy J5 Prime Review - A Sub PHP 10K Contender
Samsung Galaxy J5 Prime review

If you can recall, Samsung's best bet in the said price segment is the Galaxy J5 Prime, a device which highlights "Prime" performance in the sub PHP 10K range.

After using it for more than two weeks, here's the rest of our findings. Read on.


Display Quality

The Galaxy J5 Prime boasts a 5 inch HD TFT screen at 294 pixels per inch sharpness, a sharpness level that's good enough not to make pixels visible on naked eye for most.

Interestingly, the quality of viewing is also pretty good even if it isn't using an AMOLED panel. Colors are still rich and vibrant enough. It also a color balance level that's close enough to an IPS display. Viewing angles and sunlight legibility are decent.

However, Samsung failed to include a light sensor for auto brightness. You will need to adjust it manually for the best viewing experience possible per scenario.

There's an outdoor mode found in the shortcut drawer for extra brightness under direct sunlight.

It has 5 points of multitouch too, decent enough.

Audio Quality

Samsung placed the single speaker of the Galaxy J5 Prime on the right side of the phone above the power button. Quality of sound coming from it sounds fine with enough clarity and crispness. It's more of a mid-centric speaker though as its lows and highs are tinny sounding. Loudness level is fine, but not that loud.

For headphones or earphones, quality of tunes are also pretty good. It isn't on HiFi level yet, but most should find it pretty clean and capable. There's some noticeable added bass punch as well. Mids and highs are quite detailed. Driving power is okayish too.

Below, there's only a single mic setup. It is good for calls, but just fine for audio recordings. Just don't expect it to record with less noise.

Battery Life

Crazy good battery score!

This is the unexpected highlight of the phone. Personally, I'm not that happy when we discovered that the Galaxy J5 Prime is only equipped with 2,400 mAh of battery capacity even if the screen is just at 5 inches.

Best in class battery efficiency!

Fortunately, Samsung did their homework very well and optimized the battery efficiency of this device to the MAX. Based on our PC Mark battery test, the Galaxy J5 Prime lasted for 15 hours and 43 mins! That's even more than several 5,000 mAh battery powered phones we tested in the past like the ZenFone 3 Zoom and Liquid Zest Plus.

In real life usage, we got almost 11 hours of screen on time. The workload of the phone during that period includes a lot of taking photos, social media browsing, listening to music, and light gaming. IMPRESSIVE.

Charging time from 0 to 100 percent is around 2 hours.

Camera

13 MP f/1.9 camera under 10K!
13 MP f/1.9 camera under 10K!

Going to the other highlight of this device, the Galaxy J5 Prime boasts a 13 MP main camera sensor with AF and LED flash. The thing that made it special is its f/1.9 aperture size, the widest and brightest in the sub PHP 10K price range yet.


It has the usual Samsung shooting modes like HDR, panorama, continuous shot, beauty face, sports, limited pro mode and sound and shot. Interestingly, it has a night mode that could "enhance" images in lowlight conditions.

Focus speed is average, but shutter speed has a second delay in lowlight. Steady hands are needed to achieve shots with better sharpness and less blur. It can focus on subjects up to 3 inches near too.

Going to the quality of image, shots has plenty of details in daylight especially for outdoor use. Colors are also okay, though it tends to be yellowish in lowlight.

The main camera is decent in lowlight for the price!

Speaking of lowlight performance, it has less grains compared with other shooters with higher aperture size for point and shoots. Shots would be softer, but it'll have acceptable dynamic range.

The built-in night mode will brighter your shots in lowlight, but it'll also oversharpen and make your stills show more grains.

For conditions with very poor lighting, the flash would be very helpful.

Rear Camera Samples

Daylight HDR shot
Daylight HDR shot
Well-lit close up
Good background blur produced
Good background blur produced
Decent indoor shot
Decent indoor shot
Pretty detailed even with dim lighting
Pretty detailed even in dim lighting
Lowlight sample
Lowlight sample
Night mode looks unnatural
Night mode looks unnatural
Capable flash
Capable flash

For selfies, the Galaxy J5 Prime has a 5 MP f/2.2 sensor. It has face tracking, beautify, wide selfie (panorama style), and screen flash. Angle is wide enough to fit up to 4 faces in one frame.

Selfies are decent, but could be better.

Quality is decent enough in bright lighting conditions. In indoor there will be struggles, but results are still acceptable. In lowlight or at night, the quality is very poor if you won't use the screen flash.

Selfie Camera Samples

Indoor well lit
Indoor well lit
Indoor dim
Indoor dim

For videos, the Galaxy J5 Prime can shoot up to 30 fps. Video quality is okay in daylight and poor in lowlight. Due to its lack of stabilization, shots tends to be really shaky most of the time.

Performance

Benchmark scores
Benchmark scores

Running on Samsung's own 64 bit Exynos 7570 quad core processor and Mali T720 GPU, the overall performance of the Galaxy J5 Prime is good for casual usage. However, that chipset is lesser in speed in performance compared with most phones in its class.

Moreover, Samsung only paired this device with 2 GB of RAM for basic multitasking and 16 GB of expandable internal storage. Fortunately, it is expandable via micro SD card on a dedicated slot as it only has 10 GB of usable storage.

Gaming is okay for the likes of Mobile Legends (mid or low settings) and other light games. It'll struggle with NBA 2K17 (even on low settings) and other heavy 3D games though. Mild heating would also be present.
Marshmallow x TouchWiz
Marshmallow x TouchWiz

The Galaxy J5 Prime boots with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow OS with TouchWiz UI on top. While it is still not on Nougat, interface is pretty decent and it still has an app drawer if you prefer that type.


There's just plenty of pre-install apps even if most of them are useful. It includes Microsoft's Office suite, Opera Max, Google's default apps, and Opera Max. Unfortunately, if you don't need them, you can't uninstall them.
Smart Manager
Smart Manager

What we like here is Samsung's Smart Manager. It has optimization modes for battery, storage, and device security. It even has the ultra data saving mode that will lessen the quality of images and graphics to make your phone consume less mobile data.

Also, we noticed that Samsung is pushing updates on this device from time to time. Nougat next time please?

For connectivity, it is fortunate to know that the Galaxy J7 Prime has 700 MHz LTE support for speedier and more stable 4G mobile data. GSM signal are also fine, and Bluetooth 4.2 is speedy and stable too.

GPS for Waze or Google Maps are mostly okay in our test as well. Gyroscope sensor is present for VR and AR and it has OTG support for USB devices.


Pros - Premium build and stylish design, decent back and front cameras, dedicated micro SD card slot, OTG capable, 700 MHz LTE, very long battery life for the smallish battery capacity
Cons - Limited sensors, lower RAM and storage size compared with other similarly priced devices, no light sensor, no gyroscope

Verdict

Is the Galaxy J5 Prime prime enough? Both yes and no. Yes if you are the type of person who needs a handset with premium design, vibrant screen, capable cameras, good connectivity, and very long battery life coming from a well known brand.

But, it could be a no if you'll compare it with similarly priced phones from the likes of Asus, Huawei, OPPO, and Vivo. Why? Most of them has speedier performance, better selfie cameras, and more RAM and storage compared with the Galaxy J5 Prime.

Overall, this is still a fairly decent smartphone for the price.

Build / Design - 4
Display - 4
Audio - 3.75
Battery - 4.75
Camera - 4
Performance - 3.75
Average - 4/5
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