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Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) vs Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)

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Paul Briden

06/06/2017 – 4:32pm

How do two of Samsung's budget Galaxy J series handsets compare? We take a look

With all the hype around its lead Galaxy S flagship and Galaxy Note phablet brands you’d be forgiven for thinking those models are the only smartphone devices Samsung produces. Of course, this isn’t the case, and a big chunk of the firm’s sales, as with most other OEMs, comes from mid and low-end devices which are more affordable for a wider pool of consumers.

In Samsung’s stable there are quite a few ranges for different feature sets and price points. Here we’re going to be looking at two members of the Samsung Galaxy J series, the 2016 models of the Samsung Galaxy J3 and Samsung Galaxy J5.

We should note that Samsung has now launched a 2017 model of the Galaxy J3 which has only just hit the market. However, the corresponding Galaxy J5 (2017) is yet to be launched.

Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016) vs Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016): Specs

Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) Specs:

Dimensions: 142.3 x 71 x 7.9mm  Weight 138g
Display: 5.0in (68.2% screen-to-body ratio) 720 x 1280 pixels (294 ppi pixel density) Super AMOLED
Software: Android 5.1.1 – Upgrades to Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Processor: Spreadtrum SC9830 Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A7
GPU: Mali-400
RAM: 1.5GB/2GB
Storage: 8GB/16GB
microSD: Up to 256 GB
Primary Camera: 8MP f/2.2 aperture, autofocus, LED flash, Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, HDR, 720p video @30fps
Secondary Camera: 5MP f/2.2 aperture, 720p video
Connectivity:Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi Hotspot
Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS, GLONASS, NFC, microUSB 2.0
Battery: Removable Li-Ion 2,600 mAh

Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016) Specs:

Dimensions: 145.8 x 72.3 x 8.1mm 
Weight 159g
Display: 5.2in (70.7% screen-to-body ratio) 720 x 1280 pixels (282 ppi pixel density) Super AMOLED
Software: Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
Processor: Qualcomm MSM8916 Snapdragon 410 Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A53
GPU: Adreno 306
RAM: 2GB
Storage: 16GB
microSD: Up to 256 GB
Primary Camera: 13MP f/1.9 aperture, autofocus, LED flash, Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, HDR, 1080 video @30fps
Secondary Camera: 5MP f/1.9 aperture, LED flash
Connectivity:Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi Hotspot
Bluetooth 4.1, A-GPS, GLONASS, NFC, microUSB 2.0
Battery: Removable Li-Ion 3,100 mAh

Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016) vs Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016): Design, Display & Hardware

The Samsung Galaxy J3 will cost you anywhere from £100 up to £150 depending on where you buy it and which storage model you opt for; although that’s a SIM-free price and doesn’t take into account network tariff deals.

What do you get for that money? Well it’s a budget phone, so we’re looking at something a little chunkier and made from matte finish plastic rather than any of that fancy metal stuff you see on the Galaxy A or Galaxy S series. Still, in terms of build quality and finish, it’s decent.

A real plus for this phone is that it’s rocking a really good quality Super AMOLED display panel, which being a relatively expensive type of screen tech you do not normally see at this price point. On the flip side, this does mean that some corners have been cut elsewhere, for example, the processor; a Spreadtrum SC9830. While performance is ok for general navigation, more intensive activity such as multitasking tends to take a downward curve, the kind you wouldn’t expect to see on even the budget-tier Qualcomm Snapdragon hardware.

The Galaxy J5, meanwhile, doesn’t cost a lot more than its stable-mate. The display tech is a similar setup, again it’s a high-quality Super AMOLED which is slightly larger but at the same resolution and more-or-less the same pixel density. Design and build wise it’s a much more refined affair though; it’s still plastic, but in terms of the overall shape it is easier on the eye. Not only that, it has adequate clout on the internals with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 quad-core CPU; just like the Galaxy J3 it cannot handle high-end gaming, but it’s noticably better at multitasking several apps at once.

Despite being a budget brand, the Samsung Galaxy J series seems to put a fair bit of effort into camera tech. The Galaxy J3 is surprisingly well-equipped for its price bracket with an 8MP primary and a suitably wide f/2.2 aperture, meaning photography is better than average for this price point.

That said, the Galaxy J5, for not much more monetary outlay, jumps things up considerably with an impressive 13MP primary camera with an f/1.9 aperture and 1080p video.

Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016) vs Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016): Verdict

There really isn’t much of a contest here. Both phones are actually very good for the price, but the fact that the Galaxy J5 doesn’t cost much more than the Galaxy J3 renders the J3 somewhat redundant. The Galaxy J5 camera, processor, and aesthetic design are far superior. When it comes down to it another £10-£20 is not going to break the bank and we think it’s better to stump up a little extra for a more satisfying experience rather than having buyer’s regret.

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