Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) Review
The Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) is the successor to one of the more popular cheap phones out there: the J5 (2016).
And while it retains the form factor and some key specs — an equally-sized 5.2-inch HD display and just 16 GB of on board storage — it gets rid of the plastic build in favor of a sturdier, metal design and it adds essential features like a fingerprint scanner. With its minimal side bezel, it even looks fairly modern.
But what is the experience of using an affordable Android phone like the Galaxy J5 (2017) and is it worth getting one? Let’s find out.
In the box:
- White earbuds with in-line mic
- microUSB cable
- Wall charger
- SIM cjection tool
- User manual
Sturdy and solid, but far from pretty.
The Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) is made out of metal and feels reassuringly solid in terms of build quality. At 0.31 inches (7.9mm) of thickness it is neither too thin, nor too thick, and the curved edges and slight curve on the back make it fit comfortably in the hand. The most notable design element are the antennas on the back that extend like two halves of a curved rectangle, a look unlike that on any other phone. This is particularly noticeable on the pink and gold J5 (2017) models, where the antenna bands contrast more with the color of the phone, while on the black and blue models, the antenna lines are barely noticeable.
There is a single camera on the back, flush with the body of the phone. The other notable thing about the new J5 is that it has its speaker neither at the bottom, nor at the back, but on the right side of the phone (just like the Samsung A series from this year). This is actually not a bad place for the speaker: you're less likely to accidentally cover it with your hand.
The buttons are made of metal and feel clicky and responsive. There is now a fingerprint scanner embedded in the home key on the front. It’s definitely not among the fastest ones, but it is fairly accurate.
On the bottom, you’d find the microphone, a microUSB port for charging (no USB-C here, unfortunately), and a 3.5mm audio jack.
The J5 (2017) lacks any form of special water protection or other super-powers, in case you were wondering.
A 5.2” AMOLED display with an HD resolution in 2017 is a bit sad.
The Galaxy J5 (2017) features a 5.2-inch Super AMOLED display with a 720 x 1280 pixel, HD resolution.
The display is properly laminated and features oleophobic coating, which might be a standard on pricier phones, but is not as common on affordable phones, so it’s nice that the J5 (2017) has this.
What is not so great is the resolution: it’s just low for today’s standards, even for an affordable phone. In practical terms, this means that you see some pixelization, especially noticeable when you read text.
Colors are set by default to a punchy, slightly oversaturated mode (“Adaptive display”) that most users really like. You can go into Settings > Display > Screen Mode, and choose a different one, with more toned-down, neutral colors. If you want to get slightly better accuracy out of the default Adaptive Display mode,, go into the Color Balance section and reduce the green and blue colors a couple of steps.
The J5 (2017) is also bright enough to be fairly legible even under direct sunlight which is nice. The phone also offers a blue light filter, which reduces the blue light emitted from your phone. This should help you fall asleep easier if you use your phone at night, as the blue light from the screen could mess up your sleeping cycle.