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Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) Review

Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017)

Posted: , by Victor H.



Interface and Functionality

The new Samsung user interface on top of Android 7.0 Nougat looks great and rich in features that matter.

Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) Review

Samsung keeps on improving its custom Android interface that just a couple of years ago rhymed best with overwhelming and chaotic.

While it is still very clearly a custom interface that is heavy and that has very little to do with stock Android and Material Design, it has evolved tremendously. The J5 (2017) features its latest iteration, similar to what you get on the flagship Galaxy S8 series.

You get the new weather widget, the new fonts, the swipe-up app drawer, the new light grey and blue notification dropdown, support for UI themes, and all the rest of the tricks from the S8. There is even one new trick from the lockscreen: you can now swipe to the side to see music controls and easily switch to the next song in your preferred music service.

On top of that, here is a quick list of some unique features you'll find on the Galaxy J5 (2017):

  • Dual Messenger: this allows you to install two IM accounts for the same service on your phone, so you can use two profiles be it for Messenger, Skype, Whatsapp, Viber, WeChat or others. This is not something most people will need, but if you have a work and a personal Skype account, for instance, you can stay online on both of them using this functionality.
  • Secure folder: a place for your private apps and photos.
  • Game launcher: allows you to block capacitive buttons while you play a game, so you don’t accidentally interrupt gameplay. Allows you to also block calls while you play for no interruptions.

Samsung also gets this one thing right with its interface: animations and transitions are well-thought out. First-party apps are top quality: the weather app, the calendar, the notes app, even the email client are clean and rich in options that matter.

At the same time, third-party apps just do not run as good on the J5 (2017) as the Samsung ones. Facebook is one clear example. Most people spend a ton of time in their news feeds, but on this phone, the news feeds scrolls with stutter. Opening photo albums is frustrating: the app just freezes for seconds on end, and scrolling through pictures is very stuttery and accompanied with all sorts of bugs. It might not be Samsung’s fault, but it’s an important issue that needs to be addressed.

Finally, we should note that the J5 (2017) runs on Android 7.0 Nougat, which is expected. However, like most affordable Android phones, we all know that it will get updates later than all the flagships and mid-rangers, if ever.

Processor, Performance and Memory


Samsung might have a great new interface in the J5 (2017), but the phone does not have enough fire-power to handle it well. While it’s not terribly slow, it is far from being buttery smooth. In many apps you will see stutter when you scroll around, apps drop frames often, and animations and transitions prove a bit too resource-intense for this phone. There is also this very typical split-second freeze before you launch a new app. Once you notice it, you cannot unsee it.

The phone is just not powerful enough, and that is probably my biggest gripe with it.

Under the hood, the Galaxy J5 (2017) introduces brand new silicon: it uses the 14nm Exynos 7 Octa 7870 system chip, a big (but not big enough) step up from the 28nm Snapdragon 410 on the J5 (2016). You also have 2GB of RAM on board.

The casual gamer will find it good enough for your Candy Crush addiction, but this phone is not a good choice for gamers that turn to games like Vainglory or other graphics and processing intense titles.

The other shortcut that Samsung takes with the new J5 is storage. Having only 16GB of storage is too low even for an affordable phone in 2017. Admittedly, you do have a microSD card option that feels more like a necessity in this case.

Performance benchmarks

Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) 46167
Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016) 28513
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 60678
Motorola Moto G5 Plus 63191
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) 19.144
Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016) 17.261
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 31.472
Motorola Moto G5 Plus 29.879
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) 20
Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016) 9.33
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 33
Motorola Moto G5 Plus 23
GFXBench Manhattan on-screen
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) 7.4
Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016) 3.9
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 9
Motorola Moto G5 Plus 6.9
Basemark OS II
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) 1028.5
Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016) 555.66
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 1432
Motorola Moto G5 Plus 375
Geekbench 4 single-core
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) 727.66
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 766
Motorola Moto G5 Plus 783
Geekbench 4 multi-core
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) 3634.33
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 3951
Motorola Moto G5 Plus 3586
View all

Internet and Connectivity

A dual SIM phone with limited 4G LTE bands.

The Galaxy J5 (2017) ships with two browsers on board: Google’s mobile Chrome as well as Samsung’s custom browser solution. While Chrome is the one that we usually recommend for all of its capabilities, including the great sync between desktop and mobile, in this case, we actually prefer using the Samsung browser.

The reason is speed: Chrome stutters more, especially when you have more than one page open and when you switch between tabs. The Samsung Browser performs much more smoothly and faster.

The phone supports 4G LTE FDD bands 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20, 28 in the SM-J530F international models that we got to test. This ensures proper connectivity for most parts of Europe, but this model will not be compatible with AT&T or T-Mobile in the United States. Previously, Samsung has released its J series phones in the U.S., so it’s possible that a model with US bands will be coming at a later date.

The J5 (2017) is also a Dual SIM phone, something important for many people.

In terms of other connectivity option, you also have dual-channel Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 and NFC support.

  • Options

posted on 18 Jul 2017, 07:28 1

1. Nexus4lifes (Posts: 208; Member since: 13 Feb 2014)

A 5.2” AMOLED display with an HD resolution in 2017 is a bit sad. apple iphone se rated excellent by iphonearena has a less than 720p display...

posted on 18 Jul 2017, 07:44

2. Spyro (Posts: 267; Member since: 29 Mar 2017)

I am perfectly fine with my 4" screen. At least my SE doesn't have a sh*tty camera and poor performance, let alone my camera can shoot in 4k.

posted on 18 Jul 2017, 07:47 1

3. Nexus4lifes (Posts: 208; Member since: 13 Feb 2014)

HAHA se costs $449 j5 will be around 199...

posted on 18 Jul 2017, 07:50

5. kiko007 (Posts: 5383; Member since: 17 Feb 2016)

The SE is around 300 bucks lol. What country do you live in?

posted on 18 Jul 2017, 14:28 1

17. sgodsell (Posts: 4855; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)

Apple's own website in the US lists the iPhone SE for $399. In Canada it's $580 for that tiny fart of an iPhone SE. Although many places are offering BOGO deals, buy an iPhone 6s or 7 and get a free iPhone SE. But nowadays we are seeing buy an iPhone 7 and get a free iPhone 7 as well. I guess Apple has to get there market share up any way they can. Please buy our recycled icrap.

posted on 18 Jul 2017, 07:52

7. Spyro (Posts: 267; Member since: 29 Mar 2017)

Better to stick with quality than trash.

posted on 18 Jul 2017, 07:53 1

8. Lumbergh (Posts: 318; Member since: 14 Feb 2016)

SE doesn't have "stuttery performance" lol.

posted on 18 Jul 2017, 07:49

4. maherk (Posts: 4845; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)

You can't deny the fact that a 720 Amoled screen is less sharper than a 720 lcd screen, especially if there is at least 0.5" in size difference.

posted on 18 Jul 2017, 07:55

9. Spyro (Posts: 267; Member since: 29 Mar 2017)

Even if I were a troll, I wouldn't defend trash.

posted on 18 Jul 2017, 09:13

10. Victor.H (Posts: 785; Member since: 27 May 2011)

Do you realize the difference between a PenTile display with a 5.2-inch size with HD resolution, and a full RGB display with a 4.7-inch resolution? If you did, you would know that the iPhone has a much sharper display.

posted on 18 Jul 2017, 10:49 1

15. xeroxchap (Posts: 48; Member since: 11 Oct 2016)

Victor. H......hmmm.... again... stop being so pissy abt your real boss *Insert Fruit Here"..and act a bit professional.... dnt leave salty comments to ppl who provide traffic to this site...U have your opinion and u clearly mentioned it in your article...comments section is for the readers....otherwise disable comments and keep on praying to Apple !

posted on 18 Jul 2017, 11:09 1

16. g2a5b0e (Posts: 3814; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)

It's quite ironic that you're the one who sounds salty here. It's not like he didn't say anything that isn't true.

posted on 18 Jul 2017, 19:29

19. xeroxchap (Posts: 48; Member since: 11 Oct 2016)

yes...actually i was.... i am not getting paid by iphonearena to write an article......
Girl bye!

posted on 18 Jul 2017, 09:14

11. g2a5b0e (Posts: 3814; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)

In all fairness, you're comparing a 4" screen to a 5.2" screen. The iphone screen clearly has a higher PPI. On top of that, it came out 1.5 years ago.

posted on 18 Jul 2017, 07:51 1

6. Lumbergh (Posts: 318; Member since: 14 Feb 2016)

"Stuttery performance"

Sounds like Samsung. They gotta get these lag issues fixed.

posted on 18 Jul 2017, 09:28

12. WAusJackBauer (Posts: 316; Member since: 22 Mar 2015)

The cons on this review are a joke.

posted on 18 Jul 2017, 09:49

13. g2a5b0e (Posts: 3814; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)

They all sound like legit knocks to me. And as someone who used a J7 for a weeks after I lost my Note 5, I can vouch for the validity of them. I'll never use another Samsung that isn't a flagship. That's for sure.

posted on 18 Jul 2017, 10:46

14. You_Dont_Say (Posts: 329; Member since: 26 Jan 2015)

Stuttery performance is no laughing matter.

posted on 18 Jul 2017, 18:29 1

18. airoid (Posts: 75; Member since: 13 Dec 2016)

I noticed that any phone that has better battery life than iPhone then PA doesn't put iPhone in comparison chart for you to compare hahahaa

posted on 18 Jul 2017, 20:36 1

20. cheetah2k (Posts: 1746; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)

Why bother scoring anymore itrollarena. I mean your scoring consistency is worse than the local weather man..

posted on 19 Jul 2017, 16:24 1

21. Stappy3 (Posts: 57; Member since: 09 Dec 2015)

How is an HD display for a pretty low priced budget phone sad?

posted on 21 Jul 2017, 11:27

22. madara82 (Posts: 33; Member since: 01 Jul 2017)

what i dont like with this phone is lacks any form of special water protection or other super-powers, in case you were wondering. maybe atleast water resistant will be better.

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PhoneArena rating:
Display5.2 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels (282 ppi) Super AMOLED
Camera13 megapixels
Samsung Exynos 7 Octa, Octa-core, 1600 MHz, ARM Cortex-A53 processor
Size5.76 x 2.81 x 0.31 inches
(146.3 x 71.3 x 7.9 mm)
5.64 oz  (160 g)

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