Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) Review
Just ‘okay’. Slow to focus and photos are not too rich in terms of detail.
The J5 (2017) comes with a 13-megapixel, 27mm f/1.7 camera on the back, and a 13MP, 28mm f/1.9 shooter up front.
The camera app supports the neat double-click the home key shortcut to launch, and it is the familiar clean Samsung affair. You swipe up and down to switch between the front and rear cameras, and swipe left to see effects and right for modes. You have an auto mode, pro mode (with limited controls including White Balance, ISO, Exposure and Metering), Panorama, Continuous shot, HDR, Night, Sports and Sound and Shot. To start recording video, simply tap on the red button right next photo shutter key.
So how do images turn out?
First, what strikes me most about using this camera is that it is much slower than on other phones. The camera app takes longer to start and focusing is noticeably slower than on pricier phones. This means you will have more blurry images and it’s harder to capture those impromptu moments.
Then, there is an even bigger problem: in images with both dark and bright areas, there's some overexposure and highlights tend to burn (that is, to turn out white). This can be remedied by using HDR mode, but it won't turn itself on automatically, and its use adds a longer delay between shots. Image quality itself is about average.
Here, you truly get what you pay for, which is not a lot: an image that is not particularly rich in detail or dynamics. There is also a slight oversharpening going on, but the big issues are the overexposure, burning of highlight, lack of proper detail and hard-to-nail focus.
The front camera, on the other hand, is actually better than average. Give it enough light and it will capture very detailed pictures, but it does fairly well in moderate light as well.
The new J5 can shoot video at up to 1080p Full HD resolution, and the quality is… not great. The camera supports continuous auto-focusing, but it is often so slow that it will miss the moment when it has to switch the focus. And it is completely inept to shoot outdoors when you have a little bit of sun: everything turns out wildly overexposed. You can try to manually turn down exposure, but then you lose dynamics. There seems to be some slight form of video stabilization, which prevents the footage from looking too shakey, but that does little to help.
There is a single loudspeaker located right above the lock key on the right handside. It delivers plenty of punch, but sounds too tinny and lacking definition. You can’t expect too much from a phone, and we are happy we get the extra loudness, something important when you are trying to show friends a funny video on the web.
There is an audio jack on the bottom as well, which is also nice.