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Samsung Galaxy J7 2017 (AT&T) Review

Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) AT&T

Posted: , by Corey Gaskin Corey Gaskin



Interface and Functionality

The J7 has been Graced with the Samsung Experience

Samsung Galaxy J7 2017 (AT&T) Review

With the release of the Galaxy S8 came Samsung’s latest evolution of their Android flavor, dubbed simply, Samsung Experience. Simplicity was its aim, and we were impressed with the UI tidying that was accomplished then, as we are now as it finds its way onto the J7. Of course, the J7 doesn’t have the bevy of gestures or accompanying sensors that the S8 has, so you won’t be finding edge actions or any sign of Bixby (much like the S8 now – JUST KIDDING SAMSUNG, DON’T KILL US, PLEASE). What you will find, though, is the more lightweight UI, the slimmed down settings menu with its very inclusive search function, device maintenance, Samsung’s secure folder, and the overall more cohesive design language – which we were glad to see then, and remain so now. For some reason, you can’t enable a swipe up/down gesture to open the app drawer like on the S8, so there’s little idiosyncrasies like that you may miss, but as a whole the experience is generally the same.

Samsung’s proprietary apps take care of most important functions, such as messaging, internet and, E-mail. For the most part, we enjoyed the experience these offered; the messaging app is clean and intuitive, as is the web browser (save for the absence of swipe gestures to go back/forward), and the email app is also well laid out. The biggest issue we had lies with the email app's lack of in-line options for notifications. Where Gmail’s app, for instance, gives you the option to delete or reply to a notification, Samsung mail only gives the option to clear it, or reply. Settings within the mail app were also not perfectly aligned with the settings in the main menu. Specifically, we found that the option to sync SMS messages to your email account lies only within the mail app’s settings, and not within the “accounts” section under main phone settings, unlike all the other sync options. It’s a small nitpick, but an error nonetheless. We suppose that in all the clean-up they did on the settings menu, they’re allowed to have at least one minor miss. Ultimately, though, it was the lack of in-line options that sent us back to Gmail sooner than later. If every E-mail you ever get is always important information that you need to keep or reply to, then you may not miss in-line delete, but we sure did.

Processor and Memory

Some pauses, but a generally swift experience

Under the hood of the J7, you’ll find Samsung’s Exynos 7870 processor – a homogenous octa-core chipset, with all cores clocked at 1.6 GHz. This is the same processor used in the 2016 Galaxy J7 as well as the unlocked 2017 J7, yet to be released. Of course, the speed demon in us would’ve liked to have seen the 7880 instead, which is clocked at 1.9 GHz and accepts UFS 2.0 storage for much faster read and write speeds but, in all reality, the target demographic for this phone likely won’t see, or care about the difference. This speaks largely to Samsung’s ability to keep an older processor capable, achieving solid results not just in the build of the phone, but their in-house silicon as well. Paired with 2 gigs of RAM and 16GB of eMMC storage, users won’t be burning the house down with blazing speeds, but they won’t want for much either. Navigating the OS and multitasking you’ll find only slight pauses here and there, but the overall feeling is smooth and responsive.

Like most mid-rangers, gaming is doable, but less than optimal. This will be where you see the display's true colors, so to speak. Gaming on this 5.5-inch 720p screen shows the display in its worst light, producing more perceived grain and pixelation than in any other usage scenario. You’ll also be dropping a lot of frames and encountering a persistent stutter.


No NFC means no Samsung Pay

Here you’ll find most of what you’d want or expect in a phone, including Bluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/r, and quad band support – so it should work fine in most countries. As a mid-ranger, we didn’t expect to see NFC, but it would’ve been nice – especially to support Samsung Pay. If Samsung truly wants their payment platform to become universal, they could start by including it in their newest phones. Yes, even their mid-rangers. Looks like you’ll have to jump to the Galaxy A7 to get both this and the increasingly popular USB-C charging port. Wireless charging, though, is reserved for only flagship-level Samsungs, right now.

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PhoneArena rating:
Display5.5 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels (267 ppi) TFT
Camera8 megapixels
Samsung Exynos 7 Octa, Octa-core, 1600 MHz, ARM Cortex-A53 processor
Size5.96 x 3.01 x 0.34 inches
(151.5 x 76.4 x 8.6 mm)
5.6 oz  (159 g)
Battery3300 mAh, 40 hours talk time

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