• Full Review
  • Specifications

Full Review

At around £180 the Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017) is unmistakeably a budget handset, but budget doesn’t have to mean bad, as the Galaxy J3 tries to show by packing in all the basics you’d hope for from a smartphone.

However, it’s also facing competition from a range of rivals, like the Moto E4 Plus and the Honor 6A, so does it do enough to stand out?

Read on to find out and for full details on every aspect of the Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017).

Screen

The Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017) has a 5.0-inch 720 x 1280 screen with a pixel density of 294 pixels per inch.

That’s a reasonably compact display compared to most smartphones, which means you can comfortably use the phone with one hand, but it’s not tiny, and the 720p resolution is enough for fairly crisp visuals.

galaxy-j3-2017-review

Obviously it’s not going to be worrying pin-sharp screens like the one on the Samsung Galaxy S8, but it’s not bad for the price. It’s also in line with some of its main rivals, like the Honor 6A, which is the same size and resolution, though the Moto G4 is larger and sharper.

However, it’s worth noting that the screen is actually a slight step down from the Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016), as that phone was the same size and resolution, but used superior Super AMOLED technology. The J3 (2017) meanwhile uses LCD.

Design

The Galaxy J3 (2017) has a surprisingly premium design for a budget handset, as while it looks a bit plasticky it actually has a metal finish.

There’s also attention to detail evident, with the camera sitting flush with the back, rather than sticking out, and the whole package coming in at just 8.2mm thick.

The bezels, especially those above and below the screen, are quite large, marking this more out as a low-end handset, but overall it’s a reasonably attractive design. Just don’t get it wet, as unlike some pricier phones the Galaxy J3 (2017) doesn’t have any water resistance.

Power

There’s a 1.4GHz quad-core Exynos 7570 chipset inside the Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017), and that’s paired with 2GB of RAM.

That’s a solid spec for the money but at the lower end of what you’d want from an Android handset. The upshot is that performance should generally be adequate, especially when just navigating the home screens and for light app and internet use.

But certain games will tax it, and boot up times for both apps and the handset itself could be sluggish.

For software you get Android Nougat, which is recent but no longer the latest version of Android. It’s unknown whether the J3 (2017) will get updated to Android Oreo. As a fairly recent phone it might, but the fact that it’s a budget handset pushes the likelihood down.

Camera

The Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017) has a 13MP rear camera, which is a spec that’s in line with most similarly priced rivals.

In fact, in terms of megapixel counts many phones even at the high-end are now settling for 12 or 13MP snappers. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the J3 (2017) will be a match for high-end cameras, as there are a lot of other factors.

Galaxy J3 review

As a budget camera it’s not bad, but not great. The f/1.9 aperture means low light shots won’t always look brilliant but in good light it fares okay.

The front-facing camera is perhaps more interesting, as while it’s only a 5MP one it also has an LED flash, so selfies can come out bright even in dimly lit locations, and thanks to gesture controls you can take a photo just by making a hand gesture.

Features

As with many budget phones, there’s not much in the way of standout features here, though the Galaxy J3 does have some software tricks, such as the ability to log in to a messaging app with multiple accounts and to hide documents and photos in Samsung’s Secure Folder app.

Battery life, memory and connectivity

There’s a 2,400mAh battery in the Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017). That, if anything, is slightly on the small side, with most phones, including many budget ones, packing in a 3,000mAh or larger battery, but it works surprisingly well.

Life isn’t exceptional, but the phone should last you a day of moderate use.

For memory, you get 16GB built in, plus a microSD card slot which supports cards of up to 256GB, so space shouldn’t be a problem – though you will likely want to invest in a card, as the 16GB of included storage probably won’t go far.

Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, Bluetooth 4.2 and even NFC, but there’s no fingerprint scanner.

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017) is a solid entry-level option with a build that’s almost as attractive as its price, plus a reasonable screen, camera and battery.

In a vacuum it would be easy to recommend. As it is though there’s steep competition from the likes of the Moto E4 Plus, which has a bigger screen, better battery life and a lower price.

Still, while it’s not the best budget option for most users the J3 (2017) is also unlikely to disappoint, as it’s a capable phone in just about every way.

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Specifications

Specifications

Dimensions (mm): 143.2 x 70.3 x 8.2

Weight (g): 142

Battery capacity (mAh): 2400

Colours: White, Black, Gold, Blue

Screen size (inches): 5.0

Resolution: 720 x 1280

Pixels per inch (PPI): 294

Processor: Quad-core 1.4GHz

Processor make: Exynos 7570

RAM: 2GB

Internal storage: 16GB

Expandable storage up to (GB): 256

Camera: 13MP (5MP front-facing)

Operating System: Android 7.0 Nougat

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