Samsung Galaxy J3 review (2016): Another superb low-cost smartphone from Samsung



With the number of different smartphone models Samsung kicks out every year, it’s a surprise it isn’t more successful with its budget models. However, this is a market it’s had trouble cracking, with its budget offerings lagging a long way behind the Motorola Moto G.

As you’d expect of Samsung, though, it’s giving it’s all in an attempt to elbow its competitors aside, and the Samsung Galaxy J3 looks to be a strong contender for the crown of budget smartphone king. It’s a £150, 5in Android smartphone equipped with what looks like a killer specification. It’s only £10 cheaper than the Galaxy J5, though — another impressive budget handset from the South Korean manufacturer — so is it worth saving the money?

Samsung Galaxy J3 review: Design and display

At first glance, the J3 looks similar to the J5. The J3 is a touch more compact, perhaps, but with a difference in screen size of a mere 0.2in, it’s not a night and day difference.

The construction of the two phones isn’t terribly different, either. Both are finished in bland, matte plastic all over, but both feel staidly solid at the same time. The case doesn’t bend or creak unduly and its buttons all depress with a good, solid click. Despite its budget appearance, the Galaxy J3 is a robust-feeling smartphone.

I’m not a huge fan of the two-tone black-and-white front panel of our review sample, but it is possible to grab the phone in all-black if you want. Generally, it’s pretty inoffensive, although I have to say I prefer the look of the Motorola Moto G (3rd gen) and Motorola Moto G4.

Where the appearance and build is run of the mill, however, the J3’s display is anything but. Just like the Galaxy J5, it uses an AMOLED panel – a real rarity in this price bracket. This brings with it a sharp 720p resolution and a vibrancy and colour-packed image that most budget handsets can’t get near, with its perfect, inky black level ensuring images look incredibly punchy solid.

OLED displays have a tendency to look a little dull — it’s their one major weakness — but not here. I recorded maximum brightness of 447cd/m2, which means it’s readable in the brightest sunshine. Note, however, that you’ll need to enable the phone’s auto-brightness mode for it to hit these heights. In manual mode, the screen peaks at a much lower 318cd/m2.

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