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.
In typical Samsung fashion, though, it’s now throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the sector, and the Samsung Galaxy J3 is the second sub-£200 smartphone I’ve seen in the past month – a £150, 5in Android smartphone equipped with what looks like a killer specification. It’s only £10 cheaper than the Galaxy J5, though, which is also pretty impressive for the money. So is it worth saving the money?
Samsung Galaxy J3 review: Design and display
At first glance, the two handsets look very similar. The J3 is the more compact device, but with a difference in screen size of a mere 0.2in, there isn’t an awful lot in it.
The build quality isn’t all that different either, with bland, matte plastic everywhere you look, but it’s well made. The case is solid and robust-feeling; it doesn’t creak or bend unduly and all the buttons depress with a good, solid click.
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 3.
If the design is run of the mill, however, the 720 x 1,280 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 vibrancy and colour-packed image that most sub-£200 phones can’t get near, with its perfect, inky black level ensuring images look dynamic and solid onscreen.
It also has an impressive peak 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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