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Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime Review: The Finest of the J Series?

 

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Samsung announced the availability of the Galaxy J7 Prime over a week ago and we’ve been using it as our daily driver ever since. In our initial review, we asked if it was indeed the best of the Samsung J Series. After putting it through its paces, we’re finally ready to share what we think of the mid-ranged device and let you know if it’s worth its Php 13,990 price tag. Let’s take a quick look at its specs as a recap.

Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime Specs

  • 5.5-inch full HD TFT display, Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 1.6GHz Exynos 7870 octa-core processor
  • Mali-T830MP2 GPU
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 32GB of expandable storage
  • 13-megapixel rear camera, f/1.9 aperture, AF, LED flash
  • 8-megapixel front camera, f/1.9 aperture
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, Fingerprint scanner
  • 3300mAh battery
  • Android Marshmallow, TouchWiz UI

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A Samsung Device Through and Through

The Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime sports a premium metal build that seems to be the norm for many mid-ranged offerings in the market nowadays. It’s got nice and gentle curves with rounded corners to make it easily pocketable and use with one hand. Sure, it doesn’t deviate from the classic design philosophies that the Korean brand has employed these past years, but additions — like the 2.5D Glass — certainly make all the difference and continues the soft edges on the J7 Prime’s frame. The device has a nice balanced heft about it that adds to the experience of handling the device as well.

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All the buttons were well within reach, but most of the team at Unbox do have rather large hands, and we’re guessing that people with more dainty appendages may have to do a bit of hand gymnastics to get to the volume rocker or may have to hold it with two hands to make sure they don’t drop the phone. We were also initially worried that the metal back would be a bit of a fingerprint magnet but its nice matte finish seems to repel most smudges on its surface.

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Another thing we greatly appreciate is the dedicated microSD card slot to expand on the 32GB of storage the J7 Prime has on board, which were also pretty lucky to have in the Philippines since some models sold internationally only have a meager 16GB of storage.

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TFT Display? No problem.

One thing that most of you voiced out when you read or watched the intial review was a concern over the J7 Prime’s TFT Display and it’s probably one of the concessions Samsung had to make to keep the J7 Prime’s price tag as reasonable as possible. The J7 (2016) may have Samsung’s homegrown Super AMOLED display, but its resolution is only in HD and it only has 2GB of RAM — so there is a bit of a trade off there. We actually have no complaints about the display that produced crisp images at 401 pixels per inch and still had pretty good color saturation plus decent contrast ratios.

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We also ragged a bit on its side mounted speaker found on the right side of the device, but the more we used it, the more it grew on us. We quickly learned to hold it a certain way (speaker side up in landscape orientation} and it had a decent amount of volume but it does have a little tinny quality to it.

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The J7 Prime Gets an A for Performance

As we mentioned in our intro, we’ve been using the Galaxy J7 Prime as our primary phone for a quite awhile now and we’re very happy with its performance. The Exynos 7870 octa-core processor and accompanying 3GB of RAM handled multitasking like a boss. It never faltered or even gave the slightest sign of a hiccup when we’ve had to use it for work when we didn’t have our trusty laptop with us. Navigation was smooth and apps launched easily with little to no delay. Like we mentioned in the initial review, gaming on the J7 Prime yielded satisfactory results. We tried out titles, such as: Dead Trigger 2, CSR 2, and Asphalt 8, and while you do have to bump down graphical settings a bit to get rid of the tiny frame rate drops, it was a pretty smooth experience overall. That being said, it wasn’t all fine and dandy.

UPDATE: We finally tried NBA 2K17 with the Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime and there were some pretty noticeable frame rate drops; not too bad as to lock up the action required to make games you play exciting but they’re definitely there with settings already at Ultra Low or Off. You may want to stay away from heavy games such as this title.

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We’ve never encountered issues with fingerprint scanners coming from the Korean brand and we were disappointed that this added layer of security on the J7 Prime was noticeably slow and not all that accurate. We’d sometimes chalk it up to residue left on the scanner itself, meaning it was due for a wipe down, but doing so would still offer results that were either hit or miss; more hit than miss but still a let down considering the usual offerings from Samsung.

Mid-Ranged Device, Mid-Ranged Camera

We’re pretty much going to sound like a broken record when it comes to cameras on most mid-ranged phones, but sadly there’s no getting around it. Most mid-ranged phones out in the market do a pretty remarkable job in great lighting conditions for its main shooter and the Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime is definitely not any different in that regard. Under the right circumstances, images were sharp with decent color accuracy, though we do have to note that highlights tend to get blown out a little bit; nothing a few safety shots couldn’t fix. Things tend to go south in low light conditions with noticeable amounts of noise but, again, that tends to be the case with most phones at this price point. It’s pretty much more of the same with the selfie camera, but with even more issues with blown out highlights.

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More than Enough Battery to Get You Through the Day

The J7 Prime has a 3300mAh battery that provides juice to all its internal hardware. When Samsung announced the Exynos 7870 and its 14-nanometer FinFet process technology, they said the new mid-ranged SoC would consume over 30 percent less power than other mobile SoCs built using the 28-nanometer process and it definitely shows.

PCMark Battery Benchmark tests gave it a time of 10 hours and 21 minutes and real world tests back it up as well. We were able to get through most of the day with heavy use without having to hug a wall or reach for a power bank to top up the device. When you do have to top it up, we were able to get 25% in a span of 30 minutes but that should be more than enough for the commute back home unless traffic in the Metro is more hellish than usual.

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The Verdict: Does It Make the Cut?

The Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime is priced at Php 13,990 and the competition is rather stacked at that price point. The question we always ask in our verdict is: “Should you include this device on your short list of phones to consider for your next purchase?” The answer: Definitely. It may have its flaws, but our experience with the J7 Prime has generally been a pleasant one and its a gorgeous looking phone too. Yes, the fingerprint scanner is a tad slow and probably won’t always unlock the phone on its first go, but we’re willing to look passed that given the way the J7 Prime performed with our time with it and its ability to last throughout the better part of the day.

Jamie Inocian

A self-confessed geek. Jamie started out helping out on the Unbox Podcast and became the Digital Sales Manager when he joined the team full time. He has since then transitioned into one of our Senior Editors and Head Video Producer.

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15 Comments

  1. asphalt 8, dead trigger 2, and csr 2 would run smoothly on low end phones. Since J7 prime is a mid range phone, try playin NBA 2K17 on it

    1. Hey, A! We updated the article to include NBA 2K17 in the review. With settings at Ultra Low, of OFF for that matter, there were some pretty noticeable frame rate drops, but not enough to ruin the experience if you really want to play the game.

  2. Good afternoon! Naexperience niyo na ba na laggy yung animations or akin lang ba yun? Medyo nabobother ako kasi parating mabagal yung animations ko at yung notification bar medyo mabagal din.

    1. Hi Leila! Thanks for the comment.

      Unfortunately, we didn’t experience laggy animations with the J7 Prime despite heavily using the device. Apps can be a little slow to load at times but we’ve never experienced a laggy interface.

  3. I bought the phone out of impulse and i must say, i was impressed by the overall value of the phone. Coming from a nexus 5, you can imagine how spoiled i was in terms of smooth performance and this phone met my standards. Of course gaming on it is not the most pleasant experience (we are talking about graphically demaning games) but hey, this is not made for that.

    If you are tight on budget and looking for a phone that can deliver (and is premium looking), you should consider this phone.

    Not everything is good tho as i am having trouble with its wifi dropping signals when the screen is off. Pretty sure this is software related that can be fixed with an update.

    1. sir, kumusta naman po yung batt life nya okay ba? di po ba umiinit pag mejo maraming apps na inopen mo? kasi interested po talaga ako netong phone na to eh.. hehehehe… either this one or zf3 laser…

      1. I was caught off guard on how good the battery is! Well, galing akong nexus 5 which was notorious for having poor battery life so hindi ganun kataas standards ko. Hehe, anyway ito screen cap of my screen on time (sot) http://imgur.com/ba7r8q9

        Almost 3 hours na pero 48% pa din. Yung data at wifi ko laging naka-on at naka 60% brightness niya. Almost an hour of gaming (eden and dead trigger 2), an hour of music playback. It can easily achieve a 5-6 hours of sot with moderate to heavy use.

        All in all, panalo yung batt life sir.

        Regarding sa heating issue, wala pang encounter so far. Performance is (for the most part) buttery smooth. ALTHOUGH you really have to set your expectations accordingly pag dating sa graphical capabilities ng phone na to. It can play most of the games without any problems pero when it comes to graphically stressful/demanding games, medyo lalabas yung compromises ng phone to reach its affordable price.

  4. I just bought mine yesterday. So far so good. I am so excited to try it with sim cards and external sd card. 🙂

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