We review Samsung’s Galaxy J7+!

The mid-range segment of the smartphone market red hot right now, with several brands trying to lure budget-minded shoppers to their wares this coming holiday season. Vivo, Huawei, Motorola and OPPO all have a dog in the fight, and want to take a bigger piece of the pie that Korean brand Samsung has traditionally enjoyed.

Samsung’s not about to let that happen without a fight though, and are hedging their bets on their J series to stave off their competitors in the mid-range market. The J7+ is the most expensive of the lot, sporting a beautiful body, dual-cameras and Samsung’s reputation, along with a pretty hefty price tag. Does the J7+ deserve your cash this holiday season?

Samsung Galaxy J7+ Specs

  • 2.4GHz MediaTek MT6757 aka Helio P20 octa-core processor
  • Mali T-880 MP2 GPU
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 5.5-inch Full HD Super AMOLED display; 1920×1080 resolution
  • 32GB of expandable storage (up to 256GB via microSD card)
  • Dual SIM
  • 4G, LTE
  • 13-megapixel at f/1.7 aperture + 5-megapixel rear cameras at f/1.9 aperture, autofocus with LED flash
  • 16-megapixel front camera at f/1.9 aperture
  • WiFi, Bluetooth
  • GPS, A-GPS
  • Fingerprint Scanner
  • 3000mAh battery
  • Android 7.1 Nougat

Design: Metal unibody + flush dual camera module = win

Samsung’s been bringing a lot of heat when it comes to the design of their mid-range phones, and being the most expensive of the J series, it’s not surprising that the brand brought their A-game for the J7+. The J7+ has full metal unibody construction, with a mostly flat rear and curved corners. And we say mostly flat rear, we mean it – the dual-camera module sits flush with the body, which means the glass and the module itself won’t get scratched up with normal use.

The phone feels a little slippery though despite not having a glossy back, so you will have to be extra vigilant when you’re using it one handed or get a case to stop it from slipping from your hand when you’re using it.

The power button is on the right while the volume rocker is on the left side of the phone along with the nano SIM tray. One weird design choice for the J7+ is the speaker, which is on the right side as opposed as being on the bottom like other phones like it.

The fingerprint scanner is on the front, which doubles as a home button, with two capacitive Android navigation keys flanking it. The phone feels rather hefty to the hands, and is beautifully made without any visible seams or gaps anywhere. Build quality is obviously top-notch – it is a Samsung phone, after all.

Display: Super AMOLED panel looks rich, if a little oversaturated

Much like Samsung’s other phones, the J7+ uses a Super AMOLED panel for rich, vibrant colors. In the J7+’s case, it’s a 5.5-inch display with full HD resolution. Since it’s a Super AMOLED display, it has all the hallmarks of Samsung’s oft-used display tech, namely rich, punchy colors, deep blacks and relatively low power consumption compared to a regular IPS panel. The downside here is that the colors might be a little too vivid for some. Like anything, your mileage may vary.

Performance: MediaTek processor isn’t a screamer, but it’s good enough for regular use

Weirdly enough Samsung didn’t think the J7+ worthy to be equipped with either an Exynos or Qualcomm processor. Instead, they opted to use a MediaTek MT6757 processor AKA the Helio P20, paired with 4GB of RAM, Mali T-880 MP2 GPU and 32GB of expandable storage. While the Helio P20 processor is perfectly capable of running a mid-range phone, it’s a strange compromise for a device that’s as pricey as the J7+, especially when you consider what the competition is packing.

As far as the phone’s performance goes, it’s alright. The MT6757 posts decent scores in benchmarks, and is a perfectly OK choice when it comes to running a mid-range phone smoothly. It suffers a bit though when it comes to graphically intense Android games, which has traditionally been the Achilles heel of MediaTek chipsets in the past. You’ll have to turn down the settings in some of the games you play to get them running smoothly on the J7+.

The speaker is decent but is a little lacking on the volume. The fingerprint scanner is fast and accurate, the we didn’t have any problems with the phone’s connectivity while we were using it on Taiwan’s Chungwa network while we were in Taichung.

Software: Android 7 Nougat Plus TouchWiz and Bixby

Much like Samsung’s other phones, The J7+ has their TouchWiz UI installed on top of Android Nougat. Surprisingly though, the phone also has Bixby installed, Samsung’s AI assistant that first showed up on their flagship S8 and S8+. That makes the the J7+ the only device outside of the company’s flagship to have the AI assistant. Does this signal a wider deployment of Bixby? Who knows.

Camera: Pretty good, but the refocus technology still has a bunch of bugs

Moving onto the camera, you’re getting a 13-megapixel primary sensor that has a f/1.7 aperture lens plus a 5-megapixel secondary rear sensor that has a f/1.9 aperture lens. The secondary lens allows you to blur the background and bring out the foreground much like how the Galaxy Note 8 does it, though there’s no 2x optical zoom capability here.

Images shot from the rear camera are clear and crisp, and the phone has no issues taking photos in low light. The refocus mode on the camera was a little buggy though on our review unit, and never worked properly for us. We also found that the rear camera doesn’t have as wide an angle as other mid-range phones like the Huawei Nova 2i.

The selfie camera has a 16-megapixel sensor and f/1.9 lens, and can pretty much pull of the same blurred background magic as phones of the competition, as well as include those goofy stickers that you can add to your selfies that are present on Samsung’s more expensive flagships.

Battery: Enough for a day

With a 3000mAh battery, the J7+ has more than enough juice to get you through the day. PCMark’s battery benchmark got a score of 8 hours and 2 minutes on the J7+, which translates to around a day’s worth of battery with a little left over in the evening. The phone doesn’t use a USB Type-C connector though so charging won’t be as fast as other phones with the tech.

Verdict: A solid premium mid-range phone that has a lot of stiff competition

Samsung’s Galaxy J7+ is definitely one of the better mid-range phones out there today. The phone has a gorgeous display and decent cameras, though so-so performance out of the MediaTek processor make it a hard sell compared to other mid-range phones currently in the market. Priced at Php 19,990, it’s one of the more expensive mid-range phones out there today, and faces a lot of stiff competition at the already crowded mid-range space.