Boost Mobile has a lot of affordable smartphones available, however the $229.99 Samsung Galaxy J7 is probably the better phablets of the bunch. Think about it as a bigger, better version of the entry-level Galaxy J3, boasting the most recent Android software, an excellent processor, and an attractive display. In addition, it includes some relatively rare features for a midrange phone, like dual-band Wi-Fi and NFC for mobile payments. It’s a good option for if you are buying a capable phablet that wont break the bank.
Design, Features, and Display
Measuring in at 6.0 by 3.1 by 0.3 inches (HWD) and 6.0 ounces, the J7 is actually a bigger version of the J3 (5.6 by 2.8 by 0.3 inches, 4.9 ounces), which resembles the Galaxy S4. The telephone has Samsung’s standard design language, including two capacitive controls and a physical home button on leading, a band of faux-chrome plastic along the sides, and a back manufactured from durable white polycarbonate.
The J7 is approximately the same size as the stylus-equipped LG Stylo 2 (6.1 by 3.1 by 0.3 inches, 5.1 ounces), though practically an ounce heavier. It’s somewhat of a stretch to use one-handed, however the relatively slim build make it simple to grasp and slip in your pocket.
On the proper side you’ll locate a power button, and there’s a volume rocker on the left. A 3.5mm audio tracks jack and micro USB port take a seat on the bottom. The trunk is removable; peeling it off offers you usage of the replaceable battery and a SIM card slot. Gleam microSD card slot, which caused a 200GB SanDisk card. Samsung disables moving programs to internal storage for Marshmallow devices, nevertheless, you can store music, images, and videos on a card.
Samsung has long excelled at making quality display panels, and the J7 is no exception. It includes a bright 5.5-inch, 1,280-by-720-pixel Super AMOLED screen. That 720p resolution is leaner than I normally prefer on a phone this size, but its pixel density continues to be fairly strong-267 pixels per inch (ppi), crisper compared to the 5.7-inch Stylo 2 (258ppi). Icons and graphics look sharp, viewing angles are excellent, and the screen is easily usable outside, because of Outdoors mode, which kicks up maximum brightness.
Network Performance and Connectivity
Boost Mobile is among Sprint’s low-cost arms, so you will discover network performance is identical on both carriers. The J7 supports LTE bands 2/4/5/12/25/26/41. Sprint hasn’t had the very best data speeds, but our latest Fastest Mobile Networks tests show the provider is making a significant comeback, with faster download and upload speeds than ever before. Unfortunately, I didn’t experience these improved speeds while testing in midtown Manhattan. Generally, downloads and uploads remained in the single digits, but that’s consistent with other Sprint phones we’ve tested in the same area.
Voice calls are obvious, but have a harsh robotic edge, making conversations somewhat unpleasant. On the plus side, earpiece volume is loud and noise cancellation is proficient at blotting out background sound.
Rare for a midrange phone, the J7 has dual-band Wi-Fi and NFC. The former produces improved Wi-Fi performance, as the latter permits you to use Android Pay and other payment services.
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Processor, Battery, and Camera
The J7 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor clocked at 1.4GHz. It scored a good 33,107 on the AnTuTu benchmark, which tests overall system performance. That is clearly a lot much better than the Snapdragon 410-powered Stylo 2 (26,822) and the Exynos 3475-powered Galaxy J3 (17,284). Performance is smooth in terms of launching software and multitasking. I didn’t notice any slowdown despite having several software running in the backdrop; with 2GB of RAM, you are not more likely to hit the RAM use limit. High-end games like Asphalt 8 and GTA San Andreas play smoothly, with reduced control latency.
Battery life can be good. The J7 clocked 6 hours and 21 minutes inside our rundown test, where we set screen brightness to maximum and stream full-screen video over LTE. That’s a comparable as you’ll receive with the Stylo 2 (6 hours, 6 minutes), although smaller Galaxy J3 outstrips both with an extraordinary 9 hours and 27 minutes. Regardless, all day utilization is not a problem, and you could always swap out the removable battery.
Camera performance isn’t as strong. The 13-megapixel rear sensor is with the capacity of taking clear shots, especially outdoors, nonetheless it often loses fine details like individual branches and tree leaves. Going for a picture of several intricate objects, such as a row of bushes, led to the closest bush appearing finely detailed, but those in the center of the shot or off aside looked noisy. Color reproduction also will vary dramatically. Outside, colors like reds and greens have a tendency to dominate, while indoors colors are more accurately represented. On the plus side, 1080p video records at a reliable 30fps. And the 5-megapixel front-facing camera takes good, crisp shots in every but low-light settings.
Software and Apps
The J7 joins the growing rank of new phones shipping with the most recent Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow software. You will discover Samsung’s TouchWiz UI extensions running at the top, which brings numerous visual changes including custom iphone app icons, an altered notification shade, and a different settings menu.
There is also some custom features just like the aforementioned Outdoors mode, a style Selector (which is self-explanatory), and a good Manager, which cleans up used space and background processes. Two particularly useful features include ENERGY SAVING mode, which reduces performance and turns off network connectivity to sip battery, and Ultra ENERGY SAVING mode, which sets the telephone to black and white.
Much like all carrier offerings, there’s some bloatware on the J7. Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Amazon Music, Amazon Photos, Amazon Video, Boost Fun & Games, Boost Zone, Facebook, Gadget Guardian, Galaxy Apps, Instagram, and Samsung Milk Music software are all pre-installed. It isn’t much load, but combined with operating-system and UI tweaks, it requires up practically half of the 16GB of internal storage, leaving you with 8.41GB.
For $230, the Samsung Galaxy J7 is an extremely capable phablet held back only by mixed camera performance and lackluster call quality. Unless you’re thinking about a stylus, the J7 is an improved buy compared to the $180 Stylo 2, because of its better processor, dual-band Wi-Fi, and NFC support. It is also an improved deal compared to the aging ZTE Boost Max+ ($199.99), which includes outdated hardware and software. Short of a pricey, high-end phone just like the Iphone 6s Plus, you will not find an improved phablet on Boost Mobile.