Recently, Samsung has shifted a whole lot of its focus to the Indian market. The business launched its first Tizen phone in India, made its Galaxy E series (read our review) exclusive to the united states, and followed up with the Galaxy J1. The Galaxy J1 may be the first device in the Galaxy J lineup, and is slightly more expensive compared to the Samsung Z1 and in addition includes slightly better – yet decidedly low-end – hardware.
The Galaxy J1 comes at the same time when the budget market in countries like India has been bought out by Xiaomi, Motorola, and other Chinese and local manufacturers, which are providing some pretty stellar hardware for low prices. Even Google is playing in this segment through its Android One initiative, so when you go through the Galaxy J1’s specs sheet, it’s obvious to see that Samsung isn’t really trying hard to make certain the device stick out.
I spent weekly with the Galaxy J1 as my main smartphone, so here’s our overview of what is the most discussed (read leaked) budget Android phones from Samsung in quite a while.
Samsung hasn’t really attempted its smartphones’ design during the past couple of years, therefore it isn’t surprising the Galaxy J1 appears like a whole lot of other phones from the business. However, there’s a tiny design aspect which makes the J1 look different – the most notable and bottom of the telephone have this slightly raised edge at each side, rendering it look like it includes a rugged covering at the top. That’s not actually the case, nonetheless it certainly helps in adding some flair from what is otherwise as basic a design as should be expected from Samsung.
What’s also good may be the construction. The sides and back of the Galaxy J1 are constructed with soft touch plastic (both sides and back, combined with the volume and power buttons, are of the same color), making the telephone feel very good in the hand. It’s never slippery, and overall, the J1 feels perfectly made.
The Galaxy J1 includes a 4.3-inch PLS LCD display with an answer of 800×480 pixels. There’s nothing special about the viewing experience available here. As an LCD unit, the colors aren’t at all vibrant, and the display feels a tad drab regarding colors and contrast. The viewing angles are also average – it will be easy to create out what’s on the screen when viewing it an angle, nevertheless, you won’t think it is to be as clear since it will be on more high-end handsets (which isn’t unexpected given the purchase price range.)
The Z1, Samsung’s first Tizen phone, had quite an attractive display despite being such a lowly priced phone, so it’s sad to start to see the same love hasn’t been extended to the display on the Galaxy J1. The one thing the J1 is excellent at may be the brightness levels. The display will get quite bright, and the telephone also offers a patio mode to further improve the legibility of the display under bright sunlight.
Samsung was plainly focusing totally on the camera experience when developing the Galaxy J1, as the cameras upon this thing easily outmatch all of those other hardware. Now, these aren’t great cameras at all, but when you take into account how average an event the telephone provides in the areas, the cameras certainly stick out.
The phone includes a 5-megapixel sensor on the trunk that takes photographs that are, well, sufficient. Photos come out a lttle bit too soft, but details certainly are a tad above average (for a 5MP sensor) and noise is kept in order as to not be considered a problem. Under low-light it’s a complete failure, but just like the Galaxy E5 and E7, Samsung offers Night and HDR modes in the camera to somewhat improve performance under dim lighting conditions.
Leading camera is a 2-megapixel unit, and it’s very good. The images it requires generally have some noise, nevertheless they also capture an attractive amount of detail and colors. Samsung hasn’t skimped on features that enable you to take selfies easily – you get the Palm Gesture feature for capturing pictures by waving your palm before the device, so you get yourself a beauty mode to soften/remove blemishes from faces. The only big issue with leading camera is that it requires a few seconds to save lots of an image. It’s not world-ending, but it’s odd to visit a Processing screen every time you take a photo.
The Galaxy J1 runs a fairly bare bones version of TouchWiz, Samsung’s proprietary UX. It’s probably as a result of the meager hardware that’s powering this thing, though as you will notice in the performance section below, it doesn’t accurately help the J1 give a smooth experience. Samsung’s phones are popular (or infamous, according to how you consider it) for having a whole lot of additional functionality over what Android offers by default, but almost all of it really is missing on the Galaxy J1. Actually, the J1 doesn’t even include Samsung’s music iphone app – it only has Google Play Music, and it’s probably for the reason that TouchWiz Music iphone app was a little overweight for the phone to take care of.
A trip in to the settings menu reveals an extremely short set of options. Apart from a full page for managing the dual SIM cards and the Ultra ENERGY SAVING Mode feature, there’s nothing that sticks out here. You may take that as an indicator that Samsung is reducing bloatware, but it’s virtually the low-end nature of the telephone that’s the reason behind the lack of way too many additional features.
Performance on the Galaxy J1 is bad. There is absolutely no other word for this – you’re better off buying Samsung’s Tizen-powered Z1 and living without the applications than obtaining the J1. From the first boot of the telephone, things were constantly slow to occur. There were stutters through the entire interface, with animations never smooth almost all of enough time. Apps were slow to launch aswell, though this is more a concern on a few of Samsung’s inbuilt applications instead of third-party ones. The telephone got two software updates following the first boot, but neither could do anything to repair the performance issues.
Having less RAM (there’s only 512MB RAM on the model we’re testing) is plainly the largest problem here – Android KitKat could be designed to operate on phones only 512MB of RAM, but Samsung has evidently not understood that that fact is merely true when you’re discussing stock Android, not really a version of Android that is custom-made and bloated up by manufacturers. 1GB of RAM is completely necessary on smartphones nowadays, and it’s just shameful that the Galaxy J1 offers such a slow experience, at the same time when budget smartphones reach such a high quality level.
Gaming performance is thankfully above average on the J1. Temple Run 2 ran without the lag or stutter, though Minion Rush – another game where you must run endlessly – wasn’t very smooth. The telephone should enable you to play basic games easily, but just don’t throw any title which has a large amount of graphics and things happening on the screen at the telephone.
Call quality on the Galaxy J1 is substandard. The sound from the other side comes out with quite a lttle bit of compression, which made understanding your partner hard sometimes. Call volume on the earpiece wasn’t very loud either, though thankfully my very own voice was pretty clear at the other end.
For network performance, I didn’t really notice anything unusual. Calls never dropped, but like the majority of low-end phones, the J1 did battle to find as good a sign in areas with low networ