Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)

The Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016) does have its strong points, but at Rs. 13,999, it’s just not the phone that you should be buying.

Samsung Galaxy J5 2016 Rating

Our Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016) is not the smartphone you should buy. It is quite underpowered compared to other offerings in the market, doesn’t have a fingerprint sensor, and its pros don’t outweigh the cons. The compromise isn’t worth Samsung’s brand value.


  • Respectable camera
  • Display does well with colours


  • Highly underpowered
  • Display resolution is low
  • Uninspiring design

Samsung Galaxy J5 2016: Detailed Review

The Samsung Galaxy J5 is a very important device for Samsung India. The company claims that its J series is the highest selling smartphone series in the country, which means that a lot of its revenues depend on this series, perhaps even more so that the flagship Galaxy S devices. Being a market leader, Samsung fights its battle on two fronts. It has Apple on one side and a sea of Chinese manufacturers on the other. While the Galaxy S flagships tackle the iPhone, The Galaxy J series takes on the aforementioned Chinese players.

The Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016) leads the charge here. At Rs. 13,999, it falls squarely in the most competitive market segment in the country. In many ways, it’s a quintessential Samsung smartphone, but then again, there are questions that need to be answered. The Galaxy J5, on paper, is massively underpowered, and not a worthwhile buy. But specs don’t always translate to user experience, and that’s what I shall yearn to explain, with the Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016) review.

Build and Design: Oh so Samsung…

It’s a distinctly Samsung design, this one. The Galaxy J5 has the candy bar design that Samsung built its business on, and one that has often been called boring. But that’s just the looks, and whether you like it or not will differ from person to person. From a build point of view, there’s little to complain about, at least as far as the quality is concerned.

The Galaxy J5 (2016) has a metallic frame, with matte-ish plastic on the back, and it feels well made. There are no noticeable noises or nicks to hinder the design.

That said, the matte plastic back, to me, feels too two-years-ago. The Moto G4 Plus has a plastic design, but the grooved finish on it feels better, and the Lenovo Zuk Z1 and Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, priced around the same, feel even better. The Galaxy J5 isn’t slippery, like the Redmi Note 3, but it isn’t premium either. It’s feels like budget phone, except that budget phones are fast starting to change their persona.

Display: Vibrant and bright…

The display is easily the strongest aspect of the Galaxy J5. Samsung’s Super AMOLED panel looks colourful and vibrant. Comparing side by side with a Redmi Note 3, the crisp colours and warmth of the J5’s display really pops out. Of course, the Redmi Note 3 is far from the best display in this price bracket. The Moto G4 Plus poses a more realistic threat to the Galaxy J5 in this department, and I still find the Lenovo Zuk Z1 to be the best amongst these devices.

As good as the colours are, though, the Galaxy J5’s major weakness is in the fact that the resolution lies at 720p only. That said, this will be apparent to you only if you’re comparing side by side with the 1080p devices mentioned above. For the most part, you should like the Galaxy J5’s display.

Performance: Samsung vs the world…

At a time when phones in the sub-15k range are almost as powerful as mid-ranged flagships, Samsung chose the Snapdragon 410 for its Galaxy J5. The last gen SoC is royally mismatched against competitors in this price segment. Motorola’s Moto G4 Plus is about 40% faster than the Galaxy J5, while the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 is almost 65% faster. The Lenovo Zuk Z1 and LeEco Le 1s are about 55% faster than the Samsung Galaxy J5.

In fact, while I could make do with the uninspired design, and good but low-resolution display, the performance makes it an absolute deal breaker for me. I see slight frame drops even in games like Temple Run 2, and these are amplified much more when you move to more demanding games like Injustice: Gods Among Us.

Even if you’re not much of a gamer, the app load times are high, even for apps like Facebook. This keeps increasing as you try heavier apps. The fact that this phone is too weak was evident right from the setup. 

Camera: Not the Samsung we know…

While f/1.9 is an impressive number for a smartphone camera, it’s not the only thing that determines image quality. It allows for a shallow depth of field on the Galaxy J5, but the camera algorithm seems to pump up the ISO in lower light situations. To understand, one must recognise that the aperture, shutter speed and ISO, together determine the amount of light captured.

Hence, while f/1.9 is good for the Galaxy J5, its low light performance is still not the best. There’s quite a bit of noise and images aren’t as bright as you’d expect. Under well lit conditions, the Samsung Galaxy J5 is right up there with the Moto G4 Plus, in fact, at times it shows better details, but images under low light are less than ideal.


Samsung Galaxy J5 Test Shots


To be clear, I’d still recommend this camera over a Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, but if you’re looking for the best, my money’s on the Moto G4 Plus.

Battery: Almost there…

The Galaxy J5 has a small battery, and 2600 mAh really doesn’t sound like much nowadays, but Samsung somehow made it work better than I expected. On heavy usage, the battery ran dry in about 10 hours, but this included extensive gaming, about half an hour of YouTube streaming, lots of texts and emails, and over 15 phone calls. Cutting the gaming and streaming, got this up significantly.

You’re not going to get two-day battery life out of this device, but if you try hard enough, you’ll get it to last you a whole day.

Bottomline: A deal breaker…

The Samsung Galaxy J5 has a satisfactory camera, pretty good display, and even passable battery life. For me, though, the performance is an absolute deal breaker, and given its competitors, I can’t recommend the smartphone to any one.

The only real reason you would want to buy this is because it has Samsung’s name attached to it, and perhaps the fact that it’s easy to buy. Even so, I do not think that the compromise in performance and other features is worth going for Samsung’s brand value. The phone doesn’t have a fingerprint sensor, and less than 1GB of free RAM is just not enough for everything we do on our phones today. The Samsung Galaxy J5 is quite underpowered and not worth your money.

Latest Forum discussions on Samsung Galaxy J5 2016

  • Samsung galaxy s3 or samsung galaxy note ii?

    Hello guys,

    I’m planning to buy a mobile around 36k and i’m stuck on Samsung Galaxy S3 and Samsung Galaxy Note II. Can u suggest one or any other under the mentioned budget. :)

    Waiting for your replies 🙂

    1. Arsenalfan00120/02/2013

      Wait for Xperia Z (At around 36K) and HTC One to hit Indian market in March.

    2. Bryn20/02/2013

      Between the two, I prefer you go with note 2 . I too own it and I never regret buying. Most people said they are not comfortable with the size but after using for a month you will get adapted to the screen size. The 2gb Ram, 1.6ghz quadcore and battery 3100mah is too good to compare with any other phones available now. If you dont want to wait…

    3. Svmpua20/02/2013

      S3 is better among the two and also its Samsung’s flagship product.

      But I suggest that you go for Samsung Galaxy Note II because it has got a bigger screen which will be useful while playing games, reading ebooks and watching movies.

    Show More

  • Samsung galaxy s3 or samsung galaxy note ii?
  • Samsung galaxy s3 or samsung galaxy note?

    As the topic says, which one to buy – Samsung Galaxy S3 or Samsung Galaxy Note?

    Also want to know whether Note can only be used with stylus or can be used like s3/iphone while using screen.

    1. Achyutaghosh04/10/2012

      I would prefer the S3 over the last gen Note.
      Yes the Note can be used with or without a stylus.

    2. Amjath04/10/2012

      The question should be Samsung Galaxy S3 or Samsung Galaxy Note 2? My Vote ll be Note 2

    3. Aroraanant04/10/2012

      None of them, rather get Note 2

    Show More

  • Samsung galaxy 5 or galaxy pop??

    Guys! I am really Confused between the Samsung Galaxy 5 and Samsung Galaxy pop. Please suggest the better one!
    [url=http://www.gsmarena.com/compare.php3?idPhone1=3371&idPhone2=3725]Samsung I5500 Galaxy 5 vs. Samsung Galaxy Mini S5570 – GSMArena.com[/url]

    Does low resolution on bigger screen(240*320 on 3.2″) will matter much to me??
    I love…

    1. Pauldmps20/02/2011

      Obviously, Galaxy Pop is overall better. The matter of resolution is of personal choice. I’d suggest you go to a shop & have a proper look of the screen whether you can use it or not. Another thing is that not all apps would work on that low resolution (most of them should).

    2. Techmaniack20/02/2011

      i’ve bought Galaxy pop on 18th Feb 2011 (day befor yesterday) and its battery life SUCKS… i’ve reduced the brightness,disabled WiFi and 3G yet no use…. if you want battery backup go for A60….

    3. Androidfan20/02/2011

      If you want to download a lot of apps and games, you might as well buy an LG Optimus One. A lot of apps won’t run of Galaxy 5 and Galaxy Pop because of low resolution issue…

      Between Galaxy 5 and Galaxy Pop, I believe Pop is the winner… hands-down…

    Show More

  • Samsung galaxy s3 or samsung note 2

    Guys I know there was a similar thread for the same but as I thought my requirement was a bit different, decided to start this thread.

    I have zeroed down to S3 and note 2 and went to the Samsung store to check them personally..

    As I am planning to buy one of them before the year end therefore wanted to check both the pieces from all…

    1. Achyutaghosh24/12/2012

      Salesgirl was saying S3 is having 1Gb while Note2 has 2 GB (my understanding was it was same for both)

      Considering my requirement please suggest…

      S3 has 1 GB RAM, the Note has 2 GB- this factor alone makes the Note a better buy. If you are comfortable with the size, and looking at your usage pattern, the Note…

    2. Rock270224/12/2012

      I own both mobile and i feel both are excellent pieces of hardware,looking at your requirements i advice you to go for s3 which you can get for as low as 30.5k on ebay.in.

    3. Him40625/12/2012

      [QUOTE=rock2702;1808644]I own both mobile and i feel both are excellent pieces of hardware,looking at your requirements i advice you to go for s3 which you can get for as low as 30.5k on ebay.in.[/QUOTE]

      @rock but that big screen is tempting me.. 🙂

    Show More

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