It wasn't that long ago that the Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016) came out a few months ago with RM1049, previously in our review, we felt that for a device in that price range, it's lacking behind other smartphones in terms of overall performance and some missing features such as a fingerprint sensor. Then out of nowhere, the Galaxy J7 Prime was released in Malaysia for RM1199 (inclusive of GST), it was as if Samsung read our minds on what we complained about the former, but is it really any better? That's what we're about to find out.
Design - A glorious version of the J7 (2016)
Granted, both the J7 smartphones have the same 5.5-inch display panel, but the body build is different now. As the name suggest, the J7 Prime is the superior model with a nice metal body instead of plastic and it just looks and feels nicer. The back is no longer detachable, another interesting change is the position of the speaker, which if you remember the former's one was placed at the rear, this time around, the speaker is positioned beside the power button.
Personally, I welcome this change as you get to hear the sound better since it's not flowing out behind. Also, the SIM card trays are at the left side.
The J7 Prime uses a 5.5-inch FHD TFT display now
The 13MP main camera and LED flash on the back
The speaker grill and power button are on the right side
Volume rockers and the SIM card trays on the left
Exactly the same as the J7 (2016), the microUSB (USB2.0) and 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom, nothing on top
Tech Specs and Features - Just a slight improvement
Here is the Galaxy J7 Prime specifications
- 1.6GHz Octacore Processor Processor
- 3GB RAM
- 32GB storage (expandable memory available up to 256GB via microSD card)
- 5.5-inch FHD TFT display
- Measures 151.5 x 74.9 x 8 mm
- 13 MP (F1.9) + 8 MP (F1.9) camera
- Features fingerprint sensor, Outdoor Mode, Ultra Data Saving Mode, Ultra Power Saving, S Bike Mode
- Supports LTE Cat.4, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, Glonass connectivity
- Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS
- 3300 mAh battery
Being the Prime version, you probably expected this to have better tech-specs right? Well...I hate to break it to you but there are only minimal changes. The only upgrade we got is the 1GB RAM difference, more storage (which is good I guess), a different type of display panel, and a downgraded camera-specs from 16MP to 13MP for some reason, but it's able to take some good pictures (more on that later).
Besides that, everything else is the same, including features such as the Outdoor mode (for reading under the sun), Ultra Data Saving mode that allows you to save data, an Ultra Power Saving mode that saves your phone battery, and even the S Bike mode that ignores incoming calls while travelling. Yup...exactly the same as the J7 (2016).
There is a new fingerprint sensor on the home button, though, you can even unlock it straight without having to turn it on which is cool. But you have to firmly rest your finger or thumb on the home button to make it happen, so in this case, you're better off by just pressing the home button to unlock since it's faster that way.
The bloatware on this J7 Prime seems to have decreased too, which is nice, the only ones left are the Samsung Galaxy Life app (which has been replaced by mySamsung) that rewards Samsung users on various promotions, Smart Switch for a smooth transfer from other devices, S Health and Galaxy Apps.
Galaxy Apps page
Galaxy Life app page
And like the J7 (2016), the camera modes are still the same old, it would be nice if they added more things for the Pro Mode, though. Oh well.
The uninspiring Pro Mode
The same camera modes
Wide angle feature is nice
Performance - Picture quality has improved!
As mentioned previously in our J7 (2016) review, one of the highlights of the phone was having a powerful long lasting battery that could last you for 2-3 days, so it's a good thing that the J7 Prime also has this. Nothing can really drain the battery down from playing 3D games to doing everyday-social tasks and the word overheating does not exist in its dictionary.
To add on to that, the screen viewing experience is commendable for gaming, photography and video playback in YouTube. Mobile connectivity is also smooth enough for games like Pokemon Go (random thought, wonder how many people are still playing this). Audio playback is crisp and clear when volume is put to the max.
Asphalt 8: Airborne didn't work at first on the device, luckily there was a new patch that fixed it
Epic Citadel score
But what about the camera? Has the picture quality dropped now that is 13MP only? Not quite, I was still able to take some nice photos with it, in fact, compared to the J7 (2016), the contrast level has improved so kudos to Samsung for that. However, when it comes to shady places, the colours will tap out to the darkness; if there's too much light, then the picture will get overexposed (the struggle is real). Anyway, check out the pictures below:
Close up shot
Another close up shot
Medium shot of the fruits showing the colours
Some noise in there, but still alright
On the left, you can see there's too much light, while in the middle the exposure level is just nice
Another outdoor shot
Most of the time, the camera has trouble balancing the light and dark level
Taking a low light shot inside the trash can
Flash mode on
Another wide shot
Selfie mode contrast level is a bit dull, but still acceptable (no beauty mode)
Conclusion - A much better option than the J7 (2016)
Obviously, the J7 Prime is a better version than the J7 (2016), it has a great metal design look giving that premium feel. The fingerprint sensor is good with more storage space than ever. Coupled with occasionally useful features like the Outdoor mode (still no Auto Brightness function, though), Ultra Data Saving mode, Ultra Power Saving mode, and S Bike mode, while the picture quality improvement is an added bonus as well.
However... after testing it for a few days, we can't help but think that Samsung made the J7 (2016) as an experiment. I mean, releasing the J7 Prime just after a mere 3 months in the same year just seems odd. Honestly, the J7 Prime is what the J7 (2016) should have been in the first place, and for the Samsung fans who bought the the J7 (2016) too soon might feel some regret; after all, the RM150 price tag difference isn't that far off.
Speaking of price tags, this is where the J7 Prime gets challenged. There are still other contenders in that price range, such as the Huawei P9 Lite for RM1099, and the even more cost efficient Honor 5C that has similar tech-specs for RM799 only.
Anyway, we are actually satisfied with the Galaxy J7 Prime, and we think it's quite a good buy. But what do you guys think? Do you like the Samsung Galaxy J series this year? Let us know in the comments below, thanks for reading and stay tuned for more reviews at Technave.com!