Phones

A solid phone without the frills

The best part about the Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime is its battery life.
The best part about the Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime is its battery life. PHOTO: SAMSUNG

The Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime is a good, long-lasting workhorse for users who want a solid phone to message, browse and e-mail with, without needing the frills.

The Prime version of the J7 is a significant upgrade over the regular model. It has a fingerprint sensor for added security and convenience, as well as Samsung's Exynos 7870 chipset, instead of the Exynos 7580 or Snapdragon 615.

The 7870 chipset offers 30 per cent more battery efficiency than its predecessor, and is capable of supporting full HD video capture and playback.

Design-wise, while the 5.5-inch J7 Prime is nothing out of the ordinary, it is grippy and easy to handle as it has a textured metal unibody and curved edges.

On the phone's left edge are the volume buttons, as well as two trays: one for a single SIM card, and one for a second SIM card and a microSD card. On the right edge of the phone is a power button, and above that, the phone's speaker.

While this is an unusual position for a speaker, it works most of the time. When I watched videos, the sound was still quite balanced, although when holding the phone in landscape mode, my fingers sometimes covered the grille and muffled the sound.

Using the J7 Prime was smooth for the most part, and it handled everyday apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook easily.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $398

    PROCESSOR: Exynos 7870 Octa

    DISPLAY: 5.5-inches full HD

    CAMERA: 13-megapixel (rear) and eight-megapixel (front)

    OPERATING SYSTEM: Samsung TouchWiz based on Android 6.0.1

    MEMORY: 3GB of RAM and up to 32GB of internal storage

    BATTERY: 3,300 mAh

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 3/5

    DESIGN: 3/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 5/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

However, there are sometimes small, noticeable shortfalls. For example, when you boot up Skype, the logo animation looks choppy. Fortunately, these do not detract much from the overall experience.

If a good camera is important to you though, then the J7 Prime may not be a good fit. The images produced by the 13-megapixel back camera were more grainy than I would have liked, even in daylight. There is not much manual control available, and the Pro mode lets users control only the ISO, white balance and exposure.

While the eight-megapixel front camera is sharp enough for selfies, the auto mode has a tendency to overexpose all my shots, leaving me against a bright white background.

The J7 Prime's screen (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) is clear enough for watching videos and browsing, although it can be hard to see under the sun. To ward against that, there is the very useful Outdoors mode, which ramps up the brightness to beyond the usual maximum for 15 minutes.

To me, the best part about the J7 Prime is its battery life. The way that the phone handled its 3,300 mAh battery meant that I could squeeze about 1½ days out of a single charge, even with video streaming and reasonably heavy usage.

  • Verdict: The Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime is a competent, no-frills mid-range phone with a great battery life.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2016, with the headline 'A solid phone without the frills'. Print Edition | Subscribe