Samsung Galaxy J5 Prime Review
The sub-Php10K segment is a very lucrative market for smartphone makers. That’s why almost all brands have an offering under this budget. However, competition is fierce and some phones do well while some struggle. In the case of Samsung, their representative is the Galaxy J5 Prime. How does it fare? Let’s find out in our review.
Design and Construction
The Galaxy J5 Prime is the smaller sibling of the J7 Prime and the same looks but at a smaller package. On the front is a 5-inch display with HD resolution which equates to 294ppi. Above it are the receiver with a chrome accent, the 5MP front camera, and sensors.
Down below is the physical home button that also doubles as a fingerprint scanner. Located on its left and right sides are the capacitive keys for Recent Apps and Back.
To the left are the volume buttons, as well as the dedicated trays for dual-SIM cards and microSD card, which is a great advantage considering plenty of phones go for a hybrid setup.
On the right are the power/lock button and the loudspeaker. While down at the bottom is the microUSB port, microphone, and headset port.
Flip it on its back and you will see the 13MP main camera and the LED flash.
On the hand, the J5 Prime feels premium thanks to its metal body. Although the top and bottom parts are made of plastic, it was able to maintain that unibody feel.
The front is fully mounted with curved edge Gorilla Glass which compliment the also curved sides of the device. It’s attractive, ergonomic, relatively thin, and comfortable to hold.
Display and Multimedia
The Galaxy J5 Prime sports a 5-inch PLS TFT screen with HD resolution. This equates to a pixel density of 294ppi, which at this screen size, is still packed. It has wide viewing angles, and although it doesn’t use an AMOLED panel, the colors are rich and vibrant.
What’s disappointing though is the lack of auto-brightness. Meaning you need to adjust the brightness level manually. If you’re concerned about outdoor legibility, it has an Outdoor mode for extra brightness which can be activated through the shortcut drawer.
As for the loudspeaker, it’s located on the right side above the power/lock button. It’s an odd placement but it’s located away from your palms so you won’t muffle if you hold it for gaming in landscape mode. Sound quality decent, has crisp but subdued trebles and a weak but noticeable bass. Loudness could use some boost though.
OS, UI, and Apps
The Galaxy J5 Prime is running Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with Samsung’s TouchWiz. Of course, we would have liked it more if it came out with Nougat. On the bright side, Samsung continues to push updates on this device and we have received two updates during our time with it. The latest brought the April 2017 Android Security Patch.
The user interface is pretty much like most Android smartphones in the market and uses an app drawer instead of multiple home screens. The UI is pretty nice, doesn’t look much different from other Samsung devices, except for the S8 and S8+.
There are plenty of apps pre-installed like Microsoft’s Office suite, the basic Google apps, and Samsung’s own apps. There’s Opera Max as well which is handy if you’re mindful about your data and privacy while surfing. You can’t uninstall them though, which is a bummer. That said, you’re only getting 10.1GB of usable space out of the 16GB. On the bright side, you can expand storage by installing a microSD card in its dedicated slot.
Handling the imaging department is a 13MP rear shooter with f/1.9 aperture and LED flash. The rear camera can capture images with vibrant colors and plenty of details. Like with most smartphones, it performs well outdoors when conditions are bright, but tends to slow down indoors even with soft lighting which results in slightly blurred images. The trick is to hold the phone firmly and long enough for the camera to complete the capture.
For selfie lovers, the front camera doesn’t have much resolution to around at 5MP but the quality is decent enough for casual selfies especially in bright conditions. There are some features that are also found in selfie-centric smartphones like face-tracking, beautify, wide selfie, and screen flash.
As for video recording, the J5 Prime maxes out at 1080p resolution at 30fps. Video quality is okay, sharp, but tends to be really shaky. Watch the sample below:
Performance and Benchmarks
Powering the J5 Prime is an Exynos 7570 quad-core processor clocked at 1.4GHz, Mali-T720 GPU, and 2GB RAM. So far it’s capable of running light to moderate tasks without choking or crashing. Gaming is still possible like with Mobile Legends but you might want to keep the graphics settings on Low or Mid for smoother gameplay. One downside though is the lack of gyroscope for VR or other gyro-related tasks.
* AnTuTu – 35,844
* Geekbench – 631 (Single-Core), 1,829 (Multi-Core), 1,158 (RenderScript)
Note: The PC Mark and 3D Mark apps crash on the J5 Prime so results are not available.
Connectivity and Call Quality
The J5 Prime sports basic connectivity features such as WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, and USB OTG. There’s dual-SIM support with 4G LTE for bands B1 (2100), B3 (1800), B5 (850), B7 (2600), B8 (900), and B28 (700). Call quality is good and we never had problems connecting to mobile data as long as we’re in an area with healthy coverage. No issues with GPS as well while we’re using it for navigation while driving.
The Galaxy J5 Prime is equipped with a small, non-removable 2,400mAh battery. It might be below average but since it’s powering modest hardware, it was able to last us for around 8 to 9 hours (light to moderate usage which consists of constant WiFi connectivity with heavy social media and light calls and texts) before it needed recharging.
Testing its battery life using our video loop test (1080p video on loop in Airplane mode with 50% brightness and volume with headset plugged), it was able to give us a solid 13 hours of playback, which is good.
Note: PC Mark keeps crashing on the J5 Prime so results are not available.
The Galaxy J5 Prime is a nice addition to Samsung’s J series thanks to its premium build, attractive design, vibrant display, capable camera, and LTE connectivity. However, the price tag seems too much for what it can offer especially if you compare it to other smartphones in this budget. At Php9,990, it’s going to have a hard time competing with other devices in the price range like the Vivo V5 Lite, ASUS Zenfone 3 Max, OPPO A39, and the Huawei GR3 (2017). To conclude, the J5 Prime decent phone, it’s just not priced competitively.
Samsung Galaxy J5 Prime specs:
5-inch PLS TFT display @ 1280 x 720 pixels, 294ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass
1.4GHz Exynos 7570 Quad-Core processor
16GB internal storage
Expandable via microSD, up to 256GB
13MP f/1.9 autofocus rear camera w/ LED flash
5MP front-facing camera
GPS w/ a-GPS, GLONASS
2400mAh non-removable battery
Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
142.8 x 69.5 x 8.1 mm
What we liked:
* Premium build
* Attractive design
* Vibrant display
* Capable camera
* Decent battery life
What we didn’t:
* Low specs compared to other devices in the price range
* No auto-brightness
* No gyroscope
* Small usable storage space