Review | Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime smartphone

By Charlemagne Losaria

The Samsung J7 Prime is part of Samsung’s newest line-up of smartphones that is especially targeted at the budget-conscious crowd. With its good looks and good build quality, is this the right phone for you? Read on and find out.

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Build

In the past couple of years, Samsung has heeded the calls of consumers to start releasing better-built phones. Along with their recent releases, the J7 Prime is no exception.

The J7 Prime sports a metallic back, reminiscent of the iPhone 6 or HTC M8 minus the visible antenna band lines. The phone is very solid in the hands and looks and feels more expensive than its actual price.

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The metallic back is powder-coated and is quite resistant to fingerprint smudges. The left edge is where you can find the volume rockers, ports for two SIMs, and micro-SD while the right edge is where the single mono speaker is located, just north of the power button.

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Both the micro-USB charging port and headset port is located at the bottom edge, which I feel is the right place. Headset ports should be there, not on the top edge.

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Flipping it on its back, one can find an 8-MP front camera, the earpiece, the non-lit capacitive keys, as well as the home button that also acts as the fingerprint scanner.

The fingerprint scanner is fast, when it works. There is no need to press the button to wake the device up but it only works around 7 out 10 tries for me, even if I have tried registering the same finger multiple times.

I noticed this happen frequently when the device has been idle for a couple of minutes. This might be a software bug that can be addressed in the future updates.

Display

The J7 Prime has a slightly curved screen, tapered to meet the side edges. Samsung used its proprietary display technology called PLS (Plane Line Switching) TFT, giving it better viewing angles and image quality.

It has a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels and ppi of 401. This makes the J7 Prime display a joy to look at. Colors are very punchy and color representation is fairly accurate.

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With the screen off, the side bezels blend well with the display, making it seems like a single piece of glass slab.

There are concerns about the display of the J7 Prime being prone to having “white spots”. The unit I reviewed has two white spots, which were especially noticeable on white backgrounds and when you crank the brightness to the fullest.

I checked this out online and it seems to be a common problem for phones with TFT screens where strong pressure leaves these permanent spots. This is something we consumers should be fully aware of. (Disclaimer: The J7 Prime wasn’t brand new when they sent it for review so I am not fully aware of its history.)

Performance

The J7 Prime is based on Android’s Marshmallow and has an 8-core chip that clocked at 1.6 GHz. It has 3GB worth of memory and uses Samsung’s Exynos 7870 chipset.

For its graphic processing unit, it has a Mali-T830MP2. It has a built-in 32GB storage but can be further expanded up to 256GB. With the J7 Prime as my daily driver, day-to-day usage is quite good and led to an almost lag-free experience.

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Gaming wise, it’s a mix bag for the J7 Prime. There are games that run perfectly on the J7 Prime like Gameloft’s Asphalt 8. Some games where the J7 Prime wasn’t as smooth as we hoped includes Gameloft’s’ Modern Combat 5, Mad fingers’ Unkilled and 2K Sports NBA 2K17 on all high settings.

Camera

The J7 Prime has a 13MP camera with a single tone LED flash. The camera lens has an aperture of 1.9, compared to other smartphones that has 2.0. This simply means the lens eye is more “open” thus allowing for more light. This is supposed to be ideal for low light situations which the J7 Prime is pretty good at. It has a pretty good camera especially on Auto mode. Other modes include Panorama, continuous shot, HDR, beautify, Night and Sports mode.

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There is also a Pro mode (manual mode) though it is quite limited in features. It supports adjustments for ISO, EV, and White balance but there is no way to control the shutter speed, so for those who are into long exposure photography, this is not possible with the J7 Prime. Below are sample shots taken with the J7 Prime.

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Battery

The J7 Prime has 3300 mAh battery and I am quite impressed with Samsung to be able to implement this on a slim body. The battery life is excellent, allowing me to do my usual activities without having to worry about bringing a powerbank with me. It also does not get hot as much as other metallic-clad devices I reviewed so far.

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The verdict

I have mixed feelings for the J7 Prime. I am captivated by the looks of the device, especially the black variant and pictures simply do not give it justice. You have to see and hold it. It’s solidly built and looks more expensive and premium for its price. The battery life is also a plus on my books. At one point I even found myself contemplating of getting one.

There are, however, some glaring issues for me. The biggest would be with the quality of the TFT screen being prone to white spots. Also the mercurial fingerprint scanner, as well as not being able to meet the demands of some of the popular HD games. This might be addressed in the next software updates.

The Samsung J7 Prime is bundled with the Samsung Level Active Bluetooth Earphones as a freebie. It is being sold in Lazada for P13,990.

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