Review | Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro midrange smartphone

Today’s smartphones are slowly turning into digital cameras with more brands beefing up the photography side instead of communication, interface, and productivity aspects. It seems like the arms race between famous names have gone down to what they have to offer in producing quality images from professional to amateur point of view.

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Bearing the “Capture the Night” banner while parading its shooting capabilities, the Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro wants us to focus on taking “real” photos rather than just selfies.

Design

The Galaxy J7 Pro embodies an all-metal design that stands at 5.5 inches tall. Although it has round edges, it doesn’t belong to Samsung’s circle of “Edge” smartphones as the J7 Pro’s screen is not extended to the curved finishes and doesn’t carry functions at all.

U-design and rear camera with flash of the J7 Pro.

U-design and rear camera with flash of the J7 Pro.

Nevertheless, this handset aims to provide a comfortable handling experience but fails due to the extra-smooth texture behind the J7 Pro. For us, a reinforcement from Samsung’s set of phone cases could make up for it, but doing so would lose the point of the sexy U-design at the back.

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Available in colors of gold and black, the J7 Pro has arguably the best screen display at its price range. The Super Amoled touchscreen exhibits sharp and lively images and is accompanied by Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution. Viewing “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in 1080p in this handset definitely goes beyond the usual.

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The left side plops the volume keys, while the right corner mounts the power/lock button and the speaker. The speaker placement could have been better if it was put at the bottom or maybe on the extra spaces above and beneath the Amoled screen. Yet, to some people who loves to watch videos in a landscape orientation, they would probably enjoy the speaker placement since holding the phone on both ends would not cover the sound coming out from the J7 Pro.

J7 Pro's left-side placement.

J7 Pro’s left-side speaker placement.

Also, something worth mentioning are the two slots on the left edge: the one for SIM 1, the other is shared by the microSD slot and SIM 2. It’s a different take on the usual SIM 1 plus SIM 2 slot on the same tray, but at least this smartphone provides you a dedicated space for your expansion microSD card.

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Having discussed everything about the J7 Pro’s looks, the weight comes next in line. We feel that this handset is too heavy for a 2017 smartphone knowing there’s a lot of devices from other brands that house the same specs and even larger battery size (the J7 Pro has 3,600 mAh) but weighs lighter. From the handling texture to ergonomics, this smartphone could score just below the excellent line, but its heft may leave you a question mark above your head.

Performance

The unit we’ve had came in with the Developer Options activated, which means that the handset may have come from a full modification from the Samsung headquarters. There had been a notification bubbling up every time we restarted the phone that said something about “dumping files.” We couldn’t figure out what was it for, but we managed to switch off the notification to avoid it.

The J7 Pro doesn't light up its navigation bars.

The J7 Pro doesn’t light up its navigation bars.

With Exynos 7870 Octa chipset, Octa-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A53 CPU, and 3GB RAM, the J7 Pro scored the following in our benchmarks:

This benchmark's J7 Pro's graphics.

This benchmark’s J7 Pro’s graphics.

This benchmark's J7 Pro's processor.

This benchmark’s J7 Pro’s processor.

As mentioned earlier, this handset houses a 3,600mAh battery and assures you a breathing smartphone until the end of the day. It doesn’t feature a quick-charging function, though.

The Galaxy J7 Pro comes in two storage variants: 32GB and 64GB.

Camera

Samsung integrates F1.7 aperture on the J7 Pro’s rear and front camera, allowing users to take pictures in low-light conditions. This feature also enables you to blur the background more, but may require a steady hand as shutter speed has to compromise with aperture’s number. This handset is armed with flash on both sides to light up your photos in dimly lit environment.

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As mentioned in our Samsung Galaxy S8 review, the bright and sharp screen may play a crucial role in projecting captured images on the J7 Pro, but these sample photos make certain of the “Capture The Night” skill:

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Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro is a steal at P16,990, giving its competitor’s mid-range lineup a run for its money.

The Good:

  • Great display
  • Inexpensive
  • Ergonomics
  • Triple slot for SIM cards and expansion card

The Bad:

  • Heavy
  • Slightly thicker than its foes
  • Speaker placement

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