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Face Off: Samsung's Galaxy J Series (2017)

Samsung Galaxy J3, J5, and J7
Samsung Galaxy J3, J5, and J7
Time for a comparison. With the Galaxy J3, J5, and J7 models, Samsung has introduced the third generation of their in-house J-series this year. Based on the detailed tests of each of the three entry level models from the South Korean manufacturer, we will now compare them in terms of their strengths and weaknesses.
Marcus Herbrich, 👁 Daniel Schmidt, Sven Kloevekorn (translated by Mark Riege), 🇩🇪

For the original German article, see here.

This year also, Samsung is sticking with its Galaxy-J series, and with the Galaxy J3 (2017), the Galaxy J5 (2017), and the Galaxy J7 (2017) introduces its new entry-level smartphones. Even though all three models are considered part of the entry-level segment, there are important differences between the models of the J-series in terms of their specifications. We would like to take a closer look at the three smartphones and find out which device is best for which kind of user.

Specifications Galaxy J3 (2017) Galaxy J5 (2017) Galaxy J7 (2017)
Processor Samsung Exynos 7570 Quad Samsung Exynos 7870 Octa Samsung Exynos 7870 Octa
Graphics card ARM Mali-T720 MP2 ARM Mali-T830 MP1 ARM Mali-T830 MP1
Storage 2 GB RAM / 16 GB ROM 2 GB RAM / 16 GB ROM 3 GB RAM / 16 GB ROM
Display 5 inch PLS 5.2 inch Super-AMOLED 5.5 inch Super-AMOLED
Resolution 1280 x 720 1280 x 720 1920 x 1080
Sensors acceleration and proximity sensors acceleration, geomagnetic, hall, proximity, G, and brightness sensors acceleration, geomagnetic, hall, proximity, G, and brightness sensors
Battery 2400 mAh 3000 mAh 3600 mAh

Visually, the models of this year's update of Samsung's Galaxy-J series are not very different. As in the previous years, the manufacturer’s recommended price, the display diagonal and hence the case dimensions of the three models have increased. With a street price of 300 Euros ($357; starting at ~$220 in the US), the Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) is not only the largest at 5.5 inches, but also the most expensive of the three models, followed by the Galaxy J5 (2017) at 5.2 inches (230 Euros, ~$274) and the Galaxy J3 (2017) with a display diagonal of 5 inches and a current price of about 170 Euros (~$202).

Size Comparison

152.5 mm / 6 inch 74.8 mm / 2.94 inch 8 mm / 0.315 inch 181 g0.399 lbs146.2 mm / 5.76 inch 71.3 mm / 2.81 inch 8 mm / 0.315 inch 158 g0.3483 lbs143.2 mm / 5.64 inch 70.3 mm / 2.77 inch 8.2 mm / 0.3228 inch 148 g0.3263 lbs


Size and Features

Galaxy J5 ...
Galaxy J5 ...
... and J7
... and J7
Galaxy J3
Galaxy J3
 

While the Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017) has a plastic case, the two other Galaxy J5 and J7 models have a metal case. All models are offered in black, gold, and bright metallic blue colors.

As our tests show, the quality of the cases is similarly good in all our test units. Despite its affordable price, the Galaxy J3 (2017) is also well-built and the gaps are even.

The differences in terms of the technical equipment in the Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017)J5 (2017), and J7 (2017) become quite clear in the communication modules. The WLAN module of the Galaxy-J smartphones supports the IEEE-802.11 standards according to a/b/g/n/ac and thus communicates in the 2.4 and 5 GHz band. An exception is the Galaxy J3 (2017), which only uses the IEEE-802.11 b/g/n standards - the absolute minimum. The measurements with our Linksys EA8500 reference router reflect the differences. While the transfer rates in the Galaxy J5 (2017) and Galaxy J7 (2017) are very good and similarly high, they are considerably lower in the Galaxy J3 (2017). There is a difference of about 80% between the entry-level device and the two mid-range models. All the models include an NFC chip.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) Duos
Mali-T830 MP1, 7870 Octa, 16 GB eMMC Flash
278 MBit/s ∼100%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
Mali-T830 MP1, 7870 Octa, 16 GB eMMC Flash
251 MBit/s ∼90%
Samsung Galaxy J3 2017
Mali-T720 MP2, Exynos 7570, 16 GB eMMC Flash
46.9 MBit/s ∼17%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) Duos
Mali-T830 MP1, 7870 Octa, 16 GB eMMC Flash
281 MBit/s ∼100%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
Mali-T830 MP1, 7870 Octa, 16 GB eMMC Flash
280 MBit/s ∼100%
Samsung Galaxy J3 2017
Mali-T720 MP2, Exynos 7570, 16 GB eMMC Flash
53.5 MBit/s ∼19%

Performance and Storage

The storage equipment of the Samsung Galaxy-J-2017 models is very similar. All three models have eMMC storage with a capacity of 16 GB. This is accompanied by 2 GB or in the case of Galaxy J7 (2017) top model by 3 GB of LPDDR3 working memory and the ability to expand the storage. With the SDXC standard, all the usual storage media are supported. Our measurements in the AndroBench results paint a picture of relatively evenly distributed access rates. The speeds range on a similar level so that the differences between the models should hardly be noticeable. With the exception of the value for sequential reads in the Galaxy J5 (2017), the speeds of the microSD card slot are also very similar. 

In terms of the performance level, there is a greater gap between the two Galaxy J5 (2017) and Galaxy J7 (2017) mid-range models and the Galaxy J3 (2017) entry-level model. The latter is equipped with an Exynos-7570 SoC, which offers only 4 instead of 8 cores and much less performance compared to the Exynos 7870 of the two higher priced models. The same goes for the integrated graphics unit. The graphics computations of the ARM Mali-T720 MP2 in the Galaxy J3 (2017) are considerably slower compared to the ARM Mali-T830 MP1 in the Galaxy J5 (2017) and Galaxy J7 (2017). In our benchmark test, the performance difference between the two Samsung SoCs was about 15 to 50%. A similar picture shows in the results of the browser benchmarks.

Things look completely different in the two more expensive J models. Even though with 3 GB of RAM, the Galaxy J7 (2017) has slightly more working memory than the Galaxy J5 (2017) since the 1080 panel the Exynos 7870 has to move around almost four times as many pixels than the J5 (2017) with its HD resolution. Therefore the more affordable of the two Galaxy-J models does even slightly better in the synthetic benchmarks.

In everyday life usage, all three J models show minor weaknesses. You can notice small delays when changing apps, and often the computing power is overwhelmed by the multi-Windows mode. The "Upday for Samsung" in particular, an app for personalized news and notices, slows down the Galaxy models noticeably.

Samsung Galaxy J3 2017
Mali-T720 MP2, Exynos 7570, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) Duos
Mali-T830 MP1, 7870 Octa, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
Mali-T830 MP1, 7870 Octa, 16 GB eMMC Flash
AnTuTu v6
Total Score
35669
45613
47339
Geekbench 4.1 - 4.4
64 Bit Multi-Core Score
1858
3704
3777
64 Bit Single-Core Score
634
732
736
PCMark for Android
Work 2.0 performance score
3436
3889
3722
GFXBench 3.1
off screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Offscreen
1.7
3.2
3.3
on screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Onscreen
3.8
7.4
3.2
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL
2.6
5.1
5.1
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL
5.4
10
5.1
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16
6.8
12
12
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16
11
20
12
Octane V2
Total Score
2921
4968
4560
JetStream 1.1
Total Score
17.17
26.37
25.972
AndroBench 3-5
Sequential Write 256KB SDCard
59.6
44.21
63.86
Sequential Read 256KB SDCard
70.3
72.22
76.12
Random Write 4KB
9.5
9.9
10.54
Random Read 4KB
24
24.07
25.86
Sequential Write 256KB
51
51.96
52.98
Sequential Read 256KB
177.7
204.45
198.47
Total Average (Program / Settings)
Asphalt 8: Airborne
high
Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) Duos
22 fps ∼100%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
18 fps ∼82%
Samsung Galaxy J3 2017
14 fps ∼64%
very low
Samsung Galaxy J3 2017
30 fps ∼100%
Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) Duos
30 fps ∼100%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
30 fps ∼100%

Display

Subpixel, AMOLED panel
Subpixel, AMOLED panel
Subpixel, PLS panel
Subpixel, PLS panel

In terms of the display, the Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) can finally justify its higher price compared to the Galaxy J5 (2017). In its top model, Samsung uses a 5.5-inch (13.97 cm) display with a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. The slightly more affordable J5 model has to make do with 1280x720 pixels in a diagonal of 5.2 inches. Both devices use Samsung's well-known Super AMOLED technology, in which each pixel is illuminated individually. The result is an almost perfect black value and a contrast ratio that trends towards the infinite in theory. There is neither clouding, nor light halos in this panel technology.

As with the performance spectrum, the Galaxy J3 (2017) with its PLS display is clearly beaten by the two sibling models. In addition to poor contrast and higher color deviations, the entry-level model of the Galaxy J series has no sensor for display brightness. Instead, the brightness is regulated via Pulse Width Modulation (PWM).

Samsung Galaxy J3 2017
PLS, 1280x720, 5.00
Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) Duos
Super AMOLED, 1280x720, 5.20
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
Super AMOLED, 1920x1080, 5.50
Screen
Brightness middle
502
448
454
Brightness
494
451
463
Brightness Distribution
89
91
86
Black Level *
0.35
Contrast
1434
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4.6
2.7
2
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
8
9.8
5.3
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
2.5
1.6
1.7
Gamma
2.29 96%
2.06 107%
2.1 105%
CCT
6351 102%
6557 99%
6394 102%

* ... smaller is better

Power Consumption, Temperatures, and Battery Life

Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017)
Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017)
Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017)
Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017)
Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)
Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)

The power consumption of the Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) is extremely low, and thanks to the largest battery (3600 mAh), it is able to move ahead of the other two models in our battery test. The Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) also does well, but is still beaten by the top model due to the slightly higher power consumption and the lower specified battery charge of 3000 mAh. The power consumption is not the strong suit of the Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017), since it uses much more power than the Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017). So it is not surprising that the 2400 mAh battery of the entry-level device achieved the shortest runtimes. 

The surface temperatures of the entire Samsung Galaxy-J series are flawless, and during constant load the smartphones do not even become warm to the touch. We test the performance stability of the SoC with the GFXBench battery test. In the easier T-Rex test (OpenGL ES 2.0) as well as the more demanding Manhattan test (OpenGL ES 3.1), the Galaxy-J models show consistent performances. We did not notice any throttling in any of the test units.

Samsung Galaxy J3 2017
2400 mAh
Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) Duos
3000 mAh
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
3600 mAh
Heat
Maximum Upper Side *
32.5
31.9
32.6
Maximum Bottom *
31.4
30.4
31.5
Idle Upper Side *
32.3
30.2
31.1
Idle Bottom *
30.7
28.5
30.1
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle
1425
1564
1950
H.264
819
917
1096
WiFi v1.3
722
738
904
Load
305
449
525
Power Consumption
Idle Minimum *
0.82
0.52
0.39
Idle Average *
1.94
1.17
1.06
Idle Maximum *
2.06
1.24
1.08
Load Average *
3.31
1.66
1.82
Load Maximum *
3.89
2.94
3.21
Total Average (Program / Settings)

* ... smaller is better

Camera

The camera equipment of the two higher-priced Galaxy-J mid-range devices are identical. In the front of the Galaxy J5 (2017) and Galaxy J7 (2017) are a 13-MP camera and a photo LED. With an aperture of f/1.9, the optics point at low-light ambitions. Unfortunately, there is only a fixed focus. In good light, the pictures are quite decent as long as the subject does not move too fast. In the dark, you can use an LED to brighten things. The main camera on the back also has a 13-MP resolution and even has an aperture of f/1.7. Here Samsung uses a Sony-IMX258 sensor with 1.12 µm-sized pixels. In daylight, the pictures are quite even and deliver good results. Anyone opting for the Galaxy J3 (2017) has to live with slightly poor specifications. The front camera has only a 5-MP resolution, and the apertures of f/2.2 and f/1.9 in the front and back camera are much less light sensitive. 

Samsung Galaxy J3
Samsung Galaxy J5
Samsung Galaxy J7

Speakers

In the 2017 Galaxy-J update, Samsung moved the mono speaker from the bottom to the side of the case, so that it is almost impossible to accidentally cover it up. There is almost no difference in the sound quality of the three models. However, at 87 dB(A), the mono speaker of the Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) is the most powerful and much louder than the Galaxy J3 (2017), whose maximum volume we measured at 80 dB(A).

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2028.231.128.22530.330.130.33129.329.929.34033.634.433.6502834.6286327.229.327.28029.232.229.210031.934.131.912539.836.939.816036.423.836.420048.421.548.425051.720.951.731557.121.357.140059.819.759.850065.820.165.863067.618.567.680067.719.367.7100069.517.869.5125067.817.467.8160067.516.467.5200067.616.467.6250067.916.667.931507116.171400074.716.174.750007116.1716300611661800058.716.158.71000058.916.158.91250051.31651.31600039.81639.8SPL80.930.180.9N47.91.447.9median 61median 17.4median 61Delta8.73.78.731.63225.438.425.33432.93033.629.631.628.528.429.32731.820.834.92243.421.349.120.855.521.260.719.463.719.567.417.770.217.971.417.868.917.37017.472.616.775.117.277.418.278.117.981.417.676.717.775.417.874.517.970.518.161.818.258.43086.81.370median 17.9median 701.39.531.630.825.430.525.331.232.930.733.631.731.628.828.422.6272620.836.82240.221.349.220.853.721.257.119.462.619.567.417.767.817.969.517.870.717.372.117.474.616.775.217.275.518.277.917.981.417.67917.775.617.875.417.971.318.162.618.255.83087.11.370.5median 17.9median 69.51.310.6hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseSamsung Galaxy J3 2017Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) DuosSamsung Galaxy J7 2017

Verdict: Strengths and Weaknesses

Galaxy-J models compared
Galaxy-J models compared

Each of the Galaxy-J series devices of 2017 receives good results in our tests with 82 or 83%. We would like to briefly compare the strength and weaknesses of each of the smartphones to facilitate the choice of the potential buyers of the Galaxy-J series. 

Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017)

Samsung manages to continue the achievements of its successful Galaxy J3 (2017) model. It is the most affordable model of the Galaxy-J series and particularly targets the most price-conscious buyer. Furthermore, with its 5-inch display, it has the most compact measurements of the Galaxy-J comparison models. So for anyone who prefers a rather compact smartphone and single-handed operation, the Galaxy J3 (2017) is just right.

However, compared to the Galaxy J5 (2017) and Galaxy J7 (2017) sibling models, you have to lower your sights in almost all aspects. Due to the lower-performance SoC and the lowest battery life, those interested in the Galaxy-J series who want to play more demanding Android-Games should rather opt for the Galaxy J5 (2017). 

The Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017) is a mature, well-rounded smartphone of the entry-level. The device offers a lot for little money.

A unique characteristic among the Galaxy-J series is the PLS panel. On the other hand, the Galaxy J3 (2017) does not have a brightness sensor and there is also no brightness control via Pulse Width Modulation (PWM), which can cause tiredness, eye-burn, and headaches in some sensitive users and also lead to visible flickering. This is particularly true since the 240 Hz and 260 Hz frequencies of the AMOLED panels in the Galaxy J5 (2017) and Galaxy J7 (2017) are relatively low. 

In light of the affordable price of the smartphone, the camera quality of the Galaxy J3 (2017) is compelling in our test. However, anyone who takes a lot of low-light pictures with their smartphone should opt for the Galaxy J5 (2017) or Galaxy J7 (2017). The two mid-range models have much more light-sensitive apertures, which creates less noise and more detail in pictures taken in the dark. 

 

Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) 

With the Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017), the Korean manufacturer does not really bet on any superlatives, but rather concentrates on its core competencies. Anyone looking for a more rounded overall package should rather pay the additional price over the Galaxy J3 (2017).

Despite its slightly lower resolution, the 5.2-inch display of the Galaxy J5 (2017) is convincing, particularly in terms of color reproduction where there is no other similar offering in this price range. Unlike the entry-level model, Samsung has managed to equip the mid-range model with a surrounding-light sensor. Anyone who does not want to go without the luxury of an automatic brightness sensor should choose the Galaxy J5 (2017). Furthermore, thanks to its metal case, it appears to have a better build than its 5-inch sibling model. 

Even though the Samsung Galaxy J5 is not the smartphone with the largest storage, best camera, or the fastest SoC in its price category it offers a good and compelling overall concept.

Thanks to the much more powerful SoC and the longer battery life, the Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) is also much better suited for demanding game applications. The same goes for using it in brighter surroundings. Those who want to be able to read their smartphone even in direct sun should choose the more contrast-rich Super-AMOLED display of the Galaxy J5 (2017).

 

Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) 

Although the Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) is quite a successful smartphone, it is unable to dominate the competition as the Galaxy J5 (2017) does. Still, it is nominally the best smartphone of the Galaxy-J series. The Galaxy J7 (2017) can shine with its great Super-AMOLED display, which has a Full HD resolution. At more than 400 PPI, the resolution is noticeably higher than in the Galaxy J5 (2017). This is definitely an advantage, especially with small prints. Furthermore, at 5.5 inches, the display is slightly larger. So for those who read, surf or watch YouTube videos a lot on their smartphone, the top model of the Galaxy-J series is the best solution, not the least because the Galaxy J7 (2017) has the best battery life and most powerful speakers. 

Not everything in the Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) is progress, but it is still a great smartphone.

Unfortunately, Samsung has failed to provide a stronger SoC to master the higher pixel density compared to the Galaxy J5 (2017). This  is particularly obvious in the weak gaming performance. So game lovers should not choose the Galaxy J7 (2017).

Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017)

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Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017)

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Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Face Off: Samsung's Galaxy J Series (2017)
Marcus Herbrich, 2017-09-16 (Update: 2020-05-19)