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Samsung Galaxy J1 Smartphone Review

Andreas Osthoff, Tanja Hinum, 07/09/2015

Entry-level Galaxy. The small Galaxy smartphone has a 4.3-inch display and therefore does not follow the current trend towards bigger displays. But Samsung is not very generous with the rest of the components, either. Can the Galaxy J1 beat the strong competition?

For the original German review, see here.

The Samsung Galaxy J1 is available for an RRP of 109 Euros (~$122) and is therefore one of the cheapest devices within the Galaxy series. This is also noticeable when you look at the components, because customers only get standard parts: 4.3-inch TFT display with 800x480 pixels, 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, 512 MB of RAM and only 4 GB of integrated flash storage. At least, the manufacturer has integrated some features that are not found in the current top models Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. It is easy to change the battery of the Galaxy J1 and expand the storage via microSD card.

The competition in this price range is pretty big, which is why the devices are getting better and better. Suitable comparison devices for the Galaxy J1 are the Motorola Moto E 2015, the Nokia Lumia 535 as well as the Honor Holly. The LG L Fino and the Huawei Y540 are also rivals.

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Samsung Galaxy J1 (Galaxy Series)
Processor
Spreadtrum SC8830, Cortex A7
Graphics adapter
Memory
512 MB 
Display
4.3 inch 5:3, 800 x 480 pixel, capacitive touchscreen, TFT, glossy: yes
Storage
4 GB Flash, 4 GB 
, 1.1 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm Combo, Card Reader: microSD up to 128 GB, Sensors: Accelerometer, Proximity sensor, Position sensor, GPS, Glonass
Networking
802.11 b/g/n (b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4), Bluetooth 4.0, Quad-band gSM (850, 900, 1800 and 1900 MHz), Dual-band UMTS (900 and 2100 MHz), Head-SAR: 0.582 W/kg, SAR Body: 0.496 W/kg
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 8.9 x 129 x 68.2 ( = 0.35 x 5.08 x 2.69 in)
Battery
7 Wh Lithium-Ion, 1850 mAh, replaceable, Talk time 3G (according to manufacturer): 9 h
Operating System
Android 4.4 KitKat
Camera
Webcam: 2 MP, Videos with 960x540; Main camera: 5 MP (2592x1944) with autofocus and flash, videos in HD resolution (1280x720 @30fps)
Additional features
Speakers: Mono, Keyboard: virtual, Power adaptor, USB data cable, headset, manual, Galaxy Apps, radio, 24 Months Warranty, FM-Radio (in combination with headphones), WiFi-Direct
Weight
122 g ( = 4.3 oz / 0.27 pounds), Power Supply: 50 g ( = 1.76 oz / 0.11 pounds)
Price
109 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

The Galaxy J1 still uses the old design and is therefore easily recognizable as a Samsung smartphone. The corners of the polycarbonate chassis are rounded, along the top is a chrome-colored stripe and under the display is the central home button, which is flanked by the two Android touch buttons. This means the Galaxy J1 basically does not differ from many more expensive Galaxy smartphones, which is actually a compliment when you consider the low price. The back cover can be removed and gives access to the replaceable battery, the micro-SIM slot as well as the slot for microSD cards.

The comparison devices have larger displays, which is obviously noticeable when you look at the dimensions. With a weight of just 122 grams (~4.3 oz), the Galaxy J1 is comfortable to hold, and the one handed operation of the 4.3-inch screen is quite good with normal hands. The thickness of 8.8 millimeters (~0.35 in) is also very good in comparison, but the camera module is slightly protruding at the back. The compact dimensions contribute to the stability, the smartphone cannot be twisted (no creaking) and pressure does not damage the case. The good quality impression is somewhat affected by the hardware buttons at the sides, because they are slightly wobbly. However, considering the price, the overall impression in this section is very good.

In addition to our blue review unit, Samsung Galaxy J1 also comes in white and black.

142.2 mm / 5.6 inch 72.3 mm / 2.85 inch 9.4 mm / 0.3701 inch 157 g0.3461 lbs140.2 mm / 5.52 inch 72.4 mm / 2.85 inch 8.8 mm / 0.3465 inch 146 g0.3219 lbs134.2 mm / 5.28 inch 67 mm / 2.64 inch 10.3 mm / 0.4055 inch 150 g0.3307 lbs129.9 mm / 5.11 inch 66.8 mm / 2.63 inch 12.3 mm / 0.4843 inch 145 g0.3197 lbs127.5 mm / 5.02 inch 67.9 mm / 2.67 inch 11.9 mm / 0.4685 inch 145 g0.3197 lbs129 mm / 5.08 inch 68.2 mm / 2.69 inch 8.9 mm / 0.3504 inch 122 g0.269 lbs

Connectivity

There are no surprises in terms of ports in the Galaxy J1. The micro-USB port can be used to charge the smartphone and for file transfers with a PC, but it only supports the USB 2.0 standard. Neither MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) nor Miracast are available, which means you cannot transfer the display content to a TV. This also applies for DLNA, only Wi-Fi-Direct is supported by the smartphone and enables file transfers between two devices. USB-OTG for the connection of USB devices with the smartphone (e. G. USB sticks) is not integrated, either.

The capacity of the integrated flash storage is just 4 GB and Samsung advertises a free space of around 2 GB ex-works. However, we could only use 1.1 GB, so a memory expansion via microSD card (up to 128 GB) is pretty much mandatory. Apps can be transferred to the SD card, but they cannot be directly installed on it. This will be a problem for large apps like games, for instance.

Another special feature is the integrated FM radio, which can be used in combination with a headset (works as antenna). However, the provided headset  should only be used for calls because the quality is pretty bad and the music is not very enjoyable this way.

Left: Volume rocker
Left: Volume rocker
Bottom: Microphone, Micro-USB
Bottom: Microphone, Micro-USB
Top: 3.5 mm stereo jack
Top: 3.5 mm stereo jack
Right: Power button
Right: Power button

Software

The operating system of the Samsung Galaxy J1 is Google Android 4.4.4 KitKat. You also get Samsung’s own Touch Wiz user interface. The overall handling is quite simple and even inexperienced users should not have any problems with the software. In addition to some promotional apps, which can be deleted, there is the in-house special app store called "Galaxy Apps".

Samsung has added two more specialties. First of all, it is now possible to trigger selfies with a gesture (did not always work during the test). You also get the familiar ultra-energy-saving mode, which reduces the functions of the smartphone to the essentials and allows decent battery runtimes, even when the remaining capacity is low.

Home screen
Home screen
App-overview 1
App-overview 1
App-overview 2
App-overview 2

Communication & GPS

GPS Test: Inside
GPS Test: Inside
GPS Test: Outside
GPS Test: Outside

Once again, the communication modules confirm the low retail price, because the smartphone does not support LTE, AC-Wi-Fi or NFC. Instead, you have to live with dual-band UMTS as well as the Wi-Fi standards 802.11 b/g/n in 2.4 GHz networks. The Wi-Fi signal was at least inconspicuous during our review period because there were no dropouts and the signal quality was good. Bluetooth 4.0 is also available and it was easy to establish a connection with an external speaker (Denon Envaya Mini).

The situation was different in the mobile network from T-Mobile. We often had just 1 to 2 bars in the metropolitan area and the speed of the mobile data connection was not perfect (often just Edge and no 3G). At least, the connection was stable during calls and there were no dropouts.

It is possible to locate the position of the smartphone via A-GPS and GLONASS. This did not work indoors and the first sat-fix took around 40 seconds in the outdoors. The accuracy was at best about 8 meters (~26 ft). To check the performance of the GPS module in a real-life situation, we took the Samsung Galaxy J1 on a bicycle ride and compared it with the professional navigation device Garmin GPSMAP 64s. The overall track length is only 200 meters (~656) shorter on the Galaxy J1, but you can clearly see deviations from the actual track in the river section. Overall, a reasonable but not overwhelming performance.

Samsung Galaxy J1: Complete
Samsung Galaxy J1: Complete
Samsung Galaxy J1: Crossing
Samsung Galaxy J1: Crossing
Samsung Galaxy J1: River
Samsung Galaxy J1: River
Garmin GPSMAP 64s: Complete
Garmin GPSMAP 64s: Complete
Garmin GPSMAP 64s: Crossing
Garmin GPSMAP 64s: Crossing
Garmin GPSMAP 64s: River
Garmin GPSMAP 64s: River

Telephone & Voice Quality

Phone app
Phone app

The phone app with its central keypad is very easy to use. Entered numbers can be saved directly as a contact and the device shows the corresponding contact when the number is already saved or if you have called it before. There are four tabs at  the top, starting with the number pad (default view), the history, favorites and contacts. The use of this app should not be a problem for any user.

We are not really impressed by the voice quality. Obviously, this also depends on signal quality, but voices are slightly distorted on both sides. However, there were no annoying background noises (crackling). The microphone at the bottom does not properly filter wind noise. Although the integrated hands-free feature works, the quality is not very good. Voices sound tinny and the sound is muffled when the smartphone is lying on a table because the speaker is located at the rear next to the camera.

Cameras & Multimedia

Picture with the front camera
Picture with the front camera

At the front is a 2 MP camera. The quality is not sufficient for decent selfies, but only for small pictures in social networks at most.

At the back is a 5 MP sensor with autofocus and LED flash. Pictures can be taken with up to 2592x1944 pixels. The quality is sufficient for snapshots in decent lighting conditions, but you can obviously notice differences with good cameras when you have a closer look. Details in particular could be better and the colors are slightly darker. The sensor cannot convince us in bad lighting conditions and there are not many details left from our test picture (see Scene 3 below).

The speed of both cameras is not very good. After you hit the shutter button, you have to hold the smartphone very still for around one second before the picture is actually taken. The image is then processed, which takes another 2 to 3 seconds. In addition to an automatic mode, there are several other modes like Panorama, Continuous Shooting, a Night mode and a Sport mode. It is also possible to manually adjust several parameters like the exposure, the ISO value and the white balance.

Videos can be recorded in HD (1280x720 pixels) at 30 fps. The quality is comparatively good in well-lit environments and fast movements are not an issue. However, picture noise develops quickly in dim light. The results are stored as mp4 file.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3
click to load images

Accessories

Scope of delivery
Scope of delivery

In addition to the Samsung Galaxy J1, the box contains the battery, a power adaptor with a fixed USB cable, a separate USB data cable, a headset as well as a quick-start guide and warranty information. Samsung also offers some optional accessories like universal Bluetooth receivers or external batteries.

Warranty

The warranty period is 24 months after the purchase, but the battery is only covered for six months.

Input Devices & Handling

The virtual keyboard occupies at least 50% of the screen (see pictures) and you cannot see a lot from the actual content, especially in the browser. A handy feature is the row of numbers in the top row that can be selected by a protracted tap. This means that you do not have to switch to another view. The key size itself is limited in portrait mode because of the comparatively small display, and big fingers can have problems with typos. The situation is much better in landscape mode since the keys are wider. Swype inputs are possible, but you have to activate the feature in the settings first. Obviously, it is possible to download other keyboards from the Play Store.

The touchscreen offers decent gliding capabilities and it is also sensitive up into the peripheral areas, but our inputs were not always executed immediately. Those small breaks are annoying and can be quite frustrating. The navigation through the OS is pretty smooth, but there are stutters when you want to use the keyboard.

Keyboard portrait mode
Keyboard portrait mode
Keyboard landscape mode
Keyboard landscape mode

Display

Samsung has equipped the Galaxy J1 with a glossy 4.3-inch TFT display. The resolution is just 800x480 pixels, but you still get a sufficient pixel density of 217 PPI in combination with the comparatively small screen. You can see a difference compared to higher-resolution screens, but the usability is not affected. You might think that this resolution is standard for such an inexpensive device, but there are actually already devices with the HD resolution in this price range (Honor Holly). An ambient light sensor, which adjusts the brightness automatically, is not available.

The screen manages an average brightness of 364 cd/m². You get a very even picture impression in combination with the very good brightness distribution of 95%. The results of the Galaxy J1 are just average within our comparison group, there are some devices like the Honor Holly or the Huawei Y540 that are up to 30% brighter. You can at least increase the luminance up to 435 cd/m² for a limited time (15 minutes, control box next to the brightness setting), which can help in bright environments.

355
cd/m²
367
cd/m²
364
cd/m²
365
cd/m²
370
cd/m²
360
cd/m²
364
cd/m²
374
cd/m²
361
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 374 cd/m² Average: 364.4 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 95 %
Center on Battery: 370 cd/m²
Contrast: 587:1 (Black: 0.63 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 5.99 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6
ΔE Greyscale 7.28 | 0.64-98 Ø6.2
Gamma: 2.59
Samsung Galaxy J1
Mali-400 MP2, SC8830, 4 GB Flash
Motorola Moto E 2. Gen 2015
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 8 GB eMMC Flash
Microsoft Lumia 535
Adreno 302, 200 MSM8212, 8 GB eMMC Flash
Honor Holly
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
LG L Fino
Adreno 302, 200 MSM8212, 4 GB Flash
Huawei Y540
Mali-400 MP, MT6572, 4 GB Flash
Screen
23%
18%
-4%
3%
-16%
Brightness middle
370
217
-41%
431
16%
472
28%
299
-19%
484
31%
Brightness
364
204
-44%
424
16%
455
25%
303
-17%
464
27%
Brightness Distribution
95
55
-42%
90
-5%
87
-8%
93
-2%
83
-13%
Black Level *
0.63
0.15
76%
0.64
-2%
0.77
-22%
0.5
21%
0.76
-21%
Contrast
587
1447
147%
673
15%
613
4%
598
2%
637
9%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
5.99
4.12
31%
3.6
40%
8.23
-37%
5.41
10%
11.06
-85%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
7.28
4.87
33%
3.71
49%
8.84
-21%
5.44
25%
11.88
-63%
Gamma
2.59 85%
2.38 92%
2.4 92%
2.12 104%
2.23 99%
2.33 94%
CCT
7949 82%
6019 108%
6878 95%
6819 95%
7400 88%
12908 50%

* ... smaller is better

The black value is quite high at 0.63 cd/m², which results in a contrast ratio of 587:1. With the exception of the Motorola Moto E 2015, all comparison devices are very close in this discipline. Really deep blacks cannot be produced by the panel and the colors could be slightly richer.

Further measurements with the software CalMAN show decent results for such an inexpensive device. The grayscale has quite a high average DeltaE 2000 deviation of 7.28 compared to the sRGB reference color space, but once again, this is an average result. The measurements also show that the colors shift towards blue, but you cannot see a strong blue cast in practice.

CalMAN - ColorChecker
CalMAN - ColorChecker
CalMAN - Grayscale
CalMAN - Grayscale
CalMAN - Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN - Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN - Colorspace
CalMAN - Colorspace

Basically, the outdoor performance of the Galaxy J1 is pretty good. However, the glossy panel is an issue and not the brightness. You cannot see anything under direct sunlight, but reflections can also affect the visibility in the shade, and the increased brightness cannot really help. However, if you can avoid reflections, it is not a problem to use the Galaxy J1 in the outdoors.

In the shade
In the shade
In the shade with reflections (Outdoor mode active)
In the shade with reflections (Outdoor mode active)
Outdoor mode
Outdoor mode

The viewing angle stability of the TFT display is very good and it is easy for several people to view the display contents. There are slight brightness losses when you look from an angle above or below, but once again, the reflection is actually the bigger issue.

Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Performance

Inside the Galaxy J1 is a Spreadtrum SC8830 SoC (Cortex A7) with two cores and a clock of 1.2 GHz, which is supported by 512 MB of memory, 4 GB of flash storage and a Mali-400 MP2 GPU. You should not expect new records, but the benchmark results are not even very good within this comparison group because the Galaxy J1 in the last place in almost every test. The Mali GPU also cannot meet the expectations, the Honor Holly with the same GPU, for example, is more than 40% faster in 3DMark. The Galaxy J1 also falls behind other devices with the Mali-400 MP2 by at least 30%.

We could not run all benchmarks because they crashed due to the small amount of memory. GFXBench, Linpack, AnTuTu as well as the 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme were all affected.

The situation is not much better in the browser tests. Although the Galaxy J1 is not always at the bottom of the list, the rivals show that you can expect more performance even in this price range. We could not perform all the tests here, either. Google Octane had issues with the Samsung browser as well as Google Chrome.

Subjectively, we have to confirm the bad benchmark results. There are frequent delays and it takes quite a while before apps are launched.

Geekbench 3
32 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J1
567 Points ∼1%
Motorola Moto E 2. Gen 2015
1464 Points ∼2% +158%
Honor Holly
1174 Points ∼1% +107%
LG L Fino
1113 Points ∼1% +96%
Huawei Y540
581 Points ∼1% +2%
32 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J1
312 Points ∼6%
Motorola Moto E 2. Gen 2015
481 Points ∼10% +54%
Honor Holly
352 Points ∼7% +13%
LG L Fino
329 Points ∼7% +5%
Huawei Y540
325 Points ∼7% +4%
3DMark
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Physics (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J1
3859 Points ∼2%
Motorola Moto E 2. Gen 2015
8718 Points ∼6% +126%
Honor Holly
7766 Points ∼5% +101%
LG L Fino
7183 Points ∼5% +86%
Huawei Y540
4134 Points ∼3% +7%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Graphics (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J1
1957 Points ∼0%
Motorola Moto E 2. Gen 2015
4847 Points ∼1% +148%
Honor Holly
2680 Points ∼0% +37%
LG L Fino
4234 Points ∼1% +116%
Huawei Y540
2045 Points ∼0% +4%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J1
2213 Points ∼0%
Motorola Moto E 2. Gen 2015
5378 Points ∼0% +143%
Honor Holly
3136 Points ∼0% +42%
LG L Fino
4659 Points ∼0% +111%
Huawei Y540
2304 Points ∼0% +4%
Smartbench 2012
Gaming Index (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J1
2263 points ∼49%
Motorola Moto E 2. Gen 2015
4011 points ∼87% +77%
Honor Holly
2230 points ∼48% -1%
Huawei Y540
2106 points ∼46% -7%
Productivity Index (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J1
2126 points ∼11%
Motorola Moto E 2. Gen 2015
4147 points ∼22% +95%
Honor Holly
4435 points ∼24% +109%
Huawei Y540
2401 points ∼13% +13%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J1
541 Points ∼27%
Motorola Moto E 2. Gen 2015
580 Points ∼29% +7%
Microsoft Lumia 535
367 Points ∼18% -32%
Honor Holly
507 Points ∼25% -6%
LG L Fino
562 Points ∼28% +4%
Huawei Y540
9 Points ∼0% -98%
Graphics (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J1
65 Points ∼0%
Motorola Moto E 2. Gen 2015
312 Points ∼1% +380%
Microsoft Lumia 535
189 Points ∼1% +191%
Honor Holly
137 Points ∼0% +111%
LG L Fino
318 Points ∼1% +389%
Huawei Y540
69 Points ∼0% +6%
System (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J1
551 Points ∼3%
Motorola Moto E 2. Gen 2015
1053 Points ∼6% +91%
Microsoft Lumia 535
572 Points ∼3% +4%
Honor Holly
983 Points ∼6% +78%
LG L Fino
711 Points ∼4% +29%
Huawei Y540
564 Points ∼3% +2%
Overall (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J1
245 Points ∼3%
Motorola Moto E 2. Gen 2015
515 Points ∼6% +110%
Microsoft Lumia 535
391 Points ∼5% +60%
Honor Holly
355 Points ∼4% +45%
LG L Fino
380 Points ∼4% +55%
Huawei Y540
86 Points ∼1% -65%
PCMark for Android - Work performance score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J1
1998 Points ∼10%
Huawei Y540
1077 Points ∼5% -46%
Sunspider - 1.0 Total Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J1
1772.1 ms * ∼19%
Motorola Moto E 2. Gen 2015
1305.4 ms * ∼14% +26%
Microsoft Lumia 535
1254.1 ms * ∼14% +29%
Honor Holly
1361.1 ms * ∼15% +23%
LG L Fino
1525.9 ms * ∼17% +14%
Huawei Y540
1703.8 ms * ∼19% +4%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J1
19283.7 ms * ∼32%
Motorola Moto E 2. Gen 2015
14002.3 ms * ∼24% +27%
Microsoft Lumia 535
27174.9 ms * ∼46% -41%
Honor Holly
15354.5 ms * ∼26% +20%
LG L Fino
15615.8 ms * ∼26% +19%
Huawei Y540
18280 ms * ∼31% +5%
Google V8 Ver. 7 - Google V8 Ver. 7 Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J1
1769 Points ∼9%
Motorola Moto E 2. Gen 2015
2580 Points ∼13% +46%
Microsoft Lumia 535
1141 Points ∼6% -36%
Honor Holly
1820 Points ∼9% +3%
Huawei Y540
1780 Points ∼9% +1%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J1
28 Points ∼3%
Huawei Y540
27 Points ∼3% -4%

Legend

 
Samsung Galaxy J1 Spreadtrum SC8830, ARM Mali-400 MP2, 4 GB Flash
 
Motorola Moto E 2. Gen 2015 Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 MSM8916, Qualcomm Adreno 306, 8 GB eMMC Flash
 
Microsoft Lumia 535 Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 MSM8212, Qualcomm Adreno 302, 8 GB eMMC Flash
 
Honor Holly Mediatek MT6582, ARM Mali-400 MP2, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
LG L Fino Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 MSM8212, Qualcomm Adreno 302, 4 GB Flash
 
Huawei Y540 MediaTek MT6572, ARM Mali-400 MP, 4 GB Flash

* ... smaller is better

The memory performance continues the impression. The Galaxy J1 can beat some rivals in a few tests, but the overall performance is average at best.

AndroBench 3-5
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J1
Mali-400 MP2, SC8830, 4 GB Flash
1.5 MB/s ∼1%
Motorola Moto E 2. Gen 2015
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 8 GB eMMC Flash
1.67 MB/s ∼1% +11%
Honor Holly
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
4.76 MB/s ∼2% +217%
LG L Fino
Adreno 302, 200 MSM8212, 4 GB Flash
0.6 MB/s ∼0% -60%
Huawei Y540
Mali-400 MP, MT6572, 4 GB Flash
0.43 MB/s ∼0% -71%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J1
Mali-400 MP2, SC8830, 4 GB Flash
13.76 MB/s ∼7%
Motorola Moto E 2. Gen 2015
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 8 GB eMMC Flash
12.08 MB/s ∼6% -12%
Honor Holly
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
17.73 MB/s ∼9% +29%
LG L Fino
Adreno 302, 200 MSM8212, 4 GB Flash
9.5 MB/s ∼5% -31%
Huawei Y540
Mali-400 MP, MT6572, 4 GB Flash
12.66 MB/s ∼6% -8%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J1
Mali-400 MP2, SC8830, 4 GB Flash
11.3 MB/s ∼2%
Motorola Moto E 2. Gen 2015
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 8 GB eMMC Flash
20.03 MB/s ∼3% +77%
Honor Holly
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
48.29 MB/s ∼8% +327%
LG L Fino
Adreno 302, 200 MSM8212, 4 GB Flash
10.79 MB/s ∼2% -5%
Huawei Y540
Mali-400 MP, MT6572, 4 GB Flash
11.1 MB/s ∼2% -2%
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J1
Mali-400 MP2, SC8830, 4 GB Flash
59.72 MB/s ∼4%
Motorola Moto E 2. Gen 2015
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 8 GB eMMC Flash
100 MB/s ∼7% +67%
Honor Holly
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
143.79 MB/s ∼10% +141%
LG L Fino
Adreno 302, 200 MSM8212, 4 GB Flash
55.7 MB/s ∼4% -7%
Huawei Y540
Mali-400 MP, MT6572, 4 GB Flash
79.27 MB/s ∼5% +33%
BaseMark OS II - Memory (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J1
Mali-400 MP2, SC8830, 4 GB Flash
185 Points ∼2%
Motorola Moto E 2. Gen 2015
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 8 GB eMMC Flash
369 Points ∼5% +99%
Microsoft Lumia 535
Adreno 302, 200 MSM8212, 8 GB eMMC Flash
593 Points ∼8% +221%
Honor Holly
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
232 Points ∼3% +25%
LG L Fino
Adreno 302, 200 MSM8212, 4 GB Flash
164 Points ∼2% -11%
Huawei Y540
Mali-400 MP, MT6572, 4 GB Flash
154 Points ∼2% -17%

Games

The low benchmark results already suggested it: The Galaxy J1 is not the best gaming smartphone. Even pretty simple games like “Fieldrunners 2” start to stutter with a few units on the screen, and we could notice some stutters in “Angry Birds Star Wars” as well. The touchscreen on the other hand was not a problem and the accelerometer worked well, too.

The limited storage capacity is a problem for games. The apps cannot be directly installed on the microSD card, so it is not possible to install big games like “Asphalt 8” (around 1.5 GB) in the first place.

Angy Birds Star Wars
Angy Birds Star Wars
Fieldrunners 2
Fieldrunners 2

Emissions

Temperature

The temperature development is not a problem. The maximum values under load are limited to the top area of the smartphone next to the camera. However, even the maximum value is anything but critical at 38 °C (~100 °F). Otherwise, the device just gets lukewarm and you cannot feel any warming while idling.

Max. Load
 36.7 °C
98 F
34.4 °C
94 F
31.9 °C
89 F
 
 37.8 °C
100 F
33.7 °C
93 F
32.3 °C
90 F
 
 38 °C
100 F
33.7 °C
93 F
31.6 °C
89 F
 
Maximum: 38 °C = 100 F
Average: 34.5 °C = 94 F
32.9 °C
91 F
35.9 °C
97 F
35.9 °C
97 F
32.4 °C
90 F
36.4 °C
98 F
36.8 °C
98 F
31.8 °C
89 F
33.2 °C
92 F
35 °C
95 F
Maximum: 36.8 °C = 98 F
Average: 34.5 °C = 94 F
Power Supply (max.)  33.2 °C = 92 F | Room Temperature 23.6 °C = 74 F | Voltcraft IR-260
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 34.5 °C / 94 F, compared to the average of 33.1 °C / 92 F for the devices in the class Smartphone.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 38 °C / 100 F, compared to the average of 35.5 °C / 96 F, ranging from 22.4 to 51.7 °C for the class Smartphone.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 36.8 °C / 98 F, compared to the average of 34.1 °C / 93 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 30 °C / 86 F, compared to the device average of 33.1 °C / 92 F.

Speakers

The position of the small mono speaker is not perfect, because it can be quickly covered next to the camera on the back. At least, the small module is pretty loud, but the sound quality cannot impress us at all. Overall, the sound is focused on high tones and as expected, bass is completely missing.

We liked the playback via 3.5 mm stereo jack much better, but you should avoid the supplied headset. The maximum volume via a stereo jack is more than sufficient.

It was easy to connect the Galaxy J1 with an external Bluetooth speaker (Denon Envaya Mini). The connection was stable and there were no dropouts. Another important aspect is the possible delays, but that was not a problem for the J1. The playback of YouTube videos was in sync and they were much more entertaining compared to the integrated speaker.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

You can notice the comparatively weak components when you look at the consumption values, because all comparison devices need more power. Only the Motorola Moto E 2015 is even more frugal in the idle measurements. The maximum consumption in particular is 25% lower compared to the biggest rival (3.4 vs. 4.3 watts Moto E). These values should allow good battery runtimes.

Samsung Galaxy J1
Mali-400 MP2, SC8830, 4 GB Flash
Motorola Moto E 2. Gen 2015
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 8 GB eMMC Flash
Microsoft Lumia 535
Adreno 302, 200 MSM8212, 8 GB eMMC Flash
Honor Holly
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Power Consumption
2%
-39%
-18%
Idle Minimum *
0.8
0.7
12%
1.3
-63%
0.8
-0%
Idle Average *
1.5
1.1
27%
1.6
-7%
1.5
-0%
Idle Maximum *
1.7
1.4
18%
2.4
-41%
1.7
-0%
Load Average *
2.2
2.7
-23%
3.3
-50%
2.9
-32%
Load Maximum *
3.4
4.3
-26%
4.6
-35%
5.3
-56%

* ... smaller is better

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0 / 0.7 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.8 / 1.5 / 1.7 Watt
Load midlight 2.2 / 3.4 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Voltcraft VC 870

Battery Runtime

Samsung has equipped the Galaxy J1 with a replaceable 7.13 Wh battery (lithium-Ion), which results in very good runtimes in combination with the low consumption values.

The more practical Wi-Fi test (browser script, adjusted brightness at around 150 cd/m²) determines almost 11 hours for the Galaxy J1. None of the rivals can keep up with this result. The Galaxy J1 also has an advantage in all the other scenarios.

A full charge of the battery takes about three hours when the device is turned on.

Samsung Galaxy J1
Mali-400 MP2, SC8830, 4 GB Flash
Motorola Moto E 2. Gen 2015
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 8 GB eMMC Flash
Microsoft Lumia 535
Adreno 302, 200 MSM8212, 8 GB eMMC Flash
Honor Holly
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
LG L Fino
Adreno 302, 200 MSM8212, 4 GB Flash
Huawei Y540
Mali-400 MP, MT6572, 4 GB Flash
Battery Runtime
-24%
-49%
-34%
-29%
-43%
H.264
512
360
-30%
322
-37%
272
-47%
WiFi v1.3
648
506
-22%
397
-39%
Load
321
260
-19%
127
-60%
211
-34%
228
-29%
184
-43%
WiFi
376
363
407
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
21h 02min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
10h 48min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
8h 32min
Load (maximum brightness)
5h 21min

Pros

+ sturdy chassis
+ compact dimensions
+ replaceable battery
+ SD slot
+ long battery runtimes
+ bright display

Cons

- only 4 GB storage
- only 512 MB RAM
- slow processor
- long loading times
- no ambient light sensor

Verdict

In Review: Samsung Galaxy J1. Test model courtesy of Notebooksbilliger.
In Review: Samsung Galaxy J1. Test model courtesy of Notebooksbilliger.

The Samsung Galaxy J1 is a very decent device for 109 Euros (~$122), which leaves a good impression in many important areas. The chassis is very sturdy and you can hardly differentiate it from more expensive Galaxy models. The rear cover can also be detached, which gives you access to the replaceable battery as well as the microSD slot. Other highlights are low emissions and excellent battery runtimes. None of the comparison devices can keep up with the stamina of the Galaxy J1.

Otherwise, the performances are often average. Overall, the handling could be smoother, the signal quality was not very good in the review and there is room for improvements in terms of the voice quality. The main camera takes decent snapshots under good lighting conditions and there is not much criticism for the display, either.

The Samsung Galaxy J1 is a solid entry-level device, but the competition has an advantage in terms of the performance.

However, many rivals have an advantage in terms of the raw performance figures and the display resolution, which shows that you can expect more even in this price range. Still, the Galaxy J1 is a solid entry-level device and certainly not a bad choice.

Samsung Galaxy J1 - 07/02/2015 v4(old)
Andreas Osthoff

Chassis
77%
Keyboard
61 / 75 → 81%
Pointing Device
79%
Connectivity
44 / 60 → 73%
Weight
95%
Battery
93%
Display
80%
Games Performance
52 / 63 → 83%
Application Performance
21 / 70 → 30%
Temperature
89%
Noise
100%
Audio
44 / 91 → 48%
Camera
51%
Average
68%
79%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Samsung Galaxy J1 Smartphone Review
Andreas Osthoff, 2015-07- 9 (Update: 2018-05-15)
Andreas Osthoff
Andreas Osthoff - Senior Editor Business
I grew up with computers and modern consumer electronics. I am interested in the technology since I had my first computer, a Commodore C64, and started building my own PCs after that. My focus here at Notebookcheck is the business segment including mobile workstations, but I also like to test new mobile devices. It is always a great experience to review and compare new products. My free time is filled with a lot of sports, in the summer mainly on my bike.