Notebookcheck

Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016) Smartphone Review

Florian Wimmer, Tanja Hinum (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 05/18/2016

Metalhead. Plastic before, metal now: The new edition of the Galaxy J5 aims to make a higher-quality impression. However, the inner values have remained mostly the same. Is that enough for a successful update?
Update: new firmware with security and bug fixes released.

For the original German review, see here.

Samsung has sent the update of its lower mid-range Galaxy J5 model to our test lab. The new handset carries the article number SM-J510FN. A dual-SIM version also exists, but we are testing a single-SIM model. Unlike the run-of-the-mill polycarbonate used in the predecessor, this time a metal bezel adds more stability and an elegant touch to the handset. Three colors, a strong battery and a slightly larger screen are further differences compared with the predecessor. The recommended price has also skyrocketed: 279 Euros (~$315) is not exactly a bargain. In this article, we aim to find out whether this is enough to still keep up in the highly competitive low-cost mid-range.

The competition is diverse in any case: For example, how big are the differences to the more expensive Galaxy A5 or the former Galaxy J5? Honor's 5X price cutter is also a serious opponent, and Acer's Liquid Z630S and LG's K10 compete for customers' attention.

Articles with further information to the Galaxy J5:

Update 11/06/2017: a new firmware has been released. Details can be found in the software section.


The review of the Successor is available here: Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) SM-J530F.

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Samsung Galaxy J5 2016 (Galaxy J Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
2048 MB 
Display
5.2 inch 16:9, 1280 x 720 pixel 282 PPI, capacitive touchscreen, AMOLED, glossy: yes
Storage
16 GB eMMC Flash, 16 GB 
, 12.3 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm headset jack, Card Reader: micro-SD max. 128GB, NFC, Sensors: Bewegungssensor, Annäherungssensor, Lagesensor, USB OTG
Networking
802.11 b/g/n (b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4), Bluetooth 4.1, GSM (850/900/1800/1900), UMTS (850/900/1800/2100), LTE (1,3,5,7,8,20); max speed: 150 MBit/s (download), 50 MBit/s (upload); 0.45 W/kg (head), 1.17 W/kg (body), LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 8.1 x 145.8 x 72.3 ( = 0.32 x 5.74 x 2.85 in)
Battery
11.94 Wh, 3100 mAh Lithium-Ion, removeable
Operating System
Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Camera
Primary Camera: 13 MPix f/1.9, AF, LED flash, videos @1080p/30FPS
Secondary Camera: 5 MPix f/1.9, LED flash
Additional features
Speakers: rear-sided speaker, Keyboard: virtual keyboard, charger, USB cable, headset, S-Planner, Microsoft Office, 24 Months Warranty, fanless
Weight
159 g ( = 5.61 oz / 0.35 pounds), Power Supply: 48 g ( = 1.69 oz / 0.11 pounds)
Price
279 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

The Galaxy J5 has been decently beefed up for its 2016 debut: a real metal bezel, polished edges, and a silky shining back cover. However, functionality is not to suffer under that, and thus the back cover can still be removed to replace the battery. Compared with the predecessor, the casing has grown in all directions, but the screen now also measures 5.2 inches. The Galaxy A5 (2016) with an equally-sized display manages to squeeze itself into a more compact casing.

Even larger handsets with a 5.5-inch screen do not weigh as much as Samsung's Galaxy J5 that is also considerably heavier than its predecessor with a weight of 159 grams (~5.6 oz). This somewhat heavier feel could of course be interpreted as a sign of quality. Subjectively, the handset did not give us the impression of being too heavy for everyday use.

The casing is very solid; the metal bezel pays off here. Warping attempts were virtually futile, and the AMOLED screen's design is innately pressure resistant.

156.3 mm / 6.15 inch 77.5 mm / 3.05 inch 8.9 mm / 0.3504 inch 156.3 g0.3446 lbs151.3 mm / 5.96 inch 76.3 mm / 3 inch 8.2 mm / 0.3228 inch 158 g0.3483 lbs146.6 mm / 5.77 inch 74.8 mm / 2.94 inch 8.8 mm / 0.3465 inch 140 g0.3086 lbs145.8 mm / 5.74 inch 72.3 mm / 2.85 inch 8.1 mm / 0.3189 inch 159 g0.3505 lbs144.8 mm / 5.7 inch 71 mm / 2.8 inch 7.3 mm / 0.2874 inch 155 g0.3417 lbs142.1 mm / 5.59 inch 71.8 mm / 2.83 inch 7.9 mm / 0.311 inch 147 g0.3241 lbs

Connectivity

The standard physical smartphone connections are installed, so nothing more than a micro-USB 2.0 port and a 3.5 mm headset jack can be found. External storage devices can be connected to the USB port (USB on-the-go). At least NFC is installed as a wireless option. The infrared interface that Samsung often installs to allow the device to act as a remote control is not included in the Galaxy J5. A fingerprint reader as found in the Galaxy A5 is not present, either.

16 GB of storage is an improvement over the former Galaxy J5 that had only 8 GB. Samsung's smartphone can also read memory cards: Officially, the micro-SD slot supports cards up to 128 GB. Apps can be moved to the SD card.

Right: Standby button
Right: Standby button
Left: Volume control
Left: Volume control
Upper edge: No interfaces
Upper edge: No interfaces
Lower edge: USB port, 3.5 mm headset jack
Lower edge: USB port, 3.5 mm headset jack

Software

Android 6.0.1 was already preloaded on our review sample, which is the latest Android version. Besides the somewhat more homogeneous looks, the new version includes advantages in terms of security and the option of limiting app permissions, among other things.

Samsung's Touch Wiz interface covers that. It involves a subtle change: The looks are rather softer (the logos with rounded edges, rounded buttons) and the settings have been rearranged. Scrolling to the left opens “Briefing”, a news aggregator that supposedly displays all important.

Samsung has also preloaded its "S Planner" as a calendar substitute, its fitness app "S Health", Microsoft's Office suite as well as "OneCloud" and "Skype". Furthermore, a direct link to "Google Play Music" is also included. Samsung could not resist the extra profits brought in through the preloaded apps entirely, but they are within acceptable limits.

Update 05-19-2017: The OTA software upgrade is rolled out. It has build number MMB29M.J510FNXXU2AQD2 and is not even 60 MB. It is supposed to primarily bring small improvements and implements Google security patches as of 04-01-2017.

Update 08-21-2017: The 154.46 MB OTA upgrade updates the Galaxy J5 to build number MMB29M.J510FNXXU2AQG3. Apart from an optimized home screen and improved stability, it implements Google security patches as of 07-01-2017.

Update 11/06/2017: a 24.12 MB large OTA firmware update, build number MMB29M.J510FNXXS2AQI4, has been released. In addition to various optimizations and stability improvements it also includes Google’s security patches as of 08/01/2017.

Communication & GPS

A micro-SIM is needed for connecting the Galaxy J5 (2016) to mobile networks. With four GPRS, four UMTS and five LTE frequencies the review sample is suitably equipped for international use. It will probably not function everywhere in the world, but the handset should at least find a network in Europe. The reception in the local network is good, and we had at least 3/4 of LTE reception quality even indoors in an urban area. The maximum speeds in mobile Internet are 150 MBit per second in download and 50 MBit per second in upload.

The Wi-Fi standards 802.11 b/g/n are supported and should be quite sufficient for most users. Since standard 802.11 a is not supported, it is not possible to use 5 GHz band networks. The reception here is also quite good. We still had 3/4 of the signal at a distance of ten meters (~33 ft) to the router (FritzBox 6490) and websites opened quickly. Overall, we noticed that the Galaxy J5 was slower than other smartphones in our Wi-Fi.

GPS Test indoors
GPS Test indoors
GPS Test outdoors
GPS Test outdoors

Although the GPS module finds some satellites indoors, the signal strength is not strong enough to locate us accurately. It takes a moment outdoors, but enough satellites are found to track us with an accuracy of four meters (~13 ft). Thus, the Galaxy J5 is not quite up front in terms of localization accuracy and speed, but it still delivers decent rates.

To test localization under practical conditions, we take both the Galaxy J5 and Garmin's Edge 500 - a navigation system also used by professionals - on a bike tour. The measured distance is 90 meters (~295 ft) shorter with the Galaxy J5, but it is still acceptable considering the driven route of over twelve kilometers (~7.4 mi). The crossing area shows that the professional system operates more accurately and that the Galaxy J5 simply draws straight lines between two points. According to the Galaxy J5, we often ended up in the river while the Edge 500 tracked our route very precisely when crossing the river. The localization accuracy of Samsung's Galaxy J5 (2016) should be sufficient for normal everyday use. Users with higher demands will have to shell out a lot more money, and will find an excellent tracking system in, for example, the Galaxy S7.

GPS Samsung Galaxy J5: Overview
GPS Samsung Galaxy J5: Overview
GPS Samsung Galaxy J5: Crossing
GPS Samsung Galaxy J5: Crossing
GPS Samsung Galaxy J5: Riverside
GPS Samsung Galaxy J5: Riverside
GPS Garmin Edge 500: Overview
GPS Garmin Edge 500: Overview
GPS Garmin Edge 500: Crossing
GPS Garmin Edge 500: Crossing
GPS Garmin Edge 500: Riverside
GPS Garmin Edge 500: Riverside

Telephone & Call Quality

Anyone who has ever used a Samsung handset will recognize the phone app. Generally, not much has been modified for Android users. In most cases, a screen with recently called or incoming numbers is opened and the keypad can be accessed via a button at the lower edge. Contacts and favorites can be selected directly via tabs at the upper edge. Contacts can also be edited directly in the app.

The call quality did not impress us: The earpiece tends to produce a ringing noise in high volumes and also makes a relatively stifled impression. The microphone is not impressive either. Although our voice is fairly loud, it also sounds a bit muffled to our contact. The speaker is rather more suitable for rendering voices, but it is not very loud.

Cameras

Photo front-facing camera
Photo front-facing camera

Samsung's Galaxy J5 (2016) is category standard in terms of camera resolution with a 13 megapixel camera on the back and a 5 megapixel camera on the front. Not much has changed here when compared with the predecessor. A major unique selling point of our review sample: An LED flash is also installed on the front.

Photos taken with the rear-facing camera are poorly illuminated and show large bright-dark contrasts. Huawei's P9 displays considerably more evenly illuminated photos, for example. At a first glance, the photos look well-lit in bright surroundings, and are mostly sharp. However, the photos look clearly faded and details of the trees are blurred on a zoomed photo.

The yellow flowers in the meadow that visibly protrude in the photo made with the reflex camera are hardly discernible in the photos of the Galaxy J5 because the color is similar to the green of the meadow. Furthermore, photos in low-light environments also look faded and often blurred. The overall color reproduction looks relatively pale.

Videos can be recorded in 1080p at 30 frames per second. The quality is decent, but the videos sometimes seem rather dark.

The front-facing camera has a resolution of 5 megapixels. In addition to a special selfie mode with face recognition, a mode for groufies is also present; it is possible to record background noises and to shoot a photo series. The image quality is sufficient for selfies, and overall relatively sharp. We also liked the color reproduction. The installed LED flash enables taking selfies even in low-light environments.

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

To analyze the photo quality, we photograph our reference card under defined light conditions in the studio. A somewhat dark picture, pale colors and increasing blurriness toward the edges is seen here. The image sharpness is satisfactory in the center even when zoomed.

We photograph the ColorChecker color card to determine color accuracy and place the original colors beside it. Here, the colors of the camera in Samsung's Galaxy J5 (2016) are relatively weak and too bright.

Photographed reference card
Photographed reference card
Reference card details
Reference card details
Screenshot of ColorChecker colors. Original colors are displayed in the lower half of each patch.
Screenshot of ColorChecker colors. Original colors are displayed in the lower half of each patch.

Accessories & Warranty

In addition to the smartphone, the box contains a charger, a USB cable and a headset that sounds fairly decent and fits quite well in the ears. Currently, Samsung does not offer any product-specific accessories on the German website. The offerings were not exactly extensive for the predecessor with just a simple flip cover.

A 24-month warranty is included.

Input Devices & Handling

Samsung has incorporated its own on-screen keyboard that comes with smaller but wider spaced keys. It is clearly arranged and offers several input options, such as voice dictation and swiping. A contrast mode that allows the user to change the keyboard's color so that it stands out from the background is also present. However, the black-yellow-orange color layout will not appeal to design fans. It is of course always possible to install another keyboard from Google's Play Store.

The touchscreen is pleasant to use and very responsive even in the outermost corners. The home button is in fact a hardware button, but the controls for back and app overview are touch buttons. The lateral buttons have a clear pressure point and are easy to find.

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

Display

Subpixel screenshot
Subpixel screenshot

Samsung is famous for its Super AMOLED panels that achieve absolute black by keeping individual pixels disabled. This theoretically produces an infinitely high contrast and bright colors. The Galaxy J5 (2016) features such a screen; its resolution is the category standard 1280x720 pixels.

At a first glance, AMOLED panels still have a clear disadvantage in brightness, and the Galaxy J5 also accomplishes at most only 299 cd/m² here. However, the brightness can be boosted decently via the "outdoor" button, and then achieves up to 550 cd/m². The illumination with a consistency of 96% is superb, and even large colored areas are illuminated very evenly.

We also noticed that the screen flickers at a very high frequency (PWM). This is often used to reduce the brightness in AMOLED panels, but is usually no problem because the eye does not detect it. However, sensitive users could perceive it at a brightness below 50%.

293
cd/m²
289
cd/m²
286
cd/m²
299
cd/m²
289
cd/m²
288
cd/m²
299
cd/m²
289
cd/m²
289
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 299 cd/m² Average: 291.2 cd/m² Minimum: 4.01 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 96 %
Center on Battery: 289 cd/m²
Contrast: ∞:1 (Black: 0 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4.7 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6
ΔE Greyscale 3 | 0.64-98 Ø6.2
Gamma: 2.03
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
Mali-T720 MP2, 7580 Octa, 16 GB eMMC Flash
LG K10
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Acer Liquid Z630S
Mali-T720 MP4, MT6753, 32 GB eMMC Flash
Honor 5X
Adreno 405, 616 MSM8939v2, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Samsung Galaxy J5
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 8 GB eMMC Flash
Screen
35%
-51%
-13%
10%
-1%
Brightness middle
289
378
31%
370
28%
350
21%
535
85%
349
21%
Brightness
291
380
31%
355
22%
345
19%
521
79%
353
21%
Brightness Distribution
96
91
-5%
92
-4%
84
-12%
85
-11%
93
-3%
Black Level *
0.28
0.27
0.43
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4.7
1.95
59%
6.7
-43%
4.7
-0%
4.88
-4%
5.22
-11%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
7.3
3.09
58%
17.8
-144%
8.5
-16%
8.66
-19%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
3
1.86
38%
7.9
-163%
5.6
-87%
5.2
-73%
3.96
-32%
Gamma
2.03 108%
2.13 103%
2.21 100%
1.84 120%
2.26 97%
2.08 106%
CCT
6291 103%
6376 102%
9072 72%
6795 96%
7766 84%
7308 89%
Contrast
1321
1296
1244

* ... smaller is better

Since the disabled black pixels do not shine, both black level and contrast are perfect. The colors look very vivid. Samsung also offers several modes to adapt the color reproduction according to personal preferences or the smartphone's purpose. The smartphone can be set to "adaptive", which is an automatic mode, or the user selects between "cinema", "photo" and "basic". "Cinema" offers the brightest colors, while "basic" produces somewhat paler but also more natural colors. "Photo" is somewhere between the two.

We use the CalMAN software and a spectrophotometer for a more detailed analysis. We also test the smartphone in all three screen modes. The color shifts to the sRGB color space are lowest in "basic" mode, but are present throughout. The colors are clearly oversaturated in "cinema" mode. Grayscale levels are most accurate in "basic" mode, but also have a slight pinkish tint. A minor bluish tint is visible in "cinema" mode. Basically, "cinema" mode is suitable for users who prefer vivid colors and do not strongly value high color fidelity. "Basic" will satisfy anyone who wants to view a more realistic image.

Profile "Basic": CalMAN ColorChecker sRGB
Profile "Basic": CalMAN ColorChecker sRGB
Profile "Photo": CalMAN Colorspace AdobeRGB
Profile "Photo": CalMAN Colorspace AdobeRGB
Profile "Basic": CalMAN Grayscale sRGB
Profile "Basic": CalMAN Grayscale sRGB
Profile "Basic": CalMAN Saturation Sweeps sRGB
Profile "Basic": CalMAN Saturation Sweeps sRGB
Profile "Photo": CalMAN ColorChecker sRGB
Profile "Photo": CalMAN ColorChecker sRGB
Profile "Photo": CalMAN Colorspace AdobeRGB
Profile "Photo": CalMAN Colorspace AdobeRGB
Profile "Photo": CalMAN Grayscale sRGB
Profile "Photo": CalMAN Grayscale sRGB
Profile "Photo": CalMAN Saturation Sweeps sRGB
Profile "Photo": CalMAN Saturation Sweeps sRGB
Profile "Cinema": CalMAN ColorChecker sRGB
Profile "Cinema": CalMAN ColorChecker sRGB
Profile "Cinema": CalMAN Colorspace AdobeRGB
Profile "Cinema": CalMAN Colorspace AdobeRGB
Profile "Cinema": CalMAN Grayscale sRGB
Profile "Cinema": CalMAN Grayscale sRGB
Profile "Cinema": CalMAN Saturation Sweeps sRGB
Profile "Cinema": CalMAN Saturation Sweeps sRGB

The glossy screen is of course a big problem for outdoor use in almost all smartphones. However, this can be compensated with sufficient screen brightness. Thanks to a special "outdoor" mode that increases the brightness strongly for 15 minutes; a lot of content can be recognized even in bright surroundings. Naturally this affects battery life and its excessive use could also reduce the service life of the OLEDs in the screen.

AMOLED panels have a further advantage: They can be viewed from all angles with virtually no color loss or brightness aberrations. This is also the case in Samsung's Galaxy J5 (2016).

Outdoors
Outdoors
Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
10 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 5 ms rise
↘ 5 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 9 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (24.9 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
20 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 10 ms rise
↘ 10 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 12 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (39.7 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 243.9 Hz

The display backlight flickers at 243.9 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) .

The frequency of 243.9 Hz is relatively low, so sensitive users will likely notice flickering and experience eyestrain at the stated brightness setting and below.

In comparison: 51 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9354 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Performance

The inner values have been maintained in this year's edition of the Galaxy J5: As with the predecessor, the SoC is Qualcomm's Snapdragon 410 MSM8916. However, the clock has been increased marginally to 1.4 GHz and the working memory has grown by 500 MB to 2 GB. Although the lower mid-range SoC is already two years old, it is powerful enough for most routine tasks. At least we did not observe any stutters, and apps are launched fairly quickly.

A slight lead in the benchmarks over the predecessor is probably due to the above mentioned modifications to the clock rate and working memory. Our review sample is roughly on par with LG K10. Both the Galaxy A5 and Honor's 5X manage a clear lead with their faster SoCs.

It looks similar in the graphic benchmarks: The Galaxy J5 (2016) utilizes Qualcomm's Adreno 306 that was also found in the predecessor. It is also on par with LG's K10 since this graphics unit is also installed here.

Therefore, it will only be conditionally worthwhile for owners' of the predecessor to upgrade for performance reasons. Real differences will hardly be noticed. However, the Galaxy J6 (2016) delivers the expected performance.

AnTuTu v6 - Total Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
27232 Points ∼9%
LG K10
27383 Points ∼9% +1%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
41676 Points ∼14% +53%
Acer Liquid Z630S
35585 Points ∼12% +31%
Honor 5X
37152 Points ∼13% +36%
Geekbench 3
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
1425 Points ∼4%
LG K10
1448 Points ∼4% +2%
Honor 5X
3047 Points ∼8% +114%
Samsung Galaxy J5
1403 Points ∼4% -2%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
473 Points ∼10%
LG K10
476 Points ∼10% +1%
Honor 5X
698 Points ∼14% +48%
Samsung Galaxy J5
464 Points ∼9% -2%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
709 Points ∼16%
LG K10
730 Points ∼16% +3%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
1479 Points ∼33% +109%
Acer Liquid Z630S
1113 Points ∼25% +57%
Honor 5X
1089 Points ∼24% +54%
Samsung Galaxy J5
734 Points ∼16% +4%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
42 Points ∼0%
LG K10
41 Points ∼0% -2%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
275 Points ∼2% +555%
Acer Liquid Z630S
229 Points ∼2% +445%
Honor 5X
103 Points ∼1% +145%
Samsung Galaxy J5
42 Points ∼0% 0%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
53 Points ∼1%
LG K10
52 Points ∼1% -2%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
336 Points ∼4% +534%
Acer Liquid Z630S
278 Points ∼3% +425%
Honor 5X
129 Points ∼2% +143%
Samsung Galaxy J5
53 Points ∼1% 0%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
9022 Points ∼10%
LG K10
9106 Points ∼11% +1%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
9495 Points ∼11% +5%
Acer Liquid Z630S
10508 Points ∼12% +16%
Honor 5X
8174 Points ∼9% -9%
Samsung Galaxy J5
9079 Points ∼11% +1%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
3838 Points ∼1%
LG K10
3774 Points ∼1% -2%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
7542 Points ∼1% +97%
Acer Liquid Z630S
6250 Points ∼1% +63%
Honor 5X
7764 Points ∼1% +102%
Samsung Galaxy J5
3782 Points ∼1% -1%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
4400 Points ∼2%
LG K10
4339 Points ∼2% -1%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
7903 Points ∼3% +80%
Acer Liquid Z630S
6868 Points ∼3% +56%
Honor 5X
7852 Points ∼3% +78%
Samsung Galaxy J5
4345 Points ∼2% -1%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
5.2 fps ∼0%
LG K10
5.2 fps ∼0% 0%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
14 fps ∼0% +169%
Acer Liquid Z630S
12 fps ∼0% +131%
Honor 5X
14 fps ∼0% +169%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
9.7 fps ∼0%
LG K10
9.7 fps ∼0% 0%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
14 fps ∼0% +44%
Acer Liquid Z630S
21 fps ∼1% +116%
Honor 5X
14 fps ∼0% +44%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
1.8 fps ∼0%
LG K10
1.8 fps ∼0% 0%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
3.8 fps ∼1% +111%
Acer Liquid Z630S
4.2 fps ∼1% +133%
Honor 5X
5.4 fps ∼1% +200%
Samsung Galaxy J5
1.8 fps ∼0% 0%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
3.8 fps ∼1%
LG K10
4.1 fps ∼1% +8%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
3.8 fps ∼1% 0%
Acer Liquid Z630S
9 fps ∼2% +137%
Honor 5X
5.9 fps ∼2% +55%
Samsung Galaxy J5
3.8 fps ∼1% 0%
PCMark for Android - Work performance score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
4126 Points ∼21%
LG K10
3999 Points ∼20% -3%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
4008 Points ∼20% -3%
Acer Liquid Z630S
3814 Points ∼19% -8%
Honor 5X
3794 Points ∼19% -8%
Samsung Galaxy J5
3966 Points ∼20% -4%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
551 Points ∼27%
LG K10
562 Points ∼28% +2%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
741 Points ∼36% +34%
Acer Liquid Z630S
627 Points ∼31% +14%
Honor 5X
9 Points ∼0% -98%
Samsung Galaxy J5
615 Points ∼30% +12%
Graphics (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
312 Points ∼1%
LG K10
310 Points ∼1% -1%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
488 Points ∼2% +56%
Acer Liquid Z630S
416 Points ∼1% +33%
Honor 5X
763 Points ∼3% +145%
Samsung Galaxy J5
314 Points ∼1% +1%
Memory (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
643 Points ∼9%
LG K10
453 Points ∼6% -30%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
554 Points ∼7% -14%
Acer Liquid Z630S
540 Points ∼7% -16%
Honor 5X
787 Points ∼10% +22%
Samsung Galaxy J5
399 Points ∼5% -38%
System (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
1060 Points ∼6%
LG K10
1050 Points ∼6% -1%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
2153 Points ∼13% +103%
Acer Liquid Z630S
1614 Points ∼10% +52%
Honor 5X
1378 Points ∼8% +30%
Samsung Galaxy J5
1058 Points ∼6% 0%
Overall (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
585 Points ∼7%
LG K10
536 Points ∼6% -8%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
810 Points ∼10% +38%
Acer Liquid Z630S
691 Points ∼8% +18%
Honor 5X
297 Points ∼4% -49%
Samsung Galaxy J5
534 Points ∼6% -9%

Legend

 
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016 Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 MSM8916, Qualcomm Adreno 306, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
LG K10 Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 MSM8916, Qualcomm Adreno 306, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 Samsung Exynos 7580 Octa, ARM Mali-T720 MP2, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Acer Liquid Z630S Mediatek MT6753, ARM Mali-T720 MP4, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Honor 5X Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 MSM8939v2, Qualcomm Adreno 405, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy J5 Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 MSM8916, Qualcomm Adreno 306, 8 GB eMMC Flash

There are considerably faster smartphones for Internet browsing. Our review sample sometimes lags behind its predecessor. Overall, the speed is category standard. Subjectively, we occasionally noticed a very slow transmission rate that was primarily aggravating during downloads. Other smartphones achieved much higher data rates in the same Wi-Fi environment.

Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
2730 Points ∼5%
LG K10
2838 Points ∼5% +4%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
3611 Points ∼7% +32%
Acer Liquid Z630S
2855 Points ∼5% +5%
Honor 5X
3595 Points ∼7% +32%
Samsung Galaxy J5
3038 Points ∼6% +11%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
13046 ms * ∼22%
LG K10
16638 ms * ∼28% -28%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
11887 ms * ∼20% +9%
Acer Liquid Z630S
12876 ms * ∼22% +1%
Honor 5X
12510 ms * ∼21% +4%
Samsung Galaxy J5
14074 ms * ∼24% -8%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
47 Points ∼6%
LG K10
47 Points ∼6% 0%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
64 Points ∼8% +36%
Honor 5X
65 Points ∼8% +38%
Samsung Galaxy J5
52 Points ∼6% +11%
JetStream 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
16.8 Points ∼5%
LG K10
17.478 Points ∼5% +4%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
22 Points ∼6% +31%
Acer Liquid Z630S
19.028 Points ∼5% +13%
Honor 5X
21.92 Points ∼6% +30%
Samsung Galaxy J5
18.424 Points ∼5% +10%

* ... smaller is better

Surely a storage device specialist such as Samsung will install decent memory chips in its smartphones, won't it? At least an improvement compared with the predecessor is visible in the Galaxy J5 (2016). The write speeds in particular are much higher. Overall, the transfer rates of the internal memory are quite decent, and can sometimes even outperform the more expensive Galaxy A5.

The micro-SD card reader has to show its speed in the test. We insert our Toshiba Exceria Pro M401 reference card. Our review sample is clearly faster than LG's K10. Unfortunately, we do not have comparable rates for the other devices. The transfer rates are overall decent, but considerably higher speeds would be possible with our fast micro-SD card.

AndroBench 3-5
Sequential Write 256KB SDCard (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
46.61 MB/s ∼53%
LG K10
45 MB/s ∼52% -3%
Sequential Read 256KB SDCard (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
79.83 MB/s ∼83%
LG K10
75.47 MB/s ∼78% -5%
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
11.6 MB/s ∼5%
LG K10
7.5 MB/s ∼3% -35%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
11.2 MB/s ∼4% -3%
Acer Liquid Z630S
5.82 MB/s ∼2% -50%
Honor 5X
10 MB/s ∼4% -14%
Samsung Galaxy J5
7.2 MB/s ∼3% -38%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
21 MB/s ∼11%
LG K10
9.2 MB/s ∼5% -56%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
22.9 MB/s ∼12% +9%
Acer Liquid Z630S
28.43 MB/s ∼14% +35%
Honor 5X
17 MB/s ∼9% -19%
Samsung Galaxy J5
19.25 MB/s ∼10% -8%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
72 MB/s ∼12%
LG K10
78 MB/s ∼13% +8%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
60.4 MB/s ∼10% -16%
Acer Liquid Z630S
67.7 MB/s ∼11% -6%
Honor 5X
78 MB/s ∼13% +8%
Samsung Galaxy J5
39.4 MB/s ∼7% -45%
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
147 MB/s ∼10%
LG K10
131 MB/s ∼9% -11%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
209.4 MB/s ∼14% +42%
Acer Liquid Z630S
249.01 MB/s ∼17% +69%
Honor 5X
144 MB/s ∼10% -2%
Samsung Galaxy J5
145.47 MB/s ∼10% -1%

Games

An average of 16 frames per second does not lead to smooth gameplay in the fast-paced race game "Asphalt 8" using maximum details. Subjectively, we found the frame rates as acceptable and the game ran fairly smoothly in our opinion. However, the smartphone definitely operates at the limits of its performance capacity here.

We can confirm an average of 30 frames per second in the first-person shooter "Dead Trigger 2". Thus, the game should be easily playable without lags.

Control via touchscreen and position sensor functioned impeccably and without any dropouts.

"Asphalt 8": Lag-free subjectively, but very low frame rates
"Asphalt 8": Lag-free subjectively, but very low frame rates
"Dead Trigger 2": Stable 30 frames
"Dead Trigger 2": Stable 30 frames
Asphalt 8: Airborne
 SettingsValue
 high16 fps
Dead Trigger 2
 SettingsValue
 high30 fps

Emissions

GFXBench Battery benchmark
GFXBench Battery benchmark

Temperature

The casing heats up to a maximum of 38.5 degrees Celsius (~101 degrees Fahrenheit) on the upper rear. Although that is noticeable, it is still acceptable. Other devices, such as the Acer Liquid Z630S, remain much cooler.

The temperature increase stays quite consistent over the entire casing. The smartphone's lower area is marginally cooler. The smartphone is within a normal range in idle mode with a maximum surface temperature of 31 degrees Celsius (~88 degrees Fahrenheit).

Do higher temperatures affect the performance? We find out by using a stress test, and run GFXBench battery benchmark that performs the same sequence 30 times and logs the frame rates. Only marginal fluctuations are seen in the course of the 30 cycles. Thus, it can be presumed that Samsung's Galaxy J5 (2016) maintains its performance even during permanent load.

Max. Load
 34.3 °C
94 F
34 °C
93 F
33.7 °C
93 F
 
 36.4 °C
98 F
36.1 °C
97 F
34.4 °C
94 F
 
 36.9 °C
98 F
37 °C
99 F
34.7 °C
94 F
 
Maximum: 37 °C = 99 F
Average: 35.3 °C = 96 F
34.9 °C
95 F
34.6 °C
94 F
34.6 °C
94 F
35.5 °C
96 F
36.7 °C
98 F
37.9 °C
100 F
36 °C
97 F
38.2 °C
101 F
38.5 °C
101 F
Maximum: 38.5 °C = 101 F
Average: 36.3 °C = 97 F
Power Supply (max.)  32.4 °C = 90 F | Room Temperature 21.6 °C = 71 F | Voltcraft IR-260
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 35.3 °C / 96 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 37 °C / 99 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 38.5 °C / 101 F, compared to the average of 34.1 °C / 93 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 30.2 °C / 86 F, compared to the device average of 33.1 °C / 92 F.
Heatmap front
Heatmap front
Heatmap rear
Heatmap rear

Speaker

"Pink Noise" speaker test
"Pink Noise" speaker test

The rear facing speaker is situated beside the camera. Although the camera protrudes slightly, the sound muffles clearly depending on the surface, for example, when the smartphone is placed on a table. Overall, the mono-speaker’s sound is adequate for a smartphone, but it will not win any awards. Its maximum volume of almost 84 dB(A) is average; basses are virtually non-existent. Even when the speaker is not face down on a surface, it always sounds as if the audio output is stifled. Furthermore, trebles are heavily emphasized.

The 3.5 mm headset jack or Bluetooth are alternatives; both render a clear audio signal.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Pleasingly, Samsung's Galaxy J5 (2016) does not consume any power when turned off, and only a low 0.12 watts in standby. Overall, the consumption is much lower than that of its predecessor. In fact, it is really frugal compared with other devices. Its maximum consumption is 3.1 watts while in idle mode it consumes  at most 1.51 watts. These are all really good and low rates. Approximately 3 hours were needed for charging in our test.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0 / 0.12 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.61 / 1.41 / 1.51 Watt
Load midlight 2.56 / 3.1 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Gossen Metrahit Energy

Battery Runtime

The battery has grown considerably compared with last year's Samsung Galaxy J5. It occupies a relatively large battery compartment in the back, and certainly contributes to the much heavier weight of the Galaxy J5 (2016). It can supply 11.94 watt hours. Acer's Liquid Z630S clearly surpasses that with over 15 Wh. However, its power consumption is also much higher. Our review sample claims a very good second place within the test field in our practical Wi-Fi test. The former Samsung Galaxy J5's runtime is exceeded by 14%.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
26h 39min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
10h 43min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
10h 58min
Load (maximum brightness)
6h 42min
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Acer Liquid Z630S
Mali-T720 MP4, MT6753, 32 GB eMMC Flash
Honor 5X
Adreno 405, 616 MSM8939v2, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
Mali-T720 MP2, 7580 Octa, 16 GB eMMC Flash
LG K10
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Samsung Galaxy J5
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 8 GB eMMC Flash
Battery Runtime
6%
-27%
16%
-28%
-14%
Reader / Idle
1599
1053
-34%
2323
45%
1123
-30%
1292
-19%
H.264
658
602
-9%
672
2%
603
-8%
657
0%
WiFi v1.3
643
681
6%
643
0%
626
-3%
453
-30%
495
-23%
Load
402
144
-64%
483
20%
231
-43%
350
-13%

Pros

+ high-contrast AMOLED screen
+ metal bezel
+ modern operating system
+ decent reception quality
+ front-sided LED flash
+ relatively fast storage
+ low power consumption
+ very good battery life

Cons

- relatively heavy
- slow WiFi throughput
- poor voice quality
- camera's pale and sometimes blurry photos
- moderate sound quality
- no ambient light sensor
- high-frequency screen flickering

Verdict

In review: Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)
In review: Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)

It is easy to answer the question whether the update of Samsung's Galaxy J5 has been successful: Yes.

The metal casing gives a much higher-quality impression and looks more modern than the predecessor's old-fashioned casing. The front-facing camera has been upgraded with a full-fledged LED flash, the working memory and storage device capacities have been increased, a somewhat faster processor and more screen surface are now installed. Old virtues like the AMOLED panel and removable battery have been maintained. Furthermore, the battery life is now much longer.

Samsung's Galaxy J5 (2016) is not perfect, but it is a really good smartphone from the lower mid-range. Thanks to its long battery life, the AMOLED panel and modern operating system, anyone looking for a new and affordable smartphone should keep the handset in mind.

We have a few points of criticism after all: The transmission rates in our Wi-Fi were unusually low, the device is comparatively heavy, and the voice quality is not impressive. The speaker did not impress us, and the cameras images look dark and rather faded.

Buyers who can live with these will not go much wrong with Samsung's Galaxy J5 (2016). It might even be worthwhile for owners of the predecessor to upgrade.

Samsung Galaxy J5 2016 - 05/11/2016 v5.1(old)
Florian Wimmer

Chassis
90%
Keyboard
66 / 75 → 88%
Pointing Device
91%
Connectivity
38 / 60 → 64%
Weight
92%
Battery
93%
Display
85%
Games Performance
5 / 63 → 8%
Application Performance
33 / 70 → 47%
Temperature
91%
Noise
100%
Audio
48 / 91 → 52%
Camera
67%
Average
69%
82%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

Pricecompare

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016) Smartphone Review
Florian Wimmer, 2016-05-18 (Update: 2018-05-15)