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The best alternatives for the Samsung Galaxy J5

Daniel Schmidt, Tanja Hinum (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 01/13/2017

No alternatives? The Samsung Galaxy J5 is a very popular smartphone and offers a good overall package for a comparatively small amount of money. We had a look at some comparable rivals as well as the Samsung and show where you get the most for your money.

For the original German review, see here.

The Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016, SM-J510FN) was announced with a recommended retail price of 279 Euros (~$298), but the price dropped below 220 Euros (~$235) by now, which is good news for potential customers. However, the competition offers very interesting rivals for the market leader Samsung as well.

We had a closer look at four smartphones: Huawei P9 LiteHonor 5CSony Xperia XA, and ZTE Blade V7 offer great overall packages as well, but the Samsung Galaxy A3 (2016) is also an interesting alternative for the Galaxy J5 when you can live with the smaller screen. But is it also the better smartphone, and which smartphone is the best choice for you? We will try to find out in this comparison.

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Specs Galaxy J5 (2016) Honor 5C Huawei P9 Lite Xperia XA ZTE Blade V7 Galaxy A3 (2016)
Display 5.2“, OLED, 720p 5.2“, IPS, 1080p 5.2“, IPS, 1080p 5.0“, IPS, 720p 5.2“, IPS, 1080p 4.7“, OLED, 720p
SoC Snapdragon 410 Kirin 650 Kirin 650 Helio P10 MT6753 Exynos 7578
RAM 2 GB 2 GB 3 GB 2 GB 2 GB 1.5 GB
Flash storage 16 GB 16 GB 16 GB 16 GB 16 GB 16 GB
Dual-SIM yes yes hybrid no hybrid no
MicroSD yes yes yes yes yes yes
Fingerprint no yes yes no no no
Cameras 13 / 5 MP 13 / 8 MP 13 / 8 MP 13 / 8 MP 13 / 5 MP 13 / 5 MP
Battery 3100 mAh 3000 mAh 3000 mAh 2300 mAh 2540 mAh 2300 mAh

Case

Samsung improved the case of the Galaxy J5 compared to the previous generation and equips the current model with a metal frame. This is also the case for many rivals, only the Honor 5C and the ZTE Blade V7 feature full aluminum cases.

The Galaxy A3 has the smallest screen size in this comparison – the screen of the Galaxy J5 is 0.5 inches larger – so it is also the lightest model in this comparison group at just 131 grams (~4.6 oz). The Xperia XA is only slightly heavier at 137 grams (~4.8 oz), despite the large display.

Most smartphones have an integrated battery by now, and the Galaxy J5 definitely has an advantage here since it is the only device with an accessible battery. You can also get a Duos version of the smartphone with dual-SIM support as well as the storage extension via microSD. All rivals support microSD-cards, but only the Honor 5C actually has three card slots. The other models either use a hybrid solution or waive the dual-SIM functionality completely.

This means the Galaxy J5 comes out ahead in terms of maintainability.

147.1 mm / 5.79 inch 73.8 mm / 2.91 inch 8.3 mm / 0.3268 inch 146.8 mm / 5.78 inch 72.6 mm / 2.86 inch 7.5 mm / 0.2953 inch 146 mm / 5.75 inch 72.5 mm / 2.85 inch 7.95 mm / 0.313 inch 145.8 mm / 5.74 inch 72.3 mm / 2.85 inch 8.1 mm / 0.3189 inch 143.6 mm / 5.65 inch 66.8 mm / 2.63 inch 7.9 mm / 0.311 inch 134.5 mm / 5.3 inch 65.2 mm / 2.57 inch 7.4 mm / 0.2913 inch

Display, Connectivity and Performance

Contrary to its rivals, the Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016) is equipped with a Super AMOLED screen. It features the HD resolution and produces more vibrant colors as well as rich blacks. The luminance is also very good at up to 550 nits. No other smartphone in this comparison can compete with this result. However, there is one significant drawback: It does not have an ambient light sensor, which can adjust the luminance of the panel automatically. This is basically a no-go when you consider the original price of the device. Even smartphones for around 120 Euros (~$128) are usually equipped with this feature. Another drawback is the PWM control of the panel luminance, which sets in at 50% of the brightness or less. This can quickly result in tired eyes or even headaches for sensitive users. All the rivals use IPS displays without PWM and both the Honor 5C and the Huawei P9 Lite feature the much higher Full HD resolution compared to the Galaxy J5. The other areas like color accuracy, brightness distribution and contrast ratio usually favor the Galaxy J5, only Samsung's Galaxy A3 is sometimes even better.

However, the Samsung Galaxy J5 leaves a rather weak impression in terms of performance. It is the slowest device here in the system benchmark AnTuTu and the Galaxy J5 cannot keep up with the rivals in terms of CPU or GPU performance, either. The Snapdragon 410 is just too outdated. Devices with the modern mainstream SoC Kirin 650 in particular manage good scores across the board. At least the microSD-card reader of the Galaxy J5 is very fast.

The remaining specifications of all comparison devices are quite similar: LTE, Wi-Fi-Direct and OTG are supported. The Xperia XA is the only smartphone that supports fast 5.0 GHz WLAN networks. You are limited to devices from Honor or Huawei if you want a fingerprint scanner. The main cameras of all models have a 13 MP sensor, only the front cameras differ. Sony, Honor, and Huawei use higher resolution sensors with 8 MP. All in all, the cameras are on a similar level, but the components from ZTE, Honor, and Huawei are slightly superior in our opinion.

All smartphones are currently shipped with the quite modern operating system Google Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Updates for the new version Android 7.0 Nougat are already announced for the Sony Xperia XA, Honor 5C and the Huawei P9 Lite. Samsung already confirmed an update to version 7 for the Galaxy A3 (2016), but this does not seem to be the case for the J-models with Qualcomm SoCs since the chip manufacturer apparently does not want to create new drivers.

Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
AMOLED, 1280x720, 5.2
Sony Xperia XA
IPS, 1280x720, 5
Huawei P9 Lite
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.2
Honor 5C
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.2
ZTE Blade V7
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.2
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
Super AMOLED, 1280x720, 4.7
Response Times
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
20 (10, 10)
26 (9, 17)
40 (17, 23)
28.4 (12.4, 16)
43 (22, 21)
7 (3, 4)
Response Time Black / White *
10 (5, 5)
22 (7, 15)
32 (15, 17)
23 (10.8, 11.2)
27 (12, 15)
9 (4, 5)
PWM Frequency
243.9
240.4
Screen
Brightness middle
289
518
505
515
409
386
Brightness
291
475
468
498
411
394
Brightness Distribution
96
81
88
93
96
88
Black Level *
0.61
0.74
0.49
0.38
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4.7
6.8
4.1
6.2
9.4
1.11
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
7.3
11.4
5.8
11.4
17.6
3.35
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
3
7
4.9
7.4
11.6
1.34
Gamma
2.03 108%
2.35 94%
2.5 88%
2.28 96%
2.25 98%
2.12 104%
CCT
6291 103%
8151 80%
7116 91%
8664 75%
9597 68%
6441 101%
Contrast
849
682
1051
1076
Total Average (Program / Settings)

* ... smaller is better

PCMark for Android - Work performance score
Huawei P9 Lite
5339 Points ∼100%
Honor 5C
5120 Points ∼96%
Sony Xperia XA
4685 Points ∼88%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
4126 Points ∼77%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
4051 Points ∼76%
ZTE Blade V7
3947 Points ∼74%
AnTuTu v6 - Total Score
Honor 5C
53143 Points ∼100%
Huawei P9 Lite
50366 Points ∼95%
Sony Xperia XA
48331 Points ∼91%
ZTE Blade V7
37070 Points ∼70%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
35964 Points ∼68%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
27232 Points ∼51%
3DMark
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics
Huawei P9 Lite
13676 Points ∼100%
Honor 5C
13588 Points ∼99%
Sony Xperia XA
12138 Points ∼89%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
11653 Points ∼85%
ZTE Blade V7
10430 Points ∼76%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
9022 Points ∼66%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score
Honor 5C
11319 Points ∼100%
Huawei P9 Lite
11318 Points ∼100%
Sony Xperia XA
10916 Points ∼96%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
6522 Points ∼58%
ZTE Blade V7
6170 Points ∼55%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
3838 Points ∼34%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score
Huawei P9 Lite
11769 Points ∼100%
Honor 5C
11755 Points ∼100%
Sony Xperia XA
11156 Points ∼95%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
7229 Points ∼61%
ZTE Blade V7
6786 Points ∼58%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
4400 Points ∼37%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16
Huawei P9 Lite
19 fps ∼100%
Honor 5C
19 fps ∼100%
Sony Xperia XA
18 fps ∼95%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
12 fps ∼63%
ZTE Blade V7
12 fps ∼63%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
5.2 fps ∼27%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16
Sony Xperia XA
28 fps ∼100%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
20 fps ∼71%
Honor 5C
20 fps ∼71%
Huawei P9 Lite
19 fps ∼68%
ZTE Blade V7
12 fps ∼43%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
9.7 fps ∼35%
BaseMark OS II
System
Honor 5C
2600 Points ∼100%
Huawei P9 Lite
2438 Points ∼94%
Sony Xperia XA
2289 Points ∼88%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
1380 Points ∼53%
ZTE Blade V7
1188 Points ∼46%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
1060 Points ∼41%
Overall
Honor 5C
1225 Points ∼100%
Huawei P9 Lite
1197 Points ∼98%
Sony Xperia XA
1043 Points ∼85%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
662 Points ∼54%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
585 Points ∼48%
ZTE Blade V7
249 Points ∼20%
Octane V2 - Total Score
Huawei P9 Lite
4756 Points ∼100%
Honor 5C
4188 Points ∼88%
Sony Xperia XA
4046 Points ∼85%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
3566 Points ∼75%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
2730 Points ∼57%
ZTE Blade V7
2689 Points ∼57%
AndroBench 3-5
Sequential Write 256KB SDCard
Sony Xperia XA
50.68 MB/s ∼100%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
46.61 MB/s ∼92%
Huawei P9 Lite
25.1 MB/s ∼50%
Honor 5C
24.21 MB/s ∼48%
ZTE Blade V7
20.89 MB/s ∼41%
Sequential Read 256KB SDCard
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
79.83 MB/s ∼100%
Sony Xperia XA
72.87 MB/s ∼91%
Huawei P9 Lite
60.81 MB/s ∼76%
Honor 5C
51.93 MB/s ∼65%
ZTE Blade V7
43.67 MB/s ∼55%
Sequential Write 256KB
Honor 5C
75.5 MB/s ∼100%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
72 MB/s ∼95%
Sony Xperia XA
68.64 MB/s ∼91%
Huawei P9 Lite
46.24 MB/s ∼61%
ZTE Blade V7
39.45 MB/s ∼52%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
27.27 MB/s ∼36%
Sequential Read 256KB
Huawei P9 Lite
283.55 MB/s ∼100%
Honor 5C
263 MB/s ∼93%
Sony Xperia XA
240.43 MB/s ∼85%
ZTE Blade V7
196.76 MB/s ∼69%
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
168.79 MB/s ∼60%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
147 MB/s ∼52%

Legend

 
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016 Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 MSM8916, Qualcomm Adreno 306, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Huawei P9 Lite HiSilicon Kirin 650, ARM Mali-T830 MP2, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Sony Xperia XA Mediatek Helio P10 MT6755, ARM Mali-T860 MP2, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Honor 5C HiSilicon Kirin 650, ARM Mali-T830 MP2, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
ZTE Blade V7 Mediatek MT6753, ARM Mali-T720 MP4, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016 Samsung Exynos 7578, ARM Mali-T720 MP2, 16 GB eMMC Flash

Battery Runtime

Every smartphone should have a lot of stamina, and this is actually one area where the Samsung Galaxy J5 comes out ahead and is only beaten by other Samsung devices. However, the J5 also has the largest battery capacity in this comparison group. Similar batteries are used for smartphones like the P9 Lite and Honor 5C, but they have higher display resolutions and therefore slightly shorter battery runtimes.

The Xperia XA falls behind here due to its comparatively small battery, even though the Blade V7 shows that a small battery does not necessarily have to result in short runtimes.

Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
3100 mAh
Huawei P9 Lite
3000 mAh
Sony Xperia XA
2300 mAh
Honor 5C
3000 mAh
ZTE Blade V7
2540 mAh
Samsung Galaxy A3 2016
2300 mAh
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle
1599
1404
775
997
1978
H.264
658
568
460
602
863
WiFi v1.3
643
604
353
584
519
628
Load
402
272
170
156
376

Verdict

This article is supported by Notebooksbilliger.
This article is supported by Notebooksbilliger.

Our comparison shows that there are definitely alternatives for the Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016), but there is no perfect competitor for the popular smartphone from Korea. It is actually the only device with a replaceable battery in this comparison group. This is pretty rare nowadays, even though it is still important for many customers because you can just replace an aging part, which improves the longevity in return. However, this argument is countered by the software. Android 6.0 Marshmallow is currently still quite modern, but an update to a newer version is uncertain for the Galaxy J5.

This is not the case for the rivals from Sony, Honor, and Huawei, where an update to Android 7.0 Nougat was already announced. The Honor 5C and the P9 Lite are also more future-proof thanks to their faster SoCs and higher display resolutions. The battery runtimes once again favor the Galaxy J5, and it is only beaten by the Galaxy A3 (2016). However, the latter is only an alternative when you can live with a smaller display.

Only the Galaxy J5 offers a replaceable battery and three card slots. A look at the comparison is still a good idea when you want modern hardware and a future-proof device.

The Galaxy J5 could also be improved in terms of comfort and system performance. The missing ambient light sensor in particular can be a real annoyance in changing lighting situations. Both the 5C and the P9 Lite are also equipped with a fingerprint scanner for faster access and additional convenience.

Price comparison: Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)

Pricecompare

Price comparison: Huawei P9 Lite

Pricecompare

Price comparison: Sony Xperia XA

Pricecompare

Price comparison: ZTE Blade V7

Pricecompare

Price comparison: Honor 5C

Pricecompare

Price comparison: Samsung Galaxy A3 (2016)

Pricecompare

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > The best alternatives for the Samsung Galaxy J5
Daniel Schmidt, 2017-01-13 (Update: 2018-05-15)