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The best alternatives to the Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)

Big and superior? The Galaxy J7 is almost always on the short list when it comes to a mid-range 5.5-inch screen smartphone. However, the competition never sleeps and there are now plenty of good deals in the same price range. Are they also real alternatives?
Florian Wimmer, 👁 Daniel Schmidt, Stefanie Voigt (translated by Karim Allaoui), 🇩🇪
When the Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) steps onto the scene, it will be a tight squeeze for the competition. But is it really better?
When the Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) steps onto the scene, it will be a tight squeeze for the competition. But is it really better?

Since the middle of 2017, the Samsung Galaxy J7 (SM-J730F) has been available for 339 Euros RRP (~$400). The 2017 variant of Samsung's mid-range 5.5-inch large-screen smartphone is as popular with our users and apparently also with customers as its somewhat smaller brother, the Galaxy J5. After having already looked at the Galaxy J5 to see which devices could be considered alternatives, we now want to look at and compare the most important competitors for the larger version.

Within the price range of 250 to 350 Euros (~$350 to $450) there are several competitors for the satisfaction of the customer: Rather fresh is the Motorola's Moto G5s Plus; since last year on the market are the Lenovo P2 with a huge and enduring battery and the Asus ZenFone 3, which has a stylish case that radiates premium class flair. The Nokia 6 does not only rely on the iconic name, but also offers pure Android and all around good technology. The Huawei Mate 10 Lite completes the field of challengers with a borderless display and two dual cameras.

Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)
Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)
Motorola Moto G5s Plus
Motorola Moto G5s Plus
Huawei Mate 10 lite
Huawei Mate 10 lite
Nokia 6
Nokia 6
Lenovo P2
Lenovo P2
Asus ZenFone 3
Asus ZenFone 3
Specs Galaxy J7 (2017) Motorola Moto G5s Plus Huawei Mate 10 Lite Nokia 6 Lenovo P2 Asus ZenFone 3
Display 5,5“, OLED, 1080p 5,5“, IPS, 1.080p 5,9“, 2:1, IPS, 1.080p 5,5“, IPS, 1080p 5,5“, OLED, 1.080p 5,5“, IPS, 1080p
SoC Exynos 7870 Snapdragon 625 Kirin 659 Snapdragon 430 Snapdragon 625 Snapdragon 625
RAM 3 GB 3 GB 4 GB 3 GB 4 GB 4 GB
Flash memory 16 GB 32 GB 64 GB 32 GB 32 GB 64 GB
Dual-SIM yes Hybrid Hybrid Hybrid Hybrid Hybrid
MicroSD yes yes yes yes yes yes
Fingerprint yes yes yes yes yes yes
Cameras 13 / 13 MP 13+5 / 8 MP 16+2 / 13+2 MP 16 / 8 MP 13 / 5 MP 16 / 8 MP
Battery 3.600 mAh 3.000 mAh 3.340 mAh 3.000 mAh 5.100 mAh 3.000 mAh

Case

With the 2017 edition of the Galaxy J7 Samsung has done a good job on the case: The chassis is made of aluminium and is cut from one piece. The battery is now permanently installed though. In the previous version it could still be replaced. The 5.5-inch display is still in the classic 16:9 format, with wide margins at the top and bottom. In the reference field 
only the Huawei Mate 10 Lite offers the modern 2:1 format with narrow margins on all sides.

With a height of 8 millimeters (~0.3 in), the Galaxy J7 is in the mid-range when it comes to construction height. The remaining dimensions are relatively compact, but the difference in size compared to similar models is marginal. The Samsung Galaxy J7 is a fairly heavy duty smartphone. Even the massive Lenovo P2 with its huge battery is a few grams lighter.

In terms of housing quality, all comparable devices are at a high level, but the Lenovo P2 has two plastic covers on the back, which can break in the event of a fall and differ slightly in color. This is a light deduction; otherwise the metal casing is of high quality here as well. We like the slightly retracted camera of the Galaxy J7, which is protected against scratches due to its positioning.

Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) Duos is the only device that offers dual SIM functionality that also allows the simultaneous use of a microSD card. For all comparison devices, you have to choose between the second SIM and microSD card for memory expansion, as they share a slot. They all come with a fingerprint reader. In the Samsung Galaxy J7 it also serves as a home button. With the devices from Motorola and Lenovo as well as the Huawei Mate 10 Lite the fingerprint reader can also be used for navigation via gestures.

156.2 mm / 6.15 inch 75.2 mm / 2.96 inch 7.5 mm / 0.2953 inch 164 g0.3616 lbs154 mm / 6.06 inch 75.8 mm / 2.98 inch 8.4 mm / 0.3307 inch 169 g0.3726 lbs153.5 mm / 6.04 inch 76.2 mm / 3 inch 8 mm / 0.315 inch 170 g0.3748 lbs153 mm / 6.02 inch 76 mm / 2.99 inch 8.3 mm / 0.3268 inch 177 g0.3902 lbs152.5 mm / 6 inch 74.8 mm / 2.94 inch 8 mm / 0.315 inch 181 g0.399 lbs152.6 mm / 6.01 inch 77.4 mm / 3.05 inch 7.7 mm / 0.3031 inch 155 g0.3417 lbs

Display, features and performance

It is great that the Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) has an AMOLED display: bright colors and theoretically endless high contrasts create a vibrant image impression. In the reference field, only the Lenovo P2 offers an AMOLED display which brings with it a problem similar to the display of the Galaxy J7: Since there is no backlight, it is not possible to reduce the brightness of the display by reducing the illumination. This is why OLED displays use pulse width modification, i.e. they switch the display off and on again at high frequency to reduce the amount of light that penetrates the eye. That is not a problem in itself if it happens fast enough. The screen of the Galaxy J7 is activated and deactivated approximately 258 times per second, which could cause irritation for very sensitive users.

The resolution of 1920x1080 pixels is the standard that all devices in the comparison meet. The Huawei Mate 10 Lite has slightly more pixels on the long side to compensate for the different aspect ratio. The display of the Asus ZenFone 3 lights up the brightest, while all other displays have an average brightness of between 450 and 500 cd/m² . On the Galaxy J7, however, you have to activate the brightness sensor; otherwise the maximum brightness is noticeably lower. 

With only 16 GB of internal memory, the Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) is almost stingy, while the competing devices from Huawei and Asus offer 64 GB of storage for a similar price. In terms of RAM, 3 GB is at least competitive, but even here there are many comparable devices that offer one GB more. The Galaxy J7 is equipped with an NFC chip, but there is still an older micro-USB port that at least supports USB-OTG. Only the Asus ZenFone 3 offers a USB-C connection in the reference field.

Apart from the Galaxy J7, you can also get a fast 802.11-ac-WLAN with the Lenovo P2 and Asus ZenFone 3, but otherwise you will not find it. The Huawei Mate 10 Lite cannot even handle the less busy 5 GHz network for Wi-Fi networks. Samsung's mid-range smartphones also excel in transmission speeds. LTE Cat. 6 is also not yet standard on all devices. The Nokia 6, for example, offers a lower LTE speed.  

In terms of performance, the Galaxy J7 is no longer fully competitive in its range: The Exynos 7870 is the same SoC used in the Galaxy J5 (2017) and is clearly inferior to a Snapdragon 625, as used in the Lenovo P2 or the Motorola Moto G5s Plus, for example. The Samsung Galaxy J7 often enough finishes last in graphics calculations. However, this is especially noticeable when you use elaborate apps or games. In everyday use the smartphone is very fast. The Galaxy J7 accesses an inserted microSD faster than the comparators, whereas the internal memory is much slower.

Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
Super AMOLED, 1920x1080, 5.50
Nokia 6
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.50
Huawei Mate 10 Lite
IPS, 2160x1080, 5.90
Motorola Moto G5s Plus
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.50
Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.50
Lenovo P2
AMOLED, 1920x1080, 5.50
Response Times
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
4.8 (2.8, 2)
48 (25, 23)
43.2 (19.6, 23.6)
50.8 (22.4, 28.4)
56 (17, 39)
8 (3, 5)
Response Time Black / White *
4 (2, 2)
34 (19, 15)
28 (12.4, 15.6)
25.6 (10, 15.6)
36 (15, 21)
6 (3, 3)
PWM Frequency
257.7
2404 (7)
240.4
Screen
Brightness middle
454
512
467
512
658
479
Brightness
463
501
457
500
633
477
Brightness Distribution
86
94
89
90
93
91
Black Level *
0.36
0.3
0.35
0.66
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
2
6.4
5
4.6
4.9
2.4
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
5.3
10.9
8.2
7.6
9.1
5.6
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
1.7
7.2
6.1
3.8
5.8
2.8
Gamma
2.1 105%
2.28 96%
2.15 102%
2.11 104%
2.26 97%
2.28 96%
CCT
6394 102%
7904 82%
7961 82%
6952 93%
7840 83%
6702 97%
Contrast
1422
1557
1463
997
Total Average (Program / Settings)

* ... smaller is better

PCMark for Android - Work performance score
Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
6785 Points ∼100%
Huawei Mate 10 Lite
6024 Points ∼89%
Motorola Moto G5s Plus
5656 Points ∼83%
Nokia 6
4980 Points ∼73%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
4920 Points ∼73%
Lenovo P2
4810 Points ∼71%
AnTuTu v6 - Total Score
Motorola Moto G5s Plus
63746 Points ∼100%
Lenovo P2
63522 Points ∼100%
Huawei Mate 10 Lite
63195 Points ∼99%
Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
62484 Points ∼98%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
47339 Points ∼74%
Nokia 6
47066 Points ∼74%
3DMark
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics
Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
15984 Points ∼100%
Motorola Moto G5s Plus
15860 Points ∼99%
Lenovo P2
15462 Points ∼97%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
12955 Points ∼81%
Huawei Mate 10 Lite
11780 Points ∼74%
Nokia 6
8973 Points ∼56%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score
Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
13466 Points ∼100%
Lenovo P2
13398 Points ∼99%
Motorola Moto G5s Plus
13225 Points ∼98%
Huawei Mate 10 Lite
9936 Points ∼74%
Nokia 6
9605 Points ∼71%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
7456 Points ∼55%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score
Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
13955 Points ∼100%
Lenovo P2
13808 Points ∼99%
Motorola Moto G5s Plus
13732 Points ∼98%
Huawei Mate 10 Lite
10294 Points ∼74%
Nokia 6
9457 Points ∼68%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
8318 Points ∼60%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16
Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
23 fps ∼100%
Lenovo P2
23 fps ∼100%
Motorola Moto G5s Plus
23 fps ∼100%
Nokia 6
16 fps ∼70%
Huawei Mate 10 Lite
16 fps ∼70%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
12 fps ∼52%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16
Lenovo P2
23 fps ∼100%
Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
21 fps ∼91%
Motorola Moto G5s Plus
19 fps ∼83%
Nokia 6
16 fps ∼70%
Huawei Mate 10 Lite
16 fps ∼70%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
12 fps ∼52%
BaseMark OS II
System
Huawei Mate 10 Lite
2983 Points ∼100%
Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
2923 Points ∼98%
Motorola Moto G5s Plus
2914 Points ∼98%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
2368 Points ∼79%
Nokia 6
2135 Points ∼72%
Lenovo P2
1960 Points ∼66%
Overall
Huawei Mate 10 Lite
1398 Points ∼100%
Lenovo P2
1226 Points ∼88%
Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
1215 Points ∼87%
Motorola Moto G5s Plus
1033 Points ∼74%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
353 Points ∼25%
Nokia 6
307 Points ∼22%
Octane V2 - Total Score
Huawei Mate 10 Lite
5096 Points ∼100%
Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
4905 Points ∼96%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
4560 Points ∼89%
Motorola Moto G5s Plus
4456 Points ∼87%
Lenovo P2
4435 Points ∼87%
Nokia 6
2899 Points ∼57%
AndroBench 3-5
Sequential Write 256KB SDCard
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
63.86 MB/s ∼100%
Lenovo P2
59.41 MB/s ∼93%
Motorola Moto G5s Plus
58.85 MB/s ∼92%
Nokia 6
56.6 MB/s ∼89%
Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
50.07 MB/s ∼78%
Huawei Mate 10 Lite
35.35 MB/s ∼55%
Sequential Read 256KB SDCard
Nokia 6
84.6 MB/s ∼100%
Motorola Moto G5s Plus
79.58 MB/s ∼94%
Lenovo P2
79.25 MB/s ∼94%
Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
79.22 MB/s ∼94%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
76.12 MB/s ∼90%
Huawei Mate 10 Lite
69.1 MB/s ∼82%
Sequential Write 256KB
Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
188 MB/s ∼100%
Huawei Mate 10 Lite
99.79 MB/s ∼53%
Nokia 6
77.06 MB/s ∼41%
Lenovo P2
76.74 MB/s ∼41%
Motorola Moto G5s Plus
75.7 MB/s ∼40%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
52.98 MB/s ∼28%
Sequential Read 256KB
Huawei Mate 10 Lite
286.78 MB/s ∼100%
Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
282 MB/s ∼98%
Nokia 6
273.06 MB/s ∼95%
Lenovo P2
270.14 MB/s ∼94%
Motorola Moto G5s Plus
237.44 MB/s ∼83%
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
198.47 MB/s ∼69%

Legend

 
Samsung Galaxy J7 2017 Samsung Exynos 7870 Octa, ARM Mali-T830 MP1, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Nokia 6 Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937), Qualcomm Adreno 505, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Huawei Mate 10 Lite HiSilicon Kirin 659, ARM Mali-T830 MP2, 64 GB eMMC Flash
 
Motorola Moto G5s Plus Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, Qualcomm Adreno 506, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, Qualcomm Adreno 506, 64 GB eMMC Flash
 
Lenovo P2 Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, Qualcomm Adreno 506, 32 GB eMMC Flash

Cameras

In terms of the number of megapixels, the specifications of the cameras in the Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) are good: 13 megapixels at the back and front. At the back there is a two-colored flash and autofocus, at the front a monochrome flash and fix focus. Both cameras can record video in Full HD. The resolution of the front camera in particular is a statement. Only the Huawei Mate 10 Lite  can keep up with it. As for the main camera, there are also other 16-megapixel lenses in this price range. For example, such as Nokia and Asus.

The images from Samsung Galaxy J7's main camera seem a little dark and the colors are a bit pale. The Huawei Mate 10 Lite, for example, brightens up considerably better and the ZenFone 3 also makes for brighter and more colorful pictures. All in all, the photos from the Samsung Galaxy J7 are on par with the rest, but do not go beyond that.

Testshot Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)
Testshot Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)
Testshot Lenovo P2
Testshot Lenovo P2
Testshot Huawei Mate 10 Lite
Testshot Huawei Mate 10 Lite
Testshot Nokia 6
Testshot Nokia 6
Testshot Asus ZenFone 3
Testshot Asus ZenFone 3
Testshot Motorola Moto G5s Plus
Testshot Motorola Moto G5s Plus

Battery life

Now that the rechargeable battery is permanently installed, the capacity has improved: 3600 mAh is a statement that can only be surpassed by the Lenovo P2 with its huge 5100 mAh battery. Nevertheless, the device also has to surrender to the Motorola Moto G5s Plus, whose engineers have drawn a considerable amount of WLAN runtime from the smaller battery. Here the Huawei Mate 10 Lite is clearly falling behind. At 15:04 hours of battery life in the WLAN test, the Samsung Galaxy J7 certainly does not need to fear comparison. If you are rather economical, the Samsung Galaxy J7 should easily endure two working days.

Samsung Galaxy J7 2017
3600 mAh
Nokia 6
3000 mAh
Huawei Mate 10 Lite
3340 mAh
Motorola Moto G5s Plus
3000 mAh
Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
3000 mAh
Lenovo P2
5100 mAh
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle
1950
1695
1150
1496
1502
2841
H.264
1096
542
502
905
1199
WiFi v1.3
904
670
520
974
797
978
Load
525
228
223
419
352
528

Verdict

Top dog with strong competition: Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)
Top dog with strong competition: Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)

Not having any major weakness is probably the greatest strength of the Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017). However, there is one thing bothering us and it may not be noticeable in everyday life: The weak SoC is clearly lagging behind comparable devices, and the memory is accessed very slowly. Since the Galaxy J7 operates completely smoothly when it comes to menu navigation and simple apps, only those who often use their smartphone for complex apps should notice this. At times, the Galaxy J7 even stays under mid-range standards: Memory configuration, for example, is better in all comparable devices. 

Apart from that, however, the Galaxy J7 is almost always impressive: a sturdy and stylish casing, a colorful and high-contrast display, neat cameras, especially for Selfies, and long battery life. The competing devices can only score at certain points, as additional features in this price range have a limited budget. The Lenovo P2 scores with its incredibly enduring battery, but cannot keep up with its body and camera. Motorola Moto G5s Plus also offers good battery life and high performance. The dual cameras and the casing of the Huawei Mate 10 Lite are appealing, but the battery does not last that long. The Asus ZenFone 3 offers an attractive design and a very bright display. In addition to the nostalgic value, the good camera and the pure Android are convincing features of the Nokia 6.

A safe choice for those who do not want to deal with technical details: The Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) does not allow any room for major mistakes. However, for performance junkies or runtime fans the competing devices are often the better option.

The Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) is for anyone who does not exactly know what they need. It almost always wants to be a safe choice because it does not really do anything wrong. The comparison devices do not really make huge mistakes either, and thus it is to a large extent a question of taste as to which smartphone really fits the mid-range buyer. Only those who prefer a lot of power should leave their hands off the Galaxy J7 and consider one of the comparable devices from Huawei, Asus or Motorola. If you want to charge your smartphone as rarely as possible, the Lenovo P2 is a good bet.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > The best alternatives to the Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)
Florian Wimmer, 2017-12-19 (Update: 2018-05-15)
Florian Schmitt
Editor of the original article: Florian Schmitt - Managing Editor Mobile
When I was 12, the first computer came into the house and immediately I started tinkering around, taking it apart, getting new parts and replacing them - after all, there always had to be enough power for the current games. When I came to Notebookcheck in 2009, I was passionate about testing gaming notebooks. Since 2012, my attention has been focused on smartphones, tablets and future technologies.