Samsung Galaxy J6, A6, A6+ first impressions: Sturdy build, fluid display, but...

By Souvik Das | Published on 21 May 2018
Samsung Galaxy J6, A6, A6+ first impressions: Sturdy build, fluid display, but...

The new bunch of Samsung smartphones all feature Infinity displays, but the modest processor and the lack of anything exciting might be a bit of a bother for some.

Samsung has been capitalising on its Infinity Display ever since it first appeared on the Galaxy S8 flagship from a year ago. One of the first companies to tout the wide aspect ratio displays, Samsung has also managed to follow the continuing trend of many companies featuring wide aspect ratio displays on mid-budget smartphones. Today, the Korean electronics giant premiered four smartphones in India - the Galaxy J6, J8, A6 and A6+, with prices ranging from the budget range to the mid-tier category. Interestingly, all four of them feature the Infinity Display aspect ratio.

Specifications and features
Specifications-wise, the Samsung Galaxy J6 is powered by the company’s own Exynos 7870 octa-core processor, clocked at 1.6GHz. The smartphone gets two variants - with 3GB RAM and 32GB native storage, and 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. It features a 5.6-inch sAMOLED display with 18:5 aspect ratio, and screen resolution of 720x1440 pixels. The Samsung Galaxy J6 houses a 13-megapixel rear camera with f/1.9 lens, and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera also with an f/1.9 lens. The entire package is powered by a 3000mAh battery pack, and the device runs Android Oreo with the company’s custom UI on top. The phone is a polycarbonate unibody construction, and features a dedicated memory card slot that can house cards of up to 256GB.

All the phones follow a mix-and-match pattern with each other in terms of specifications - the Galaxy A6 also features the Exynos 7870 SoC, while the Galaxy J8 and the Galaxy A6+ use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 processor. The smaller A-series of the two - the Galaxy A6 has the same display as the Galaxy J6, while the Galaxy J8 has a 6-inch display but only with HD+ (720x1440 pixels) resolution, which is underwhelming. The Samsung Galaxy A6+ is the only smartphone in this lineup that gets a Full HD+ (1080x2160 pixels) display panel, and measures 6 inches in size. It also gets a dual-rear camera setup, with a 16-megapixel primary camera with f/1.7 lens and a 5-megapixel ancillary camera for depth and details, with an f/1.9 lens. It also features a staggering 24-megapixel front-facing camera, with an f/1.9 lens. The rear-camera setup is also shared by the Galaxy J8, but it features a 16-megapixel front-facing camera with the same, f/1.9 lens. The Galaxy A6 also features this front camera, but houses only a 16-megapixel rear camera (with f/1.7 lens) instead of the dual-camera setup. All the four smartphones get both front- and rear-facing LED flash lights.

Barring the base variant of the Samsung Galaxy J6, 4GB of RAM is standard across all. Each of the four smartphones also come with 64GB of storage, while the Galaxy A6 and J6 also feature 32GB native storage variants. Thankfully, all of them feature dedicated memory card slots, with capability to expand storage up to 256GB. The Galaxy A6 and J6 also feature 3000mAh battery packs, while the A6+ and J8 house 3500mAh batteries. The Galaxy A6 duo features metal unibody chassis, while the J-series devices have polycarbonate bodies. All the phones come with Android Oreo, and the pricing is as follows:

Samsung Galaxy J6 (3/32GB): Rs. 13,990
Samsung Galaxy J6 (4/64GB): Rs. 16,490
Samsung Galaxy J8: Rs. 18,990
Samsung Galaxy A6 (32GB): Rs. 21,990
Samsung Galaxy A6 (64GB): Rs. 22,990
Samsung Galaxy A6+: Rs. 24,990

Upon initial usage
To be fair, each of the four new smartphones feel really solid and well-built. There is a sense of sturdiness to the build quality of the devices, even in the J-series phones. The displays are not bezel-less, and in a world where we are pretty much gunning for the end of bezels around displays, such bezels are pretty sharply noticeable. However, the displays themselves offer pretty impressive touch responses, and looked fairly sharp with the sAMOLED panel. The Galaxy J8 was not present at the launch event, but the Full HD+ panel on the Galaxy A6+ looked quite impressive. The front of the phones have no physical keys, giving them a flowing, continuous panel of uninterrupted glass, and that looks quite premium.

The interface, too, is well-designed. Samsung has also introduced a ‘chat-over-video’ feature, where you can continue watching a video even when typing out a message. This particular feature converts the keyboard and the chat window into transparent panels, which will not interrupt video playback with incoming messages. The overall interface is fluid and fairly easy to use, and all the icons and colour schemes are typically Samsung. There is a split-second stutter that is concealed well by the UI animations and won’t bother most, although we admittedly used the phones without any heavy load on. The usage of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 450 SoC may raise a few questions, and it remains to be tested if the fluid operability of the Galaxy A6+ in particular remains intact even when the regular bunch of apps are loaded, and one multitasks to the fullest.

In terms of the cameras, the camera app itself in these phones has a neat layout for easy understanding, and are fairly responsive. There is, however, a processing lag, which presents a bit of a delay if you’re attempting to take photographs in quick succession. The front-facing camera also gets a ‘selfie focus’ mode with software-induced background softening, and this should make selfie aficionados pretty happy.

However, while each of these phones tick boxes in terms of decent looks, good build and a good set of cameras, there aren’t anything excitingly different in them. Samsung is aiming at a rather muted mix of form and functionality, leaving out the pizzazz that many devices come with these days. While that may work for many who’d rather spend on reliability and the widespread network of Samsung’s, there are many that would argue against the lack of excitement around these devices.

The Samsung Galaxy J6, A6 and A6+ premiere tomorrow, across Samsung retailers and its own online store. The J6 will be available on Flipkart, while the A6 and A6+ will sell via Amazon as well. Samsung will also provide cashbacks to those who pay via Paytm at offline retailers, amounting to Rs. 3,000 on the A6 duo, and Rs. 1,500 on the Galaxy J6 and J8. All the phones will also be available on Paytm Mall, and the Galaxy J8 will sell July onward.

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