The Samsung Galaxy J6 brings with it a sturdy design, good display for consuming content and average everyday performance. However, its camera is lacklustre and if you are looking for a performance workhorse, you have better options to choose from.
If you are looking for a smartphone in the sub 15k price bracket, then you are spoiled for choice. From the Redmi Note 5 Pro to the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1, and even offerings from Motorola, the sub 15k price bracket has a diverse portfolio for users to chose from. Today we have with us the Samsung Galaxy J6. We have the 3GB RAM, 32GB storage variant for review, priced at Rs 13,990. Is it a worthy contender? We are about to find out.
Weight: 154 grams
CPU: Exynos 7870 Octa
OS & UI: Android 8 with TouchWiz
Display: 5.6-inch 18.5:9 display
Display resolution: 720 x 1480p
Rear Camera: 13MP
Front camera: 8MP
Built-in storage: 32GB
Price: Rs. 13,990 for the 3GB RAM, 32GB variant and Rs 16,490 for the 4GB RAM, 64GB Variant.
Sleek and well built are the first things that come to mind when you hold the Samsung Galaxy J6. Considering the price of Rs 13,990, the device is quite well built. On the front we have the new and trendy 18.5:9 display with an unspecified version of Gorilla Glass protecting it. At the back, the smartphone is made of metal and feels very sturdy. Sometimes when you knock on the back of a metal phone, you get the feeling that the sheet of metal used may be quite thin. That isn’t the case here. The Samsung Galaxy J6 feels very well built and that is a good thing. In a day and age dominated by glass backs, it is nice to see a smartphone with a metal build.
On the left of the phone, you have the volume buttons. There are two separate buttons and that’s good. Below the buttons, there are two slots, one for SIM 1 and the other housing SIM 2 and a dedicated microSD card slot. Its nice to see the smartphone give users a dedicated slot rather than a hybrid slot.
On the right you have the power button and the speaker grill. This position for the speaker on a Samsung device isn’t anything new, but it is better than placing it at the back of the phone (where the audio can get muffled) or the bottom where you can cover it with your hands.
The front is all display with no physical buttons. Above the display you have the earpiece next to which rests the front camera and the front flash. The back of the device has the camera along with the fingerprint sensor which rests below it. Personally, I think the placement of the fingerprint sensor is a little too high for my liking and I wish it were slightly lower to fit perfectly with my grip. It could also be that my hands are a little small to use on this device.
Overall, if there is one place where the device shines, it is with its build and design. It is well built, fits comfortably in one hand, even if one handed use isn’t the easiest. It doesn’t have a notch, something I am really happy about and the dedicated microSD card slot is always a treat.
Speaking of the display, the Galaxy J6 2018 has Samsung’s Super AMOLED screen in an 18.5:9 aspect ratio with a 720 x 1480-pixel count. This means the display is essentially 720p. On a 5.6-inch display, it would have been great to see a 1080p display. Where the display succeeds is with its crisp colours and generous viewing angles. Watching content from YouTube, Netflix or Prime Videos is a treat and there are times when you may be bothered by the resolution especially if you are coming from an FHD display.
The display on the Galaxy J6 has an outdoor mode which makes the screen brighter for outdoor viewing. This mode turns off in 15 minutes unless you are still actively using the display. Keeping the phone in outdoor mode will make it a battery guzzler. You also have an option to toggle the blue light off to eliminate eye strain. The display comes with options such as Adaptive Display which changes the settings based on usage, AMOLED Cinema and AMOLED Photo which essentially reduces the blue filter and a Basic mode with feels a lot like the AMOLED Cinema and AMOLED photo mode.
Overall, the display is nice if you are one that will consume a lot of video content on the go thanks to the vivid colours it represents. What is very disappointing is the absence of an ambient light sensor. This means that you will end up manually adjusting the brightness of the display every time. So, if you have set it to full brightness for use in the day and suddenly need to use it when you are in the bed in pitch darkness, you will have a blast of full brightness in your face and will need to manually adjust the level of brightness. The lack of auto brightness can get quite annoying.
Overall, the display is good for consuming content, however we wish the resolution were Full HD.
Moving over to sound, this isn’t the first time we have seen the placement of a speaker on the side of a Samsung smartphone. This new placement is interesting. Hold the phone in landscape mode with the speaker facing upwards and you have a position which is great for gaming as well as watching movies. Speaking of the sound quality, it is loud and doesn’t crackle event at full volume. If you are a bunch of people huddled around the phone to enjoy a new movie trailer, you should hear it just fine.
There is only Mono output for the speaker, but I guess it would be a little much expecting stereo audio at this price point.
Speaking of the UI on the Samsung Galaxy J6, the smartphone runs on Android 8.0 out of the box with Samsung Experience 9.0. If you have used a Samsung phone in the past, then you will feel right at home. From the flagship S series like navigation buttons to the ease with which you can search the settings, ‘TouchWiz” has come a long way.
For the most part the UI is fluid even with multiple apps open and swift multitasking between apps. You can also add two apps to the display for seamless multitasking. WhatsApping while watching YouTube is now very convenient. You can also add a pair of your favourite apps to use in multiwindow as a shortcut to the home screen which is nice.
It is only when you have a lot of apps open that you will notice some stutter especially if you have numerous Chrome tables open. How long can 3GB of RAM keep the UI fluid is something time will tell.
Overall, Samsung’s UI is simple to use with ease of navigation and customization. The device comes with face unlock as well as fingerprint ID and we recommend you stick to fingerprint if you are finnicky about security.
Like we’ve mentioned above, you can multitask with ease and that works well. How long will the phone maintain its smooth UI is something only time will tell as more regular usage will reveal the lags and stutters that may plague it. In the time we spent with the phone, it stuttered only when heavy multitasking.
As far as benchmarks are concerned, there’s nothing to write home about. The performance is lower than the Redmi Note 5 Pro and the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 on paper and you can check out the benchmark scores in the images below.
Coming to gaming, using GameBench, we got an average FPS of 26 when playing Asphalt 9 for about 20 minutes. The game ran well and was playable and even though the drop in framerate was noticeable, its safe to say that the game ran well enough to be enjoyed. If you play casual puzzle games or games that aren’t graphically heavy, you should do fine with this device. However, if hard core gaming on the go is what you are looking for, then there are other phones to consider in this price range such as the Redmi Note 5 Pro and the Asus Zenofne Max Pro M1.
When it comes to the optics, the Samsung Galaxy J6 has a single camera in the front and the back. The rear of the smartphone has a 13MP camera and the front has an 8MP shooter. Kicking off with the rear camera, it is average at best. If the lighting is good, you will get images that you can share on social media without any worries. Put the images on a monitor and blow it up to full size and you will see that they lack details. The camera app on the smartphone comes with a bunch of modes such as beauty, pro, sticker, continuous shot and more for you to play around with. The Pro mode gives you the ability to control white balance, ISO and exposure only.
Low light photography is where the camera suffers. To begin with, it takes too long to focus and the slightest shake can result in the photo getting blurred. This is due to a lack of any OIS or EIS in the camera. The problem of noise is there in low light photography.
Speaking of the front facing camera, once again, it is there just for the average social media post. It has a wide selfie mode where you essentially pan the camera right and left to cover a wider field of view and the result was mostly blurry because of the movement of my hands. There is a selfie focus mode as well which will give your selfie a bokeh effect, but this too is nothing to write home about.
The camera may get the job done for you if clicking photos from your phone isn’t a priority. But considering the features and results on offer from competing phones in the same price range, the camera on the J6 is disappointing.
When it comes to battery, 3000mAh is on the lower spectrum at this price range at least on paper. However, the battery life is something that can last you almost a day if you are an average user. Starting the day with 100% battery, I was at about 20 percent at the end of the day that involved my standard slew of calls and messages mixed with some YouTubing and a few Asphalt 9 races. I kept the brightness of the phone on the lower side and once again the lack of auto brightness will pinch. With auto brightness on this device, I feel I could have squeezed out some more battery life. In the PC mark battery test, the device lasted for 6 hours and 49 minutes.
There is a lot of brutal competition in the sub 15k price segment. The Samsung Galaxy J6 definitely does not beat our current champions – the Redmi note 5 pro or the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 in this price category in terms of overall performance. However, it does have a few things going for it. The smartphone is well built, easy to use and the Super AMOLED display is a treat to consume content on. The battery life is decent too. However, if you are looking for a performance workhorse with a good camera along with a nice build and design, then you are better off considering one of the competitors.
Sameer Mitha lives for gaming and technology is his muse. When he isn’t busy playing with gadgets or video games he delves into the world of fantasy novels.
04 Jun 2020
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