Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) review: a well-dressed long-distance runner

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Valery Aloyants
@valeryaloyants
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The J series represents the entry level of the galaxy of Samsung smartphones. The Galaxy J7 is the highest representative of this and makes the line of demarcation with the Galaxy A a little blurry. The Galaxy J7 (2017) indeed has serious advantages and is quite successful overall.

Presentation

The Galaxy J7 (2017) is the largest in the J family, with a 5,5-inch (≈14 cm) diagonal screen, in Super Amoled Full HD panel (1 x 920 px). Inside we find an Exynos 1 SoC, with 080 ARM Cortex-A7870 cores and a Mali-T8 MP53 iGPU. Everything is associated with 830 GB of RAM and an internal memory of 2 GB, expandable by adding a microSD card. For the photo, there is a rear sensor of 3 Mpx and a front sensor of 16 Mpx. Connectivity is provided by Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC and 13G LTE. The Galaxy J5 can also accommodate 4 SIM cards. The software animation is left to Android 7 Nougat and the Samsung Experience overlay. Finally, the energy of all this little world is provided by a 2 mAh battery.



The Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) is marketed at an indicative price of €339.

Ergonomics and design

Like the other members of the sibling, the Galaxy J7 (2017) has abandoned the plastic shell to switch to metal. This brings a dose of elegance to the smartphone, which is similar in design to the superior Galaxy A series. The curves of the back ensure a good grip in the hand, although you have to be careful because the metal shows sliding.




The Galaxy J7 (2017) seen from the front.

Difficult to use a smartphone of such size with one hand. The screen takes up just over 73% of the front face, which is correct, but still far from the current trend which aims to make the borders disappear. Samsung still uses the one below the screen by integrating the Android navigation keys, as well as the fingerprint reader. The latter works properly and opposes only a few failures when unlocking the device.


The J7 from behind.

If we want to look for the differences between this J7 and a Galaxy A5 (besides the size of the screen), we find them in the absence of waterproofing for the first and the presence of a micro-USB port and not USB-C. We can also regret that the J series has lost its removable battery.


No USB-C port, but a fingerprint reader on the front.



Screen

Since Samsung democratized Super Amoled panels on the Galaxy J, the latter have passed a milestone in the field of display. Here, the 5,5-inch Full HD panel (1 x 920 px) offers a resolution of 1 dpi, sufficient for the majority of uses. Advantage of Oled technology, the contrast ratio is almost infinite, which gives a real advantage to the J080 against competition based for many on LCD technology. We have also noted a maximum brightness of 401 cd / m² and a light reflection rate of 7% which ensure good readability in direct sunlight. The minimum brightness drops to 511 cd / m², guaranteeing not to burn your retinas in the dark.

Delta E colorimetry = 2,1

Samsung perfectly masters its screen technology and notably offers a very faithful "Basic" screen mode. We measured a delta E of 2,1, an excellent score that places the Galaxy J7 (2017) in the big leagues. The color temperature for its part reaches 6 K, slightly above the expected standard of 824 K. The cold drift of the display is very subtle, however.



In terms of responsiveness, the Galaxy J7 screen is in the middle of what the others offer. We noted a tactile delay of 87 ms, slightly below the average of our comparison (87 ms) and zero persistence.

performances

The Exynos 7870 chip is not the most powerful on the market. However, it is enough for the Galaxy J7 to provide a smooth experience overall. Slowdowns are quite rare and are often caused by opening heavy applications. The presence of 3 GB of RAM ensures that you can switch from one application to another without latency and we are generally satisfied with the use of the J7.


Temperatures during CPU/GPU load (front left, back right).

The Galaxy J7 (2017) is not a smartphone that heats up. Whether after heavy use of its CPUs and iGPUs or after a long recording of photos and videos, its surface never exceeds 32°C. There is therefore no problem on this side.


The same temperatures, this time using photos + video.

For video games, the Galaxy J7 (2017) is not the portable console of the year. The iGPU Mali-T830 MP2 lacks a bit of power to run very demanding games at maximum capacity. Sometimes you have to lower the level of the graphics a little to maintain a perfectly fluid experience. The J7 proves to be more comfortable for light games, although it is capable of running almost all Play Store titles.

Video Games

Audio

The headphone output of the Galaxy J7 (2017) places it in the good half of our comparison. It delivers a power that will satisfy the vast majority of headphones, while maintaining a very low level of distortion. If the dynamic range is wide enough, this is not the case for stereo, which is below average. The single speaker is not very good. Its power is average, but the sound produced is sorely lacking in precision. Its biggest problem remains its placement on the right edge of the device: when holding the smartphone horizontally, the exit tends to be obstructed by a finger.

On the side of the headphones provided, it is not a great success. They will suffice to serve as a hands-free kit, but the sound reproduction is too limited for listening to music. You can find more details on these in the Galaxy J3 (2017) test.

Photo

The Galaxy J7 (2017) has a 13 MP photo sensor on the back. It delivers decent images in broad daylight, with an interesting amount of detail and good white balance management. Like many Samsung smartphones, it tends to offer contrast-focused image processing. This loses fine detail, but enhances contours. A different approach to that of a Huawei P8 Lite 2017, lighter in its processing. The focusing speed is also correct, without being overwhelming.

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In low light conditions, the Galaxy J7 shows its limits. The smoothing applied by its image processing is quite violent and causes a lot of information to be lost in the photo. The J7 focuses more difficultly when there is little light. A P8 Lite 2017 again offers a slightly better result. It retains more electronic noise, but also more detail.

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In video, the Galaxy J7 (2017) can shoot up to Full HD definition. Focus tracking is not very efficient, unlike exposure metering, which is done gently and precisely. Some slowdowns appear from time to time on the videos.

The 13 MP front sensor produces particularly smooth images. Even after deactivating the "beauty" modes, we often end up with a face that lacks detail. Exposure management is satisfactory overall.

Autonomy

Strong point of the previous iteration, autonomy remains a safe bet for the Galaxy J7 (2017). With a modest configuration and a 3 mAh battery, we expected no less. On our SmartViser test protocol, the J600 lasted 7:18 hours – about ten minutes less than its predecessor. That's 45 hours longer than a Motorola Moto G1 Plus and 30 hour longer than a Galaxy A5 (1). In video playback on Netflix, the Galaxy J5 held up for 2017 hours. In practice, the J7 is able to last 15 days in standard use. If you are more relentless in its uses, the J32 can still take a big day.

The only regret is the lack of compatibility with fast charging; it takes about 2 hours 45 minutes to fully recharge the device.

Highlights

  • Very good finishes.

  • Excellent Super Amoled screen.

  • Fingerprint reader.

  • Correct performance.

  • Very solid autonomy.

Weak points

  • No USB-C or waterproofing.

  • Average photo part, especially in low light.

  • No fast charging.

Conclusion

Note globale

Samsung's Galaxy J7 (2017) remains solid on its fundamentals. A very long battery life and balanced performance make it a good choice for anyone looking for a large-screen smartphone without breaking the bank. All he needs is good photography skills to really take a step forward.

Sub Notes
  • Ergonomics and design
  • Screen
  • performances
  • Audio
  • Photo
  • Autonomy
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