The Galaxy J series smartphones have been a favorite among Indian consumers for quite some time. This can be attributed to the fact that even an entry-level Samsung phone is worth its money. Joining closely in the wake of the successful lineup is the new budget phone — the Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro.
Launched alongside the Galaxy J7 Max, the Galaxy J7 Pro is priced at Rs. 20,900 and boasts a Super AMOLED screen in a stylish new setting. It also is touted for its Social Camera features which have been developed in Bangalore, India as part of the Make in India campaign.
So, let’s see how the Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro fares for a budget device.
The Samsung J7 Pro is an apt successor to the Samsung J7 lineup. f you recollect the Galaxy J7 Prime was quite popular with the Indian masses. At 5.5-inches it packs a metal unibody with beautifully curved corners similar to the Galaxy A7. Unlike a few recent phones, the antenna lines are proudly displayed on the rear giving the smooth rear a stylish finish.
The rear camera lens and the LED flash is flush fitted in an oval backdrop, which not only lends an aesthetic appeal but also brings about a symmetric look. At 7.9-mm thickness, this member of the Samsung Galaxy J7 family is easy in the hands and feels premium at the same time.
Speaking of the design, you’ll find the power button on the right, just below the speaker grills. The change in the placement of the speaker grills is an interesting design change as opposed to the standard layout at the bottom, thus preventing sounds and audio from getting muffled by the hands.
The speakers grill on the side is another clever design aspect.
On the left, you’ll find the volume rockers, SIM slots and a separate slot for the SD card. I particularly liked this design as it gives you the independence to use the dual SIM cards (nano+nano) and the memory card simultaneously.
The fingerprint sensor is located on the chin flanked on either side by the recent button and back button. The buttons are tactile and respond well.
Similar to its high-end cousins, Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy Note8, the J7 Pro has also retained its headphone jack.
Though it’s 2017, the Galaxy J7 Pro is still fitted with a micro USB charging port. At a time, when the smartphone and gadget world is adopting the universal USB Type-C charging ports, the micro USB charging port seems a tad disappointing.
Given that even the budget offerings from Xiaomi like the Mi Max 2 or the Mi A1 have switched over to USB Type-C, hopefully, the upcoming version of the Samsung J7 series makes the jump.
Overall, the Galaxy J7 Pro looks good and feels good but isn’t fragile at the same time. A drop from a height of around 5 foot didn’t even leave a scratch, let alone a dent. However, do remember to mount a protective cover before your luck runs out.
Display: A Shining Display
Bezel-less displays are the new big thing. Yes, screens are getting wider and those dark areas are being sent packing. And keeping up with this trend is the Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro. The thinner bezels give an illusion of an even wider screen to this 5.5-inch screen phone.
Displays are one of the major strength of Samsung and the J7 Pro does full justice to this statement. The Super AMOLED screen of the J7 Pro feels amazingly bright, vivid and crisp with accurate color reproductions.
This is one of the premium phones from the Samsung Galaxy J7 stable since it's one of the first entry-level phones to sport the Always on Display feature. This feature is customizable and leaves no stones unturned when it comes to displaying incoming messages and notifications.
What I liked about this phone is the built-in Blue light filter. The switch is easily accessible through the Quick Settings menu.
Coming to the sunlight legibility, the Galaxy J7 Pro stands it grounds even under harsh sunlight. This was quite surprising since even the high-end phones like OnePlus 5 goes for a dive under sunlight.
Hardware and Performance
The device is fueled by the midrange 1.6 GHz Exynos 7870 octa-core (Cortex-A53) processor, similar to the Samsung J7 prime (2016).
Coming to the RAM, this mobile phone packs 3 GB RAM and 32 GB of internal storage. This internal memory is expandable through a microSD card up to 256 GB and the dedicated memory card slot is the cherry on top.
The 7870 octa-core processor — comparable to the Snapdragon 625 — manages to sail through most o the regular activities with ease. But when it comes to hardcore processing, you might encounter a tiny lag here and there.
And this leads us to the topic of gaming. While most of the casual games like Mario Run or Township can be played easily, it’s with the high graphic games that the performance drop is significant.
For instance, Asphalt 8 in the higher graphic settings encountered significant frame drops.
Moving onto benchmark scores, the AnTuTu benchmarking tool clocked a score of 46358 which is just a decent for this price range. If I were to compare it to the Moto G5 Plus, which is around four thousand bucks less, it scored an impressive 63342 points.
On the temperature front, it tends to get unusually hot at times, even the app which you may be using be as simple as a news app. However, as noted above, it’s not always.
Speaking of the fingerprint sensor, the turnaround time is excellent. Initially, I was a bit skeptical about it, being a long-standing admirer of OnePlus 3/3T’s fingerprint sensor, however, the Galaxy J7 Pro has left me impressed with its accuracy and response time.
Software: A Step Ahead
The J7 Max and J7 Pro are one of the few budget devices from Samsung which has come packed with Android Nougat 7.0 in 2017. If you recollect, even the mid-tier Galaxy A5 or the C7 Pro released with Android Marshmallow.
Well, that’s a plus point here. Typical of all Samsung smartphones, Android Nougat is based on the in-house TouchWiz which means that there are plenty of features built-in.
For one, you have a smart device maintenance tool, a couple of nifty features like Lock and mask apps, Dual Messenger, Secure Folder, among others.
The highlight of the hour is Samsung Pay.
Standing up starkly among these features is Samsung Pay, which uses NFC (near field communication) or MST (magnetic field communication) to communicate the transaction details.
Launched in March this year, it lets you make cashless and cardless transactions using your smartphone. Since this technology works with both NFC and MST-enabled PoS devices, using Samsung Pay in India is a breeze.
When this feature is a basic ask, even found in devices priced as low as Rs. 6,999 (Xiaomi Redmi 4) and this is just one of the examples.
Camera: Less Than Impressive
Apart from Samsung Pay, the second important feature is the camera, rather the Social Camera. But before, we get down to it, let’s go through the specs first. The Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro is fitted with two 13-megapixel cameras at the front and at the back.
And the highlight of the rear 13-megapixel camera is the aperture. A wide aperture of f/1.7 means bright and vivid pictures and true to it, the J7 Pro manages to capture pictures which are crisp in normal lighting conditions.
But when it comes to color reproductions, the results are a tad washed out.
The following are some of the pictures shot using the Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro.
However, low-light photography is a true test for any camera and unfortunately, the J7 Pro fails at it miserably. For one, the focus just doesn’t seem to sit right, resulting in pictures which are blurry and grainy.
This drawback seems especially bad for a phone which has been marketed to capture great pictures in low-light conditions.
Another sore spot is the macro focus. The primary camera struggles to focus on objects and more often than not, you will land up with a blurry shot. This situation can be averted if the distance between the object and the camera is increased, but then, the meaning of Macro is unfortunately lost.
On the bright side, the camera has its usual share of Snapchat-like filters (initially seen in the Galaxy S8), stickers and a beauty mode.
These built-in stickers ensure that you end up downloading fewer photo editing apps from the Google Play Store.
Going back to the Social Camera, it’s a great feature to have provided it lets you click and share in a jiffy. All you have to do is add your Facebook and WhatsApp details and you are good to go.
On the contrary, the selfie shooter of the J7 Pro pulled off an impressive performance with the front flash acting as the ever helpful wingman.
All in all, the camera performance was less than impressive and was a big let down, especially when it came to color reproduction and setting the focus.
Battery Life: A True Performer
Battery life can make or break a phone and thankfully the J7 Pro is equipped with a good battery and great optimization techniques. The Galaxy J7 Pro is powered by a 3600 mAh battery that will easily see you through a whole day and more, in case of regular usage.
The built-in battery optimization plays a great role in maximizing the battery life
While, if you are a heavy user, it will last you through a day. Aforesaid, the built-in battery optimization plays a great role in maximizing the battery life in the J7 Pro. While the app power monitor or the power saving modes are not really new, they play their part well in preserving the juice.
However, this is let down by the charging technique. The Galaxy J7 Pro sports neither Fast Charge nor Qualcomm's Quick Charge. So, to charge the J7 Pro, you’ll need to shell out a couple of hours to charge it to the fullest.
Moreover, the charger that comes with the J7 Pro shells out an output of 5V and 1.55A instead of the standard output of 5V and 2A, found in most of the smartphones in this price range.
Overall, the Samsung J7 Pro can be seen as a great addition to the Samsung J series with its stylish design, Super AMOLED display, build quality, support for 4G LTE and a decent battery life. Plus, it lets you stick two nano SIM card together, along with a microSD card, thanks to the dedicated slots.
But then, it’s the price which is a tad much considering the average camera performance and a mediocre processor.
At a time when the Indian smartphone market is flooded with phones like the Xiaomi Mi A1, Gionee A1 or he Huawei Honor 8 Lite at a comparatively lesser price, it remains to be seen whether the Galaxy J7 Pro is able to beat the competition with the brand name alone.
And hey, don’t forget to get the protective cover. Better to be safe than sorry, right?