Samsung just released the Galaxy J6 last month, and it touts next-level entertainment at a price of Php13,990/$262. Would it stand against the competition? Here’s our full review.
DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
The design follows the aesthetics of the earlier-released A6 and A6+, sans a few key details that seem to be ditched for a lesser price tag. We’ve initially told you how it looked like in our hands-on, but the most noticeable change here is the use of a polycarbonate back over a metal one.
The front still has a 5.6-inch 18:9 display, the eight-megapixel camera with its dedicated LED Flash, call speaker, and a few sensors all covered under the phone’s 2.5D glass. It’s worth noting that the front panel is colored differently from its back and this is very noticeable when you use the gold variant. It’s also worth noting that the phone has no capacitive buttons as navigation is done on screen.
The left side still has two hidden trays — the smaller one houses the SIM1 slot while the larger one is for the SIM2 and microSD card.
The speakers and the power and lock button, on the other hand, sits on the right side. The keys still offer a tactile feel when pressed but it’s a lot quieter compared to the A6. The microUSB port and the 3.5mm audio jack are at the bottom of the device.
Flip the device on its back and we have the 13-megapixel camera and the dedicated LED flash at the right side, as well as the rectangular fingerprint sensor under it. The gold variant that we have is muted compared to the one presented with the A6, and it feels generic since we’ve seen a few phones sport this kind of gold hue in the market. It doesn’t register fingerprints but is prone to hairline scratches, so protection is a must-have.
Since the polycarbonate back material allows for a better signal reception, the white lines at the back are removed altogether. The camera and fingerprint scanner are not protruded. It’s also thinner and lighter than the A6 and is a joy to hold even for prolonged periods of time.
The phone does feel slippery at times when you have moist hands but provides a good grip thanks to the curved back edges. It also makes you feel you’re holding a smaller device so you can actually reach more parts with one hand — the 5.6-inch display easily fits into a chassis generally made for 5.2 or 5.3-inch phones.
DISPLAY AND MULTIMEDIA
The J6 is equipped with a tall 5.6-inch Super AMOLED display with an HD+ resolution, providing the device with a 294 pixel-per-inch density and five simultaneous touch points. That may sound a bit of a bummer, but we never had a problem looking at high-resolution images and video clips from the device. The colors are bright and vivid, it looks good on all angles, it provides decent contrast, and the display’s brightness is adequate for outdoor viewing.
With the 18:9 aspect ratio in tow, some videos may need a bit of clipping since most videos still support the more common 16:9 format, but nonetheless the display is great for multimedia consumption.
The loudspeaker is as decent as we can get with a mono setup, and fires from the right side of the device. Listening to headphones, though, is another story as the phone is built with Dolby’s Atmos sound technology for a better spatial experience. Too bad, the support is currently limited to several headphones as of the moment, so you’d notice the same good old sound quality when you use the ones included in the package.
Samsung has put a tandem of thirteen and eight-megapixel camera modules at the back and front of the J6, respectively, and their performance is what we’ve seen with most mid-ranges from the Korean juggernaut. Both offer f/1.9 aperture for better low-light photography, as well as various available modes such as Panorama, Pro, Night, Beauty, and Continuous.
While the photos appear sharp and of good contrast and exposure, it could also have off colors at some point especially when indoors. Dynamic range is limited in various instances, and it has a hard time taking photos at low light scenarios with slow shutter speeds. Here are some sample shots:
The selfie camera, on the other hand, touts three different strengths of LED flash modes to accompany low-light selfies. This is on top of the already-present sticker packs to create different selfie effects. We did not notice any difference when using the three different strengths of selfie flash and it did not fully illuminate the subject.
Other than that, other functions work decently: the colors are best with well-lit environments, but low-light also takes a hit. The beauty mode does the enhancing job well, while its software-assisted portrait mode oftentimes leave several areas un-blurred. Here are some sample selfie photos:
The J6 takes 1080p videos at 30 frames per second with stereo audio, There’s no available stabilization so expect your clips to be a bit shaky especially when in action. Autofocus works well, and the colors are similar to what we have observed in the photos. Here’s a sample clip:
OS, UI, AND APPS
The Galaxy J6, like other Samsung smartphones, has the Experience UI over Android Oreo on board. While it does not stray away from the usual Android navigation, Samsung’s clean-cut approach to navigation is highlighted with several features in tow and is easy not navigate with.
Swiping left from the home screen reveals the Bixby section, while a simple drag on the recent apps window reveals the split-screen feature. There are also notable Samsung features such as Game Mode, One-handed mode, a device management app, and Samsung Knox for additional security and encryption.
It also comes with a ton of pre-loaded apps from Samsung, Google, and Microsoft, leaving you with 22.4GB out of the 32GB internal storage for your own apps. If you need more space, you can easily pop in a microSD card into its dedicated slot for more storage.
PERFORMANCE AND BENCHMARKS
Using the J6 for the most part has been quite snappy thanks to the octa-core Exynos chip it bears, plus 3GB of RAM for multitasking. Heavy games such as Asphalt 8 take a hit in dropped rates, while casual games such as Zombie Tsunami work fine without any issues. Heat is mostly felt at the upper part of the rear especially when doing intense multitasking while connected via 4G. Here are our benchmarks:
|SPECIFICATIONS||SAMSUNG GALAXY J6|
|PC Mark||4,965 (Work 1.0)|
|3D Mark||257 (Sling Shot Extreme – OpenGL ES 3.1)
314 (Sling Shot Extreme – Vulkan)
We feel that the inclusion of an otherwise outdated chip hampered the phone’s prowess and it could’ve performed better if a newer chip was placed.
CONNECTIVITY, CALL QUALITY, AND BATTERY LIFE
Call quality is good as the call speaker relays calls with clarity even in noisy environments, while the microphone could cause problems with recording your voice since it doesn’t offer noise cancellation. Wireless connections work well as we tested, Bluetooth and WiFi works fast, and GPS connection is decent.
The fingerprint scanner at the rear can register up to five different fingerprints at any given period, and is a joy to use. It’s really fast and responsive, and the face unlock works really well although we would’ve preferred it to be a lot faster in unlocking the phone.
Our only gripe is the lack of sensors in the phone, as it’s equipped with only ambient and accelerator sensors. If you’re one for orientation-based gaming or virtual reality, it will have a hard time registering those into account.
There are several options for the OS to automatically optimize and disable running apps in the background while idle. This helps the Galaxy J6 save up more juice to prolong the life of its 3,000mAh battery, and its optimization is a key feature. Our PCMark Test gave the J6 a score of 11 hours and 49 minutes while it lasted almost 14 hours and 54 minutes in our video loop test. Charging is another story as the phone gets from 0 to 100 in around two hours using its standard charger.
The Samsung Galaxy J6 seems to be a decent mid-range smartphone that offers a compact design, great display, good battery life, and decent cameras. Not to mention, the software features that are not much different from other higher-priced phones in the Galaxy line.
With that being said, We don’t really know how to feel when we look at other competitors in the Php13,990/$262 price range it initially declared. With phones from Chinese brands such as OPPO, Vivo, and even Huawei offering more bang for this buck plus better Galaxy phones like the A6 and the J8, the J6 is lost in the shuffle if we’re taking into account the lack of available phone sensors and the outdated Exynos chipset that hampered its otherwise good potential. Nonetheless, the Galaxy J6 is a decent budget-friendly alternative for next-level entertainment.
|SPECIFICATION||SAMSUNG GALAXY J6|
|Display||5.6-inch HD+ Super AMOLED 18:9 display
1480 x 720 pixels, 294ppi
|Glass type||2.5D Curved Glass|
|CPU||1.6GHz Exynos 7870 Octa-core|
|MicroSD||Expandable up to 256GB (dedicated)|
|Rear Camera||13MP f/1.9 w/ LED Flash|
|Front Camera||8MP with LED Flasg|
|WiFi||WiFi 802.11 b/g/n|
|GPS||GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, A-GPS|
|Port||Micro USB 2.0|
|3.5mm audio port||Yes|
|Biometrics||– Fingerprint scanner
– face unlock
|OS||Samsung Experience (Android 8 Oreo)|
|Dimensions||149.3 x 70.2 x 8.2 mm|
(Php11,990/$225 until July 31)
WHAT WE LIKED ABOUT IT:
- Good Display
- Compact design and good built
- Good battery life
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE:
- Outdated mid-range chipset
- Expensive for the price
- Lack of phone sensors, even for gaming
- Slow charging time
- Three-level front flash doesn’t make any significant lighting difference