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Samsung has recently launched two new budget devices in the company's J series line-up for the Indian market. The South Korean tech giant has launched the Galaxy J4+ and Galaxy J6+ for the masses. Both the smartphones come only a few months after the launch of Galaxy J4 and the Galaxy J6.
The new Galaxy smartphones come with similar design and features with the J6+ carrying a few extra features which give it an edge over the Galaxy J4+. Samsung has designed both the smartphones to target the budget and mid-segment buyers in India. The Samsung Galaxy J4+ comes with a price tag of Rs. 10,990, whereas, the Samsung Galaxy J6+ comes with a price tag of Rs. 15,990. We Galaxy J6+ for over a week and here's our review of the budget Galaxy smartphone.
Display: 6-inch True HD+ display is pretty average
It is quite a well-known fact that the displays provided by Samsung devices are among the best ones available in the market. However, this cannot be said for the Galaxy J6+. We are slightly disappointed with the screen performance on the Galaxy J6+ budget smartphone as unlike the company's premium and value flagship devices (Galaxy A7, A8, etc.), the display on J6+ is not AMOLED and only comes in HD+ resolution. The resolution is not at par with the competition and even handsets selling at significantly lower price-point such as Redmi Note 5, Redmi Note 5 Pro, Honor 9N, Realme 1, Honor 7X, etc. Resultant, the video output on the handset is not very impressive as the resolution maxes out at just 720p. Thankfully, the brightness levels of the IPS LCD screen are good and we didn't experience the display going dark under direct sunlight. The viewing angles are decent and color reproduction is also fairly acceptable.
Sadly, Samsung has also not included any Gorilla Glass coating on the screen on J6+ but you get Dragontail glass protection which will offer some level of protection. Overall, Samsung Galaxy J6+ does not manage to keep up with the competition in the screen department. The screen only gets the basic job done and it is not the best display in its respective price-point for gaming and video playback.
Design: Looks premium and appealing but lacks originality
Coming onto the design, Samsung Galaxy J6+ (even J4+) seems inspired from some recently launched handsets by OPPO and Honor. The smartphone comes in glossy-mirror finish back panel and will be available in three eye-catchy colours- Blue, Black and Red. The rear panel is an absolute fingerprint magnet and you can see fingerprint impression from the moment you pick up the device, thus using a case is strongly advised. The Black variant that we have reviewed looks premium and feels quite sturdy in hands. The built quality is certainly appreciable.
Samsung Galaxy J6+ sports a big power key and has an embedded fingerprint scanner which is missing from the Galaxy J4+. The fingerprint scanner on the J6+ is mounted at the side panel and this makes it the first Samsung device to feature a side-mounted fingerprint scanner. The placement of the fingerprint scanner is ideal and is right where your thumb will rest naturally while holding the device.
Thick bezels around the display
Despite featuring a taller 18:5:9 aspect ratio display the bezels are not as thin as you might spot on some other smartphones in the same budget segment, for example, Nokia 6.1 Plus and the newly launched Motorola One Power. You can easily see the broad borders at the sides of the display.
As for the placement of keys, the volume rockers are placed at the left panel along with two SIM card trays, out of which one tray has space for only one SIM card, whereas the second SIM tray can house one SIM card and one microSD card. As mentioned earlier, the fingerprint scanner is placed at the right panel and it doubles up as a power key. Setting up the fingerprint was easy and it works completely fine. The 3.5mm audio jack along with the microUSB port is placed at the bottom of the device. Overall, Samsung has done a fair job in terms of design; however, we would love to see some original design from the house of Samsung.
Camera: Average camera performance
The Samsung Galaxy J6+ follows the latest trend of dual camera setup comprising of one 13MP primary lens with f/1.9 aperture and a 5MP secondary lens working on a wider f/2.2 aperture to capture the depth of field effect in the images. The rear camera captures decent quality images in a well-lit situation. The colors look natural but the camera app is very sluggish and the camera takes a noticeable time to process the image and get ready for the next shot. The HDR image out is decent though. What impressed us in the camera of Galaxy J6+ is the Live focus mode. Though it is also slow and takes a toll on the camera's smooth functionality, the output is impressive. The dual-lens camera can capture some really good looking portrait shots in good lighting. You also get the option to adjust the depth effect while capturing any which does come handy in some situations.
Talking about the low-light camera performance, the output is disappointing. Images captured in low-light were grainy and lost detailing when zoomed to maximum. Smartphones from Xiaomi and Honor do a far better job in low-light photography than Samsung J6+.
Up front, the Galaxy J6+ sports an 8MP camera to capture selfies and to make video calls. You also get an LED flash at the front which will help you to capture images and videos even in low light situations. As for the shooting modes and effects, you get Live Focus capabilities to capture depth in images. The J6+ also supports Face Unlock feature which is also easy to set up and works fine. However, the device does get unlocked even if your eyes are closed which could be a drawback. The front camera captures the average quality of selfies and if you are a hardcore selfie lover then this is not the perfect smartphone for you.
Hardware and software: Dated Snapdragon processor
Powering the Galaxy J6+ is an entry-level 1.4GHz Quad-core Snapdragon 425 SoC which is paired with low-end Adreno 308 GPU to take care of graphics. It is not clear as to why Samsung chose this almost two-year-old entry-level processor to power the new Galaxy smartphones. Considering that this is a mid-budget category smartphone, the company could have at least used a Snapdragon 636 SoC like the one featured in newly launched Motorola One Power, which also comes with a similar price tag. Streaming videos and watching high-resolution videos is not an issue, but, playing graphics-rich games is not a lag free experience. The device comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage. The internal storage is further expandable up to 512GB via microSD card slot. Thankfully, we will not have a space crunch issue with the smartphone.
The J6+ ships with Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box with Samsung Experience v9.5 on top. The UI is neat and gives a smooth user experience, however, it is not as good as the stock Android UI. The device comes with Widevine L1 certification which means J6+ can stream HD content safely on Netflix, Amazon Prime Videos, Hulu and other streaming services that offer DRM content. The UI offers pre-loaded Google and Microsoft apps to enhance the productivity in everyday usage.
Battery and connectivity:
The smartphone is powered by a 3,300mAh battery unit without any fast charging support which again is a disappointment. Considering the size of the display, the company could have at least used a 4,000mAh battery cell. With easy to moderate usage, the smartphone lasts just one day which for some mid-range consumers can be a deal-breaker who consumes a lot of multimedia content on their devices. If you stream a lot of videos and play continues games, make sure you keep a charger or a power bank handy.
The Samsung Galaxy J6+ is a good looking phone and that's just about it. Both the new devices in the Galaxy J+ series line-up are underpowered at their respective price points. We already have various smartphones in the sub Rs 16,000 budget category which offers powerful and snappy chipsets, better cameras and crisper displays. Samsung seems to have lost the game here with the launch of these budget and mid-range Galaxy J series handsets. If you are spending a sum of R. 15k or 16K, we would recommend you to check out Redmi Note 5 Pro, Motorola Moto One Power, Nokia 6.1+ and Asus Max Pro M1. These devices are priced similar (and even lower) and perform far better in every department.
But, if you are a serious Samsung lover and brand value means a lot to you, you can go for Samsung's new budget devices.