Hands on: Samsung Galaxy J6 review

Infinity Display on a budget phone

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

Samsung may be one of more reliable companies to buy a smartphone from, but the real question is whether every device they offer is worth buying. The Samsung J6 seems like a value-for-money offering on the surface, but unfortunately, seems to disappoint when you look under the hood.

For

  • Super AMOLED display
  • Compact size
  • Sturdy build

Against

  • Micro USB charging port
  • 13MP rear camera
  • Entry-level chipset

Samsung may have made a bang with the Galaxy S9, S9 Plus and their dual aperture capabilities, but the Korean tech-giant has been losing it's market share in India continuously in the past two quarters. 

Chinese smartphone manufacturers like Xiaomi and Motorola have captured the budget segment by offering high end specs at lower prices while brands like Oppo and Vivo dominate the mid-range segment with selfie-centric offerings.

This year, Samsung had announced that they would be launching four budget phones targeting the largest demographic in India, the millennials. The Samsung Galaxy J6 is the cheapest of those four at Rs 13,990. The question is, is it worth it?

Samsung Galaxy J6 price and availability

Samsung's new budget smartphone comes in two variants. The 4GB RAM and 64GB ROM option costs Rs 16,400 while it's cheaper counterpart with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage is priced at Rs 13,990. 

Online, the phone will be available exclusively through Flipkart once it goes on sale on May 23. Offline, the Samsung Galaxy S6 will available at all Samsung stores as well as their partner stores.

What we like so far

If you want a phone that fits comfortably in the palm of your hand without you having to strain your thumb, then this device is what you might’ve had in mind. The Samsung Galaxy J6 isn’t a phone that screams of a big screen or of a dual camera or even of an iPhone X-type notch. 

The neat, understated little device has a classy and compact build. And, despite its 5.6-inch size, doesn’t feel all that flimsy. You’d be tempted to call it durable if it wasn’t so obvious that the back is made from plastic. 

All in all, it’s practical. Not too big, not too small while weighing just the right amount to seamlessly drop into your pocket. 

sAMOLED display

sAMOLED display

Now, let’s talk about the phone’s ‘Infinity Display’. The Samsung Galaxy J6 boasts of a super-AMOLED (sAMOLED) display with a 720 x 1480 resolution. In the short time that we’ve had the phone, the colors are vivid and the contrast is on-point. It’s a flagship feature that you don’t normally see on a budget phone.

Also, audiophiles can breathe a sigh of relief. The 3.5mm jack made it on to the new handset. Your favorite pair of headphones can still be plugged in without investing in an adapter or a new wireless headset altogether.

Moving onto what’s inside the phone, Samsung’s own user interface (UI) is layered on top of Android Oreo 8.0. So far the phone’s performance is decent. It hasn’t shown any signs of lag or exhibited any frame drops. 

You can get rid all your clutter off the homescreen, with the handy app drawer feature in Samsung Experience 9.0. It’s actually quite similar to the app drawer you find on Stock Android phones, expect instead of a Google Search  tab on top, there’s an app search instead. 

Feature that are yet to prove themselves

Under normal circumstances, the lack of USB Type-C port may have proven to be disappointing but considering that the Galaxy A6 Plus doesn’t feature the port either while being priced at Rs 25,990, it’s not altogether surprising.

Micro USB charging port

Micro USB charging port

Also, the budget smartphone houses an Exynos 7870 under the hood which is an, more or less, entry-level chipset. Though we hadn’t had the chance to test it extensively, it’s doubtful that the phone will be able to handle power intensive tasks too well. There might even be issues when playing graphic heavy games. 

But at least the camera is awesome, right? Well… How much can you really expect from a 13MP lens? It performs decently enough under well-lit conditions but it’s we really doubt how the phone would perform in low-light situations. There doesn’t seem to be any image stabilisation either, in-built or otherwise, which creates issues when trying to capture a moving target. 

On the other hand, the 8MP front camera seems more capable. It’s color reproduction is accurate while allowing you to choose the level of beautification you want to apply. The latter option is vital to keep pictures from looking over processed. 

Lastly, the phone has 3000mAh battery which should ideally provide enough juice for the phone to last a day. Under light usage, the phone’s actually managed to last 48 whole hours, but it was hardly used for anything more than making calls and sending messages. A intensive usage will speak true the battery’s true might. 

Early verdict

Overall, the phone's build and it's screen are the only redeeming qualities. An sAMOLED display is definitely a boon, but if it so happens that the Exynos 7870 can't handle heavy tasks, then there's a lot less to enjoy on that display. 

Bells and whistles only make sense when the foundation of the phone is strong. And so far, the Galaxy J6 is all bells and whistles. 

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.