• Display: 4.5-inch 480 x 800 Super AMOLED
  • CPU: Quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A7
  • GPU: Mali-T720
  • Memory: 1GB
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.1, WiFi, WiFi Direct, LTE
  • Storage: 8GB eMMC Flash expandable with microSD
  • Operating System: Android 5.1.1
  • Camera: 5MP (rear), 2MP (front)
  • Dimensions: 132.6 x 69.3 x 8.9 mm
  • Weight: 131 g
  • Pros:
  • Affordable
  • Good build
  • Great screen
  • Cons:
  • Very basic camera
  • Performance
  • Benchmark Results
  • 3DMark Icestorm Unlimited: 3,630 points
  • PC Mark Work: 3,314 points
  • Antutu: 18,775 points

Entry To Galaxy

Most people can’t afford premium smartphones, or don’t find it necessary to have high-end features available to those devices. The RM500-1,000 range is desirable for many, so a device like the Samsung Galaxy J1 is a great option.

The Galaxy J1 is one of the smallest smartphone in Samsung’s stable of devices, with a body that’s about 5-inch in size, and only a relatively small 4.5-inch display. However, it does come with the brand’s signature Super AMOLED screen. Overall, this year’s model looks similar to last year’s. On the front is the familiar two capacitive plus one physical button layout, while the left and right side holds the volume and power buttons respectively. The only difference is the placement of the front camera.

Performance on this device is on the lower side, though by no means bad. It houses a much more improved quad-core processor that is sufficient for casual browsing and online streaming at a lower resolution (480p). It also handles general usage well enough without much stutter. But when we load something heavier, such as HD videos or benchmark programs, there’s a noticeable slowdown. It also crashed once while trying to run the 3D test on AnTuTu. As with most low-end devices, the J1 isn’t meant for high-end multi-media playback or games, which require either more processing prowess or more RAM. However, considering its price tag, we find that an acceptable trade off.

Despite the slowdown when trying to load one, HD video playback is still good this device. Once it loads, playback is smooth and the Super AMOLED screen makes the videos look great. It’s got fantastic contrast, colour reproduction, and remains bright enough even under the full glare of the sunlight.

The cameras on this smartphone are average at best. They are decent enough, producing reasonably sharp images under daylight. But the auto white balance can be quite off, so we recommend the use of the Pro mode to get good shots. In addition, we found that low-light photos had some noise in them and the autofocus speed is slow.

Ultra-Power Saving and Ultra Data Saving modes make a return here. The latter is particularly appreciated, as it helps us squeeze the most out of our data connections. Combine this with healthy use of free WiFi whenever possible and you’ll never run out, unless you binge on YouTube videos.

CHIP CONCLUDE: This refresh of the Galaxy J1 is not the most powerful device. But for those who are budget conscious, it’s way better than its predecessor and an excellent choice.

(previously published in issue July 2016)

Samsung Galaxy J1