After introducing its first J series model, J1, three months ago, Samsung is about to introduce its own versions of low-cost 4G handsets – the Galaxy J5, J7 and possibly the J2, in India.
These are the phones that Samsung hopes will help it beat back competition from the likes of Lenovo A6000 Plus, Lenovo A7000, Coolpad Dazen 1 and Yu Yuphoria.
However, going by the launch, review and reception of the J1, Samsung is likely to find the going extremely hard in India.
But first, a brief introduction to the upcoming 4G line-up from the Korean giant.
At the entry level, we have the Samsung Galaxy J2. Unfortunately, other than the fact that this 4.7-inch phone will be priced in the Rs 9,000 range, we know almost nothing about it.
Will it have 4G? Possibly, given that it would be very, very tough for the company to sell the J2 without LTE at Rs 9,000 given where the market is today in India.
What we do know a fair deal about are the other two J series phones – the Galaxy J5 and the Galaxy J7.
The J5, like the E5 and the A5, will be a 5-inch phone. However, unlike the E5, the J5 will come with a non-AMOLED 720p (not full-HD) display.
It will be built on the Snapdragon 410 chipset, and will therefore have built in 4G LTE.
In terms of most other specifications, the Galaxy J5 resembles the Lenovo phone that it will be inevitably compared against – the A7000: 1.5 GB of RAM (vs 2 GB on the A6000 Plus and A7000), 5 MP camera on the front (same as A7000, but better than A6000 Plus’ 2 MP shooter), and the same chipset as the A6000 Plus.
However, at market operating price of Rs 12,000/13,000, the Galaxy J5 will not simply be a more costly version of the A7000. There are key differences that the Samsung model enjoys.
The most important among those is the back camera. The J5 will come with a 13 MP camera, while both Lenovo models have 8 MP ones. The other key difference is the higher brand value that Samsung enjoys and the strong service support that India’s biggest electronics brand provides.
There might be other advantages too for the J5 over the Lenovo models, but we’ll get to know that only when the phone actually launches early in July. (It was earlier expected to launch in early June.)
The Galaxy J7 is essentially a slightly more powerful and bigger version of the J5. Display size is 21% higher at 5.5 inches diagonal, while the processor has been bumped up to Snapdragon 615, though there are also reports that it will be the largely-similar Marvel PXA1936 octa-core as well.
The J7 will be priced at around Rs 15,000/16,000 initially, though MRP would be higher.
WILL J SERIES WORK?
One of the lessons that Samsung doesn’t seem to have learnt enough of is that Indians are unlikely to pay 60% simply to have their phone from the biggest smartphone brand.
A case in point is the J1. At about 1.5 stars out of 5, the J1 has one of the worst ratings of all phones in the price-band, if not the worst.
And the reason is not far to seek either: It’s the price.
For Rs 7,200, the phone offers specifications that others like Huawei offer at a price of Rs 4,500. However, the customer reviews of J1 make for entertaining reading.
“Fire your r&d team, with ideas like this you cannot beat xiaomi/lenovo/micromax,” suggests Saurabh Saxena helpfully under the title ‘nobody cares’.
User Santosh betrays a little more emotion. “Worst phone ever !!!! 512 mb ram???? are you kidding me?? this is 2015, with phones like Redmi 1s have delivered 1 gb for just 6999 way back in 2014!!!!!! Grow up Samsung!!!!!”
Then there’s Mac, who knows exactly who the target audience for J1 would be: “Buy this only if you have some excess money in your wallet and have absolutely no clue what to do with it.”
In fact, these are just a sample, and if you have ‘excess time’ on your hands, you can read the full list of outpourings here.
Now, back to the new J series. Would J5 make sense for Rs 12,000? Frankly, it’s cheap by Samsung standards. But as the reviewers point out, it’s not the same market anymore.
But the good thing is that models become cheaper soon after launch and we can expect some relief on the price front in coming months.
What should really worry Samsung is the fact that is it catching up with the likes of Lenovo, Xiaomi and Huawei months after they launched entry-level, 720p, 4G smartphones.
|Galaxy A5||5-inch Amoled 720p||Yes||Snapdragon 410||2 GB||21500|
|Galaxy E5||5-inch Amoled 720p||No||Quad 1.2 GHz||1.5 GB||15200|
|Galaxy J5||5-inch LCD 720p||Yes||Quad 1.2 Ghz||1.5 GB||11500|