Samsung launched the Galaxy J5 and J7 in India in June last year at Rs 12,000 and 15,000, surprising many with the aggressive pricing.
A year later, the company is all set to unveil the 2016 versions of the two smartphones towards the end of this month, but the market has only got worse for the Korean giant with the recent entry of LeTV Le 1s and Redmi Note 3.
Out of the four upcoming J series phones, only the J7 has the potential to take on the mighty Le 1s and Redmi Note 3.
When the original J7 hit the Indian market as a Flipkart exclusive, it had only one challenger — the Lenovo K3 Note. This time, however, its a wholly different game because there are three mighty warriors to for the J7 to fight against — the K4 Note, the 1s and the Note 3.
In fact, all four handsets are very similar to each other in terms of specifications. All of them, for example, come with 5.5-inch, full-HD displays and octa-core processors (except for RN3 – which has only six cores.)
Yet, Samsung has a secret ace up its sleeve: the display of its model is built on Super AMOLED technology, which offers stronger colors and consumes less power compared to the LCD panels found on the other three models.
While some people find the strong colors offered by AMOLED displays too artificial, the Korean company’s display technology has already garnered a strong following in India.
In addition, the company also has a better reputation and possibly a stronger service network compared to the others.
Another advantage is that the J7 comes with a dedicated MicroSD card slot, which is missing in two competitors.
The processor too is very different from those found in the others.
According to our sources, the Indian version of the phone will come with the ultra-efficient Exynos 7870 chipset.
The Exynos 7870 has been forged under the Korean giant’s 14 nm FinFet technology, while all the other competing phones contain processors built on the more heat-generating, older and less efficient 28 nm technology.
This should have given a clear edge to the J7 in terms of both processing power and battery life.
However, Samsung has built the Exynos 7870 using the low-power Cortex A53 core design and has chosen to limit the speed to just 1.7 GHz.
What this means is that the chipset will be ultra-efficient as far battery is concerned and the 3.3 Ah battery on the J7 should last the same as the 4 Ah unit on Redmi Note 3.
However, because of the low clock speed of 1.7 GHz vs 2.2 GHz on LeTV, the performance is not quite comparable.
Using all eight cores, the J7 2016 scores about 4,500 Geekbench points, which is substantially below the 5,400 points scored by the Le 1s, but at the same time better than the 3,800 points scored by the Redmi Note 3 India version.
The Samsung model’s performance is also far better than the Lenovo K4 Note, which scores less than 3,000 points on the same benchmark test.
However, there are a few things that go against the J7 2016 model as well.
First is the price. The LeTV Le 1s is priced at Rs 10,999 and the other two contenders at Rs 11,999. In comparison, the Samsung model will be priced at the same level as last year’s model — Rs 14,999. That is a difference of Rs 3,000 in this extremely price-sensitive market.
Another key difference is in application memory or RAM. Here, all the other models come with 3 GB, but the Indian version of the J7 will have only 2 GB. This is all the more irritating when you consider that the Chinese version gets 3 GB of RAM.
Though this may not make much of a difference most of the time, having 2 GB of RAM could start pinching if you are a heavy user of apps.
One of the unknown factors here is Android 6 Marshmallow. The J7 is the only one among the four phones which comes with Android 6 and it is not known how good Marshmallow’s RAM management is. If it’s really good, then 2 GB may be just as good as 3 GB on Android 5.
Another missing feature on the Korean model is a fingerprint scanner, found on both the Le 1s and Redmi Note.
The J series phone will also contain only 16 GB of storage memory, half that of the LeTV and Xiaomi models, but comparable to K4 Note. However, Samsung offers you the option of extending it using MicroSD cards, which is more useful than having another 16 GB built in.
In the imaging department, the Korean model will have a 13 MP camera supplemented by 5 MP front shooters, much like the rest of the competition. It also seems to offer laser focus, going by the photo of the phone released by Chinese certification agency TENAA two weeks ago.
Overall, we’d say that Samsung’s upcoming phone offers a tough fight in the lower mid-range segment and fans of AMOLED displays could choose the phone over the others despite its lower RAM and lack of a fingerprint scanner.
In addition, the company will also be releasing a 5.2-inch J5 model and a 50-inch J3 smartphone as well. The J5 2016 is very similar to its larger cousin, except that the Exynos 7870 has been swapped with a Snapdragon 400 series chipset and the display resolution has been halved to 720p from full-HD.