When I got hold of Samsung J5 Pro 2017 edition for the first time, it took me back to 2015 when I first came across J5. It was a piece of plastic and not as good looking as it is today, but it left many marks. The original phone had many misplacements of features, but we still remember the performance of 2600 mAh battery.
The Samsung Galaxy J5 Pro 2017 carries the similar DNA, and the battery of 3000 mAh is remarkably impressive this time. 2017’s version has so many improvements from specs to design, and unlike older sibling, this looks more like a premium device in hands. Let’s unbox the smartphone to see what Samsung has in store for us.
Design of the J5 Pro
Metals are in, and indeed they give you a finishing that no plastic body can match. Samsung is known for some cool looking high-end products, but now, they have upped the ante for mid-tier phones too, and Galaxy J5 Pro 2017 is no way a creepy plastic looking gadget.
It is a smooth looking metal unibody that transforms into rounded sides. This beautiful back doesn’t welcome fingerprints and smudges very easily. The captured ones are not prominently visible and can be removed with much ease. The rounded sides and a comfy size provide an excellent grip to the phone. Many think that plastic gives a better grip but, we believe that it is the metal that does the job besides being looked cool.
The top and the bottom display two antenna strips flowing horizontally and, in our opinion, adding an element of beauty. Other than that, we can see a camera lens and LED light packed in a container shielded by the glass that doesn’t protrude.
Samsung is known for its silky smooth touch, and this screen also lives up to reputation. The front is no different for mid-range Samsung users, but this gadget comes with some new specs that Samsung has always put on their expensive phones. The trends have somehow compelled them to feature Super AMOLED screen and a fingerprint scanner in this category too.
The old fashioned home button at the bottom also serves as fingerprint scanner this time, so it’s not merely a button. Two conventional keys for ‘recent tasks’ and ‘back’ are placed on each side of the home button. They are not illuminated but prominently show their presence.
Samsung has really come along way from original J5 which had a 5 MP selfie lens, now, the front camera residing on the top area of the phone is 13 MP this time along with LED flash. Another addition is the ambient light sensor, but there is no notification LED and Samsung has also deprived this phone of Always On display which they are offering with bigger brother J7 for some more money. However, Galaxy J5 Pro 2017 is much comfortable to hold than J7.
In J5 Pro, we found the speaker on the right side just above the power button which is logical in one way that our right-hand shouldn’t block the sound when we hold the phone in landscape mode while watching movies or playing games.
The left side of the phone holds two volume buttons and two trays; one for a nano SIM and the other one for a microSD card and second nano SIM. This is a much better approach for entertaining every outer chip simultaneously, especially when the internal memory is just not desirable.
Just following the design pattern of the old model, 3.5 mm audio jack, mic pinhole and an ordinary micro USB 2.0 charging port are present at the bottom leaving the top empty.
Display and User Interface
J5 Pro 2017 comes with 5.2 inches 720p display which is Super AMOLED and having a pixel density of 282 ppi, much lower than Huawei P10 Lite that has a pixel density of 440 ppi.
The maximum brightness is not shrilling bright; nonetheless, the display is very comfortable to eyes, and under sunlight, it is not a disappointment at all. Unlike the previous version where it was all manual, the ambient light sensor adjusts the brightness on auto in the outdoors.
The screen colors are vibrant, and for accuracy, you need to select from ‘screen mode.’ The Adaptive display is not at all real and adds bluish tone to every screen. However, there are ‘basic,’ ‘cinema’ and ‘photo’ modes that minus this negative blue.
This phone runs on Android Nougat (7.0) and apart from that Samsung has put its latest UX inside so the users might get a flavor what the owners of Galaxy S8 are enjoying.
There are lesser icons and widgets on the home screen, and there is no dedicated icon for app drawer as well, but you can swipe up or down from anywhere on the screen to bring it forward. Though you can bring to life an icon for ‘Apps Drawer’ from the Home screen settings but this wouldn’t change the default swiping behavior. However, you can modify the home screen layout and put all your apps there in a more applish style by killing the drawer. App Screen Grid and Home Screen Grids are available which entirely depend on your taste to play with.
You can hide some apps from appearing on the home screen as well as from inside the drawer, but that wouldn’t help you in the case of a second user. The hidden apps can be brought back anytime by any user from the home screen settings.
The notification tray is a two level pull, the first displays only 6 icons and the next level brings all the remaining icons along with the text. Pull the tray down with two fingers also does the same job, it brings everything in the first pull.
Touching and holding an icon on the home screen invokes a small menu for removing the shortcuts and uninstalling the app. You can select multiple icons for the batch processing as well.
Samsung Theme is one cool application that comes along with J5 Pro 2017. You can modify almost anything to shape up the look of your display.
Performance and Battery
The J5 started the journey with a quad core chip, and today J5 Pro 2017 is powered by an octa core processor which is Samsung’s own Exynos 7870 chipset and luckily the same that J7 houses as well.
We are not very much in agreement with the 2GB of RAM of J5 Pro which also psychologically put a constraint in the mind of a user. During our tests, we were always left with 200 to 300 MB of RAM at our disposal, and certainly, it keeps putting a restriction on your usage pattern especially when other phones of this price range are offering 3 or 4GB RAM. However, just like the battery which is almost a 1000 mAh lesser than what rivals are giving at this price, the standard functioning of this phone never got disturbed during our test period due to this small RAM.
Do you want to read the review of QMobile Noir A1 that has 4010 mAh battery?
On Geekbench 4 it scored 736 on the single core which is, of course, lesser than LG nexus 5 and Huawei P10 Lite; and the multi-core comparison showed 3656 value which is again on the lower side.
In our opinion, these stats should not disappoint you as Samsung has done a great job by taking help from a Mali T830 GPU on this 720p display that makes a smarter combination of hardware which seems just right for the optimum performance.
The phone we are using has a 16GB internal memory which is just not a good idea by leaving only a few GBs at user’s disposal. Although, an external card can have all your movies and songs, but for this price, at least 32 GB should have been inside.
The distinctive feature of J5 Pro is its 3000 mAh battery which is very well optimized with other resources to the extent that it gives a longer charge in one go.
It seems to have been designed for movie watching. We ran it non-stop for almost 19 hours for watching movies back-to-back, and the experience was all satisfying.
Unfortunately, there is no fast charging feature which Samsung shouldn’t have missed. We have already reported QMobile’s claim of introducing faster-charging in a lesser priced phone.
It takes almost 2 hours to recharge the battery again, and similar time it took to charge a 4000 mAh battery of QMobile Noir A1. The interesting aspect is that it marginally outperforms Galaxy S7 and even J7 with only movies running.
However, with dual SIM and 3G data, the battery time declined, and it could survive almost 11 hours which is also above average.
Samsung J5 Pro 2017 boasts 13 MP cameras on its front and rear along with dedicated flash for each and f/1.7 aperture lenses. The interface is a part of latest Samsung UI and very simple which the J7 also shares.
There is a toggle key for front and rear camera whereas swipe up and down does the job as well. It’s a matter of your convenience whichever you use the most. Swipe right reveals the shooting mode J5 Pro 2017 offers and swipe left opens various filters.
Eight shooting modes seem less but are pretty much everything you need. The Pro mode can let you play with exposure, ISO and predefined auto balance in a kind of restrictive way. I think calling it a pro-mode would be a bit of exaggeration since there is nothing like Shutter speed feature onboard.
You can’t control the shutter since it is not available, but the sports mode can do some excellent work by freezing the moments. Shooting raindrops on a cloudy day was fun. The colors are more naturally captured, and there seems to be very less noise even under low lights. Full zoom had comparatively lesser tall on the quality of photos; however, we felt the issue of under and overexposure inside our photos without the HDR mode, a feature which is buried inside the ‘shooting modes’ screen and takes a little longer to capture the shot.
Another missing feature is the manual focus. There is an autofocus only which doesn’t help with moving subjects, especially while making videos.
Both still and video share a common interface, and there is a simple and straightforward approach in the setting area as well.
Have a look at the following images and see for yourself how did it perform. In the night mode, we didn’t use the tripod, and we were happy to see the results even there was no image stabilization feature on the phone.
Some Useful Features
- Split Screen is a convenience and can be activated by pressing and holding the ‘recent/multitask key’ for splitting the screen for the active app. Another way is to push the recent key and reveal the active apps; then press and hold a splittable app and drag it to the top.
- Dual Messenger feature can let you run two versions of WhatsApp, FB, Skype
- With Secure Folder, Samsung promises that it will keep your valuable data inside the safe that only you can access. You can also add the application in the vault that no one else is supposed to access.
Samsung J5 Pro 2017 is a much more enhanced phone from its original version and quite a better performer than 2106 lineup. If bigger battery number is what you are looking for, then there could be other options on the market. However, a well balanced and optimized phone with a decent battery that could give a decent processing speed and a good camera experience both from rear and front is hard to find in this range.