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Samsung is bringing another mid-range smartphone around the corner and while it appears to be in the same page as their recently announced Galaxy A6, it still has its share of differences. We got some time to play with the phone during its media launch last June 8, and here’s what we think.


Design Impressions

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The Galaxy J6 is a mid-range smartphone, and Samsung is still accustomed to the J-series’s poly-carbonate material which gives that matte-like finish on the back. There’s no gimmicks or any lines (probably antenna bands) visible unlike the A6-series and there are no further changes in design, which could be a good thing for those who like plain and simple things, but may come too bland, for those who like more.

Samsung Galaxy J6, Gold/Black (Photo: STS/AMG)

It’s easy to hold, and feels a bit lighter and smaller compared to other mid-range smartphones, probably due to its 18.5:9 aspect ratio display. Although Samsung touts the display as Super AMOLED Infinity display, which would be the same as their Galaxy S8 series and onwards, this doesn’t have the side-to-side edges unlike the one in the S-series, leaving us with a flat surface and a little border on the sides.

Galaxy J6 (2018) [Photo: STS/AMG]
The display is still good, although you’ll notice that texts aren’t that crisp. This is due to it being only in 720p resolution. Still, it shows good colors and is looking bright.



Photo: STS/AMG

The phone checks some of the points we’re looking for a good smartphone, such as ergonomically placed buttons, and of course, a dual sim slot + a dedicated one for microSD cards. We do really hate ones who do hybrid SIM slots, just to let you know.

SIM Slots, Buttons on the Galaxy J6 (Photo: STS/AMG)

And although its 2018, Samsung still opted to use the old microUSB port here just like on the A6. I mean, do you really want to step up your game here, Samsung? Start using USB-C please, even on mid-range smartphones.

Still uses microUSB 2.0 and has the headphone jack! (Photo: STS/AMG)

The rear-mounted fingerprint scanner works fine, although the placement seems a little bit odd to me. It’s near the camera and by the time we’re testing it, I accidentally tapped the camera lens a few times rather than getting on the fingerprint sensor. It left some undesirable smudges to the lens, which isn’t really that distinguishable due to the absence of the camera bump. It just depends on the length of your finger, I guess.

Also, it’s not that really fast, but does the job of serving bio-metric security. Unfortunately, we didn’t tried the face recognition here.

Rear-mounted fingerprint scanner (Photo: STS/AMG)

Performance & Software

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The phone was actually marketed for gaming although it doesn’t bear high-end gaming-capable specs. With their aging Exynos 7870 Octa-core inside and 3GB of RAM, they are proud to say that it runs PUBG Mobile smoothly, but just in Low Settings. Yes, our initial testings have proved that claim, at least.

Photo: STS/AMG

Another headlining feature for this is the inclusion of Dolby Atmos, which enhances audio listening experience for better sound staging and loudness. The Dolby Atmos setting can be switched on/off from the notification settings and can be pre-set into four modes, namely Auto, Music, Movie and Voice.

Dolby Atmos toggle on Galaxy J6 (Photo: STS/AMG)

The software on the Galaxy J6 (2018) is Samsung’s own touch of Android Oreo (Samsung Experience 8.0) which is the same with the new A-series and S-series flagships. While it may be not the best skin of Android out there, it is likeable and is user-friendly. It’s smooth, fast enough and is capable of enhancing the user experience on this phone. It comes pre-bundled with just a very few bloatware, too.

Photo: STS/AMG

Camera

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Although we said earlier that the Galaxy J6 might be in the same page as their Galaxy A6, this factor doesn’t count on it. The J6 is only equipped with a single 13MP f/1.9 rear shooter that takes quite decent shots, compared to A6’s 16-megapixel rear camera. Here are some samples from the rear camera: (raw, not compressed)

Galaxy J6 Rear Camera Low-light Sample 1
Galaxy J6 Rear Camera Low-light Sample 1
Galaxy J6 Rear Camera Low-light Sample 2
Galaxy J6 Rear Camera Low-light Sample 2
Galaxy J6 Rear Camera Sample 3
Galaxy J6 Rear Camera Sample 3
Galaxy J6 Rear Camera Sample 4
Galaxy J6 Rear Camera Sample 4

From the results, we can say that low-light performance is decent (some noticeable grain would be fine), but we’re sure that this snapper would take better photos in a well-lit environment such as outdoors.

The front camera, on the other hand, is a single 8MP f/1.9 shooter as well, also a downgrade from Galaxy A6’s 16-megapixel front camera. The difference is really noticeable, although we don’t have shots from the A6 here to compare with this phone. Also, the portrait mode is trying hard, and imo, it sucks in blurring out the edges. Just see the samples below for your evaluation: (raw, not compressed)

Galaxy J6 Front Camera Sample 1
Galaxy J6 Front Camera Sample 1
Galaxy J6 Front Camera Sample 2
Galaxy J6 Front Camera Sample 2
Galaxy J6 Front Camera Sample 3
Galaxy J6 Front Camera Sample 3

Samples aside, the camera app performs really well, and snaps photos smoothly. You open the app really fast, and you can immediately snap photos in a second. The app is also simple and intuitive, just like on the other Samsung smartphones.

Photo: STS/AMG

Specifications and Features

In case you’ve missed it, here’s the specifications and features of the Galaxy J6 (2018):

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Model:Samsung Galaxy J6 Specs
Display:5.6-inch HD+ Super AMOLED Infinity display (1480 x 720 resolution), 18.5:9 aspect ratio
CPU/SoC:Exynos 7870 Octa-core @ 1.6GHz
GPU:Mali-T830 MP1
RAM:3GB
ROM/Storage:32GB, expandable via microSD
Rear Cameras:13MP f/1.9 with LED flash
Front Camera:8MP f/1.9 with LED flash
Battery:3000mAh non-removable battery
Connectivity:Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, WiFi Direct, hotspot
Bluetooth 4.2
microUSB 2.0, USB On-The-Go (OTG)
3.5mm headphone jack
Network Bands:4G/voLTE, 3G (HSDPA), 2G (GSM)
SIM Slot:Dual SIM (nano)
Sensors:Fingerprint sensor (rear), GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, ambient light sensor
OS/Software:Android Oreo 8.0
Dimensions & Weight:Size: 149.3 x 70.2 x 8.2 mm
Weight: 154g
Colors:Black, Gold
Protection / IP Rating:IP Rating: N/A
Other Features:Face Unlock, Dolby Atmos

Conclusion

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Samsung is in a tight spot with this one.

While Samsung has addressed our concern of confusing naming scheme with their 2018 portfolio of smartphones, they have put themselves again in a tight spot this time by releasing this smartphone, which is actually comparable to the Galaxy A6, which has better specs and build quality than this.

Also, the price is not that far. By just adding PhP2,500 from the SRP of the Galaxy J6 (PhP13,990), you can get the Galaxy A6 (PhP16,490) with a more premium look and better internals. If you don’t mind adding a little bit more from your budget, then our recommendation is to get the Galaxy A6 instead. If you can’t push it through, the Galaxy J6 is still a good one, despite the compromises and subtle downgrades.


Pricing and Availability

The Samsung Galaxy J6 will be available in Black and Gold colors at Samsung concept stores and authorized retailers on June 16, 2018 for PhP13,990. However, you can try it out for yourself at June 15 in SM Mall of Asia, where Samsung’s newest ambassadress, Nadine Lustre, will grace the public launch of the Galaxy J6.