South Korean electronics major Samsung has an established line-up of budget-centric J-series smartphones. However, amid tough competition from Chinese rivals offering value-for-money propositions in the budget segment, the company has launched a refreshed line-up of the Galaxy J-series, with premium features like 18.5:9 aspect ratio screen, durable polycarbonate body and bright camera.
The Galaxy J6 is the most affordable device among the new crop of Samsung budget smartphones. Interestingly, the phone comes in two RAM and storage configurations – 3GB/32GB and 4GB/64GB – which makes it a suitable rival to Chinese counterparts. The phone features a 5.6-inch super AMOLED screen in a compact polycarbonate body, Samsung Pay Mini for native digital wallet services, and a 3,000 mAh battery.
The Galaxy J6 seems to be a power-packed proposition in the budget smartphone segment, at least in terms of specifications. However, does it perform equally well in real-life conditions? Let’s take a look:
Galaxy J6 design
With the Galaxy J6, Samsung has brought the 18.5:9 aspect ratio screen to its budget segment. The tall design, coupled with a durable polycarbonate body, looks simple but plush. For a 5.6-inch screen-based device, the Galaxy J6 is compact and sits comfortably in hand.
On the front, the device is dominated by the screen with limited bezels around the screen – something in line with what competitors have been offering. On the back, there is a camera with a fingerprint sensor below it, which makes it easier to reach and operate.
The device sports a microUSB port for charging and data transfer, along with a 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom. The dedicated memory card and dual-SIM slot are placed on the left, along with volume rocker keys and the power switch on the right side.
The right-side-mounted speaker is something that does not go well with the design. Not that it does not look good, but it gets in the way of your index finger while watching multimedia content in the horizontal screen orientation.
Galaxy J6 display
The Galaxy J6 sports a 5.6-inch HD+ super AMOLED 18.5:9 aspect ratio screen. The screen is touted as an ‘Infinity Display’, unveiled in the Samsung Galaxy S8-series. However, the phone neither has a curved screen nor has it a bezel-less front, making one question whether the infinity display is defined by an aspect ratio or a curved screen.
As for the output and performance, the HD+ display looks low on pixels but has an overall vivid appeal. Though the display is not sharp, the super AMOLED unit makes the on-screen content look lively, thereby making it one of the best screens in the budget segment. The phone features an outdoor mode, which boosts the screen brightness to the maximum potential, giving an easy viewing experience under bright conditions.
Galaxy J6 performance
The Galaxy J6 is powered by a 1.6GHz octa-core Samsung Exynos 7870 processor, paired with either 3GB/32GB or 4GB/64GB of RAM and storage configurations. The review model with 3GB/32GB managed to run tasks, open apps, multitask and play games effortlessly. However, it is not a powerhouse system-on-chip (SoC), therefore operating processor and graphic-intensive apps might not work very well.
The phone boots customised Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box, with loads of bloatware. Thankfully, some of the installed bloatware can be uninstalled. The Galaxy J6 is also the first budget device to feature a trimmed-down version of Bixby – without voice commands – and Samsung Pay Mini edition.
Galaxy J6 camera
The Galaxy J6 sports a single 13-megapixel sensor of f/1.9 aperture on the back and an 8MP front sensor of the same aperture on the front. Both the front and rear cameras sport LED flash for low-light photography.
The rear camera is one of the best in the budget segment, thanks to a bright aperture and optimised output. The photos come out with a lot of detail and colours look natural. There are some artificial halos on corners, but for a budget device the camera has a lot of potential. Night photography is the only weak area where the camera struggles to deliver. At places like malls, shopping complexes and busy streets, the camera still manages to capture some great shots – though with steady hands. However, in places like discotheques and restro bars, where the light is usually set to the lowest levels, the camera fails to capture information and shows a good amount of noise.
As for the front camera, the 8MP unit is as good as the rear camera. However, due to lack of auto-focus, the shots require steady hands. A caveat: Use face detection mode in front camera to identify faces before taking the shot. Such shots usually come out better.
Galaxy J6 battery
Powering the Galaxy J6 is a 3,000 mAh battery that keeps it running for almost two days, and even more in some cases. During heavy usage, including a lot of video streaming on Amazon Prime, Hotstar, Netflix and YouTube and video-calling using Skype and WhatsApp, the phone manages to sail through a day.
The battery charging time is spectacular – the supplied charger takes the battery from zero to 100 per cent is less than two hours.
Galaxy J6 review verdict
The Galaxy J6 is an interesting proposition that ticks almost all the right boxes. It does not have a fullHD screen, but the super AMOLED unit compensates for resolution. It also does not have dual cameras but it is better to have a single capable camera than sub-standard dual cameras.
Priced at Rs 13,990 for the 3GB/32GB variant, the Galaxy J6 has the potential to take home the best budget smartphone title. At its price point, the phone competes with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro (review), Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 (review), Oppo Realme 1 (first impressions) and Honor 9 Lite (review).