The Galaxy J-series by Samsung has a variety of options to cater different users with varying budgets in the affordable smartphone segment. The devices which represent Samsung in the segment might not have the highest-rated specifications, but come with a brand value and a familiar user experience which has been perfected over time. Samsung Galaxy J6 (Rs. 13,990 on Flipkart) is the newest member in the series and comes with striking design changes such as the much taller Infinity Display, pretty much a facelifted design language, and surprisingly great software features under Rs. 15,000.
Samsung Galaxy J6 Specifications
Let’s start off by telling you about the specifications of the Samsung Galaxy J6. But don’t just judge the smartphone by its box. From the first look, you might find the smartphone inadequately stuffed, given its price. We thought that too but the feeling seemed to fade away from the moment we switched on the device and we’ll talk about that experience in the coming paragraphs. For now, this the silicon that powers the Galaxy J6:
|Display||5.6-inch Super AMOLED, HD+ (1480x720p) Resolution
18.5:9 Aspect Ratio
|Processor||Octa-Core Exynos 7870|
|Rear Camera||13MP f/1.9 with LED Flash|
|Front Camera||8MP f/1.9 with LED flash|
|Software||Android 8.0 Oreo (Experience UI)|
|Battery||3,000 mAh, No fast charging|
|Sensors||Rear fingerprint scanner, accelerometer, proximity|
|Connectivity||Dual SIM (Not hybrid), microUSB, Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n|
Now that the smartphone is a bit familiar and you know what to expects, let’s dig deeper.
What’s In the Box
Every time I unbox a Samsung device, I am delighted to see the cleanliness of the no-nonsense packaging, save the stickers on the outside the box that were a pain to cut through. Once you get inside, the smartphone is seated at the top with the lower compartment reserved for accessories.
The box comes with:
- The Samsung Galaxy J6 handset
- A 5V/1A power brick
- A microUSB data cable
- A pair of Standard Samsung earphones
- A SIM ejector
- Manual and paperwork
A lot of companies have been adding protective cases but let’s just assume, Samsung does cherish falling in line.
Design and Build: Sleek, Handy, But a Little Intimidating
From the very first interaction, the Galaxy J6 screams of a design which unlike any other previous J series smartphone. Despite being aimed at customers with restricted budgets, the Galaxy J6 has a design which feels premium. The non-removable polycarbonate back is so beautifully built that I was initially puzzled about its material, which seemed like brushed metal to me.
Clearly, the most iconic factor in the Galaxy J6’s design is its Infinity Display, which sadly isn’t the same as the Galaxy S8 or S9 couplets. The taller 18.5:9 aspect ratio gives the smartphone a narrower profile, making it easy to hold. The tactile home button which is characteristic to Samsung smartphones is not present on the Galaxy J6 and software keys replace hardware ones to accommodate the longer screen.
Gladly, there is a fingerprint scanner which is located beneath the rear camera. The scanner is not completely flushed into the surface but is not very well pronounced either, which initially made me turn the phone to search for the exact spot.
The plastic frame that surrounds the edges houses power button, volume up and down buttons, SIM 1 tray, SIM 2 + Micro SD card slot, a MicroUSB port, headphone jack, and a speaker facing towards the right. Samsung has a history of experimenting with speaker positioning but I’ve come to enjoy this one the most. This prevents the speaker from being muffled when you’re watching a video or gaming on this smartphone.
Both the front and the rear cameras are accompanied by flash LEDs, but one would question the lack of a secondary camera on the back, as is the trend. But the company has different offerings for different users and recently announced the Galaxy J6 Duo in India with a dual rear camera. One complaint I have with the design is its lack of an ambient light sensor which will force users to adjust the display’s brightness manually. The other is that there is no notification LED.
Overall, the Galaxy J6’s design is pleasant except for those whose palms sweat a lot because in that case, the smartphone gets really slippery and you might not want drop this piece of beauty.
Display: Tall, Bright, and Handsome
A 5.6-inch HD+ Infinity Display graces the front of the Samsung Galaxy J6. Many other smartphones which cost nearly as much come with Full HD displays, but the J6 makes up for it by featuring a Super AMOLED display. True to the AMOLED pedigree, it is very vibrant and bright.
If you compare it with a Full HD LCD display, which is common on similarly priced smartphones, you’ll find the AMOLED display to be warmer while brightness levels vary with the manufacturer. On peering closely, you are bound to notice some graininess on the J6’s AMOLED display, but is not something you might notice unless you zoom into a picture or engage in some image editing on the smartphone.
The display is pretty responsive and while some icons (especially while gaming) may appear tiny, pointing at objects is mostly accurate. You can also play with the color accuracy of the display and choose from four different presets including Adaptive Display which changes the color vibrancy based on what is on the screen. You also get options to play with the warmth and the RGB settings of the display.
The Galaxy J6 misses out on an ambient light sensor which means you’ll have to adjust the brightness manually. The display gets comfortably low and remarkably bright so there should be no problem in terms of readability in any lighting condition. You also get an outdoor mode which boosts the brightness to provide for reading even under strong sunlight.
As I mentioned earlier, there is no notification LED and despite the AMOLED, I couldn’t figure out settings for an “Always On” display.
Camera: Clumsy but Usable With Good Selfies
As I mentioned earlier, the camera is not one of Galaxy J6’s most appealing highlights. The 13-megapixel snapper on the back is not really impressive. Unless the frame is flooded with light, the Samsung Galaxy J6 fails to capture appealing shots. Images are a lot less saturated on a laptop display that they appear on a smartphone. Moreover, The HDR mode makes the colors warmers and the image a tad bit brighter but does not always lead to higher contrast, as one would normally expect.
Low-light images will be taxing and there is a lot of noise even under sufficient indoor lighting. Forget about taking shots outdoor unless you want to make the picture awkward by using flash. There is no option to keep the flash turned on permanently and the Night Mode does not seem to do a lot of improvement either.
If you’re willing to spend some time fiddling with the options, you get a PRO mode with White Balance, Exposure, and ISO settings, that go only up to 800. But don’t expect it to do a wonderful job. To fix your blemishes and whatnot, you get a Beauty Mode in the rear camera as well.
The rear shooter, however, scores well when it comes to focusing on nearby objects, even with moderate lighting. But sadly, if you try to look for a manual focus option in the PRO mode, you’re likely to end up disappointed like me.
You also get Snapchat-like filters and stickers to add to your pictures, and the feature recognizes faces well. Some filters change when the person in the frame opens their mouth but the detection is not very accurate.
The 8-megapixel selfie camera on the front is altogether quite a different experience. The selfies it clicks are slightly short of being perfect, but definitely worthy of appreciation. Even under low lighting, it does a decent job, only if you can compromise in terms of clarity.
The beauty mode is a bit overkill, or at least appears so on the AMOLED screen. You also get a flash on the front which will leave you blinded for a few seconds without any external light source but it helps you get good pictures.
The Selfie Focus mode on the Galaxy J6 is a welcome addition but it will leave you craving for more. It is poor at detecting edges and there is often a bizarre blur surrounding objects. This is because there is no secondary camera on the front to actually measure the depth and the effect is produced majorly by software.
So, I was left disappointed with the rear camera, for the lack of a better sensor. Even in daylight, you might have to spend some time while clicking pictures. The selfie camera makes up for the loss and should outweigh the demerits for those who want to click mostly selfies.
Performance: Blew Me Out
Sorry for the overblown headline (and the poor pun), but the performance of the Samsung Galaxy J6 is far better than what I expected. The Exynos 7870 handles the performance and you can feel the impact from the slow-loading apps and games. But apart from a few compromises here and there, you would not see any troubling lag.
Over time, Samsung has managed to cram a lot of features that optimize performance and this is visible in the smooth UI. The 3GB RAM does not feel choked even with many apps open simultaneously.
The Samsung Galaxy J6 pushes its limits to help you enjoy a great gaming experience. The device handled games like Hitman: Sniper, Dragon Hills 2, Clash Royale, and Vector 2 like a charm. One little drawback is that there is no gyroscope, so you might have trouble playing games with tilt-to-turn controls. This is why I had to play Asphalt 8 with on-screen turn controls, but apart from a little extra work, it did not affect performance.
An honest confession: I started playing PUBG on this device and found myself hooked on to it for hours. So, if you’re planning to work out your thumbs and earn some Chicken Dinner, the Galaxy J6 will be a good option under a tight belt. If you’re okay with playing at low graphics, that is. A dedicated game mode is also present which allows you to block unimportant notifications while gaming and to fit the game to the 18.5:9 aspect ratio.
One limiting factor of the screen is that it supports a maximum of 720p videos on YouTube. Moreover, you should not expect the Galaxy J6 to work with VR headsets.
Even under rigorous activity, the smartphone does not heat up at all. If you read or scroll through social media feeds a lot, the J6 should not disappoint you unless you’ve been scrolling for long or have a lot of tabs open on the browser simultaneously. The “Device maintenance” feature in the settings allows you to manually free up memory storage and optimize overall performance, as well as does it automatically at a scheduled time.
Once you’re accustomed to the fingerprint reader’s location, it gets really convenient. It is not the fastest in the market but it does justice to the price. Apart from waking the screen, the fingerprint scanner can also be used to lock crucial apps like Gallery, WhatsApp, Facebook etc. Additionally, you get the ability to open notification drawer by swiping on the sensor.
Despite being small, the speaker on the Galaxy J6 is pretty loud and clear. The voice is a bit towards the shrill side but not enough to make your ears bleed. It comes with Dolby Atmos sound experience which can be switched on when you plug in a headset. You can choose from presets like Movie, Music, and Voice but there is no equalizer setting.
The bundled earphones are really loud and clear but I’m not a big fan of the construction. Although the earpieces don’t fall off, wearing them for too long is a pain, literally. For the same reason, bass lines are aching instead of enjoyable.
User Experience: Bloated but Efficient
Gladly, the days of Samsung’s TouchWiz UI are long gone by. Now, the cleaner Samsung Experience interface gives a colorful accent to Android. If you’re a fan of stock Android, it might take some cringing and time for getting used to, but otherwise, the UI is much more bearable. The floating app window is my favorite UI feature so far.
The device comes with Android Oreo out of the box and updated to April security patch applied. We have not heard from Samsung about the future updates but the fact that it comes with a recent security update, we can expect some attention from the company.
The device comes with a lot of extra apps like Samsung Health, SmartThings, Samsung Mall, and features like Ride Mode. You can also secure your files with the Secure Folder app and make UPI payments with Samsung Pay Mini. Unlike higher-end Samsung devices, this does not have MST for tap payments. You also get Microsoft apps pre-loaded which can be uninstalled if you do not need them.
One more attractive aspect is the Face Unlock feature which works very well in the day and artificial lighting alike. It also manages to unlock the phone in the dark by using the display’s brightness. It, however, fails to unlock when you’re wearing glasses. Overall, the Android experience on the Galaxy J6 is delightful and gives a lot of options to explore.
Battery: Durable but Slow at Charging
The 3,000mAh battery on this device easily lasts a day’s strenuous activities, ranging from long calls to extensive photography to gaming. Thanks to the low resolution of the AMOLED screen, I could easily enjoy day-long usage with the screen remaining active for nearly 6 hours and sometimes even more.
Even while pushing the J6’s limits with gaming, its battery lasted pretty well and I couldn’t let myself let go of playing PUBG until it showed the 5% warning. So, you can stress this device and will find yourself reaching for the charger only at the end of the day.
But recharging the battery takes around 3 hours and 30 minutes, that too when it is not being used. So, it’s best to plug the phone at night and use it all day long. The lengthy charging duration can trouble you at times, especially when you have to rush and the phone is not charged enough.
Pros and Cons
Like most of the budget devices, the Samsung Galaxy J6 has its bit of positives and negatives and it is justified to weigh them to help you make a better decision.
- Impressive performance
- Fast UI with multiple optimization options
- Face Unlock
- Great selfies
- Average rear camera
- Painfully slow charging
Samsung Galaxy J6: A Promising Package For Non-Photographers
The Samsung Galaxy J6 is a platter full of surprising flavors. As long as you’re not getting intimate with the camera, you’ll have a savory mouthful. Android Oreo is a welcome addition and processor handles heavy tasks and games without sweating out too much. The interface is clean and easy to get used to.
The tall display makes long stretches of binge-watching enjoyable while the speaker’s loudness adds a whiff of joy to entertainment. The rear camera is above average while selfies turn out great, but might fail to sweep you off your feet. The Face Unlock feature makes you want to shut the screen more frequently with a confidence that you won’t have to struggle while reopening it.
If the 32GB onboard storage is not sufficient, you can add MicroSD cards as big as 256GB. Samsung has also announced a variant with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage but it is yet to arrive.
The Samsung Galaxy J6 (3GB/32GB) is priced at Rs. 13,990 while the higher model will cost Rs. 16,490 and the only thing missing for the price is a dual camera. If the inadequate rear camera doesn’t make you nervous, the J6 is a superb device. At this price, you can also consider a bunch of other options like Redmi Note 5 Pro and Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1.
Buy Galaxy J6 (32GB) on Flipkart (Rs. 13,990)